Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini review
A cheaper, more compact Galaxy S4 with amazing battery life, but the S4 Mini doesn’t stand out compared to the competition
Review Date: 27 Mar 2014
Price when reviewed: £363
Reviewed By: Chris Finnamore
Updated 27 March 2014 - Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini gets Android 4.4.2 KitKat update
With an update to Android 4.4.2 KitKat now available the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini is getting a new lease of life. When we first reviewed it this phone was running 4.2.2, which now feels hopelessly outdated.
You can now pick up a SIM free handset for £230, which is £130 less than when we reviewed it. Unfortunately it still gets trounced by the ludicrously good value Moto G, which costs less than £125. This makes it incredibly difficult for any other phone to compete, but the S4 Mini does a decent job.
It looks like a small Galaxy S4, which is now bad thing. It has a 4.3in screen but a low resolution of just 960x540, although it still looks good thanks to the bright and vibrant AMOLED technology.
One of the biggest plus-points of the S4 Mini is its battery life - it lasted a whopping 13hrs and 3mins in our video playback tests. This really is a phone with a battery that will last all day, even if you're a heavy user.
Android 4.4.2 is a major boost for the S4 Mini, making it feel right up to date. There's a huge raft of new features including Google Now for voice commands and search, better multitasking and improved apps for calls and texts.
All in all, the update to 4.4.2 is a vast improvement that makes the S4 Mini a decent proposition. But the Moto G is still superb value and a much better phone.
We've got Samsung to thank for the miniaturisation craze. First it followed up the fantastic Galaxy S3 with the smaller, cut-down S3 Mini, and now, for those who have neither wide nor deep enough pockets for the Galaxy S4, here comes the S4 Mini.
Samsung is no longer the only manufacturer to have given up finding new names for different products, though. HTC has recently released the One Mini, which impressed us and won a Best Buy award, so the S4 Mini has some serious competition.
First impressions are reasonable. The Galaxy S4 Mini looks like a small Galaxy S4, with its squared-off top and rounder bottom edge. It's not a particularly exciting design, but it's certainly comfortable to hold for a long phone call. The phone is all plastic, but it's fairly soft-touch and feels tough. However, the HTC One Mini's silver and white chassis is certainly smarter and more interesting to look at, and we love the HTC's metal rear.
It's all about the plastic, but the S4 Mini feels well made
Like the One Mini, the Galaxy S4 Mini has a 4.3in display, but instead of 1,280x720 pixels, you only get 960x540. The difference is immediately obvious when you put the two phones side by side. While it's easy to read web pages when fully zoomed out on the HTC One Mini, the S4 Mini's lower resolution makes this much more of a struggle.
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