Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini evaluate: small in measurement, however not well worth the mega worth
Regardless of how the saying goes, greater is not all the time higher — and that is very true within the cellular business, the place corporations have produced smartphones with bigger and bigger screens. Whereas that does appear to be the newest development, a couple of producers have not forgotten that there are a ton of smartphone customers on the market preferring utilizing one thing that really matches within the palm of their hand. Sadly, these people do not have a flagship Android gadget to name their very own, however Samsung is hopeful that its newest four.three-inch magnificence, the Galaxy S4 Mini, will a minimum of suffice as a strong center-tier choice. However will buyers be bothered by the truth that it lacks most of the prime-finish elements we take pleasure in on units just like the Samsung GS4? Our pals at Negri Electronics, who’re promoting the gadget for $520, have been variety sufficient to allow us to have some one-on-one time with the petite handset. Learn on to get our take.
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini
- Strong digital camera with nice video recording
- General efficiency is respectable for a mid-vary telephone
- Straightforward and cozy to carry
- Show might be higher
- Priced too excessive for meant viewers
- Restricted inner storage
The Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini is a strong mid-vary gadget, however you should purchase comparable telephones for much less — or higher ones for not rather more.
Because the Galaxy S4 Mini bears the identical identify because the flagship gadget launched earlier this yr, it ought to merely be a miniaturized model, proper? Not so quick. Whereas the Mini — which is available in each black and white colour choices — possesses most of the similar traits as its elder sibling, they’re principally associated to exterior design and primary firmware. On the surface, the household resemblance is clear. The entrance contains a digital camera on the highest-proper nook, with a hardware residence button on the underside flanked by two capacitive keys (menu and again), whereas the again homes the eight-megapixel digital camera and LED flash in the identical vertical association as on the GS4. The edges are primarily the identical, with the micro-USB port on the underside, quantity rocker on the left, energy button on the fitting and headphone jack / IR blaster up prime. It additionally takes benefit of the identical construct methods because the GS4, which suggests you are as soon as once more getting a polycarbonate development and checkerboard sample.
When it comes to hardware, that is finally the place the commonalities stop. As you’d anticipate, the four.three-inch Mini is far simpler to deal with than something with a 5-inch display or bigger. After reviewing so many massive smartphones, we discover it somewhat bizarre to modify again to a tool that our fingers can truly wrap round. At 124.6 x sixty one.three x eight.9 mm, it is shorter, narrower and thicker than the GS4, however all of those measurements result in extra rounded edges and a stronger grip in consequence. In humid climates, this truly is available in fairly useful, because the slippery contours of the telephone would make it a lot simpler to pop proper out of our sweaty palms — a problem we typically encountered with the GS4. It is also extremely mild, weighing in at simply three.seventy seven ounces (107g).
Beneath the 1,900mAh battery, you will discover a micro-SIM slot and a microSD reader — the latter on prime of the previous — which is a change from the GS4’s format (the 2 slots have been set aside from one another and could possibly be accessed with out yanking out the battery). Beneath the hood is a twin-core 1.7GHz Snapdragon four hundred, a transparent downgrade from any of the unique GS4’s chipset choices. NFC, Bluetooth, IR and WiFi are all included as nicely, although 802.11ac is not an choice right here. The Mini additionally encompasses a scant 8GB of inner storage, which does not depart a lot room in your personal private enjoyment, particularly after you consider each the OS and Samsung’s TouchWiz UI.
The mannequin we reviewed was the I9195, which is the LTE model (it additionally is available in twin-SIM and 3G-solely variants). It sports activities bands three, 7 and 20 (800 / 1800 / 2600), that are primarily utilized in Europe and different nations around the globe. You will additionally get quad-band HSPA+ (850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100) with speeds as much as forty two Mbps. GSM / EDGE (850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900) can also be a part of the deal, making certain that North American customers / vacationers will get considerably respectable knowledge speeds.
