Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini review

Is smaller always more beautiful?

Samsung Galaxy S3 mini
The definitive Samsung Galaxy S3 mini review

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Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini review


We're often left disappointed with the amount of preinstalled software being shipped with not just phones and tablets, but all manners of tech hardware these days.

We're all for cost saving, but not if it comes at the expense of other features. Thankfully the Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini isn't over populated.

There are the standard Google applications, such as the insanely popular (yes, sarcasm) Google+, GTalk, Gmail, various Play apps and the Android Voice search and recorder.

Samsung has put its own toys in, such as the Game Hub, Video Hub, ChatON, Samsung Hub, S Planner, S Suggest and S Voice.

Each of the hubs provides you with access to Samsung operated stores, where you can download music or games.

Honestly, we don't see you venturing from the Play Store, as it is very well populated these days.

Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini review

As for ChatON, we mentioned that earlier, and as we concluded, we don't see it being a major rival for BBM or iMessage as we don't know many people - even with Samsung phones - who use it.

S Suggest is yet another Samsung operated store, that takes its app suggestions from social networking sites.

Enabling you to log in via Facebook means that it can aggregate data from what your friends are playing, and suggest games that you might like.

The more interesting Samsung offerings are the S Planner and S Voice.

S Planner is Samsung's own calendar app, syncing in calendars from your Google accounts as well as Facebook, local calendars and contacts' birthdays.

Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini review

S Voice is the Korean answer to Siri. We found it a little less responsive than the Apple offering, but it has come on in leaps and bounds since we first used it on the Samsung Galaxy S3.

The alarm clock is an attractive app, with a large clock at the top to set the time, set against a background that shows whether it's set for night or day. Night appears to be between 6pm and 6am.

The alarm comes with all the features you'd expect, including Smart Alarm, which starts the alarm a few minutes early, increasing in volume to wake you up gently.

Google's offerings are a fairly standard affair, being available on every Android device, not just the Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini.

Google offers the Play Store, as well as Play Movies and Play Books, both of which take you to downloadable content.


Arguably the most important Google app to make its way to any Android device is Google Maps.

Given that iOS mapping has taken a massive hit recently, and Nokia has now purchased Here, we were hoping for a decent service here.

Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini review

Unfortunately - for Apple and Nokia - the Google based mapping service on the Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini is the fantastic affair that has graced many an Android device before.

We're not going to talk in great detail about what the mapping service provides, but it covers local information on bars and restaurants, supports 3D mapping, traffic, and comes with its own built in sat nav app, Navigation.

Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini review

GPS, coupled with GLONASS and Google's other location services meant that we were never lacking for location based signal, even when sat in the depths of our panic room. OK, it's more just a cupboard under the stairs.

As for the Navigation software, we've always been impressed by Google's effort, not least because it's free. The influx of other sat nav apps, including some free apps, on the Play Store do provide some stiff competition, but for when you're in a spot of bother, Google will easily sort you out.

For driving, it taps into traffic data, and can tell you how long your route is set to take. This means if you pull to the side of the road - we're safe drivers - you can easily reroute. We'd have liked active rerouting, but for free we're not arguing.

One of the other major bonuses of the Google software is that you can ask it to plan routes for driving, walking and cycling. Since the app is technically still in Beta, though, it advises caution.