Review : Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini : Junior S4

Introduction:

Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini smartphone is, as its name suggests, a smaller version of its flagship Galaxy S4.In Samsung’s playbook, a mini version of the top smartphone is typically the first new addition to a flagship’s fleet. Sticking close to a proven formula, the Galaxy S4 mini is a downsized and down-priced edition, but one that certainly wants to live its own life instead of just being the poor man’s S4. Size of phones is a hot topic, with many people feeling that modern flagships, and the rise of phablets, are just too large. We were showing off the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini to friends, and one avid iPhone user commented that it was a far nicer size than the S4, and a lot easier to use, especially one-handed.  Lets take look at the pros and cons of it

Specifications:

  • Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE; quad-band 3G with HSPA; LTE
  • 4.3″ 16M-color qHD Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen; 256ppi
  • Android OS v4.2.2 Jelly Bean with TouchWiz UI
  • Dual-core 1.7GHz Krait CPU, Adreno 305 GPU; Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 chipset
  • 1.5GB of RAM
  • 8 MP autofocus camera with LED flash, 1080p video recording @ 30fps, continuous autofocus and stereo sound
  • 1.9 MP front-facing camera, 1080p video recording
  • Dual-band Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi Direct and DLNA
  • GPS with A-GPS, GLONASS
  • 8/16GB of built-in storage
  • microSD card slot
  • microUSB 2.0 port
  • Bluetooth v4.0
  • NFC
  • IR port for remote control functionality
  • Stereo FM radio with RDS
  • Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
  • Accelerometer and proximity sensor
  • Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic
  • Ample 1,900mAh battery; user replaceable

Disadvantages:

  • 720p screens available in the price range
  • No Air View, Air gestures or Multi-view
  • Cheap Plastic Feel
  • Played out design
  • Many S4 exclusive features are absent

As the Galaxy S4 mini lacks some of the sensors, the cool Air Gestures are not enabled. The Air View is not an option either, along with the Multi-View split screen feature. What the Galaxy S4 mini offers over the flagship S4 is an FM radio, a feature that the intended market is likely to appreciate.

Design:

The Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini holds few surprises when it comes to design, featuring a scaled-back version of the Galaxy S4’s polycarbonate chassis.
While we weren’t fans of the Samsung Galaxy S4’s design, as its creaky casing seems a little cheap compared to the HTC One and iPhone 5, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini has managed to win us over. The plastic casing seems more suited to a mid-range smartphone such as the Galaxy S4 Mini, and its smaller dimensions make the metal trim around the phone seem more prominent than on its high-end sibling, giving the handset a more luxurious look.
The Galaxy S4 Mini isn’t actually all that mini, since it’s 4.3in screen is larger than the display found on Apple’s iPhone 5. That said, it’s very comfortable in the hand, measuring 125x61x8.9mm, and tipping the scales at 107g. We’d have preferred that there was a bit of texture to the handset’s rear however, with the glossy plastic proving slippery in hot weather.
Our only other gripe is that, like most white phones, the Galaxy S4 Mini can quickly go from clean and shiny to covered with smears and fingerprints. However, the handset is also available in black for those with particularly grubby mitts.

Display:

The Samsung Galaxy S4 mini uses a 4.3″ Super AMOLED screen of qHD resolution (960 x 540 pixels). The pixel density clocks in at 256ppi, which is quite good, and what’s even better is that it’s an RGB matrix, not a Pentile screen.
It uses a layout similar to that of the Galaxy Note II with three subpixels per pixel, where the blue sub-pixel is twice as large as the red and green ones. That’s a clever way to extend the life of the screen, without sacrificing anything in terms of sharpness.
Of course, you can find sharper 720p screens in these parts of the market now, but you’ll need to live without the benefits of the AMOLED technology.

