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Samsung Galaxy S4 mini Review

Posted: , by Nick T.

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Samsung Galaxy S4 mini Review
Introduction:

The Samsung Galaxy S4 has been selling by the millions and is currently one of the hottest smartphones this side of the universe. It is pretty, powerful, and loaded with exclusive features that can be found only on Samsung devices. However, the company's flagship isn't exactly the smallest smartphone around. In fact, with its 5-inch screen, it is among the larger smartphones out there, which might be a dealbreaker for a number of potential buyers.

These are the people that the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini is made for. The smartphone packs a number of features found on the S4, but tucked inside a smaller, more portable package. In particular, the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini comes with a 4.3-inch display and it is big enough to be operated with a single hand. But with the smaller size come the inferior specs. The processor of the Galaxy S4 mini is a dual-core, 1.7GHz chip of the Snapdragon variety, the screen's resolution has been brought down to just 540 by 960 pixels, and the main camera has been downgraded to 8 megapixels.

But overall, there's a lot to love about the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini. Join us as we walk you through all you need to know about it!


In the box:
  • Wall charger
  • microUSB cable
  • Wired stereo earphones with in-line microphone and volume control



Design:

It's like the Samsung Galaxy S4 has been zapped with a shrink ray! We sure hope that the moon isn't about to get stolen. Jokes and movie references aside, the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini has adopted nearly all of the design features attributed to its bigger brother – from the glossy plastic construction and choice of colors to the super-slim screen bezel and the convenient placement of the physical buttons. The only thing missing is the RGB notification light, which the S4 has in its upper right-hand corner, but that's something we're pretty sure many can live without.

The glossy plastic housing of the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini feels just like it does on the S4 - Samsung Galaxy S4 mini Review
The glossy plastic housing of the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini feels just like it does on the S4 - Samsung Galaxy S4 mini Review
The glossy plastic housing of the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini feels just like it does on the S4 - Samsung Galaxy S4 mini Review

The glossy plastic housing of the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini feels just like it does on the S4



Unsurprisingly, the glossy plastic housing of the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini feels just like it does on the S4 – not as premium as other fancy materials like glass or metal, but not terrible by any means. Actually, the phone looks very presentable for something made of plastic, although we wouldn't give it anything beyond the “okay” rating. However, we have to admit that we dig the diamond pattern that Samsung has applied as it gives a lot of character to the Galaxy S4 mini.

Samsung Galaxy S4 mini
4.91 x 2.41 x 0.35 inches
124.6 x 61.3 x 8.94 mm
3.77 oz (107 g)

Samsung Galaxy S4 mini

Samsung Galaxy S4
5.38 x 2.75 x 0.31 inches
136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9 mm
4.59 oz (130 g)

Samsung Galaxy S4

Sony Xperia SP
5.14 x 2.64 x 0.39 inches
130.6 x 67.1 x 9.98 mm
5.47 oz (155 g)

Sony Xperia SP

LG Optimus L7 II
4.78 x 2.62 x 0.38 inches
121.5 x 66.6 x 9.7 mm
4.07 oz (116 g)

LG Optimus L7 II

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page.



We are genuinely impressed by how light, thin, and extremely portable the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini is considering the fact that it packs a 4.3-inch screen and a 1900mAh battery. (In fact, we dedicated a whole post to that.) The phone slips easily into any pocket and its presence in there can be barely felt. At the same time, we find it perfectly usable with a single hand as our thumb easily reaches even the furthest corners of its screen.

We have the typical for Samsung button arrangement, with a physical “home” key and capacitive “back” and “menu” keys situated below the screen. The volume rocker is on the left side while the on/off button is on the right. All of these buttons are responsive and well within reach.

