Samsung Galaxy S III mini Review
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.
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.
Other than that, the phone is fully-equipped with anything you might need, including the glorious Gmail application and Samsung's own ChatOn service.
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.
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.
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..
2. AbhiD (Posts: 60; Member since: 06 Apr 2012)
Seriously dude... phonearena is extremely biased especially Ray S.
33. ZEUS.the.thunder.god (unregistered)
nice review Ray. i think its a very fair rating considering its a mid range device.
58. GTR722 (Posts: 193; 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.
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!!
21. RaKithAPeiRiZ (Posts: 1118; Member since: 29 Dec 2011)
Brace yourselves ....Xperia T fanboys are coming
64. OptimusOne (Posts: 694; Member since: 22 May 2012)
isn't one s also midrange?
how does this get higher than an one s
17. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 2952; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)
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!!
36. josephnero (Posts: 176; 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
40. Ray.S (Posts: 235; 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:
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.
41. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 2952; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)
Josephnero...do some research before you bark those comments at some one and embarrass yourself!!!
45. josephnero (Posts: 176; 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.
53. GayAtheist (Posts: 8; Member since: 16 Jun 2012)
And I suppose telling people to "STFU" is polite, is it?
60. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 2952; 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.
65. josephnero (Posts: 176; Member since: 16 Nov 2011)
as i said iam sorry Nathan.sorry for being impolite
67. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 2952; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)
Nevermind...forgotten and moved on. Chill...:)
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
27. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 2952; 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!
32. XPERIA-KNIGHT (Posts: 2375; Member since: 08 Aug 2012)
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"!!
42. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 2952; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)
Won't say anything...you know better what i'm trying to say!!
46. XPERIA-KNIGHT (Posts: 2375; Member since: 08 Aug 2012)
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?
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.
5. AppleConspiracy (Posts: 626; 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.
11. Victor.H (Posts: 323; 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.
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.
26. Seymur (unregistered)
Victor knows what he's talking about, darac.
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
34. TylerGrunter (Posts: 704; Member since: 16 Feb 2012)
Actually you did, it´s Saymur who made the mistake! lol
44. Seymur (unregistered)
You don't say ? Taylur
47. TylerGrunter (Posts: 704; 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!
28. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 2952; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)
He knows that...errrr....don't he??? :-?
61. AppleConspiracy (Posts: 626; 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.
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.
14. predator93 (Posts: 117; 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.
35. ZEUS.the.thunder.god (unregistered)
its for mid range only not for all the phones.
7. anshul0000 (unregistered)
50. TylerGrunter (Posts: 704; 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.
8. buggerrer (Posts: 273; 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!
37. josephnero (Posts: 176; Member since: 16 Nov 2011)
like Icecream update for Original galaxy s?yeah right
48. buggerrer (Posts: 273; Member since: 21 Sep 2011)
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 !
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...
9. papss (Posts: 2178; Member since: 03 Sep 2012)
So this is almost equal to the LG G? I think not.
13. maryaaadil (Posts: 146; Member since: 07 Apr 2012)
Or we can say equal to revolutionary iphone 5
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.
43. darac (Posts: 2156; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)
So you can use the powerful chip for hours of browsing and gaming?
Have a hd resolution so you can enjoy hd movies?
12. maryaaadil (Posts: 146; Member since: 07 Apr 2012)
I think its too much as phone costs 500$.
Man i can get a Nexus7 and a Gnex for same.
15. slaggyb (Posts: 160; 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!.
16. rickywinataa (Posts: 261; 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
18. PhansMuneeb (Posts: 335; 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.
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!
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
20. RaKithAPeiRiZ (Posts: 1118; 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
24. vignesh_viggs (Posts: 33; Member since: 15 Jun 2012)
Ho..i Heard iphone has new feature of non-removable battery...& get 9 star in P.A
25. verty (Posts: 43; Member since: 07 May 2012)
I think I will not read any article by Ray S again. He is so biased. Sammy reigns supreme!!!
30. loli5 (Posts: 76; Member since: 08 Oct 2012)
4" screen?! apple will not stand for it, that is EXACTLY like the iphone!
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.