Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini review

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

Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini
Honey, I shrunk the Galaxy S5 Mini!

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Contacts and calling

Samsung's strong contact management returns with the Galaxy S5 Mini, allowing you to pull in details of all your friends, family and co workers from multiple sources.

Sign into Google, Facebook, Google+, Whatsapp or any email client and the Contacts app on the S5 Mini will be able to pool people together.

It also does an acceptable job of matching a person's various profiles from different accounts into one contact card, complete with a profile picture - although you'll still need to do some manual fiddling to get your list in perfect order.

Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini review

A handy feature on Samsung smartphones is the ability to swipe over a contact in the Phone, Contacts and Messages apps to quickly call them or send a message.

Swipe from left to right over a contact's name to dial them, while a swipe in the opposite direction will jump you into a new text message with that person.

Call quality on the Galaxy S5 Mini was acceptable, although it failed to really impress, and I didn't experience any connection issues or dropped calls.

Messaging and keyboard

The stock Messages app is a straight forward texting option and apart from the TouchWiz overlay it operates it pretty much the same way as any other Android messaging app.

You will also find Google's Hangouts app pre-installed on the Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini, providing you with an alternative SMS client if you fancy a slight departure from Samsung's world.

The added benefit of Hangouts is the ability to also send instant messages via Google's new chat system, and the app can automatically switch between SMS and Hangouts on a contact-by-contact basis, depending on whether you're both online or not.

Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini review

When it comes to email you get Google's Gmail application as well as Samsung's Email app, the latter of which can handle any email address while the former just deals in Google's own work.

Both are easy to setup and use, and you'll be firing off emails around the world in no time at all.

Samsung has tinkered with the stock Android keyboard as part of the TouchWiz overlay, providing a mediocre typing experience.

You can customise the keyboard slightly, and there's predictive text and next word suggestions in play to help you speed up your missives.

I did find the keyboard a little frustrating though, as it lacked in accuracy resulting in many miss-worded messages. After a few days I ditched Samsung's offering and downloaded Swiftkey, which performed much better on the S5 Mini.

Web browsing and connectivity

Web browsing on the Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini is an enjoyable experience with Google Chrome providing pleasing load times over Wi-Fi and 4G.

Mobile sites generally took less than three seconds to load up, while the desktop version of TechRadar was viewable in around five and fully loaded in less than 10 seconds.

Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini review

As well as Google Chrome, Samsung has decided to include its own browser on the S5 Mini. Both offer up very similar performance and features, and while I prefer Chrome overall you won't be missing out if you opt for Samsung's own.

The Galaxy S5 Mini is CAT 4 LTE enabled, allowing you to garner 4G data speeds of up to 150Mbps - although many carriers don't currently support such high speeds.

The good news is that when these new speeds do become available you won't have to switch smartphones, making the S5 Mini somewhat future proof.

You'll find the standard offering of connections all onboard the S5 Mini, with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and GPS joining in with a microUSB port, microSD slot, IR blaster and NFC.

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.