Where the Galaxy S flagships both shipped with quad-core CPU's, both the Galaxy S3 Mini and Galaxy S4 Mini ship with dual-core innards. Given that the Galaxy S4 Mini has taken a specifications boost all round it should be no surprise that the Galaxy S4 Mini comes with an upgraded CPU and RAM.
The Galaxy S3 Mini ships with a dual-core 1GHz CPU backed with 1GB RAM which in our review we found was more than sufficient to keep the Galaxy S3 Mini moving along at a decent pace.
The Galaxy S3 Mini suffers a little when you throw a lot of heavy lifting its way (such as downloading large files whilst performing other tasks),but general day to day use of texting and web browsing is more than covered.
The insides of the Galaxy S4 Mini are a fair bit larger with the dual-core CPU this time being clocked at 1.7GHz and backed up with 50% more RAM at 1.5GB.
This made moving around the Galaxy S4 Mini smoother than on the S3 Mini, able to cope with more strenuous tasks such as playing more graphically intensive games.
Price and colours
With all round increased specifications it shouldn't be a massive surprise that the Galaxy S4 Mini matches that to an increased price tag, albeit one that doesn't quite reach the same heights of the Galaxy S flagships.
All the extra features currently mean the Galaxy S4 Mini sits at a higher price than the Galaxy S3 Mini; around £250 for a SIM free S4 Mini compared to the £150 SIM free S3 Mini.
If colours are important, both the Galaxy S3 Mini and Galaxy S4 Mini have you covered. Both are available in white, with the S3 Mini also coming in the same blue colour that came with the Galaxy S3. A red and white floral version are also available.
Although not coming with a floral pattern, the Galaxy S4 Mini comes in black, and the far brighter orange, pink, and purple models.
With the more premium price tag it would be reasonable to expect the Galaxy S4 Mini to pack a few more tricks above the spec increase over the Galaxy S3 Mini.
One of the biggest is that being a newer model, Samsung has been able to equip the Galaxy S4 Mini with the newest version of Android Jelly Bean (4.3 rather than 4.1). This means that the Galaxy S4 Mini is able to connect to the Galaxy Gear smartwatch, as well as coming with a newer version of TouchWiz.
In terms of updates, a leaked document shows that both the Galaxy S4 Mini and Galaxy S3 Mini are being tested with KitKat, although there has been no official word out of Korea.
If you're constantly losing track of your television's remote control, the Galaxy S4 Mini will also prove to be the handset of choice as it comes with an IR blaster.
Coupled with Samsung's WatchOn app this turns the S4 Mini into a universal remote capable of controlling televisions, digital set top boxes and dvd/blu ray players.
The Galaxy S4 Mini also benefits from the advancements in 4G LTE, making the most of the super fast web offerings. We should point out that the ability to access this will depend on the contract and network you sign up to, as well as your geographical location.
This isn't too much of a problem on the Galaxy S3 Mini as it still comes equipped with HSDPA 1.4. Mbps and HSUPA 5.76 Mbps which is generally enough for browsing the mobile web.
NFC is also present on the Galaxy S4 Mini allowing users to share information by tapping devices together. At the moment there are few apps that are able to make the most of NFC, most of them allowing quicker device connection than Bluetooth such as in the Sony SmartWatch 2 and the aforementioned Galaxy Gear.
Both the Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini and Galaxy S4 Mini are decent handsets providing a decent return for your hard-earned cash.
Where the Galaxy S4 Mini requires a larger outlay it returns a much larger array of features; from an upgraded chipset to an IR blaster, a better camera to 4G support. The larger screen is also a benefit as it provides greater real estate to watch videos and browse the web.
If you're looking for a flagship experience at a smaller price tag the Galaxy S4 Mini is the handset for you. The Galaxy S3 is more suited to those looking for a reliable and capable device that can make and receive calls, take decent photos and perform basic web browsing at a much more pleasant price point - but it's much farther removed from its flagship father than the S4 Mini.
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