Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini review

16 May 2013

Not a bad budget phone, but performance is mediocre and the screen isn't brilliant either

Price when reviewed 
258
Buy it now for 
4

UPDATE: We’ve re-run our benchmarks after the Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini received an over-the-air update. Scroll to the end of the review to read more.

The Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini is the Korean manufacturer's attempt to cash in on the popularity of its flagship handset. It inherits the looks and features of the Galaxy S3, but shrinks down the screen size to 4in.

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The Galaxy S3 Mini shares the off-white colour, chrome border and gently curved shape of its big brother, and there are familiar touches elsewhere: the home button below the screen, the Samsung logo above the panel, and the power button on the right-hand edge all look the same. The removable rear cover is still a flimsy piece of plastic, but there’s little give in the Mini’s 9.9mm-thick chassis.

The screen’s 480 x 800 resolution can’t match the glorious 720 x 1,280 of the full-fat Galaxy S3, however. Indeed, it shares its resolution with the mid-range Nokia Lumia 620, and we didn’t have to look too closely to see individual pixels, with text and images lacking the sharpness of high-end handsets.

Samsung Galaxy S III Mini

The technology behind the S3 Mini’s display is AMOLED, the same as the Galaxy S3, but it can’t match its sibling for quality. When we measured its brightness, it returned a result of 182cd/m2 – the Galaxy S3’s display hits 240cd/m2 – and we didn’t like the blue cast it gives to light colours, either. Neither can it match the Lumia 620, which has a superb top brightness of 543cd/m2 and more natural-looking colours.

Samsung Galaxy S III Mini

Inside, the Mini is powered by a NovaThor U8420 processor, which we haven’t seen in a smartphone before. It’s a dual-core, 1GHz part, just like the Lumia’s Snapdragon S4, but the S3 Mini’s SunSpider score of 1,888ms lags behind the Lumia 620’s 1,449ms result, and its Quadrant score of 3,245 isn’t anything to write home about, either.

Details

Price ex VAT Free on a £15/mth, 24mth contract
Price inc VAT £258
Cheapest price on contract Free
Contract monthly charge £15.00
Contract period 24 months
Contract provider www.buymobilephones.net
Overall rating 4
Features & Design 4
Value for Money 4

Physical

Dimensions 121 x 63 x 9.9mm (WDH)
Weight 111g
Touchscreen yes
Primary keyboard On-screen

Core Specifications

RAM capacity 1.00GB
Camera megapixel rating 5.0mp
Front-facing camera? yes
Video capture? yes

Display

Screen size 4.0in
Resolution 480 x 800
Landscape mode? yes

Other wireless standards

Bluetooth support yes
Integrated GPS yes

Software

OS family Android

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