I know the mobile phone networks are complicated and need thorough testing before phones can be truly certified to work well on them, but sometimes you have to wonder why some phones make it for global release and others are left out, the lonely siblings of the much-loved big brother. The Samsung Galaxy S4 mini is such a phone. It’s everything I could want in an Android phone except for one thing – Availability.
It’s not available here in Australia (Optus and Telstra have announced the Galaxy S4 Mini will be available soon)
Thanks to MobiCity EFTM had a Samsung Galaxy S4 mini shipped into the country (i9195 variant if you’re interested) and judging from the language setup when we first turned it on this device was originally intended for Russia but I skipped past that by selecting English and was on my way.
UPDATE: 21/8/13 – Telstra have announced they are bringing the Galaxy S4 Mini to Australia – no price or availability details as yet
UPDATE: 21/8/13 – Optus are taking pre-orders for the mini – delivering August 28
Out of the box – no wait, in the box, this device is everything you’d expect from the Samsung Galaxy S4. The box itself is almost the same size and has the same ‘wooden’ look to it on the outside.
Now actually out of the box, this is the phone that went through the “Honey I shrunk the kids” machine. It’s not tiny, but its a radical shift in size from the flagship Galaxy S4. It’s actually almost identical in size to the iPhone 5. With more heavily rounded corners and base than the iPhone 5, yet up front it packs a bigger screen (4.3inch compared to 4 inch).
The home button, the top front speaker, the edging around the size and almost every physical attribute of the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini is just that – a mini version of the Galaxy S4.
Here’s how they compare side by size in specifications:
|Phone||Galaxy S4||Galaxy S4 mini|
|Height||136.6 mm||124.6 mm|
|Width||69.8 mm||61.3 mm|
|Thickness||7.9 mm||8.9 mm|
|Weight||130 g||107 g|
|Screen Size (Diagonal)||5.0 inches||4.3 inches|
|Screen Resolution||1920 x 1080 pixels||960 x 540 pixels (qHD)|
This little guy is brilliant. Nope, the screen resolution isn’t the same, but you’ve got a smaller screen so frankly it’s hardly noticeable for average users. Nope, the camera isn’t as good – (8 megapixels vs 13 megapixels) – however it does seem to have a slightly wider field of view which may not mean much but is worth pointing out. My tests showed that the resulting photos were as good as the GS4, just simply not as high a pixel count. What does that mean? If you’re looking to do huge enlargements, get the Gs4. Although in reality if you’re looking to do huge enlargements, I’d recommend a DSLR camera to do it properly.
Lets not kid ourselves, photos taken on smartphones are uploaded to Facebook, Twitter, or emailed to friends. For each one of those applications you’d struggle to find someone who could pick between the two phones.
There is less on-board memory, less speed and “cores” in the processor, basically in all the areas of comparison the mini isn’t quite as good.
Where it is a winner is with the slice of the consumer market who simply don’t want a phone as big as the Galaxy S4 (or HTC One etc).
The keen tech users, early adopters and the like may want for every giga-hert of power available in the latest phones or every pixel of screen resolution. For average users, who want to take advantage of the many advanced features of the modern smartphone they are all here in the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini. Let’s list some:
- Parent Dashboard
- Kid Mode
- S Translator
- S Voice
- Samsung Music
- Samsung WatchON
- Smart Stay
Under the Motions and Gestures menu you will find one key difference. The mini does not have the “air gesture” feature available on the Galaxy S4. This is the feature that allows you to hover your finger over an item to preview it. If that’s your thing – the mini is not for you. Palm motion along with general motion controls do exist in the mini though.
I love this phone. It’s the right size for a phone in my opinion – and that’s the key thing here. Phones are a very personal thing, we use them more today than we ever have before, so we need to find one that “fits” us. For me, that size is perfect, which is why I’ve stuck with the iPhone for so long. The Galaxy S4 mini being almost identical in size makes this a real alternative for iPhone owners. The problem is, it’s not available here.
Fortunately the online phone sales guru’s at MobiCity can solve that problem for you for just $520 plus shipping. However, I do feel for the hundreds of thousands of Aussie consumers who simply aren’t seeing this as an option when they waltz into their mobile phone store to buy a new phone or sign up on a plan.
Check before buying that it will suit your mobile network, but once you’re good to go I’m confident you’ll not look back if you own a Samsung Galaxy S4 mini.