Samsung Galaxy S4 mini Review
The control keys on the front - Samsung Galaxy S4 mini Review
microUSB port is on the bottom - Samsung Galaxy S4 mini Review
 

The control keys on the front

microUSB port is on the bottom

The on/off button is on the right - Samsung Galaxy S4 mini Review
Volume rocker can be found on the left side - Samsung Galaxy S4 mini Review
The 3.5mm headset jack is on the top of the device - Samsung Galaxy S4 mini Review

The on/off button is on the right

Volume rocker can be found on the left side

The 3.5mm headset jack is on the top of the device


Display:

The 4.3-inch Super AMOLED screen that is outfitted on the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini is just okay and nothing more. While it has a resolution of 540 by 960 pixels, which is perfectly acceptable, a 720p screen would have been a lot more suitable for a smartphone bearing "S4" in its title. Nevertheless, the dispay gets the job done in any every-day scenario we can think of. Its capable of delivering a sufficient level of detail with its 256ppi pixel density and non-PenTile sub-pixel arrangement.

Its color reproduction, however, could have been better. Even after setting the display mode to the most natural-looking setting (called Professional Photo), colors are still a tad exaggerated. Most users won't find that annoying at all, although perfectionists are likely to notice the slight color oversaturation.

The brightness output of the screen may be average at best, but the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini is still usable outdoors to some extent. That's not only because the display reflects only a fraction of the sunlight that hits it, but also because it has a low tendency of collecting fingerprints.

77 Comments
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posted on 04 Jun 2013, 09:53 16

1. dickwyn (Posts: 553; Member since: 07 May 2012)


i'll just wait to see the HTC M4 or the HTC One mini

posted on 04 Jun 2013, 20:21 2

49. TROLL (banned) (Posts: 4851; Member since: 13 Apr 2012)


Even the S2 is much better than this scrap.

Pathetic midrange device*®

posted on 04 Jun 2013, 09:59 14

2. EXkurogane (Posts: 863; Member since: 07 Mar 2013)


Less than 4GB user-available storage =.=

posted on 04 Jun 2013, 10:48 5

13. Raymond_htc (Posts: 430; Member since: 06 Apr 2012)


Quit whining :[) My Optimus L5 is the lowest end phone i ever used and its 2.5 gb mem is enough.

posted on 04 Jun 2013, 10:55 2

14. EXkurogane (Posts: 863; Member since: 07 Mar 2013)


Im just puzzled how much space Samsung's extra stuff took up. 8Gb memory means around 7.2Gb available, and still almost half is taken up by the OS.
16Gb is barely enough for me, unless i dont install any higher end games. For songs alone, I have over 600 songs in my phone. At least 320K MP3 or 256K M4A. I avoid FLAC and WAV (only reserved for home use) or 32Gb wont be even enough.

posted on 30 Oct 2013, 15:30

77. buccob (Posts: 1049; Member since: 19 Jun 2012)


I agree, I have the Xperia Acro S and I haven't even think about switching to a newer model because most come in 8GB of internal memory... 16 GB is barely enough... but mainly because of Pictures... songs can be place in external SD card along with movies... but pictures are a bit delicate, specially in a crime-prone country...

Anyway I think my next phone will also have 16GB that seems to be the norm for high end Sony...

posted on 04 Jun 2013, 11:39 3

23. lovefist (unregistered)


uhh.. he's not whining.
he's just stating a fact. I know less than 4gb storage sucks. my galaxy mini has less than that and when I upgraded to gs2 I know that 4gb wouldn't cut it.

posted on 06 Jun 2013, 18:35

67. panda123 (Posts: 27; Member since: 18 Jan 2013)


That's not really a big problem... Samsung just released an update for the S4 that allows you to move apps to SD card. So this feature will probably be in the S4 mini as well. You also have the up-to-64GB microSD card slot.

posted on 10 Jun 2013, 09:05

70. me0613 (Posts: 10; Member since: 04 Apr 2013)


You get a micro-SD card slot.

posted on 04 Jun 2013, 09:59 9

3. Carlitos (Posts: 267; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)


I don't think that not having a 720p should be a con. Otherwise it would just be better than the GS3 in every aspect (except screen size for some or storage). The S3 is still selling like hot cakes.

