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Review: Samsung Galaxy S4 mini (GT-I9195)

Review
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Last updated: July 24th, 2013 at 15:53 UTC+02:00

UPDATE: Samsung removed couple of smartfunctions from retail version!

SamMobile had the opportunity to play with the Galaxy S4 mini (GT-I9195). The Galaxy S4 mini is the follow-up of the Galaxy SIII mini. Or just the little sister of the Galaxy S4. Samsung started the tradition to create mini versions of their flagship devices. Samsung started with this with the Galaxy SIII. Samsung announced the Galaxy SIII mini in the last quarter of 2013, this mid-range specification device with high price didn’t surprised us. Especially when we checked that some sensors where missing and the camera wasn’t that great! Let’s see if the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini can surprise us.

Design
As you might know of the Galaxy SIII mini the design does look like the Galaxy SIII. Also with this the device the Galaxy S4 mini looks the same as the Galaxy S4. Something boring but OK it has to look the same cause it is from the same family. Now we checked out the device ourselves and it actually feels great in the hand. Maybe it is because we as team use all smartphones with screen sizes of 5+ inches, something normal these days. But we still like and maybe prefer the display size of 4.3 inches like the Galaxy S II in the past!
Let’s do it fast cause the design of the Galaxy S4 mini is the same as the Galaxy S4. On the front the display, speaker, sensors and the traditional home-button with touch sensitive buttons on each side. On the right side of the device the lock button and at the left side the volume rockers. At the upper side we see the 3.5mm Head-jack,IR (Handy for Samsung’s own WatchON application) and a microphone, at the downside the micro USB connection and the other a microphone. At the back of the Galaxy S4 mini we can find the camera with the LED flash and the speaker on the bottom. All on all just the same design as the Galaxy S4 which can be confused but hey, we understand the word mini!

DESIGN – 7.0/10

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Interface
Samsung has thrown their own trusted touch-wiz Nature UX interface on the Galaxy S4 mini too. The interface is easy to use cause it is almost the same as the interface of the Galaxy SIII or the Galaxy  SIII mini. Samsung introduced with the Galaxy S4 the follow-up of their Touch-Wiz interface. The interface is now known as on the Galaxy S4, Galaxy Mega range and Galaxy Tab 3 line up. Now we can talk about 1000 words about Samsung’s own touch-wiz experience but we guess it is better for you to watch the video below. Or just to check out our hand-on / pictures.

Of course the Galaxy S4 mini has a lot of smart functions, almost all smart functions of the Galaxy S4 are on the Galaxy S4 mini. Which make the device experience a lot better. smart functions as Smart Pause, Smart Stay, Air Gesture, Air View, and Multi window were all present. Cause the Galaxy 4 mini also has NFC, the smart function S Beam is also present! The big question is, will we use all smart functions? Probably not but still its fun to try. As said before the interface is easy to use. we scrolled fast to the interface settings etc. Something which is good in our opinion, one of the key points of the Apple iPhone was the easy to use interface. Samsung created the same flow with their Touch Wiz Nature UX interface! Compared with the interface of the Galaxy SIII mini and the Galaxy S4 mini the Galaxy S4 mini is big winner here. We finally have automatic brightness and we finally have a lot more smart functions, the both things we missed in the Galaxy SIII mini.

INTERFACE – 8.5/10

SMART FUNCTIONS – 8/10

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Multimedia
The Galaxy S4 mini is preloaded with two web browsers Google Chrome and Samsung own internet browser. We liked both browsers sometimes the browser of Samsung feels faster than the one from Google but we just used a pre-release Galaxy S4 mini, so maybe Samsung can fix this. What we did miss was the FM radio. According to Samsung people are listening to internet radio apps … So latterly Samsung want you to use internet! Applications as the mp3 player and gallery are looking the same as the one on the Galaxy S4. You could set your own view in the gallery. Spiral view, by date, by map, by name. It worked out very well but we already knew these features.

