Look, man, yet another "mini" version of a popular flagship handset! Samsung just unveiled its inevitable Galaxy S5 mini edition, all decked up in the perforated look of its bigger brother the S5, mimicking its every curve, and hoping to capitalize on the flagship's popularity. After all, why not equip it with a fairly small HD screen of your own making, put a processor that smartwatches run on now, and then charge just 20% below the flagship's price - hey, it's just like it, but for people who love their handsets smaller.
We kid, but Samsung arguably started all that "mini" craze with the S III mini, and hasn't looked back since. This prompted all other major manufacturers, and even some more obscure ones, to feel obliged to outing a "mini" variation of their flagships. The trouble is that, with only a few exceptions, these "minis" come with a price that is not worth a second look, if it wasn't for the naming scheme, and the visual resemblance to their respective flagship sidekicks in the store.
To illustrate that point, we are rounding up all the current 2014-crop minis below, and by the time you reach the last one, it becomes abundantly clear why manufacturers are doing this drill each and every time now. In addition, we are waiting on an eventual LG G3 mini, which is rumored to come with a 4.5" or 5" HD panel, depending on which speculation you believe, Snapdragon 400, and an 8 MP camera. An Xperia Z2 mini version isn't out of the question either, but there's not much heard on this front just yet. Check the list out, vote which of the current ones would you pick, if you had to choose, and tell us what is your general opinion on the "mini" craze in the comments.
2014 mini editions that ride on the flagships coattails
2014 mini editions that ride on the flagships coattails
The latest proof that Samsung will milk the "mini" concept for what it's worth, comes in the form of the just-announced S5 mini. The handset sports a 4.5" HD display, and is as large as some 4.7-inchers, plus it has a lowly Snapdragon 400 processor and an 8 MP camera. These facts don't prevent Samsung from charging EUR 480 for the handset, or less than a hundred below the current S5 flagship price. Or you can get an LG G2 with this kind of money, and save a hundred more to celebrate. The only vindication is that the S5 mini is waterproof, just like its bigger brother.
Where do we begin with this one, too? Taking a page from Samsung's book, LG outed a "mini" version of its 2013 flagship, the G2, but, besides the physical resemblance, thanks to the buttons-on-the-back concept, there's little in common between the two. Outed with a qHD screen resolution, circa 2010, the G2 mini sports the same Snapdragon 400 processor as the S5 mini, and an 8 MP camera in its turn, that is nothing to write home about, yet LG let it out of the bag for a price close to the G2 at the time, and as much as a Nexus 5 costs.
Premium aluminum unibody? Check. BoomSound stereo speakers? Check. 13 MP camera on the back? Check again. If you've been disappointed by the overpriced "mini" surrogates thrown at us by Samsung and LG, HTC will come to the rescue with its One mini 2, despite the fairly large for the 4.5" screen size body, and the mundane Snapdragon 400 processor. HTC has also priced it at about EUR 450/ USD 500 currently, making it less expensive than the S5 mini, yet with much more premium looks, and a higher-res camera.
Saving the best mini so far, we'd just say that the Z1 Compact has the same 20 MP camera as its flagship reflection, the same powerful Snapdragon 800 processor, and is waterproof to boot. The kicker? This one now costs less than both the S5 mini, and even the HTC One mini 2, leaving little doubt as to which mini should top the ranks in this newfangled category.
Not to be outdone by the brands, Huawei outed a mini version of its successfull Ascend P7 in its turn. The P7 mini sports a smaller, 4.5" display with qHD resolution, an 8 MP camera, and the inevitable Snapdragon 400 processor. At least the P7 mini is every bit as light and compact as its larger sibling, and fortunately Huawei priced it below EUR 300, which means it has a (somewhat) fighting chance, but will still face a steep battle against Chinese flagships like the Honor 6, or some last year darlings.
Oppo just jumped on the "mini" bandwagon, outing what it would like you to think is a tinier Find 7, but only features a 4.7-inch display with 720 x 1,280 pixels, quad-core 1.6 GHz Snapdragon 400 processor, 8 MP rear camera with LED flash, 2 MP front-facing camera, 1 GB of RAM, and 8 GB of expandable memory. Not bad, but also nothing impressive for the asking price of about $300 in China.
Unsurprisingly, ZTE also joins the "mini" community this year, with the miniaturized version of its thin and powerful Z5s flagship. The ZTE nubia Z5s mini is a mouthful, but is thin, light, colorful, and sports a respectable Snapdragon 600 SoC under the hood paired with 2 GB of RAM, plus it treats your eyes to a 4.7-inch HD IGZO display made by Sharp, and has a 13 MP camera with Sony sensor on the back. All this power and prettiness can be yours for the meager $250 without a contract, making it the best value-for-money "mini" choice out there.
- 2014 'mini' flagship versions roundup: which one would you get?
Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
12.57% (263 votes)
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
52.29% (1094 votes)
HTC One mini 2
11.81% (247 votes)
LG G2 mini
2.72% (57 votes)
Huawei Ascend P7 mini
0.43% (9 votes)
Oppo Find 7 mini
0.76% (16 votes)
ZTE Nubia Z5s mini
3.44% (72 votes)
I'll wait on the eventual G3 mini and Z2 mini, and then make up my mind
15.97% (334 votes)