One in every of our largest hardware gripes is the lackluster four.three-inch Tremendous AMOLED show with qHD (960 x 540) decision, which interprets to a pixel density of 256 pixels per inch. For sure, this can be a appreciable drop in high quality from the GS4, whose display decision is a full 1080p. Nearly all of the telephone’s different specs are at the least considerably engaging for many common customers, so we’re unsure why Samsung selected to chop corners on this division (only for comparability, the HTC One mini encompasses a 720p S-LCD3 show). Until the corporate simply had a bunch of stockpiled qHD panels it was making an attempt to eliminate; that might kind of make sense, provided that the Galaxy S4 Zoom additionally makes use of the identical show.
Luckily, there is a silver lining right here. Regardless of the shortage of sharpness and determination, the show at the least provides above-common viewing angles and is reasonably straightforward to learn at full brightness in direct daylight (although we will not say the identical whenever you flip the brightness setting down).
In some ways, Samsung smartphones operating TouchWiz are identical to Home windows Telephones within the sense that the consumer expertise is extremely constant from one gadget to a different. The Mini, which runs Android four.2.2 with Sammy’s proprietary consumer interface on prime, felt very acquainted to us after having reviewed the GS4 and the Galaxy Mega. Whereas some unique GS4 options have been included within the Mini, nevertheless, much more have been overlooked. That stated, we do not take a lot concern there, since we discovered most of these options to solely be perfect for a couple of area of interest customers and are extra processor-intensive than they’re value, however we will not argue that there are some individuals who would discover them helpful.
So, what options did not make the reduce? Air View, Air Gestures, most Sensible options (comparable to Sensible Scroll, Sensible Pause and Sensible Rotation) and a number of other digital camera modes. It does, nevertheless, supply stay thumbnails within the video app, in addition to pop-up films so you’ll be able to watch one thing whereas doing precise work getting different duties taken care of.
In any other case, the Mini presents nothing we’ve not seen earlier than. This is identical previous TouchWiz, which is sensible, since Samsung often waits for the flagship units to unveil model-new options. You will discover that Group Play, S Translator, S Well being, S Journey, S Voice, Sensible Keep, S Memo, WatchOn, Samsung Hyperlink and the Samsung Hub are all there. Lengthy-urgent the menu key takes you into Google Now, whereas the identical motion on the house button will pull up current apps. Nevertheless, doing this on the again button leads to nothing in any respect; that is usually reserved on TouchWiz for Multi-Window, however Samsung in all probability determined that the expertise would not be worthwhile on a smaller system.Digital camera
Very similar to Samsung’s different mid-tier smartphones in 2013, the Mini comes full of an 8MP rear digital camera in addition to a 1.9MP entrance-dealing with selfie-shooter. With it you will benefit from the full suite of adjustable settings, comparable to white stability, ISO, publicity, HDR and numerous filters and modes. Photographs on the digital camera’s highest decision are four:three, although a sixteen:9 choice is obtainable utilizing 6MP.
The consumer interface ought to be acquainted to anybody who’s performed with a GS4 or different current Samsung gadget. You will discover the shutter keys for each stills and video on the proper rail, whereas filters peek out at you from an arrow on the backside of the viewfinder. Settings could be accessed both from a button on the highest-left nook or by urgent the menu key. Whereas the telephone does not function a hardware shutter key, the settings help you convert the quantity rocker into one.
Because it seems, there are not any main surprises relating to picture high quality, both. Footage are typically barely oversaturated, although a lot of the photographs we took have been a minimum of detailed. Typically, the digital camera had problem reconciling areas of high and low publicity inside the similar shot, so we needed to depend on HDR to stability the 2 — fortuitously, photographs seemed nice on this mode, and we did not hesitate to make use of it in a number of conditions. We have been a bit dissatisfied that the Mini has a shutter lag of roughly two seconds, which turns into an issue whenever you’re making an attempt to take footage of shifting objects — or youngsters. (This was additionally a priority with the GS4.)
