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Samsung Galaxy S III mini Review

Posted: , by Ray S.

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Samsung Galaxy S III mini Review
Introduction:

Although the overall tendency for screen sizes of Android handsets is to go up, it seems phone makers aren't willing to forget about the not so tech-savvy users who would actually prefer having a more compact device. The Samsung Galaxy S III mini is a perfect example. It's designed to bring most of the goodies of the Galaxy S III in a significantly smaller form-factor. However, the S III mini is more intriguing than your typical mid-range model, as it has the privilege of being named after one of the best and most popular Android phones around.

When we first caught wind of the S III mini, many thought that it'll still be a very high-end model, only with a smaller screen size. Now that all about the device is known, some seem to be disappointed by the phone's mid-range specs. To tell you the truth, we don't know why that is. We feel that the Galaxy S III mini is an awesome 4” smartphone with a lot of potential and very few flaws. Let's examine it closely and see where it excels and where it falls short!


Design:

Isn't it obvious? The Samsung Galaxy S III mini's appearance is super-inspired by its bigger sibling, the Galaxy S III. If you don't look closely, you might even think that the S III mini is simply a shrunken version of the GS III, but that would be wrong. Thanks to some minor changes like moving the Home button a bit higher on the S III mini, Samsung has managed to achieve a more pleasing look. Overall, the handset is pretty good-looking, with its white version being perfect for women.

The Samsung Galaxy S III mini is extremely easy to hold and operate - Samsung Galaxy S III mini Review
The Samsung Galaxy S III mini is extremely easy to hold and operate - Samsung Galaxy S III mini Review
The Samsung Galaxy S III mini is extremely easy to hold and operate - Samsung Galaxy S III mini Review

The Samsung Galaxy S III mini is extremely easy to hold and operate


Samsung Galaxy S III mini Review

You can compare the Samsung Galaxy S III mini with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

Thanks to the compact size and rounded edges, the Galaxy S III mini is extremely easy to hold and operate. Using it with one hand only is a joy and doesn't give you any sense of discomfort.

Samsung Galaxy S III mini Review
Android buttons - Samsung Galaxy S III mini Review
Front camera - Samsung Galaxy S III mini Review
 

Android buttons

Front camera


We guess we won't surprise anyone if we say that the phone's casing is entirely made of plastic. While can't find too many advantages to that, we kind of like the fact that Samsung has used a nice, glossy plastic, as opposed to a soft-touch matte finish that can often give you the feeling of dirty hands.

The physical buttons of the S III mini, which includes the Home, Volume and Lock keys, all function fairly well, although not perfectly. We would have liked them more if they were a bit “clickier,” especially the Lock key. The metallic border that is around the Home key also makes pressing it a bit uncomfortable, but this is being close to nitpicking now.

Volume rocker (left) - The sides of the Samsung Galaxy S III mini - Samsung Galaxy S III mini Review
3.5mm jack (top) - The sides of the Samsung Galaxy S III mini - Samsung Galaxy S III mini Review
Power key (right) - The sides of the Samsung Galaxy S III mini - Samsung Galaxy S III mini Review
microUSB port (bottom) - The sides of the Samsung Galaxy S III mini - Samsung Galaxy S III mini Review

Volume rocker (left)

3.5mm jack (top)

Power key (right)

microUSB port (bottom)

The sides of the Samsung Galaxy S III mini


By the way, we aren't fans of how the capacitive Menu and Back buttons completely disappear when they aren't lit up. This is also present in the Galaxy S III, and, well, we guess that you get used to it at some point, but it simply doesn't feel very “natural,” or... normal.

Back - Samsung Galaxy S III mini Review
Rear camera - Samsung Galaxy S III mini Review
Battery compartment - Samsung Galaxy S III mini Review

Back

Rear camera

Battery compartment



Display:

Samsung Galaxy S III mini Review
So, the most interesting thing here should be the 4” screen size of the Galaxy S III mini. We have to say that we quite like it. In fact, it seems perfect for most basic stuff that one can do on a smartphone, like using the organizer features, browser, camera, etc. Well, if you are a heavy user, who plays a lot of games, or watches a lot of video, or simply uses their smartphone as their main computer, then we'd recommend getting something with a bigger screen, like the GS III or One X or Note II, but in most other scenarios, where you're using your phone as a phone, organizer, social networking device, some web browsing and the occasional game, we think the 4” display of the S III mini is big enough to provide a comfortable experience.

