Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini review

The Galaxy S5 gets shrunk, but smaller isn't always better

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The Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini is a solid smartphone with an impressive range of features borrowed from its bigger brother, and it improves on the Galaxy S4 Mini from 2013.

I was little disappointed not to see Samsung go down the Xperia Z1 Compact route by packing the S5 Mini with the same camera and power as the Galaxy S5, but I guess I can't have everything.

Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini review

We liked

I was pleased to see the heart rate monitor and fingerprint scanner passed down to the Galaxy S5 Mini, as these more premium features could have easily been neglected by Samsung.

The screen may only be 720p, but Samsung's Super AMOLED technology is impressive and it ensures the display on the Galaxy S5 Mini still pops.

Another area where the Galaxy S5 Mini performs well is battery life, and while you won't be going more than a day on a single charge the fact it can last a whole day with moderately heavy usage places it above other handsets in its class.

We disliked

While I was pleased to see the fingerprint scanner make its way down to the S5 Mini, the reality is it just doesn't work well. It's frustratingly difficult to get it to recognise your print and after a few attempts you'll probably just turn it off.

It doesn't really impress performance wise and the design is another area where the Galaxy S5 Mini doesn't quite match the Xperia Z1 Compact and HTC One Mini 2.

The all plastic construction does make it feel a little cheap, and it offers almost no grip - that said the Galaxy S5 Mini is still well built, waterproof and the fact it has a microSD slot and removable battery will be music to some people's ears.

Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini review

Verdict

If you're taken with the Galaxy S5's design, fingerprint scanner and heart rate monitor, but can't afford its lofty price tag - or want a handset that's more manageable in the hand - then the Galaxy S5 Mini is a strong replacement.

Shop around a little more though and the likes of the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact, HTC One Mini 2, iPhone 5C or OnePlus One make for some tough competition.

Samsung may have created this sector of the mobile market with the Galaxy S3 Mini, but it no longer rules the roost and unless you're wedded to the firm's ecosystem there are better options available at this price point.