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: 31 Jul 2013
Price when reviewed: £363
Reviewed By: Chris Finnamore
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.
We can't argue with the S4 Mini's vibrant colours and wide viewing angles, which we've come to expect from AMOLED displays, but we're not convinced by its colour accuracy. Large areas of white on the HTC One Mini's screen were pure and white, but on the S4 Mini they have a blue tinge. The S4 Mini's screen also has a slight grainy texture, and feels rougher to the touch than the super-smooth HTC display.
The low-power AMOLED screen helps give the S4 Mini one big advantage, though; it has seriously impressive battery life. In our video playback test, which involves playing a video file on loop, the S4 Mini lasted an amazing 13h 3m. That's one of the best scores we have ever seen, and four and a half hours more than the LCD display-equipped HTC One Mini. This is definitely a phone with all-day life, even if you're a heavy user.
We're not particularly enamoured by the AMOLED screen, but it does give the S4 Mini fantastic battery life
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