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Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini review

The S4 gets shrunk and we put it through its paces

Maps

Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini review

These days, the need for a dedicated sat nav is diminishing, with it now being more the preserve of long distance driving and for users who are out and about all the time.

For things such as small drives, and even for the longer distances, the Google Navigation option is more than sufficient.

Every time we write a review of an Android phone, we do find ourselves disappearing off on a tangent, giving it compliment after compliment, yet the Google Maps option is almost unparalleled.

If you're planning on using your Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini as a full on sat nav, we'd have to say that it will cope admirably, but the 4.3-inch screen makes it a little less useful than the larger screened Samsung Galaxy S4.

That said, GPS and GLONASS - Russian developed tech similar to GPS - means that location lock on was as swift as ever, and route planning was extremely quick.

As for the general mapping app, the dual-core processor wasn't perfectly smooth at zooming in and out, and we found that there was a slight hint of slowdown, but nothing that we found to be a hindrance.

There are so many features packed into the Android Google mapping app, all being pulled in from the desktop version.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini review

Apps

Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini review

When it comes to apps, you will probably have guessed that, with the Android OS behind it, the Google Play Store is where you will most likely be heading for all your app needs.

Samsung has bundled in its own app hubs, should you decide that Google's offering isn't your cup of tea.

In reality, we can understand exactly why any OEM would bundle in their own app store, but given how well populated the Google Play Store is, we don't know if it is something that will ever get much use.

It's a little disheartening to be honest, since the apps have clearly had some thought put into them. They are as visually attractive as the Play Store, and come with the same levels of functionality.

We could, again, cover the Play Store in high levels of detail, but given that it is now so well known, we don't think that we need to. We will, however, mention that it is broken down into easy to navigate sections, consisting of Games, Apps, Music, Movies, Books and Magazines.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini review

Each section is then broken down further, to make it easy to navigate. This is aided with large images, making it a visually pleasing experience to browse the Play Store.

When it comes to bundled apps, don't go expecting to find a raft of S-branded apps. There is no S Health, for example. What you do get is S Planner, S Voice, S Translator and S Memo.

S Apps

S Planner is a fancy title for the calendar. It is a very visually busy app, but comes with many features to warrant its inclusion over the standard Google calendar.

Things such as pinching to zoom through timings (day, week, month, year) are smart, yet the processor seemed to lag a little, with a noticeable delay between times.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini review

S Voice is the Korean answer to Siri, and in tests it seemed to work well enough. We can't say that it is, as yet, as charming or as able as Siri is on Apple products, but as a voice assistant it works well enough, and did most of what we asked it to, so we can't knock it too much.

S Translator and S Memo are pretty self explanatory, with the former being a translator app, and the latter being a note-taking app. We thought that the S Translator was a very nifty app, with the ability to listen to your voice and then speak translations.

This is something that we can see being very useful when abroad, especially if you can grab access to some Wi-Fi.

Samsung has also provided an app called Story Album, which needed to be downloaded and installed before use. It isn't a massively useful app, offering the ability to make virtual photo albums that can then be sent to make real life albums.

It was initially rather impressive, but not an app that we can see being used an awful lot, especially because you can manually sort them all a lot better on a desktop, before sending them off to print.

WatchON

A far more interesting app that has been bundled onto the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini is WatchOn. This is the app that makes use of that infra-red blaster on the top of the phone, to control your TV. It is a feature that we saw on both the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S4.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini review

As a remote app, it works very well. We were able to set it up to a variety of devices, and with the feature of being able to customise it to different rooms, you can set it to work on multiple TVs.

This meant that we were able to set it to the Sony Bravia television in our bedroom, as well as the Toshiba TV in the living room, and the Sky box sat below it.

It managed to get all the right codes, and match in correctly first time. We would say that it doesn't come as well feature-packed as other IR remote phone apps we've seen, but it has its charm and works well enough should you misplace your remote. We wouldn't recommend it as a total replacement, however.

The other part of the app is the ability to have different programmes selected for you. You can set it up so that it will offer video options that it feels you might want to watch. We can't say that we found it overly accurate, but the longer you use it, the more programmes you tell it you like, and the more accurate it will become.

