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Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini review

Is smaller always more beautiful?

Our Verdict

The S3 Mini ticks all the right boxes, and comes in at a very decent price. The truth of the matter is, though, that it's launching right smack bang against the Google phone, the Nexus 4. Would we recommend buying it over the Nexus? Not really.

Product features

  • Rear Camera Resolution : 5 Megapixel
  • Battery Talk Time : 14.16 Hour
  • Screen Resolution : 480 x 800

View full specification

For

  • Scaled down design
  • Android Jelly Bean
  • MicroSD support
  • Bright Screen

Against

  • Expensive
  • Dual core
  • Low Screen resolution
  • Samsung Apps

Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, first toted on the Google Nexus 7, became the first Android iteration that came with the mobile version of Google's much loved Chrome browser, and while there has been support for it since ICS, we're a little dismayed to see that it isn't the Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini's native browser.

That's not to say that Samsung's browser is a poor affair. We've long been mentioning how impressive the stock Android browser is, and Samsung's tweaks have made it even better. For starters, the browser signs into your Google account and syncs across your bookmarks.

Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini review

This is a major bonus, as it means that you no longer have to manually add all your bookmarks across. You can also access the device history and save pages for offline browsing, great if you have less data on offer with your contract, or PAYG.

The UI is clean, with the URL bar disappearing when you scroll down the page, and reappearing when you reach the top of the page. We were a little disappointed to see Samsung's "double tap the top of the phone" feature doesn't work within the browser.

We were also disappointed with the text reflow, simply because it doesn't exist. Pinch to zoom works great, but unlike other devices we have tried, namely HTC devices, the text doesn't automatically fit to screen. We even found that the double tap that usually worked on Samsung devices doesn't work either.

The minor downside to the Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini when it comes to web browsing isn't the lack of 4G (it does come packed with 3G and HSPA 14.4), it's the screen. The pin sharpness of higher end devices, including the Google Nexus 4, isn't evident on the Galaxy S3 Mini.

It's a little disappointing really, the Super AMOLED screen is bright, but the WVGA resolution means its loses a little clarity, especially when text and images are zoomed in. Strangely, the browser has a built in brightness toggle, which apes the toggle in the notifications bar. Needless to say we're a little bemused by its inclusion.

The browser plugged along nicely, with the lesser powered dual-core processor not seeming to struggle with loading pages, and they loaded fast over both Wi-Fi and 3G connections. Loading the full desktop TechRadar page over Wi-Fi took around seven seconds, so while not blistering pace, we didn't find ourselves wishing it along either.

Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini review

Offline viewing is another feature that has gained some prominence recently, especially for those travelling on underground trains, or even over-ground trains that are famous for unreliable data connections.

Initially the Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini didn't want to save pages, but we persevered and it got there eventually. Unfortunately it only saves the pages as images, meaning there is no ability to open links within the page, even when your data connection returns.

Tabbed browsing is also supported on the Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini, even if we didn't realise it at first. It's not immediately obvious, as in Google Chrome, but pinching in, the opposite of pinching to zoom, brings up a shot of the page that enables you to swipe between tabs, and close with the little red minus symbol.

As for Flash, we know it's dying throughout the web, and most people these days are unlikely to miss it, but there is no support.

In all, the Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini provides a more than adequate internet experience. For a mid-ranged phone we weren't expecting our socks to be blown out of the water, or however you say it.

The browser does a very good job, but it's missing key features, so we'd be remiss if we didn't recommend trying out Google's mobile Chrome browser.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
TouchscreenYes
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Maximum Memory Card Size Supported32 GB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyHSDPA, HSUPA, GPRS, EDGE
SAR Value0.52 W/kg
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedYes
Integrated TV TunerNo
Product FamilyGalaxy S III Mini
Cellular Generation3G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 900, GSM 850, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 1900, WCDMA 2100
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution5 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported2
Front CameraYes
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleBar
ColourBlue
Operating SystemAndroid
Brand NameSamsung
Battery Talk Time14.16 Hour
Screen Size10.2 cm (4")
Screen Resolution480 x 800
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)120 g
Maximum Video Resolution1280 x 720
Processor ManufacturerST Ericsson
Operating System VersionAndroid 4.1 Jelly Bean
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), Instant Messaging, MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email
RealtoneYes
Radio Tuner TypeFM
Call FeaturesCall Log
Pixel Density233 ppi
Height121.6 mm
Width63 mm
Depth9.9 mm
Radio TunerYes
ManufacturerSamsung
Product NameGalaxy S III Mini Smartphone
Processor Speed1 GHz
Processor TypeNovaThor
Product LineGalaxy S III Mini
Screen TypeOLED
Sensor TypeGyro Sensor, Accelerometer, Proximity Sensor, Magnetometer
Manufacturer Part NumberGT-I8190MBABT
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.samsung.com/uk/
Marketing Information

With its gentle curves and comfortable grip, the Samsung Galaxy S III Mini continues the sophisticated design aesthetic seen in the Galaxy S III. Elegant natural design meets vivid viewing, thanks to a dazzling 4.0-inch Super AMOLED display that brings out the best in all your entertainment. With the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system, you can enjoy a range of great apps and games as well as new functionality. And, with smart and intelligent services like Pop-up Play, Best Photo, Smart Stay and Social Tag, the Galaxy S III Mini helps make life easier and richer.

Limited Warranty2 Year