posted on 04 Jun 2013, 10:07 6

4. tadaa (Posts: 180; Member since: 18 Apr 2013)


See? When its a samsung device it heaps praises. Oh it has a great processor! While for the lower-priced xperia l the processor was supposed to be inadequate although it uses the same soc (for non-lte version at least)

posted on 04 Jun 2013, 10:57 12

15. TylerGrunter (Posts: 782; Member since: 16 Feb 2012)


Who are you trying to fool?
The Xperia L uses S4 Plus MSM8230, while the Galaxy S4 mini uses Snapdragon 400 MSM8930! That means:
Xperia L: 1 GHz Krait 200
S4 Mini: 1.7 GHz krait 300
It nearly doubles the performance!
Qadrant: Xperia L - 4300, S4Mini - 6800
Antutu: Xperia L - 9800, S4Mini - 13400

posted on 04 Jun 2013, 11:38

22. tadaa (Posts: 180; Member since: 18 Apr 2013)


The s4 mini 3g uses msm8230. That's why i pointed out non-lte versions at least. And this is uspposed to compete with the sp. I don't see how it is any better yet it gets a higher mark

posted on 04 Jun 2013, 11:41

25. lovefist (unregistered)


dude you should also check the video capture of the xperia L at gsmarena's site, it sucks 100% compared to s4 mini's video recordings.

posted on 04 Jun 2013, 12:13 2

29. TylerGrunter (Posts: 782; Member since: 16 Feb 2012)


I seriously doubt what you are telling.
Do you have link that proves S4 mini 3G uses MSM8230?
I´m asking cause I have seen a couple of sites that confused the MSM8230 with the MSM8230AB, whihch is the equivalent of Snapdragon 400 MSM8930 with no LTE!
So you (or the site where you checked) are confused.
It even happened here in PA.

posted on 04 Jun 2013, 12:28

33. tadaa (Posts: 180; Member since: 18 Apr 2013)


Apparently you are correct, i just found out that the article here was updated. Still, 8.5 compared to other phones in its bracket is pretty high.

posted on 04 Jun 2013, 14:31

39. TylerGrunter (Posts: 782; Member since: 16 Feb 2012)


Yes, in that article there was one user (G4Mini) correcting the authors. And I was in the middle of the conversations, that´s how was so sure about the SoC used.
http://www.phonearena.com/news/Samsung-confirms-its-Galaxy-S4-mini-uses-Snapdragon-400-chip_id43630/comments

posted on 05 Jun 2013, 07:10

54. Taters (Posts: 2400; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)


The SP is big and this is mini...

posted on 15 Jun 2013, 04:19

72. yudi.nemesis (Posts: 1127; Member since: 14 Mar 2013)


SP and S4 Mini is not to much different in size

posted on 15 Jun 2013, 04:14

71. yudi.nemesis (Posts: 1127; Member since: 14 Mar 2013)


you are so cluless both Xperia L or S4 Mini uses Snapdragon 400 and both of them also S4 Plus
Snapdragon 400 processors include the following part numbers: 8926, 8030AB, 8226, 8230, 8230AB, 8626, 8630, 8630AB, 8930 and 8930AB

MSM8930 and MSM8230 are S4 Plus

source QUALCOMM

posted on 16 Jun 2013, 14:45 1

73. TylerGrunter (Posts: 782; Member since: 16 Feb 2012)


Only S4 mini is not using MSM8930, but Snapdragon 400 8930AB, the one with krait 300, not krait 200.
So it´s NOT S4 Plus, but a real Snapdragon 400. There is no S4 plus using krait 300.
The Xperia L uses a MSM8230, with krait 200, so S4 plus.
Who is the clueless one now?
And if you are goigng to use sources, please put a link...

posted on 04 Jun 2013, 10:09 15

5. thunderising (Posts: 225; Member since: 25 Nov 2011)


Ha, Phonearena will be Phonearena.