Camera:

The Samsung Galaxy S4 mini comes with an 8MP main camera and a 2MP front-facer, but unlike its bigger brother, the smartphone can’t use both at the same time.
The user interface is based on the Galaxy Camera interface. The viewfinder handles both still and video capture, so you don’t have to switch modes. However, this is certainly not the most convenient solution – if you’re shooting full resolution 8MP photos, you’ll have to frame your videos using a 4:3 viewfinder.
There are standard modes like Rich Tone (HDR), Panorama, Night and Sports. Panoramas are nice, they do a full 360° circle, but the resolution is not that impressive.
Sound & shot captures a photo and records ambient sound. It sounds pretty cool – for example, you can hear the sea gulls in a beach photo or the roar of car engines at a race.
Photos have a lot of fine detail and little noise. Colours are generally quite close to reality with only slightly oversaturation to be noted at times. White balance is halfway between neutral and cold. We noticed that the Galaxy S4 mini preserves detail in the shadows, sometimes at the cost of detail in the highlights. You can use the HDR mode to remedy this.

Conclusion:

A smaller version of the current flagship makes all kinds of sense. More compact and easier to handle, and – at the end of the day – more affordable, is what many people will gladly consider. The fact that a year ago the Galaxy Mini S III turned out to be a mild disappointment doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with the mini formula. To begin with, it’s a mini version and the compact, lightweight package sounds like good news for people who are less than impressed by the idea of carrying a five-incher. A high-res display – well, close enough at least – with 720p screens around, qHD isn’t the best you can get but still looking reasonably sharp on a 4.3″ diagonal. And AMOLED at that.

Alternatives:

1. HTC One Mini:

The One mini is the closest rival of the S4 mini. It offers 720p screen of 4.3 inches but you have to sacrifice 0.5 GB of RAM as it comes with only 1GB of RAM. The aluminum unibody of the HTC One mini is great – it screams “premium” more than the big Galaxy S4, let alone its mini version. And the stereo BoomSound speakers on the front deliver an excellent audio experience, coupled with high-quality audio hardware for the 3.5mm audio jack and Beats audio tuning.
Throw in an UltraPixel camera sensor and the latest Android 4.2.2 with Sense 5 and the feeling that HTC shortchanged the One mini almost subsides.

2. SONY Xperia ZR:

 The Sony Xperia ZR is also a solid alternative to S4 Mini and has an impressive back then 4.55″ 720p screen. It packs a 13MP camera. And while it’s not made of metal, it does have an IP58 certification, meaning you can take it with you in the pool and can take underwater photographs also. It also have 2GB of RAM. But Its a little costly as compared over the S4.

3. Samsun Galaxy S3 and HTC One X+:

These devices are previous years flagship devises and are available in this price range after a hefty cut in their prices. As bein the flagship the guarantee you a solid experience.

4. LG Google Nexus 4:

If you fancy pure vanilla Android interface than custom UIs then LG made Nexus 4 is the phone that is made for you. It packs an 8 MP sensor and have an impressive 720p screen. As its NEXUS branding suggests that it will get all the major Android updates atleast for 3 years as of now, so you need not be worried about it. Its available directly at the play store.

5. SONY Xperia SP:

The Sony Xperia SP sounds more like it. It offers a slightly bigger 720p display, more GPU power, while the processor and imaging capabilities are largely on par. The Xperia SP runs on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, which isn’t ideal, but Sony’s skin is quite minimalist compared to TouchWiz, which may actually be a good thing for some. The Xperia SP is slightly cheaper and looks better, but it’s much bigger too, so it’s mostly about picking your priorities when choosing between those two.

Final Verdict:

 Overall, the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini is doing most things right. The worst thing about it is the low resolution qHD screen, while all other competitors are having the 720p screen. It’s probably not everyone’s dream version of a flagship in miniature but definitely closer than the S III mini got last year. It’s by no means a super-mini but one that can be a pleasant ride.

Afnan

20 year old someone who loves watching football and cricket. Smartphone Aficionado. FIFA Addict. Currently using HTC One (M8) as his daily driver.

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