One of the things that people didn't like about the S III mini is the WVGA (480 x 800) resolution. Sure, it won't blow you away, especially when 'HD' screen have almost made their way to mid-range devices nowadays, but one thing we have to note here is that what's important is pixel density, not the resolution itself. In the case of the GS III mini, the pixel density is 233 ppi which means that almost everything on the screen is fine-looking. It's certainly not a Retina Display, but it's still good enough to provide a comfortable experience. So, it's not right to simply compare resolutions; you have to factor in the eventual difference in screen sizes as well.

One thing that certainly isn't helping this display is its PenTile pixel arrangement. Because of that, one can notice individual pixels easily if they look closely at the screen. Some colors are particularly prone to appearing dotted due to the PenTile matrix. All in all, though, as we said above, the experience is still pleasant.

The S III mini's display uses the Super AMOLED tech, which means that its colors are very saturated, while the contrast levels are really high. It's one vivid, yet somewhat unnatural screen. Outdoor visibility isn't very good, just like on most other AMOLED screens. If you shield the display with your hand, though, you'll be able to make out the stuff on screen.


80 Comments
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posted on 19 Oct 2012, 08:01 41

1. loken (Posts: 462; Member since: 09 May 2012)


oh haha just because this is a samsung it gets 8.9! Yay!!!,,,,
And Sony has better phones for cheaper prices than this also better looking.. so biased..

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 08:08 38

2. AbhiD (Posts: 65; Member since: 06 Apr 2012)


Seriously dude... phonearena is extremely biased especially Ray S.

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 11:16 1

31. loli5 (Posts: 76; Member since: 08 Oct 2012)


You misspelled 'micheal h'

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 12:03 3

33. ZEUS.the.thunder.god (unregistered)


nice review Ray. i think its a very fair rating considering its a mid range device.

posted on 20 Oct 2012, 00:42 13

58. GTR722 (Posts: 241; Member since: 20 Oct 2012)


Nice review ??? lets see, Sony Xperia P, mid range device, 4inch 960x540 screen res, 8mp camera, 1080p video recording, aluminium body, almost same internal specs, 320$ bucks unlocked in Amazon...and STILL this "mini" gets a better score ?? seriusly PhoneArena, your bias against Sony is horrible.

posted on 19 Dec 2012, 22:11 3

77. aiman61 (Posts: 1; Member since: 18 Dec 2012)


Hey! Lets look at xperia p. Its unremovable battery, battery only 1305 mAh, no sd card slot!! Its fair!!

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 09:35 23

21. RaKithAPeiRiZ (Posts: 1366; Member since: 29 Dec 2011)


Brace yourselves ....Xperia T fanboys are coming

posted on 21 Oct 2012, 14:25 3

64. OptimusOne (Posts: 694; Member since: 22 May 2012)


isn't one s also midrange?

how does this get higher than an one s

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 08:12 10

3. josephnero (Posts: 323; Member since: 16 Nov 2011)


WTF.so this is better than Xperia T?

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 09:04 24

17. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 3013; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)


Enough!!!
I'm tired of hearing about how Sony does not get what it deserves...go bark somewhere. This is a mid-ranged phone for Pete's sake, and you're comparing it with T??!!
I'm not a Samsung fan nor a Sony fan...nor do i hate them. But this has got to stop!
I won't buy this phone but I think this is quite a fair rating... And IT DOES COME WITH JELLY BEAN out of the box!!

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 12:39 1

36. josephnero (Posts: 323; Member since: 16 Nov 2011)


rating on PA is for Both midrange and highend.there aint a special class for mid and high ends so STFU

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 13:26 13

40. Ray.S (Posts: 263; Member since: 19 Jul 2011)


No, it is not the same for both mid-end and high-end. Please read this page to understand how we rate the phones:

http://www.phonearena.com/howdowerate

posted on 12 Nov 2012, 16:54

74. Junior19 (Posts: 1; Member since: 12 Nov 2012)


If that is how you rate phones please explain how you are unbias towards the GS3. The GS3 Mini is a dumb version of the GS3 model so it's clear that they are in different classes. So for it's class you'll give it a 8.9 which is ridiculous when you compare it to some other recent phones in it's class like the GS Relay 4G. You'll gave that phone a 7 when it is clearly better than GS3 Mini. If the GS Relay's bulky size is it's only flaw, guess what? It has a physical keyboard. You'll gave this a phone a 8.9 just because it looks like the GS3. Completely bias if you ask me.

