Samsung Galaxy S3 mini – what to expect?

We have seen the Samsung Galaxy S3 and we have argued over and over again about it being the best smart phone around. With its 4.8-inch screen, a gleaming oval design and a super strong processor, the Samsung Galaxy S3 is known for it’s value. Samsung has announced the release of  smaller android mobile named the Samsung Galaxy S3 mini.

The Samsung Galaxy S3 mini is nothing like the earlier Samsung Galaxy S3 in terms of performance. It is a mid-range android device with a 4-inch screen and it’s packed with a slower CPU without 4G LTE capability so we wonder about the point of calling it a “mini” version of the S3.

The Samsung Galaxy S3 mini is just a tad smaller than the Samsung Galaxy S3, so, those hoping for a smaller Samsung Galaxy S3, might not get exactly what they wanted. The S Voice and DLNA sharing makes it different however, from other mid level android phones. The pricing of the phone wasn’t announced by Samsung but we can be sure it would be cheaper than the Samsung Galaxy S3: which may be why it is referred to as a “mini” version.

Design

You know times have changed when a relatively high-powered smartphone with a 4-inch screen is known as “mini”. The Galaxy S3 mini looks like a slightly smaller Galaxy S3. It is slightly thicker, measuring 9.85mm, compared with the Galaxy S3’s 8.6mm.
image

The good news is that the mini is very light. The layout of the Galaxy S3 mini’s controls is similar to that of the Galaxy S3, but there are few notable hardware omissions such as the ambient light sensor and secondary microphone. Below the display you get the same three key capacitive menu, back buttons and a regular press home key. You will also find the earpiece, proximity sensor and a VGA front-facing camera for video-calls above the display. The omission of the ambient light sensor means that there’s no automatic brightness control for the Galaxy S3 mini. The volume levelers are located on the left side of the Galaxy S3 mini and on the right side there’s only a power key. I don’t think the Galaxy S3 mini will feature a dedicated camera key, since the original Galaxy S3 lacks one. The 3.5mm audio jack is at the top of the phone while the microUSB port sits alongside the primary microphone at the bottom and is used for both data connections and charging. Please note that USB host and MHL are not supported. The 5 megapixel camera lens is located at the back of the phone. It has the LED flash and loudspeaker on it sides.
image

Screen

The Samsung Galaxy S3 mini features a 4-inch Super AMOLED screen of WVGA resolution (800 x 480 pixels) and the pixel density clocks in at 233ppi. All in all, the Galaxy S3 mini display offers a more than decent image quality for a mid-range device. Colour separation is good and viewing angles are extremely wide.

Interface and Software

image

The Samsung Galaxy S3 mini is powered by android 4.1 Jelly Bean and the latest TouchWi user interface, dubbed Nature UX. It’s the premium combination that we saw on the S3 and the Galaxy Note II and it certainly will lift the stock android user experience. The mini features the tap and drag in any direction to unlock affair with ripples accompanied by water-drop sound as you drag your finger. The notification area offers quick toggles for Wi-Fi, GPS, silent mode, screen rotation and  power saving. Since the mini’s screen can only fit in five toggles at a time, you can slide them sideways to reveal more functions -notifications, mobile data, Bluetooth, driving mode and sync.
image

The Samsung’s custom layer comes with lots of software extras, including photo-sharing features among networked phones and the excellent S Beam. There are other features in the Galaxy S3 mini like a lit screen when you glance at the camera and Digital living Network Alliance (DLNA) sharing that helps you transfer content like pictures and video between compatible devices.

Processor, Memory and Battery

The Samsung Galaxy mini S3 features a dual-core Cortex-A9 processor with a 1GB RAM clocked at 1GHz. The single-core Mali-400 GPU manages the phone’s graphics which is good news for the 1,500mAh battery. The Galaxy S3 mini comes in 8GB or 16GB storage options (expandable to 32GB via microSD). With a processor like this, the Galaxy S3 mini is expected to perform most ordinary duties without lag.

Gallery and Multimedia

The Samsung Galaxy S3 mini comes with the default Jelly Bean Gallery, which has been treated to some TouchWiz flavor. It opens up in Albums view but you can choose to sort your pictures by location, Time, Person (photos with tagged faces) and Group.
image

The Gallery also support highly customizable slideshows with several effects to choose from, as well as customizable music and speed.
image

You can also highlight specific images to be included in the slideshow. When you view a photo with people’s faces on it, the Galaxy S3 mini will try to detect them automatically. The Gallery also features social tag. This feature works when a face is recognized in a photo. After recognizing the person in the photo, it makes you see the person’s status message which will allow you to call or message them easily. Also, there’s Buddy Photo Share. This function allows photos to be easily and simultaneously shared with all your friends pictured in an image directly from the camera or the photo gallery.

The Galaxy S3 mini makes good use of the same TouchWiz – Cald music player. Equalizer presets are enabled (including a custom one) along with  Sound Alive technology, which features 7.1 channel virtualization. Music is sorted into various categories, but the most interesting one is called Music Square. This feature automatically rates a song as Joyful or Passionate, Calm or Exciting and place those songs on a Square. The Galaxy S3 mini’s player is also DLNA enabled.
image

Camera

The Samsung Galaxy S3 mini has a 5 megapixel camera and can capture photos at a maximum resolution of 2560 x 1920 pixels. The Camera’s interface looks like that of the Samsung Galaxy S3. The video recording of the Galaxy S3 mini isn’t top notch since it manages a 720p video recording. The Frame rate is 30Fps, this will make the captured video smooth enough.

Web Browser and Connectivity

The Galaxy S3 mini is powered with a Jelly Bean version of the android browser. You also have options to download third party browser applications available at the Google Play Store. The Browser supports both double tap and pinch zooming along with the two-finger tilt. Zoom. There’s obviously the usual bundles of radios as well, including 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi, GPS, GLONASS, FM radio, Bluetooth 4.0 (LE) and NFC, but for now, the Samsung Galaxy S3 mini will only support HSPA 900/1900/2100 networks along with EDGE 850/900/1800/1900.

Conclusion

If you were expecting a Samsung Galaxy S3 with a smaller screen, this is certainly not it. The S3 mini’s hardware is far more modest than it’s “bigger” brother. There’s always a good side to every story; after all, it might be cheaper than the Galaxy S3. Apart from that, for a mid level android phone, the Samsung Galaxy S3 mini is a worthwhile pick.

Reference

Cnet and GSM arena