Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini: 10 things you need to know

Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini: 10 things you need to know
The smaller, less powerful brother to the S3.

The Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini took to the stage in Germany earlier this month, as the Korean firm showed off its follow up to one of the most popular smartphones of the year.

Offering up an easier to hold and slightly more affordable version of the Galaxy S3 sounds like a great idea. However, after Samsung's head of communications JK Shin said the Galaxy S3 Mini won't be found wanting in terms of specifications - some may be a little disappointed with the finished product.

While Samsung has yet to release firm carrier or pricing info for the Mini in the North American market, we've got the low down on the hardware beneath that newly resized chassis. We'll update this article as soon as that information becomes available, but meanwhile, let's dig into what we do know.

Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini design

The Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini shares the same name as the more powerful Galaxy S3, and the handsets also sport a similar design, with the S3 Mini looking like a shrunken version of its big brother with a similar home button and curved chassis.

However, that's where the similarities between these two handsets end, with the Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini not really mirroring the Korean firm's flagship model in other departments.

Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini screen

The Galaxy S3 Mini sports a 4-inch, Super AMOLED display, but don't go thinking it will offer up a crisp, HD picture, as the resolution is 480 x 800 – not awful, but not blockbuster either.

That said, you should be able to comfortably watch movies and play games on the Galaxy S3 Mini without noticing any major quality issues.

It's the same resolution display as the 4.3-inch display on the Samsung Galaxy S2, but that also sported the AMOLED+ technology, giving the handset the upper hand when it comes to color reproduction and general sharpness.

Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini operating system

Good news for Android fans: the Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini ships with the latest build of the mobile platform, the cutely named Jelly Bean - offering up buttery-smooth operation thanks to the "Project Butter" upgrade.

This trumps the Galaxy S3 which currently ships with Ice Cream Sandwich, and while an Android 4.1 update has started to roll out in South Korean and some eastern European countries, we've yet to see it hit other major western markets.

Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini power

Gone are the quad-cores of the Galaxy S3, with the Galaxy S3 Mini sporting a relatively sedate 1GHz dual-core processor, which shouldn't have any trouble running Android 4.1, but it's hardly matching (or even coming close) the power of its bigger brother.

There's also 1GB of RAM to help things along, and while power isn't everything in the smartphone world, it does mean the Galaxy S3 Mini is less well equipped in this department than the 1.2GHz dual-core Galaxy S2 and Samsung Galaxy Nexus.

Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini specifications

The Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini also offers up a 5MP camera rear camera with LED flash and 720p video recording plus a front-facing VGA lens.

Connectivity-wise the Galaxy S3 Mini has you covered with Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, DLNA and NFC technology, while you also get the choice of 8GB or 16GB of internal storage – which can be expanded by another 32GB with a microSD card.

Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini price

Samsung has not yet given pricing or carrier information on the Galaxy S3 Mini in the U.S. If we had to guess, we'd peg the Mini's price at $350.

In the U.K., pre-orders for the Mini have already begun. It's going for around £300. We'll update this article as soon as concrete pricing and carrier info is available for for the States.

Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini release date

Samsung is yet to give us an official Galaxy S3 Mini release date, but it's expected to arrive in stores from early November.

According to the Phones4U website, it will start shipping the Galaxy S3 Mini from November 2, while Unlocked Mobiles reckons it will receive stock during the first week of November.

Find out more: Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini release date: when will you get it?

Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini first look

If you want some more information on the Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini, check out our first look video below.

Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini rivals

There's some tough competition for the Galaxy S3 Mini to contend with in the middle of the mobile market, with the likes of the HTC One S, Sony Xperia S and Samsung Galaxy Nexus all vying for position.

Will consumers pick the Galaxy S3 Mini over these other offerings? Only time will tell, but we'll have a better idea once we've had a chance to put the handset through its paces in our Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini review.

Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini review

We hope to have a review unit in the pretty near future (according to our underground sources), so keep an eye out for our full, in-depth Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini review coming soon.

John McCann
Global Managing Editor

John joined TechRadar over a decade ago as Staff Writer for Phones, and over the years has built up a vast knowledge of the tech industry. He's interviewed CEOs from some of the world's biggest tech firms, visited their HQs and has appeared on live TV and radio, including Sky News, BBC News, BBC World News, Al Jazeera, LBC and BBC Radio 4. Originally specializing in phones, tablets and wearables, John is now TechRadar's resident automotive expert, reviewing the latest and greatest EVs and PHEVs on the market. John also looks after the day-to-day running of the site.