Samsung Galaxy S III Mini Review: Hands-On

Samsung has taken an unusual but innovative step following the enormous success of its Galaxy S III handset and produced a trimmed down, smaller version of the flagship device. Launched today at an event in Germany, the Galaxy S III Mini looks to be an interesting device which could prove to be very popular amongst consumers. We’ve had a brief hands-on with the new smartphone and taken a look at what it can do.

In the same way that the recently released Galaxy Note II bore a very close resemblance to the S III, Samsung’s latest creation looks almost identical to its high-end cousin. In terms of design, the handset is nearly an exact replica the S III, albeit about two-thirds the size of the larger device.

The S III Mini has a 4-inch, Super AMOLED display which isn’t quite as bright as that on the S III but is still very impressive, with graphics appearing clearly and having real depth. On the whole, Samsung devices have some of the best displays around and it is to the company’s credit that even its mid-range handsets feature excellent screens.

In terms of software, the TouchWiz nature UI employed by the S III is also present here, on top of Android Jelly Bean, the latest version of Google’s OS which has only just begun to roll out for the larger flagship. While TouchWiz itself is a great looking UI, what is more impressive about the S III Mini’s software is that Samsung has ported the additional features seen on the S III to the lower-priced handset.

Most interestingly, the S-Voice assistant is included with the S III Mini, offering a powerful feature that can’t really be equalled by any other mid-range device that we know of. The addition of S-Voice (which was one of the headline-grabbing features upon which Samsung marketed the S III) could make the S III Mini very appealing to people who don’t want to shell-out a large amount of money for a high-end handset.

Under the hood is a 1GHz dual-core processor and 8MB of internal storage, as well as a microSD card slot that can support cards of  up to 32GB. While performance is noticeably slower than that offered by the S III this is understandable, especially considering that this is a mid-range handset.

Also present is an 1500mAh battery – a considerable size for a handset of this price range and, when also taking into account the reduced size of the S III Mini’s display, is something which should see the handset lasting a good while from the one charge.

A 5 megapixel camera is included, a step down from the 8 megapixel one on the S III but still a decent offering. Having carried out a quick test of the imaging capabilities we managed to get some reasonable results despite the camera clearly being of a lower spec than those seen on high-end devices.

Samsung’s camera app has many settings and options available and we found the touch-focus function to be particularly good, especially since it is a feature left out of many mid-range camera apps.

Whilst the S III Mini might well appear to be an oddity, it seems Samsung may well have spotted a target-market of people who like the features seen on high-end handsets but don’t like the price associated with them. As a device which very much echoes the Galaxy S III, we think the S III Mini is a great innovation that could prove to be extremely popular. Keep an eye on the Dialaphone blog as we’ll be back soon with a full, in-depth review at a later date.

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