We have to mention again, before we go any further, that should you decide that you want to install a lot of apps onto your Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini, you will want to have a decent microSD card popped into the fiddly slot at the back.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
TouchscreenYes
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Maximum Memory Card Size Supported64 GB
Built-in Memory8 GB
Memory Card SlotYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, HSUPA, HSPA+, UMTS
SAR Value0.33 W/kg
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationYes
Integrated TV TunerNo
Product FamilyGalaxy S4 Mini
Cellular Generation4G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 850, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 1900, WCDMA 2100, LTE 800, LTE 850, LTE 900, LTE 1800, LTE 2100, LTE 2600
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution8 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraYes
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleBar
ColourWhite Frost
Operating SystemAndroid
Brand NameSamsung
Battery Talk Time12 Hour
Product ModelGT-I9195
Screen Size10.9 cm (4.3")
Screen Resolution540 x 960
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)107 g
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Processor ManufacturerQualcomm
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11a/b/g/n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 4.0
Operating System VersionAndroid 4.2.2 Jelly Bean
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), Email, MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Instant Messaging
USB StandardUSB 2.0
Pixel Density256 ppi
Front Camera Resolution1.9 Megapixel
Height124.6 mm
Width61.3 mm
Depth8.9 mm
Radio TunerYes
Battery Standby Time300 Hour
ManufacturerSamsung
Product NameGalaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195 Smartphone
Processor Speed1.70 GHz
Processor TypeSnapdragon 400
Product LineGalaxy S4 Mini
Screen TypeOLED
Sensor TypeAccelerometer, Gyro Sensor, Proximity Sensor, Digital Compass, Ambient Light Sensor, Magnetometer, Health Sensor
Manufacturer Part NumberGT-I9195ZWABTU
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.samsung.com/uk/
Marketing InformationThe Galaxy S4 Mini is a powerful, compact version of its bestselling smartphone, the Galaxy S4. The Galaxy S4 Mini delivers the superior performance, intuitive ease-of-use and sleek design of the Galaxy S4 in a portable chic and compact design.

With a 4.3" qHD Super AMOLED display, the Galaxy S4 Mini offers stunning images and content. At just 107g, the lightweight and compact design enables you to carry and use the device easily with one hand. The Galaxy S4 Mini also boasts powerful performance, equipped with a 1.7GHz dual core processor and supports many of the same intuitive features as the Galaxy S4, designed to enhance different aspects of life.

Capturing Memories
The Galaxy S4 Mini allows you to capture important moments in life with an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera as well as a 1.9-megapixel HD front-facing camera. Special features include Sound&Shot, which stores sounds and images together, Panorama Shot which allows you to take a full view of what you are seeing, and Story Album, which automatically arranges photos in a smart format - photos taken by Galaxy S4 Mini are automatically gathered and saved according to your timeline, geo-tagging information or specific event, to create a photo album. You can also receive travel assistance and information services through the S Travel preloaded app which can even recommend a new trip and provide destination guides.

Sharing and Connecting
The Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini means you can share content with others around you easily. Simultaneously listen to the same music and play the same games as your friends with Group Play, and chat with multiple friends with animations, video and voice recording added to messages using ChatON.

Environment Features
The Galaxy S4 Mini features S Translator, for instant translation using text or voice on applications including email, text message and ChatON. You can also control your environment through WatchON's IR remote which transforms the device into a remote to control your home entertainment systems including TV, set-top box and DVD player. Content available includes live TV, cable TV and VOD based on the information provided EPG (Electronic Program Guide). In addition, Samsung Link* will help you share content across multiple Samsung digital devices. *Available in select countries. Previously called AllShare Play.

Wellbeing Features
The Galaxy S4 Mini keeps you up to date with health and wellbeing information. Downloadable from Samsung Apps, S Health enables you to monitor your calorie balance. It can calculate each step taken daily, monitor sleeping patterns, calculate weight and share real time heart rate information**. Adapt Display provides an optimal viewing experience, customised for each type of application, and Adapt Sound offers an optimal level and type of sound, personalised for each user. ** Functionality such as monitoring weight, heart rate and sleeping patterns is possible through the use of fitness accessories which are sold separately.
Limited Warranty2 Year