MULTIMEDIA – 9.9/10

Display
The Galaxy S4 mini uses a display of 4.3 inch qHD AMOLED display. We liked the display very much maybe cause the colours weren’t that natural but still it feels like a big upgrade from the S3 mini. This could be due to the reason that the resolution is higher now. From 480 x 800 to 540 x 960. It looks to be a small step but for your eyes it actually looks awesome. We expect Samsung to use this as selling point the AMOLED display. AMOLED display colours are pretty nice. Black is off so real black, only the white balance of AMOLED displays are still a small problem. We can only hope Samsung will bring more OLED panels to their mobile phones. OLED is in our opinion the best mobile display technology. It is a expensive technology but very colourful. Samsung currently is the only brand who could develop OLED panels in high amount. Now to show off how the AMOLED panel of the Galaxy S4 mini looks like in, we added below some photos of different views of the Galaxy S4 mini. Remember in heavy sunlight AMOLED displays are not the best.

SCREEN – 7.0/10

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Camera
Samsung downgraded the camera of the Galaxy S4 mini to 8 megapixel, but the good thing is that the interface is the same as on the Galaxy S4. So the Galaxy S4 mini users still got the same experience. Modes like: Sound & Shot, Night(Low Light Shot), Best Photo, Best Face, Beauty Face(include Live Beauty), HDR (High Dynamic Range), Panorama, Sports, Continuous Shot are all present. Of course the photo quality are a small step lower but the device still makes quite good photo’s. You can compare the photo quality of the Galaxy S4 mini with the Galaxy SIII. A device that made in our opinion nice photo’s too. In the end we would like to see a 13 megapixel camera sensor but this also will mean the price would be higher. We liked that Samsung used the same interface as with the Galaxy S4 for their Galaxy S4 mini camera. As said before the Galaxy S4 mini feels closer to the Galaxy S4 than previous with the Galaxy SIII / Galaxy SIII mini.

CAMERA – 7.5/10

Performance
Where the Galaxy S4 uses a Quad-Core or Octa-Core processor, the Galaxy S4 mini has a 1.7 GHz Dual-Core Processor. This wasn’t that bad as expected, the device feels very smooth. Everything worked out well, and yes we were still on a beta-release firmware. We expect Samsung to make the device even faster and bug free. We didn’t made benchmark tests cause the device used a pre-release firmware.

PERFORMANCE – 6.8/10

Battery
The battery of the S4 mini is 1,900mAh. Which is bigger than the Galaxy SII which use the same screen size. In our test period we the battery didn’t drain. It looked stable. We lost in our test period around 10 – 25 percent of battery. Reminder our firmware wasn’t final. We did not made any battery test, but in our opinion was the battery feels great.

BATTERY – 7.0/10

Conclusion
We are now at the final part of the review – our conclusion. So after we played a couple of hours with the Galaxy S4 mini we actually liked the device. The size is perfect and the screen looked great. The interface is basic and easy to use but as with every Galaxy device at the moment. But the design and interface is starting to get a bit boring. We did like what Samsung did with the Galaxy S4 mini compared to the Galaxy S4 and the previous version the Galaxy SIII and Galaxy SIII mini. Maybe the resolution of the  Galaxy S4 mini could be tad higher. But overall the device is a big upgrade compared to the Galaxy SIII mini. The smart functions were present and the camera modes too. We only missed the notification LED on the Galaxy S4 mini. The Galaxy SIII mini didn’t had a notification LED either, but we believe those notifications LED’s are quite handy. Maybe something for the next generation?

All in all The Galaxy S4 mini is a good upgrade to the Galaxy SIII mini. Most of the Galaxy S4 features are on the Galaxy S4 mini. The price of the device is a bit to high in our opinion, but you will get a device which has a perfect size, good specifications, nice looking screen and a nice camera.

If you want to know everything about the specification of the Galaxy S4 mini or you want to compare the Galaxy S4 mini with other devices hit over our compare page!

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The Galaxy S4 mini scored a 7.7 out of 10

DESIGN – 7.0/10

INTERFACE – 8.5/10

SMART FUNCTIONS – 8/10

MULTIMEDIA – 9.9/10

SCREEN – 7.0/10

CAMERA – 7.5/10

PERFORMANCE – 6.8/10

BATTERY – 7.0/10

 

Review Galaxy S4Galaxy S4 mini
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