Samsung Galaxy S4 mini Review
With Android 4.2.2 out of the box, the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini is right on top of its game. That's the most recent version of Android, offering all of the platform's newest features, but in addition to that, Samsung has thrown in a whole bunch of goodies, which come included with the custom TouchWiz user interface. Among them are Group Play for sharing content between multiple Samsung smartphones, WatchON that turns the smartphone into a TV remote control with the help of the built-in IR blaster, and the S Translator, which does just what the name implies.
At the same time, it is a bit disappointing to see that some of the features found on the Galaxy S4 are absent. For example, both Air View and Air Gesture aren't present, meaning that one can't operate the smartphone by waving their hand above its screen. Smart Pause and Smart Scroll have not been included either.
Our thumbs got used to the on-screen keyboard rather quickly. We find it very comfortable to type on, be it in portrait or landscape mode. The keyboard comes with word prediction and over 50 different input languages to pick from.
Processor and memory:
Don't be fooled by its small size as the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini packs quite a punch. Processing power is delivered by a Snapdragon 400 SoC with a 1.7GHz dual-core processor, Adreno 305 graphics, and 1.5GB RAM. That's enough muscle to handle even the most demanding of tasks with ease, which is why the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini stays responsive regardless of whether it is used for reading email or playing the latest 3D games. We find it strange, however, that the UI is sometimes choppy, especially when flicking through home screens loaded with widgets. Perhaps a little software optimization would have taken care of that.
|Quadrant Standard||AnTuTu||GLBenchmark 2.5 (Egypt HD)||Vellamo
(HTML5 / Metal)
|Samsung Galaxy S4 mini||6783||13341||3762 / 33fps||2088 / 685|
|Sony Xperia SP||7866||16413||4970 / 44 fps||2013 / 755|
|LG Optimus L7 II||2823||6674|
|Samsung Galaxy S II Plus||3833||8228||2142||1558 / 425|
As is often the case with Android smartphones, most of the internal storage available on the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini is occupied by system files. That's why in reality, out of the 8GB that are being advertised there are only 3.68GB available to the user, which is barely acceptable. Having a microSD card is a must for users who intend on storing their photos, music, or video files onto the device.
Web browser and connectivity:
The stock internet browser on the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini is fast, responsive, and perfectly suitable for casual web surfing. Even heavy web pages are loaded fast and scroll smoothly. But at the same time, we aren't presented with anything extraordinary in terms of features – just the usual set of tools is present, including Incognito mode, support for multiple windows, and playback of embedded YouTube videos.
While the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini unit that we're reviewing has a single SIM card slot only, there's a dual SIM variant of the device as well. Samsung will also release a 4G LTE-capable model in select markets. Connectivity features available on the smartphone include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, NFC and FM radio with RDS support.
1. dickwyn (Posts: 601; Member since: 07 May 2012)
i'll just wait to see the HTC M4 or the HTC One mini
49. TROLL (banned) (Posts: 4851; Member since: 13 Apr 2012)
Even the S2 is much better than this scrap.
Pathetic midrange device*®
2. EXkurogane (Posts: 863; Member since: 07 Mar 2013)
Less than 4GB user-available storage =.=
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.
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.
77. buccob (Posts: 1542; 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...
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.
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.
3. Carlitos (Posts: 340; 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.
4. tadaa (Posts: 255; 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)
15. TylerGrunter (Posts: 1040; 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
22. tadaa (Posts: 255; 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
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.
29. TylerGrunter (Posts: 1040; 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.
33. tadaa (Posts: 255; 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.
39. TylerGrunter (Posts: 1040; 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.
72. yudi.nemesis (Posts: 1127; Member since: 14 Mar 2013)
SP and S4 Mini is not to much different in size
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
73. TylerGrunter (Posts: 1040; 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...
5. thunderising (Posts: 225; Member since: 25 Nov 2011)
Ha, Phonearena will be Phonearena.
8.5 for this piece of junk, really?
17. GTR722 (Posts: 241; 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....
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.
32. kurtdean99 (Posts: 79; 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
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
44. maccess (Posts: 632; 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...
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.
34. tadaa (Posts: 255; Member since: 18 Apr 2013)
I agree. So i checked the sp review and it was by the same person
37. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 3023; 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.
8. alterecho (Posts: 1091; 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...
9. domen151 (Posts: 27; Member since: 13 Sep 2012)
On GSMArena preview they said that Air View is on S4 mini...
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 :(
36. xperiaDROID (banned) (Posts: 5629; 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.
58. CanYouSeeTheLight (Posts: 889; Member since: 05 Jul 2012)
And you abuse that right every single day in every single post with idiotic comments.
41. roldefol (Posts: 3106; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)
Whining about an 8.5? Really? I'm not sure "butthurt" is a sufficient term.
24. Eonnaydra (Posts: 209; 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.
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?
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.
28. najib1312 (Posts: 102; 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!!!
35. kurtdean99 (Posts: 79; Member since: 02 Jun 2013)
Even Xperia ZL got lower score than this mini crap!
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.
61. GTR722 (Posts: 241; 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.
63. najib1312 (Posts: 102; 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?
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 :(
55. Taters (Posts: 3518; 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.
59. CanYouSeeTheLight (Posts: 889; 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?
62. Taters (Posts: 3518; 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.
64. istitch (Posts: 170; 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.
65. CanYouSeeTheLight (Posts: 889; 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.
76. ahhxd717 (Posts: 320; 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.
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
60. GTR722 (Posts: 241; Member since: 20 Oct 2012)
Because its a samsung and we are at SamsungArena
40. uchihakurtz (Posts: 270; 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...
46. maccess (Posts: 632; 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..
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.