Samsung Galaxy mini 2 Review

Introduction and Design

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. But is its $270 launch price tag justified by what you get in exchange? Let's check the smartphone out and see...

The box contains:

  • Wall charger
  • Data cable
  • Quick start guide


As you might expect out of an entry-level smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy mini 2 is made out of plain old plastic. 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.


Occupying the front of the Galaxy mini 2 is a 3.27-inch TFT LCD display with a resolution of 320 by 480 pixels (176ppi), which is okay for a low-level smartphone. In terms of quality, we are treated to a fairly accurate color reproduction. Only shades of red appear slightly undersaturated, but we don't consider that a dealbreaker in any way. Be aware, however, that the screen's surface reflects a lot of sunlight, which greatly reduces outdoor visibility. It is also inconvenient that an ambient light sensor is missing, meaning that users have to adjust the display's brightness the old-fashioned way – manually. 

Samsung GALAXY mini 2 360-degrees View:


Well, what do you know: the Samsung Galaxy mini 2 runs the tried and tested tandem of Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread with the TouchWiz UI installed on top. The user interface looks more or less identical to what you will find 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 for now, chances of that happening are slim.

Bear in mind that the on-screen virtual keyboard is really tricky to use in portrait mode. One of the options to tackle that is to turn the phone sideways and use the landscape virtual keyboard instead. Alternatively, getting a different keyboard from the Google Play store, such as Swype or TouchPal, may also do the trick.

Processor and memory:

Thankfully, the 800MHz single-core processor – an MSM7227a chipset by Qualcomm, handles navigation and every day tasks without much effort. For the most part, the interface is really smooth and responds to input without delay. The same good level of usability is maintained even after we beautify the home screen with a popular live wallpaper. Casual games like Angry Birds Space and Temple Run are absolutely playable and rarely get choppy.

Quadrant StandardAnTuTuNenaMark 2
Samsung Galaxy mini 21922269515,5
LG Optimus L31271255913,2
Motorola Defy Mini951239115,6

512 megabytes of RAM is what we have on the Samsung Galaxy mini 2, which is sufficient for a smartphone of this rank. In terms of storage, 4 gigabytes come standard, but only a fraction of that is available to the user: 1.73 gigs for music or photos and a little under 900 megabytes are allocated for installing applications. Therefore, buying a microSD card is recommended, although not absolutely necessary unless you plan on storing a large portion of your music collection on the smartphone.

Internet browser and connectivity:

Believe it or not, the stock web browser on this little munchkin supports Adobe Flash out of the box. Having it on, however, noticeably affects the browser's performance, so you might want to have the feature activated only on demand. But other than that, surfing the web works just fine and we have nothing else to complain about. Essential web browsing features, namely pinch to zoom, tap to zoom, text reflow, and support for multiple windows are present and work as intended.

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. We gave the GPS radio an outdoor test and it managed to pin-point our location in about 20 seconds from a cold start. The same process constantly took about four seconds each time from then after, which is not bad at all.

Camera and multimedia:

The 3-megapixel camera on the Samsung Galaxy mini 2 may be as basic as it gets, yet it manages to deliver satisfactory results under the right lighting conditions. Despite the lack of auto-focus, details in non-closeup shots remain distinguishable, which is why photos taken in broad daylight look more presentable then we though they would. Indoor images look average at best, but then again, few phones of this caliber can do well in that category.
 You can shoot VGA video as well, but its quality is nothing impressive.

We were pleased to notice that the camera shutter is very responsive and captures the frame almost instantly. Furthermore, it takes no more than a second before the next shot can be taken. As far as features go, we have burst mode and panorama photos thrown in, but since the resulting image is of very low resolution, we don't really find these gimmicks very useful.

Samsung Galaxy mini 2 Sample Video:


Without a doubt, the stock music player will meet the needs of most smartphone users. It comes with all features that are essential for a music player, and as an added bonus you get lock screen controls, an equalizer, and a feature that simulates 5.1 surround sound. Keep in mind, however, that a pair of earphones is not included in the set.

The video player could play back only MPEG4 video samples of resolution no higher than 800 by 480 pixels. That, however, is more than enough considering the smartphone's display size and pixel count.


When it comes to in-call audio quality, the Galaxy mini 2 performs well, but we are left wishing that Samsung had done a better job. That is because the earpiece sounds muffled, albeit being sufficiently loud for us to understand what the other party is saying. The microphone, on the other hand, works just fine and we are satisfied with its performance.

Out of the phone's 1,300mAh battery you can expect getting 7.5 hours of talk time on 3G or about two and a half weeks of stand-by. Both of these ratings come close enough to the average for a smartphone, so we cannot complain.


After giving it a thorough examination we can conclude that the Samsung Galaxy mini 2 is a very respectable entry-level Android smartphone. It is suitable primarily for those users willing to have a taste of the smartphone experience without spending too much cash, but a teenage kid will be very happy with it as well.

However, whether getting the Galaxy mini 2 is a good deal or not greatly depends on how much you can buy it for. We fear that its price is currently too close to some very decent smartphones from last year – smartphones that are superior both in terms of hardware and software. For example, the Sony Ericsson Xperia ray, Xperia neo V, Xperia mini, and LG Optimus Black are available online for well under $300 from several reputable retailers. On the other hand, the Samsung Galaxy mini 2 will be the one to choose over devices like the HTC Wildfire S, HTC Explorer, LG Optimus L3, or the Samsung Galaxy Y.

Samsung Galaxy mini 2 Review:


  • Small and pocket-friendly
  • Fluid performance


  • Unjustified launch price
  • Android 2.3 Gingerbread
  • Earpiece could be better

PhoneArena Rating:


User Rating:

4 Reviews

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