Samsung Galaxy S4 mini Review
Update: Read our Galaxy S5 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.



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

Samsung Galaxy S4 mini

Dimensions

4.91 x 2.41 x 0.35 inches

124.6 x 61.3 x 8.94 mm

Weight

3.77 oz (107 g)

Samsung Galaxy S4

Samsung Galaxy S4

Dimensions

5.38 x 2.75 x 0.31 inches

136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9 mm

Weight

4.59 oz (130 g)

Sony Xperia SP

Sony Xperia SP

Dimensions

5.14 x 2.64 x 0.39 inches

130.6 x 67.1 x 9.98 mm

Weight

5.47 oz (155 g)

LG Optimus L7 II

LG Optimus L7 II

Dimensions

4.78 x 2.62 x 0.38 inches

121.5 x 66.6 x 9.7 mm

Weight

4.07 oz (116 g)

Samsung Galaxy S4 mini

Samsung Galaxy S4 mini

Dimensions

4.91 x 2.41 x 0.35 inches

124.6 x 61.3 x 8.94 mm

Weight

3.77 oz (107 g)

Samsung Galaxy S4

Samsung Galaxy S4

Dimensions

5.38 x 2.75 x 0.31 inches

136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9 mm

Weight

4.59 oz (130 g)

Sony Xperia SP

Sony Xperia SP

Dimensions

5.14 x 2.64 x 0.39 inches

130.6 x 67.1 x 9.98 mm

Weight

5.47 oz (155 g)

LG Optimus L7 II

LG Optimus L7 II

Dimensions

4.78 x 2.62 x 0.38 inches

121.5 x 66.6 x 9.7 mm

Weight

4.07 oz (116 g)

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.


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.



Update: Read our Galaxy S5 review!

 

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