8.5 for this piece of junk, really?

posted on 04 Jun 2013, 10:59 15

17. GTR722 (Posts: 211; Member since: 20 Oct 2012)


Weaker CPU than Xperia SP, smaller and low res screen than Xperia SP, cheaper materials, worse camera than Xperia SP........Higher score than Xperia SP......this people at PA are so obvious....

posted on 04 Jun 2013, 11:46 6

26. lovefist (unregistered)


I agree with the cpu and lower screen and res along with build materials and you also forgot to mention.. battery.

but camera, i have to disagree.
sony's digital cameras and slrs are good..
but on their xperia phones.. washed out, just horrible.

posted on 04 Jun 2013, 12:25 4

32. kurtdean99 (Posts: 60; Member since: 02 Jun 2013)


The camera and screen can be fix by firmware update just like the Z new firmware but u can't fix low resolution screen and cheap plastic build lol

posted on 04 Jun 2013, 16:29 3

43. MCrapp (Posts: 312; Member since: 07 Apr 2013)


Sorry but sony use this same cheap plastic, and they use cheap glass on xpiria Z + free screen protector!!!lol

posted on 04 Jun 2013, 18:10 3

44. maccess (Posts: 479; Member since: 16 Jan 2013)


but got the fastest update from samsung , got removable battery , great non pentile super amoled than wash out screen even though 720p from sony , xperia sp camera better than this one?? you must be joking dude!! sony never had a good result with their cameraphone.. much more feature rich or you may say "gimmick" than the sp but hey it actually there and it works fine if you need it.. you don't need it?? just turn off.. so it obvious it got higher score than the sp...

posted on 04 Jun 2013, 11:06

20. EXkurogane (Posts: 863; Member since: 07 Mar 2013)


Scores will probably be more consistent if everything is reviewed by the same person, but we know that that is impossible.

posted on 04 Jun 2013, 12:30 3

34. tadaa (Posts: 180; Member since: 18 Apr 2013)


I agree. So i checked the sp review and it was by the same person

posted on 04 Jun 2013, 14:11 5

37. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 2964; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)


I don't see myself buying this rather than the XSP.
I bet this will cost a l'le close to the SIII, either lower or higher.
SP sounds much better and more appealing (battery, resoluton, GPU and CPU)
Cute is what i can say of this little S4.

posted on 04 Jun 2013, 10:34 6

8. alterecho (Posts: 993; Member since: 23 Feb 2012)


"Model with a dual SIM coming too".
?!?? Thats on the pros list?? WTH?????
Its not like they're going to release an attachment for this version to make it dual sim...

posted on 04 Jun 2013, 10:34 1

9. domen151 (Posts: 18; Member since: 13 Sep 2012)


On GSMArena preview they said that Air View is on S4 mini...

posted on 04 Jun 2013, 10:39 6

10. wendygarett (unregistered)


I feel disappointed to phonearena... Seriously why the rush, you rate lumia 720 a 9 yet why this is below? I guess gsmarena make a better review than this :(

posted on 04 Jun 2013, 12:38 8

36. xperiaDROID (limited) (Posts: 4852; Member since: 08 Mar 2013)


You feel disappointed to PhoneArena, but everyone feel disappointed to you. Why? Because you always troll, if you want everyone to be friendly to you, just stop trolling. You love Samsung, it's okay, but don't bash/troll other manufacturers.

posted on 04 Jun 2013, 20:19 1

48. TROLL (banned) (Posts: 4851; Member since: 13 Apr 2012)


It's called freedom of speech®

posted on 05 Jun 2013, 14:07 3

58. CanYouSeeTheLight (Posts: 642; Member since: 05 Jul 2012)


And you abuse that right every single day in every single post with idiotic comments.

posted on 04 Jun 2013, 15:34 4

41. roldefol (Posts: 2855; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)


Whining about an 8.5? Really? I'm not sure "butthurt" is a sufficient term.

posted on 04 Jun 2013, 11:40

24. Eonnaydra (Posts: 186; Member since: 23 Oct 2012)


3.68 GB available?What the hell?With Jelly Bean,the apps from play store cannot be installed in the SD card.

posted on 04 Jun 2013, 11:50 1

27. lovefist (unregistered)


