Does the Galaxy S3 Mini Measure up?

Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini

The S3 Mini is the latest addition to the seemingly endless array of Galaxy phones whose continuum stretches from mini and regular sizes to the best selling S3 and the  huge (also very successful) Galaxy Note phones, which also saw a recent addition with the 5.5 inch Note 2 also updated and sporting the latest S3 stying.

It’s pretty amazing that we are now calling a phone with 4-inch screen a “mini” but that’s phone biz.

This Month Samsung delivered launched a new member of the S3 family – the Galaxy S3 Mini.

A sequel to it’s highly successful Galaxy S3, which is currently the world’s best selling superphone topping even outselling the ever infatuating iPhone in the last quarter. The impressive 4.8 inch Screen on the S3 is great for browsing and movie watching and the phone itself is smooth, distinctive, has a ton of nice features that take advantage of Android’s multi-tasking and is super-fast, but for many it’s just that little bit too large.

So Samsung came up with the mini an S3 is for all those who said “Wow, amazing phone, but – large”. The Mini has all the things we loved about the S3, the sleek curves, the features; but more compact with a 4 inch screen and easier to hold and do the traditional phone things like one-hand-texting with. It still does everything it’s larger cousin does, smoothly and efficiently. Watching a movie while browsing the web or flicking through galleries at the same time is still a seamless experience, but somehow the screen now seems a bit crowded.

Along with the reduced size comes a reduction in horsepower – the processor is no longer the supercharged quad-core Exynos 1.4ghz but a dual-core 1ghz Novacore engine – one on a par with much more modest phones such as the Sony Xperia U. Still powerful enough but it doesn’t scream “Mini-Flagship-Superphone”. The 4″ screen is great but drops from 1280 x 720 HD to WXGA 800 x 480 and a 720p camera rather that 1080p. Still it’s swift enough with plenty of pixels and that processor and screen combination is a good match, but again more akin to phones such as the Xperias or even Samsung’s own Galaxy Ace 2.

Compared with Sony’s Xpera P or the lower end of the HTC One series it just doesn’t feel quite as impressive as it should have. There are many comparable phones at around it’s £300 price tag, for example Sony’s Xperia P at least matches it and adds HDMI output for your HDTV and is available for around £210 sim-free. At the same time Google have released their Nexus 4 phone which has full S3 Class performance at the disruptive price of £239 for the 8GB version and £279 for the 16GB model – and is is set to shake up the market in the same way their Nexus 7 Tablet did.

The S3 is a tough act to follow and stepping into those big shoes was never going to be easy for a little phone. Samsung have produced a really nice phone and what many of us were asking for but ultimately, a bit disappointing – it’s like a your younger brother trying to get into a club by wearing your smart clothes. It could have been a real category-busting Mini-Superphone but other than inheriting the S3 style it’s par for the course in a mid-range Smartphone but yet…it’s still desirable, still tempting.