Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini review

Is smaller always more beautiful?

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Finally to the bit that we've all been waiting for, our final Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini verdict. If you've stayed with us throughout, thank you from the bottom of our heart, if you've skipped... well we might have done the same thing once upon a time.

We've put the Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini through its paces, and we're pleased to say that it has coped. We might have been a tad sceptical over certain issues - if you don't know what we mean, you haven't been paying enough attention - but we're pleased to say that it manages to hold its own.

We liked

Given that the Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini is based upon the Galaxy S3, and we loved the design of that, we can safely say we really liked the design of the Galaxy S3 Mini. Its smaller stature than its bigger brother means it sits a lot more comfortably in the hand, and is more than operable one handed.

MicroSD support is something that we thought would be almost second nature to modern smartphones, but notably Apple and Google have omitted it from their latest devices - it's one of the reasons the Google Nexus 4 failed to garner our coveted five-star rating.

Samsung has also worked its way through Touchwiz, with the UI now being of the most popular on the market. It more than holds its own against HTC's Sense, which we have been known to wax lyrical about on more than one occasion.

We also love that the Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini ships with Android Jelly Bean right out of the box. Yes we could mention that the Nexus 4 has a later version, but the HTC One S still ships with the older Ice Cream Sandwich. The S3 Mini is also one of the most connected devices we have ever tested.

We disliked

Samsung has yet to create an amazing keyboard, with its current offering being functional, yet nothing spectacular. It might be to Samsung's credit that the first thing that we thought of when writing this section was the keyboard, but the Korean firm should really take a few cues from HTC and SwiftKey.

We also disliked the Samsung Hubs. We can see why they would be put there, yet given that the Play Store is going from strength to strength, and is a fantastic alternative to iTunes, we don't ever envision a time where you'd choose to open the Samsung Hub instead.

We're also going to mention the screen resolution. Samsung has put a fantastic screen onboard, but the WVGA resolution is a downer in our eyes. It makes things seem a little less crisp, and while we'd usually gloss over this, the Nexus 4 has rewritten many books.

Final verdict

We really liked the Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini. It ticks all the right boxes, and comes in at a very decent price. The truth of the matter is, though, that it's launching right smack bang against the Google phone, the Nexus 4.

Every time we looked at the Galaxy S3 Mini we were impressed. It beats the Nexus 4 in many areas, it has microSD support and a fantastic interface, but the Nexus has the impressive stock Android.

If you looked right at the score and thought that maybe we had scored it a little low, given that in many areas we looked and commented on how the Galaxy S3 Mini has done so well, we've had to put that in some kind of context.

Would we recommend buying one? Yes definitely. Would we recommend buying it over the Nexus? Not really. But it's as powerful as the iPhone 5? True...

It's very disappointing because, had this launched alongside the Samsung Galaxy S3, or had the Nexus 4 come in at the same price tag as other phones packed with the same tech inside, we could easily see this being one of the biggest hits of the year.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
Wireless LANYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Maximum Memory Card Size Supported32 GB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyHSDPA, HSUPA, GPRS, EDGE
SAR Value0.52 W/kg
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedYes
Integrated TV TunerNo
Product FamilyGalaxy S III Mini
Cellular Generation3G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 900, GSM 850, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 1900, WCDMA 2100
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution5 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported2
Front CameraYes
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleBar
Operating SystemAndroid
Brand NameSamsung
Battery Talk Time14.16 Hour
Screen Size10.2 cm (4")
Screen Resolution480 x 800
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)120 g
Maximum Video Resolution1280 x 720
Processor ManufacturerST Ericsson
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 4.0
Operating System VersionAndroid 4.1 Jelly Bean
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), Instant Messaging, MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email
USB StandardUSB 2.0
Pixel Density233 ppi
Height121.6 mm
Width63 mm
Depth9.9 mm
Radio TunerYes
Battery Standby Time460 Hour
Product NameGalaxy S III Mini Smartphone
Processor Speed1 GHz
Processor TypeNovaThor
Product LineGalaxy S III Mini
Screen TypeOLED
Sensor TypeGyro Sensor, Accelerometer, Proximity Sensor, Magnetometer
Manufacturer Part NumberGT-I8190MBABT
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

With its gentle curves and comfortable grip, the Samsung Galaxy S III Mini continues the sophisticated design aesthetic seen in the Galaxy S III. Elegant natural design meets vivid viewing, thanks to a dazzling 4.0-inch Super AMOLED display that brings out the best in all your entertainment. With the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system, you can enjoy a range of great apps and games as well as new functionality. And, with smart and intelligent services like Pop-up Play, Best Photo, Smart Stay and Social Tag, the Galaxy S III Mini helps make life easier and richer.

Limited Warranty2 Year