Samsung Galaxy mini 2 Preview

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Introduction and Design
Introduction:

Android smartphones come in all shapes and sizes, including cute and cuddly, as the case is with the Samsung Galaxy mini 2. This petite-sized entry-level device is the successor to last year's Galaxy mini, and as such, it comes with improvements both on the inside and on the outside. To start, the screen is not only slightly bigger, but also sports HVGA resolution whereas the previous model had a modest QVGA display. Furthermore, the 600MHz processor has been ditched in favor of an 800MHz single core chip.

Hardware specs aside, we checked out the Galaxy mini 2 at MWC 2012 and it was not too shabby considering its entry-level nature. Now, however, it is time to give it a more thorough examination. What we have here is a prototype version of the Samsung Galaxy mini 2, which, although a bit crude and unpolished, can give us a general idea as to how the device performs in real life.

Design:

Unsurprisingly, the Samsung Galaxy mini 2 is made out of plain old plastic, but hey, don't forget that the device is meant to be cheap. There is a chrome-like shiny bezel around its side, while the back cover sports a fine texture that adds a little bit of extra grip and keeps fingerprints at bay. So yeah, no fancy materials anywhere in sight, but thankfully, the handset looks presentable and feels properly built.




You can compare the Samsung Galaxy mini 2 with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

What we are quite happy with is the way the Galaxy mini 2 fits in the palm. It feels like a pebble and rests naturally without being too small to use comfortably. All you need to operate the device is a single thumb. Additionally, the lock key and the 2-button volume rocker are very easy to find and respond with a nice click when pressed. As it is on any recent Samsung Galaxy device, underneath the handset's display we have a physical home key and two capacitive buttons for the home and back functions – properly spaced out and not prone to accidental presses.




Display:

What we have on the Galaxy mini 2 is a 3.27-inch display with a resolution of 320 by 480 pixels (176ppi), which is okay for a low-level smartphone. It is sufficiently responsive to the touch and glows bright enough to be somewhat usable under broad daylight. Still, do not expect anything groundbreaking as the screen is of the TFT LCD variety.

Samsung GALAXY mini 2 360-degrees View:





Interface:

Well, what do you know: the Samsung Galaxy mini 2 runs Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread with the TouchWiz UI installed on top, and this is most likely the software that the device will run once it launches. The user interface looks more or less identical to what you have on all of Samsung's recent Android devices, save for the new lock screen and the tweaked animations here and there. We are really hoping to see an update to Ice Cream Sandwich at some point in the future, but since Samsung has yet to shed any light on the matter, it seems like such an update may not be on the agenda for now.


Thankfully, the 800MHz single-core processor – an MSM7227a chipset by Qualcomm, handles navigation without much effort. As a result, the interface is pretty smooth in general, even though the software running on this device is still not in its final form. Interestingly, it remains usable even when we beautified its interface with a popular live wallpaper. The only thing that bothers us is that the on-screen virtual keyboard is way too small to be used comfortably in portrait mode, but in landscape mode it works just fine.



Internet browser and connectivity:

Believe it or not, the web browser on this little munchkin supports Adobe Flash out of the box. It also comes with several essential web browsing features, namely pinch to zoom, tap to zoom, and support for multiple windows. Sadly, text reflow is absent, but we hope to see it added in the device's final software version.

With the Samsung Galaxy mini 2, you can connect to the web either over Wi-Fi b/g/n or by using its 7.2Mbps 3G radio. You also get Bluetooth 3.0, NFC, A-GPS, and an FM Radio with RDS.

Camera:

The 3-megapixel camera on the Samsung Galaxy mini 2 is as basic as it gets – with no auto-focus and no LED flash, which is why one should not expect much from it. We took a few sample shots under various conditions, along with a video sample, so do not hesitate to check them out. All we can say at this time is that they look good enough for an entry-level smartphone, although their quality might differ on a finalized unit.




Samsung Galaxy mini 2 Sample Video:




Expectations:

Given that it is marketed as an entry level smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy mini 2 is shaping up to be a pretty decent offering. Sure, it does not have much to stand out with, but at $280 off-contract, you cannot really ask for more than what the device already has in its arsenal. This might very well be the ideal device to get for your teenage kid, although it also seems suitable for anyone who wants to have a taste of the smartphone experience without spending too much cash. Of course, we will give it our final verdict once we get to review a finalized Samsung Galaxy mini 2 unit.

Samsung Galaxy mini 2 Video Preview:




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