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 13:32 2

41. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 3013; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)


Josephnero...do some research before you bark those comments at some one and embarrass yourself!!!

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 14:03

45. josephnero (Posts: 323; Member since: 16 Nov 2011)


ok.i adimt i was wrong and iam sorry about it.but you really need to learn to be polite.

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 17:51 3

53. GayAtheist (Posts: 9; Member since: 16 Jun 2012)


And I suppose telling people to "STFU" is polite, is it?

posted on 20 Oct 2012, 03:40 3

60. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 3013; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)


Yo, Joseph... So according to you 'STFU' is more polite than my "I'm tired of hearing about how Sony does not
get what it deserves...go bark somewhere."??
Mind you, i don't use those words to anyone irrespective of how they reply to my comment. If anyone here needs to be polite here, it's YOU.

posted on 22 Oct 2012, 10:44

65. josephnero (Posts: 323; Member since: 16 Nov 2011)


as i said iam sorry Nathan.sorry for being impolite

posted on 22 Oct 2012, 11:31 1

67. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 3013; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)


Nevermind...forgotten and moved on. Chill...:)

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 09:36 8

22. darac (Posts: 2156; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)


Man, I'm a Sony fan (switched to galaxy S3) and I'm also getting tired of this silly fanboy ports.
You have no sense for criteria at all.

A score can't be taken literally, but in comparison with other phones of the same class.

Volkswagen gold can get a five star rating being the best in class, but that doesn't make it a better car than a 4. 5 star Audi A6

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 10:19 5

27. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 3013; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)


I'm correcting your speech as "THEY have no sense of criteria at all"- you meant it that way didn't you?? :P

Every review i read, i see them complaining about how Sony Xperia phones are downsized here...i agree they manufacture cool phones but everything has it's up and downs...how i wish i can explain how every phone is not the same!

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 11:39 3

32. XPERIA-KNIGHT (unregistered)


So you guys are tired of people wanting to see equality? Is that what your saying? I think its only fair to keep putting it in their face until someone says "you know what? THEY"RE RIGHT"!!

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 13:33 1

42. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 3013; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)


Won't say anything...you know better what i'm trying to say!!

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 14:17

46. XPERIA-KNIGHT (unregistered)


ummm no what are you trying to say? what i see is them constantly disappointed with biased reviews and them just asking for equality......whats wrong with that?

This phone should most definitely have received nothing higher than a 7.5 but they feel the need to make it higher and on the same level as true flagship phones......

Now if classification is what is missing here then PA needs to jump on that and stop making it seem as if every phone is basically being compared to true high end phones when we all know this phone isnt as high end as per say....The Sony Xperia T?......maybe?

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 13:16 1

38. Martine (Posts: 102; Member since: 20 Oct 2011)


Forget about Raw specs. Any Jellybean Android device will perform smoother than Xperia T.
Maybe this was the reason for the higher score.

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 08:12 14

4. antmiu2 (Posts: 226; Member since: 19 Jun 2011)


8.9 really?

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 08:15 11

5. AppleConspiracy (Posts: 631; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


Repacked Galaxy S Advance, which is not even on par with Galaxy SII, yet it bears Galaxy SIII name for marketing purposes. So much for the Samsung not cheating customers...

However, it does look very good and shows how enormous screens don't make much sense, especially when you are bragging how "natural" your design is.

If only we got true high-end device in this size, it would be a real miracle for the Android industry.

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 08:42 10

11. Victor.H (Posts: 449; Member since: 27 May 2011)


I've also played around with this phone, and the 4-inch form factor coupled with the S III design is a treat. Jelly Bean makes for a very smooth, polished user experience, so you wouldn't notice the otherwise mediocre processor most of the time. One thing I don't like about this is that it has features like S Voice which are light years away (not in a good way) from Google Voice Search, but except for that all along a very solid device.

