Samsung Galaxy S III Mini – Review

We finally managed to land a Samsung Galaxy S III Mini in the palm of our hands. Thanks to the guys at Mobicity for the opportunity.

Good points
Good size
Good battery life
Good screen

Bad Points
5 MegaPixel Camera
OS can be laggy

The Galaxy S III Mini is one of the newest additions to the Galaxy S range from Samsung. Some would consider Galaxy S handsets to be the flagship devices but… When I see “mini” next to a device name it gets me worried. With the Samsung Galaxy S III Mini it’s hit and miss.

Screen

20130123-145611.jpg

A 4.0″ Super AMOLED display panel. The resolution is 480×800 giving a glorious 233ppi making the screen sharp, brightness isn’t an issue in daily use either, the screen is easily viewable and clear to read, in sunny conditions (well, as sunny as you can get in Stockport in winter).

20130123-150037.jpg

Internals

The Galaxy S III Mini has the same NovaThor U8420 chip as the S Advance. A dual-core Cortex-A9 clocked at 1GHz coupled with 1GB RAM and the Mali-400 GPU. The operation of the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean can get a little laggy at times during use I’ve found out that this is normal on devices similar and not unusual for Samsung’s TouchWiz on these “slower” processors. Data speeds struggle but is this down to the CPU or is Android a little heavy for the device?

Build

20130123-145743.jpg

As always with Samsung’s mobile devices they have chosen to go with a plastic body. The build quality is excellent like the S III Mini’s big brother, nothing creaks and croaks like it does on some devices. Unlike a large number of devices nowadays this S III Mini, housing a 4.0″ screen it still fits perfectly in my hand, it’s not heavy and my thumb can easily reach all around the screen with minimal effort. I e thing with this and other Samsung devices though, I do get a little nervous removing the back but it’s not something that needs to be done on a regular basis so I can live with that.

20130123-145902.jpg

20130123-145940.jpg

Battery

Coming with a 1500mAh battery I was very cautious… I’m considered a heavy user when it comes to mobile phones. The amount of time I spend using mobiles gets me in trouble with the misses. This battery is fantastic. I had my Coolsmartphone email syncing all day, used Google Talk for about 20mins, sent about 20 text messages and was on the phone for about 1 hr, combined throughout the day and it lasted until I went to bed.

Connectivity

I mentioned that the data struggled. I did a number of speed tests connected to the same server in the same location and the difference in speed was huge. Usually you can expect some fluctuation but not as much. It doesn’t seem to effect it that much when on WiFi. The device comes with HSDPA as well as the usual WiFi a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, A-GPS.

20130123-145515.jpg

Sound

Call quality is average, nothing spectacular stands out and one person I had a call with complained about background noise, I was in a child’s soft play centre, I’m not sure how even the iPhone 5 would cope in that environment.

The loudspeaker provides ample sound level to hear a call or notification when the handset is in the pocket even when shopping in the local ASDA you can hear when a email or call comes in.

Storage

There are 2 storage options for the Galaxy S III Mini, 8GB and 16GB. However, if you need more storage, the device can take a Micro SD card up to 32GB. Giving more than enough space for those pictures of that messy night out or that wedding you were at the other weekend, or both!

Camera

A 5 Megapixel camera with autofocus sucking in 2592×1944 of them tiny little squares produce good quality quick snaps. Don’t try to get professional images although with some filters etc the photos can be easily improved.

20130123-150156.jpg

Overview

20130123-150245.jpg

The Samsung Galaxy S III Mini is a good quality mid-range device with a mid-range price tag to match. At £275.99 it comes well equipped with everything you need and more. For those everyday tasks it’s perfect but for those that need the power of the S III Mini’s big brother, remember this is middle of the road equipment.

