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Samsung Galaxy S III mini Review

Interface:

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.



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.


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.


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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