"Model with dual-SIM support coming too"
What the hell kind of pro is that? dumb@ss!
what if for example, HTC is adding screen protector on a refresh model of htc one.. will you add that as a pro too?

posted on 04 Jun 2013, 18:24 3

47. lazeeboy (Posts: 1; Member since: 04 Jun 2013)


It's a pro for frequent overseas travelers, but apparently not for narrow-minded, cave-living neanderthals.

posted on 04 Jun 2013, 12:00 9

28. najib1312 (Posts: 90; Member since: 08 May 2013)


As expected, this phone was no better than Xperia SP in any way. Heck even last year's Xperia V or T would be a better choice than this since they are much cheaper rite now. My friend was advising me to wait until S4 mini releases but now I've decided to go for Xperia SP.

But sadly, PA has given a higher rating to S4 mini than SP (Duhhh, its PA, what do u expect???). In the review of SP, they've mentioned its 8GB storage as a dealbreaker while in here, it wasn't even a big deal. Just rmmbr JB doesn't all u to transfer apps n games to SD card no more, so u DEFINITELY need a higher onboard storage. 3.68GB is just Garbage!!!

posted on 04 Jun 2013, 12:33 10

35. kurtdean99 (Posts: 60; Member since: 02 Jun 2013)


Even Xperia ZL got lower score than this mini crap!

posted on 05 Jun 2013, 11:19

57. panda123 (Posts: 27; Member since: 18 Jan 2013)


Xperia SP... 1 GB RAM
S4 Mini ... 1.5/2 GB RAM

Xperia SP ... VGA front cam (really, VGA?(
S4 Mini ... 2mp front cam

S4 mini comes with a lot of software features like Air view, multi window etc.. While the SP's software is just hollow...

S4 mini is smaller and much more pocketable, and better-looking... the bezels on the SP are huge.

The SP does have advantages however, like the 720p display (on a 4.6 v 4.3 that would not make much of difference in terms of ppi compared to 560p) and more user available storage... but really, it stops there.

posted on 05 Jun 2013, 16:40 2

61. GTR722 (Posts: 211; Member since: 20 Oct 2012)


The s4m needs the 1.5GB of ram because the bloatware that touchwiz is....Xperia UI is really small in the ram...and Xperia SP have a bigger battery...cpu is better....camera is better...more storage....and will be probably cheaper.....but samsung drones will get the mini anyways.

posted on 06 Jun 2013, 05:07

63. najib1312 (Posts: 90; Member since: 08 May 2013)


In Malaysia, Xperia SP currently retails for RM1050 (USD330), Galaxy S3 for RM1199 (USD385), Xperia T & V are RM899 (USD290). The Galaxy s4 mini is about RM1300 (USD425)!!. Now u tell me which phone would be a better buy?

posted on 06 Jun 2013, 13:54

66. panda123 (Posts: 27; Member since: 18 Jan 2013)


The GS4 Mini isn't even out yet...

posted on 04 Jun 2013, 12:16 5

30. shashi.map (Posts: 30; Member since: 16 Oct 2011)


I just dont get how does this phone get a rating better than the Sony Xperia SP which is a better handset compared to the s4 mini....... PA is sammy biased :(

posted on 05 Jun 2013, 07:14

55. Taters (Posts: 2400; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)


There are a lot of things that this does better than the SP but Sony lovers can never look past their biases and look at it objectively.

posted on 05 Jun 2013, 14:10 1

59. CanYouSeeTheLight (Posts: 642; Member since: 05 Jul 2012)


And you can't seem to look at anything objectively, every time i see your comments you are like a Samsung police officer, how's your paycheck recently?

posted on 06 Jun 2013, 01:13 1

62. Taters (Posts: 2400; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)


I am a very objective person. If there is something wrong with something I say it. You hear me say things like the GS4 active is a little too big and the port flap doesn't work unless they have someway to charge it wirelessly. I also mentioned how this screen is too low resolution.