Fancy splashing a little cash? You can get one here – Mobicity UK

Specs
GENERAL
2G Network GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
3G Network HSDPA 900 / 1900 / 2100
SIM Mini-SIM
Announced 2012, October
Status Available. Released 2012, November
BODY
Dimensions 121.6 x 63 x 9.9 mm (4.79 x 2.48 x 0.39 in)
Weight 111.5 g (3.92 oz)
DISPLAY
Type Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
Size 480 x 800 pixels, 4.0 inches (~233 ppi pixel density)
Multitouch Yes
SOUND
Alert types Vibration; MP3, WAV ringtones
Loudspeaker Yes
3.5mm jack Yes, check quality
MEMORY
Card slot microSD, up to 32 GB
Internal 8/16 GB, 1 GB RAM
DATA
GPRS Yes
EDGE Yes
Speed HSDPA 14.4 Mbps, HSUPA 5.76 Mbps
WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, dual-band, DLNA, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi hotspot
Bluetooth Yes, v4.0 with A2DP, LE, EDR
NFC Yes (Market dependent)
USB Yes, microUSB v2.0
CAMERA
Primary 5 MP, 2592×1944 pixels, autofocus, LED flash, check quality
Features Geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection
Video Yes, 720p@30fps, check quality
Secondary Yes, VGA
FEATURES
OS Android OS, v4.1 (Jelly Bean)
Chipset NovaThor U8420
CPU 1 GHz dual-core Cortex-A9
GPU Mali-400
Sensors Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
Messaging SMS(threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Mail, IM, RSS
Browser HTML5
Radio Stereo FM radio with RDS
GPS Yes, with A-GPS support and GLONASS
Java Yes, via Java MIDP emulator
Colors White, Blue, Titan Gray, Amber Brown, Garnet Red, Onyx Black
- SNS integration
- MP4/DivX/XviD/WMV/H.264/H.263 player
- MP3/WAV/eAAC+/AC3/FLAC player
- Organizer
- Image/video editor
- Document viewer
- Google Search, Maps, Gmail,
YouTube, Calendar, Google Talk, Picasa
- Voice memo/dial/commands
- Predictive text input (Swype)
BATTERY
Li-Ion 1500 mAh battery
Stand-by Up to 450 h (2G) / Up to 430 h (3G)
Talk time Up to 14 h 10 min (2G) / Up to 7 h 10 min (3G)

  • Eh?

    Was this intentionally “a mini review” to match the “mini phone” or were you that underwhelmed with phone you were lost for words?

    How long exactly did you have this phone for before writing this review as the content seems to indicate you were short on time before sending it back.

    - Being as it’s a phone you’re reviewing, what is the call quality like?
    - Was does it feel like in the hand? Heavy, small, just right?
    - Speaker quality ?
    - Video camera quality?
    - Where are the example photos taken with the camera?
    - What’s the flash like? Good/Bad
    - You mentioned it a “little laggy”. Was this all the time or using certain apps?
    - What’s the screen quality like on say, web browsing?

    With the lack of detail in this article seems I would argue this should be more appropriately titled “Samsung Galaxy S III Mini – Overview”

    Sorry for the harsh words, but I was looking at buying one of these, and normally reviews on this site are bursting with info, but this one gives the impression it was a bit rushed and after reading this, I may aswell as have just read the specs or details on the online stores.

    • Dan Carter

      I am also getting an S3 Mini and will be putting something together over the next few days. Between the two hopefully you will have all the information you need :)

  • Anonymous

    My friend has an S3 Mini. It’s a fantastic mid-range phone. I didn’t find it lag at all, it’s got a dual core processor!

    I’d rather own one than an iPhone (similar size screen too).

    • Anonymous

      I found it randomly lagged. Whether it was because of just coming out of or opening an app/game I’m not sure but I noticed it.

    • patch

      iphone wouldnt lag ….

      • Eh?

        I disagree because my iPhone 4 lags since upgrade to iOS 6.
        I feel the 4 (not 4S) is now underpowered and not able to cope with the requirements of the latest iOS. It’s just not as smooth as it was on iOS 5.

        This is why I’m looking at alternatives. I find the S3 perfect spec wise except it’s far too big for me. I was hoping the S3 mini would be a perfect alternative but if it’s also not up to the task of coping with the OS then I’d be no better off.

  • aidanapword

    Useful info, this. I am not saying that network speed isn’t slower on this device than the others you have tested … but I do see the inverse between data speed and ping times. Implies the network negotiation is a bottle neck in the data transfer not a bottleneck inside the phone for GSM speed.

    • aidanapword

      Sorry what i meant was: useful review this.