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Samsung Galaxy S III mini Review

Samsung Galaxy S III mini 8.9

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One of the stronger sides of the GS III mini is that it comes with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean straight out of the box. While Samsung is notoriously slow when it comes to issuing software updates for its handsets, it's good that the manufacturer is at least trying to install the latest platform version on its devices prior to launch. On top of that, of course, we have the company's custom TouchWiz user interface.

For those who still can't get why smartphone manufacturers put these UIs on their phones, it's because this is one of the things they can do in order to differentiate their products from those of the competition. Not only can they drastically alter the looks of their handset, but they can also add tons of new features and other functionality that isn't present on other Android phones. With the latest iteration of the TouchWiz UI, dubbed “Nature UX”, Samsung has actually made one of the best, if not the best Android interface. It's very responsive and smooth, it looks good, and is full of little cool animations and transitions that make it seem quite lively. Its downside is that it's a bit on the cluttered side, with lots of options and not the most intuitive layout. Indeed, this is software that will take some getting used to, especially if you haven't used a Samsung smartphone before, or if you aren't of the tech-savvy type.

Nature UX on the Samsung Galaxy S III mini - Samsung Galaxy S III mini Review
Nature UX on the Samsung Galaxy S III mini - Samsung Galaxy S III mini Review
Nature UX on the Samsung Galaxy S III mini - Samsung Galaxy S III mini Review
Nature UX on the Samsung Galaxy S III mini - Samsung Galaxy S III mini Review

Nature UX on the Samsung Galaxy S III mini



Messaging:

We can't say that the QWERTY keyboard that's part of the TouchWiz interface is the most comfortable we've seen for this screen size. Especially in portrait mode, the keys seem to be on the smaller side, which could limit the speed of typing. If you send a lot of messages/emails daily, and find the built-in QWERTY uncomfortable, we'd recommend that you install some kind of a third-party keyboard with a better layout.

The QWERTY keyboard - Samsung Galaxy S III mini Review
The QWERTY keyboard - Samsung Galaxy S III mini Review

The QWERTY keyboard


Other than that, the phone is fully-equipped with anything you might need, including the glorious Gmail application and Samsung's own ChatOn service.


Internet:

The Galaxy S III mini can provide a wonderful browsing experience. Although the official browser of the Jelly Bean platform is now Chrome, Samsung has decided to stick with its version of the ICS stock browser, which seems like a wise move, for now at least. The thing is we've noticed that the stock ICS browser can actually outperform Chrome for Android, and when you factor in the improvements that Samsung traditionally adds to the Android browser, we can understand why the company has preferred to go this way.

Web browsing with the Samsung Galaxy S III mini - Samsung Galaxy S III mini Review
Web browsing with the Samsung Galaxy S III mini - Samsung Galaxy S III mini Review

Web browsing with the Samsung Galaxy S III mini


Flash Player is nowhere to be seen, though, and as some of you probably know, it's no longer available for download from the Google Play store, so if you really want to experience the “full web”, you'll have to find the plug-in somewhere else and side-load it.

It's worth noting that the handset does not support any type of 4G connectivity. It maxes out at HSDPA 14.4 Mbit/s and HSUPA 5.76 Mbit/s. This isn't a deal-breaker in our opinion, as this kind of 3G speed should be enough for most data-requiring applications, as long as you have decent coverage.


Processor and Memory:

The processor that Samsung has used for the Galaxy S III mini is one of the things that seemed to have pissed people off. The “problem” here is that while many expected the company to utilize its super-powerful quad-core Exynos 4412 chipset, it has instead gone with an ST-Ericsson NovaThor U8420, which is a dual-core CPU clocked at 1GHz. The GPU chip is the Mali-400MP, which packs quite a punch.

All in all, the system performance is great. The NovaThor chip is doing a wonderful job so there isn't reason to worry about performance. Now, there are some slight hints of lag scattered throughout the system, but they are just that – very slight hints that simply cannot ruin the positive impression made by the device. And as we said earlier, since you probably won't be using the S III mini as your primary computing device, why would you need a cutting-edge chipset here in the first place?

The Galaxy S III mini comes with 1 GB of RAM, which is a standard amount even for high-end smartphones nowadays. While we were testing the phone, we did not encounter any visible slowdowns.

Internal storage is yet another area where the Samsung Galaxy S III mini performs admirably. Coming in 8GB and 16GB flavors, not only does the mini have plenty of built-in storage, but it also features a microSD card slot, which can read cards of up to 32 GB, so storage space won't really be an issue with this device.

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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: 67; 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: 261; 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: 1488; 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: 559; 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: 4003; 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: 559; 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: 339; 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: 4003; 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: 559; 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: 4003; 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: 559; 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: 4003; 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: 4003; 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: 4003; 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: 324; Member since: 19 Jun 2011)


8.9 really?

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 08:15 11

5. AppleConspiracy (Posts: 637; 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: 677; 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.

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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
1 GB 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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