It is losers like you that say biased garbage like SP is way better than this cheap plastic garbage or HTC One is way better than this cheap plastic garbage without any decent support. When I criticize something, i have a crap ton of objective support. I don't spew that crap you like defending just because it suits your biases better.

Anyways, I can see that you won't admit your hatred for Samsung because you seem to enter every Samsung article to say something negative about them. The difference between me and you is that I admit I hate HTC because of the grief they caused me when I purchase their products. You can't admit your hatred for Samsung even though you have probably never owned any of their products in your lifetime. That is the definition of not being objective and being a blind HTC homer.

posted on 06 Jun 2013, 06:53 2

64. istitch (Posts: 152; Member since: 19 Mar 2013)


And, mind if I ask where are your objective supports?
SP is definitely better in term of specs
And S4 mini has an advantage in software features and stuffs

by all means, their score should at least be equal.

posted on 06 Jun 2013, 10:29

65. CanYouSeeTheLight (Posts: 642; Member since: 05 Jul 2012)


Sorry, try trolling again later, i insist knowing where did i say "SP is way better than this cheap plastic garbage" or "HTC One is way better bla bla nonsense". And actually my first Android phone was a Samsung, which got terrible software support like every phone in its category and year. The Galaxy Spica, i actually have to thank Samsung they made me interested in Android, custom ROMs and kernels.

posted on 11 Oct 2013, 20:21

76. ahhxd717 (Posts: 302; Member since: 08 Dec 2011)


The only "loser" is you. I don't understand why you try to attack people for liking other brands. You will attack anyone who says they like HTC or Sony over Samsung, though you're ignorant of their personal experiences with the brand. You just need to chill, dude.

posted on 07 Jun 2013, 03:30 1

68. shashi.map (Posts: 30; Member since: 16 Oct 2011)


I have used the SGS3 for quite a while now and i'am not a Sony Fanboy. I find the SP better than S3 in most of the areas save for the camera and the extra "GIMMICKY software" features. I dont have to particularly say how much the S3 LAGGs(a lot in ICS,a bit lesser in JB).When i got to use a SP i didn't encounter any Lag at all and the build is way better than my S3. I am not biased like you and SP>S3>S4mini

posted on 05 Jun 2013, 14:31 1

60. GTR722 (Posts: 211; Member since: 20 Oct 2012)


Because its a samsung and we are at SamsungArena

posted on 04 Jun 2013, 14:43 1

40. uchihakurtz (Posts: 171; Member since: 12 Nov 2012)


I was hoping this will be at least quite good but meh... Why is Samsung so hesistant on making mid range device that blows away their last year flagship. Even Xperia SP is far above last year's Xperia S, why can't the S4 Mini be at least on par with the S3... Meh...

posted on 04 Jun 2013, 18:14 1

46. maccess (Posts: 479; Member since: 16 Jan 2013)


because samsung still selling the s3 like crazy.. about sony , they just don't care because xperia s didn't sell well..

posted on 04 Jun 2013, 16:12

42. Hamdan (Posts: 15; Member since: 14 Apr 2012)


Does s4 mini has multi-window function ?

posted on 04 Jun 2013, 18:12

45. maccess (Posts: 479; Member since: 16 Jan 2013)


yes..

posted on 09 Jul 2013, 08:57 1

74. Czechnolog (Posts: 1; Member since: 09 Jul 2013)


@maccess Are you really sure?

I just bought a new S4 Mini and it sucks.
"The Galaxy S4 mini comes with the Multi-window feature as well." - THIS FEATURE IS NOTE THERE!!! Also, there is no Air View, Air Gesture.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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Display4.3 inches, 540 x 960 pixels (256 ppi) Super AMOLED
Camera8 megapixels
Hardware
Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 MSM8930, Dual core, 1700 MHz, Krait 300 processor
1536 MB RAM
Size4.91 x 2.41 x 0.35 inches
(124.6 x 61.3 x 8.94 mm)
3.77 oz  (107 g)

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