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 09:45 2

23. darac (Posts: 2156; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)


Which phone do you use?
You are such a short sighted, conservative mind actually.
Try having an S3 for a while and then talk about big screens making no sense.
Let me remind you that first galaxy s was the same size as this and was truly a high end product.. yet it's the Galaxy s3 that had unprecedented success.
The miracle you talk about already happened.

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 10:18 1

26. Seymur (unregistered)


Victor knows what he's talking about, darac.

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 10:40 4

29. darac (Posts: 2156; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)


Uh.. oops , I thought I was replying to Appleconspiracy.. my mistake for hitting the wrong box.
I agree with Victor

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 12:18

34. TylerGrunter (Posts: 1040; Member since: 16 Feb 2012)


Actually you did, it´s Saymur who made the mistake! lol

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 13:44

44. Seymur (unregistered)


You don't say ? Taylur

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 14:33

47. TylerGrunter (Posts: 1040; Member since: 16 Feb 2012)


I shouldn´t really write fast: two mistakes in a small sentence!
I just wanted to tell darac that he actually answered correctly, to Appleconspiracy, not to Victor.
He didn´t do any mistake, just his comment appears under Victor´s cause he was the second answering to Appleconspiracy.
Sorry about he name change!

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 10:21 1

28. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 3013; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)


He knows that...errrr....don't he??? :-?

posted on 20 Oct 2012, 03:43

61. AppleConspiracy (Posts: 631; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


darac, there's a difference between something that is possible to use normally (like 4.8" screen) and what is optimal for normal usage (like ~4" screen).

Samsung Galaxy SIII has enormous screen that is possible to use relatively easily, but it's not optimal. It's rather on the extreme side, stretching the limits of comort.

Also, there is a difference between benefits of big screen and benefits of adequately sized smartphone. It's not one and the same, although those are connected categories.
That being said, the optimaly sized smartphone is not the one that has optimal (very large) screen.

And having enormous screen is not a miracle at all. The opposite would be a miracle, because for almost two years now we don't have optimaly sized high end smartphones except iPhone.

Learn those differences and you'll understand what I'm talking about.

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 08:22 6

6. TalkingTechy (Posts: 97; Member since: 05 Dec 2011)


Hmm...if the 8.9 is in comparison to the "midclass" of smartphones, then I agree with the score.

However, if the 8.9 is based on the entire field of smartphones available today, 8.9 seems a little high.

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 08:48 4

14. predator93 (Posts: 122; Member since: 28 Aug 2012)


Galaxy s advance got a 8 and it belongs to the middle tier. This phone costs 100 dollars more and the only improvements from s advance are 256 mb more ram and jellybean out of box (I know jelly bean is much better than gingerbread but samsung has promised to update s advance directly to 4.1 from 2.3). I don't think this phone deserves more than 8.

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 12:25

35. ZEUS.the.thunder.god (unregistered)


its for mid range only not for all the phones.

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 08:27 1

7. anshul0000 (unregistered)


benchmarks?

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 15:09

50. TylerGrunter (Posts: 1040; Member since: 16 Feb 2012)


I was wondering the same: first review I see without benchmarks? Sounds really fishy, probably the SoC is as weak as eveyone suspects and only Jelly Beans is saving the day for the phone.

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 08:27 2

8. buggerrer (Posts: 288; Member since: 21 Sep 2011)


OMG, Sony fanboys stop whining!
go cry over "sony-not-updating-your-phones article"

Galaxy Ace is better than any Sony product!

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 12:48 3

37. josephnero (Posts: 323; Member since: 16 Nov 2011)


like Icecream update for Original galaxy s?yeah right

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 14:41

48. buggerrer (Posts: 288; Member since: 21 Sep 2011)


lol ..!
original Galaxy S, released at 2010, and yet he got an update with some ICS features .. while HTC canceled DHD update
and please don't talk about the crapy SE x10 lmao !!

seriously .. stop whining .. and defending Sony at the same time, forgetting that Sony just fu*ked the customers !

posted on 08 Dec 2012, 22:47

76. heliorodrigues (Posts: 3; Member since: 08 Dec 2012)


Sony cares about costumers unlike samsung, sony already update most or their devices to ICS and soon will update most of them to jelly bean including xperia U... unlike Samsung update like 4 or 5 devices... in their list lol... samsung have the worst costumer support ever... smartphones like the galaxy W will not even be update... so your argument is bit no sense... for dont say a bad word like stupid...

