Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini review

The S4 gets shrunk and we put it through its paces

Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini
Good things sometimes do come in small packages

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Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini review

Like every Android Jelly Bean device before is, the internet capabilities of the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini is handled with either the native internet browser or via Google Chrome.

We can keep commenting on our confusion over this, given that they do the same thing in almost identical fashions.

As to which you wish to choose, you might as well flip a coin. We would suggest that Chrome is slightly better at managing bookmarks and tabs, and moving between devices, especially if you have your bookmarks synced to your Google account, since the Samsung browser no longer draws them in from the cloud.

We do some benchmarking tests with every review, one of which is the Peacekeeper browser test. Using this, we were a little surprised to find that the benchmark results for the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini were in line with the full fat Galaxy S4. This was also reflected while browsing, with there being little slow down over Wi-Fi.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini is also 4G-enabled in certain territories, such as the UK.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini review

Unfortunately at the moment, the roll out of 4G is limited to EE, which has yet to cover the whole of the UK.

For the immediate present, 4G is only going to appeal to a smaller audience, but it helps keep it future-proof, with all the major networks hoping to have 4G signals across the country by the end of the year.

Other countries, such as the US, already have a strong 4G service, so 4G phones have more appeal there.

Looking back at the browser, Samsung's offering has some nifty features. Tabbed browsing and incognito browsing are available in both browsers, but making new bookmarks in Samsung's own browser is slightly easier than in Chrome.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini review

Hitting the star-shaped icon in the upper-right corner brings up the Add Bookmarks option, and then you can choose where to save that particular bookmark.

It is also possible to turn off image loading, in order to save data. Given that we expect most Samsung Galaxy S4 Minis to be sold on contracts, at £25 and above, we don't expect that limited data will be a massive problem, but you never know.

One nifty feature that has been missed out on the Galaxy S4 Mini, and all Samsung Galaxy devices, is text reflow.

Double-tapping text will zoom the text to a certain level, but there is no custom level of zoom, no matter how we tried. Yes, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini will zoom in, but it will not reflow.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini review

Both desktop and mobile sites can be enabled, and the Super AMOLED qHD screen is very bright, making reading text very easy.

The 4.3-inch screen size makes it a little less appealing for extremely long periods of browsing, but those who are likely to do that will be using tablets or phablets such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 2.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini is more than sufficient for using while commuting, and for a light to moderate browsing experience.

Again, we have to say that the S4 Mini's screen is leagues above the Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini's, with the added size and resolution making browsing a far greater experience.

Elsewhere, functionality-wise the Samsung browser seems to have borrowed more elements that we had noticed in Chrome before. One of these is a little magnifying pane that pops up when you tap a hyperlink that is right next to another, while zoomed out, to make it easier to select the correct one.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini review

Flash is also missing from the browser. We know Adobe pretty much killed Flash last year, but with it being offered as an optional plug-in on HTC devices, its omission is rather noticeable.

In general, we miss mobile Flash, so it's not just the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini that we have commented upon that makes us miss it.

Just a side note to Google Chrome, that we touched upon earlier. We found that we tended to lean towards it, if only because of the way it handles bookmarks and tabs better. It still syncs across all the bookmarks that you have attached to your Google account.

The three default Chrome home pages enable you to choose those bookmarks, your most recently visited/most popular pages, as well as the most recent tabs opened across all your devices, be it desktop or other mobile devices, including Chrome on iOS devices.

No matter what you choose, we find little that would leave you disappointed while web browsing on the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini. It is far better than the Galaxy S3 Mini, and comes with two feature-packed browsers. The dual-core innards also keep everything plugging along nicely.