Low-mild footage look fairly darkish on auto settings, however Night time Mode enhances photographs by grabbing extra errant mild whereas additionally reproducing colours in an correct method. There’s nonetheless loads of noise, though we consider the efficiency in that regard is on par for a tool on this class.
We have been additionally impressed by the standard of our pattern video footage. The rear camcorder data films at a max decision of 1080p with 30 fps body price and 17.1 Mbps bit price. Once we performed our masterpieces on a pc, it appeared a lot nearer to precise HD high quality than what we have seen from comparable units. Contact focus is an choice right here, although steady autofocus is the default setting. We have been additionally extremely proud of how nicely the audio turned out (recorded at 128 Kbps with forty eight kHz sampling price); within the pattern video embedded above, we have been located proper subsequent to the loudspeakers, but the recorded sound was clear and under no circumstances overbearing.Efficiency and battery life
The Galaxy S4 Mini makes use of a 1.7GHz twin-core Snapdragon four hundred (MSM8930AB), which is identical 28nm Krait 300 chipset used within the Galaxy Mega, and comes with Adreno 305 GPU and 1.5GB RAM. It is a responsive handset that comes with few hiccups, although we did see it sputter every so often once we pushed it with processor-intensive duties. In any other case, most individuals will get the kind of mid-vary efficiency anticipated of a tool just like the Mini. In reality, this must be proper on par with the HTC One mini, although it advantages from having an additional little bit of RAM at its disposal. Check out the complete suite of benchmark checks under, all of which affirm what we suspected: that is very a lot a mid-vary gadget, and one that may maintain up towards most belongings you throw at it, even when it does not come anyplace near its namesake.
We had no drawback making it by way of a full day on a cost; we sometimes had a small quantity of the 1,900mAh battery left when it was time to plug the Mini in for bedtime. This was with average utilization, although, so these of you who’re exhausting in your units might discover that you’re going to want to offer your telephone an electrical pickup shortly after arriving residence on the finish of your shift. Our video-looping check, which includes operating a 1080p video constantly at 50 % brightness (with a smattering of different standardized settings), yielded seven hours and sixteen minutes of life earlier than the telephone died.
Name high quality was clear, and we had no drawback listening to voices on the opposite finish, because of the loud speakerphone and above-common earpiece. The GPS tracked our place in a matter of seconds; movies and music performed easily; and we loved our time listening to media by means of headphones. On a random notice, the vibrate perform on the Mini was one of many strongest we have utilized in current reminiscence; flip it on and there will be no mistaking when a brand new notification has arrived.Pricing and comparability
The GS4 model is likely one of the greatest-recognized available on the market, and in consequence you are paying a little bit of a premium for the privilege. The Mini is geared towards mid-vary consumers, however with its value hovering across the $500 mark, it’s kind of extra spendy than different telephones with comparable specs. The Galaxy S III, as an example, presents the identical rear digital camera, a greater show (albeit a bigger display, however only for sake of comparability), extra inner storage, North American LTE choices and retails for round $430 to $450. The HTC First, in the meantime, might be discovered for round $250 on Amazon and takes benefit of a Snapdragon four hundred chipset, four.three-inch 720p show, inventory Android and extra inner storage; the compromise right here is the shortage of microSD help, an older model of Google’s cellular OS and decrease-res digital camera. These aren’t the one choices: the record goes on and cheaper options are quite a few, and normally we discover it troublesome to advocate the Mini’s larger value to shoppers who’re out there for a mid-vary system.Wrap-up
As a lot as we might wish to see a tool that matches the literal description of the Galaxy S4 Mini — you realize, a telephone that is all however similar to the unique GS4, simply smaller — Samsung clearly had one thing else in thoughts. As an alternative, the Mini is supposed for many who love the GS4 design and firmware however are in search of a lower cost level. To that finish, the corporate has principally succeeded, excluding that poor show. Certainly, our expertise with the gadget was on par with most different mid-vary handsets we have examined. Sadly, the price is a bit of too steep when in comparison with comparable units, so undoubtedly weigh your choices intently earlier than plunking down the money.
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