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 08:29 3

9. papss (unregistered)


So this is almost equal to the LG G? I think not.

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 08:45 1

13. maryaaadil (Posts: 146; Member since: 07 Apr 2012)


Or we can say equal to revolutionary iphone 5

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 08:34

10. deathyyy (Posts: 101; Member since: 20 Dec 2011)


Why is Samsung so opposed to making a high quality small scale smartphone :( I just want a 4-4.2 GSIII.

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 13:42

43. darac (Posts: 2156; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)


Why?
So you can use the powerful chip for hours of browsing and gaming?
Have a hd resolution so you can enjoy hd movies?

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 08:44 6

12. maryaaadil (Posts: 146; Member since: 07 Apr 2012)


8.9
I think its too much as phone costs 500$.
Man i can get a Nexus7 and a Gnex for same.

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 09:01 4

15. slaggyb (Posts: 191; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)


I have read the whole review and still wondering why 8.9 is awarded to this phone? Mediocre processor. The galaxy s ii is still 10times better with or without jelly bean. who's still making phones with wvga resolution when 1280x720 is becoming standard.
Just cos is branded as galaxy s iii mini doesn't make it special in anyway..
This site is gradually transforming from iphonearena to samsungarena smh!.

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 09:02 6

16. rickywinataa (Posts: 262; Member since: 05 Apr 2012)


This is totally biased. Xperia T is a great phone overall & it got 8 out of 10. This is almost the same as S advance and it got 8.9

Htc one S was launched at the beginning of the year & yet for a mid end phone it is still a much better phone than s3 mini

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 09:09 2

18. PhansMuneeb (Posts: 352; Member since: 28 Jan 2012)


Woo woo woo...see what i got on gsmarena. SGS Advance has STE U8500 Chipset While SGSIII Mini has NovaThor U8420 Chipset.

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 09:10 4

19. Dro (Posts: 27; Member since: 23 Dec 2009)


If this gets an 8.9 then the Razr m & i should both get 10. Seriously!

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 21:12 1

54. nyuvo (Posts: 72; Member since: 10 May 2012)


My thoughts exactly. Razr m has so many important things going for it:

-its smaller in every dimension and has a larger screen with many more pixels
-Has an s4 processor which is only beaten by a few devices
-Crazy battery life (see gsmarena battery tests)
-Higher quality build with aluminium, glass and kevlar.

Only negative to this phone is that:

-Android 4.0 (update will come to the phone before the end of 2013)
-No s-voice/google now feature until 4.1 update
-non removable battery

So how does razr m get a 8.5 and get beaten by this poor performing gs3 mini.

I really think that the razr m should have beaten this - perhaps when its gets the 4.1 update phonearena will do another review

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 09:23 2

20. RaKithAPeiRiZ (Posts: 1366; Member since: 29 Dec 2011)


8.9 is kind of high but its reasonable since this has jellybean and a removable battery over the new Xperia lineup

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 09:57 1

24. vignesh_viggs (Posts: 34; Member since: 15 Jun 2012)


Ho..i Heard iphone has new feature of non-removable battery...& get 9 star in P.A

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 10:09 3

25. verty (Posts: 112; Member since: 07 May 2012)


I think I will not read any article by Ray S again. He is so biased. Sammy reigns supreme!!!

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 11:16 3

30. loli5 (Posts: 76; Member since: 08 Oct 2012)


4" screen?! apple will not stand for it, that is EXACTLY like the iphone!

.........

......

....DERP!

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 13:24 1

39. Izzy_V (Posts: 216; Member since: 07 Jul 2012)


I bet as soon as PA found out it had "Samsung Galaxy S3" in the name it was an automatic +8 for this phone. After all they ruined a lot of reviews during the time the S3 was being released. Anything non-Samsung couldn't even get close to an 8, aside from the N7.

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Samsung Galaxy S III mini

Samsung Galaxy S III mini

OS: Android 4.1.2 4.1.1
view full specs
Display4.0 inches, 480 x 800 pixels (233 ppi) Super AMOLED
Camera5 megapixels
Hardware
STE U8420, Dual core, 1000 MHz
1024 MB RAM
Size4.78 x 2.48 x 0.39 inches
(121.5 x 63 x 9.9 mm)
4.23 oz  (120 g)
Battery1500 mAh, 14.16 hours talk time

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