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Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini review

The S4 gets shrunk and we put it through its paces

Our Verdict

Takes a lot from the S4 and packages it nicely - plus the technology on board doesn't disappoint, although the CPU might judder at times.

Product features

  • Built-in Memory : 8 GB
  • Rear Camera Resolution : 8 Megapixel
  • Battery Talk Time : 12 Hour
  • Screen Resolution : 540 x 960
  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)

View full specification

For

  • Scaled down S4 design
  • Bright screen
  • Excellent camera
  • 4G

Against

  • Not full HD
  • Only dual-core
  • No notification light
  • Awkward microSD port

Contacts

In order to be called a phone, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini needs to be able to make phone calls, in some way shape or form. We're pleased to say that it does in fact do this.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini review

In an almost Fifa versus Pro Evo argument, there are two types of people who navigate their contacts.

There are those who learned to navigate their contact list via the Dialler screen (as was taken via the HTC Desire a few years back), and those who navigate to browse the Contacts app.

Thankfully both sets of people are well catered for. Starting with the Phone app, the T9 dialler that every man, woman and child is familiar with comes up, with large, easy to hit blue buttons contrasting against the black background.

The bright Super AMOLED screen on the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini almost gives the buttons a metallic feel, which is very attractive. Looks aside, the dialler is also highly functional, with smart dialling being supported once again by Samsung.

Dialling 323, for example, brings up 'Dad', like it would have done in predictive text on old feature phones. It also brings up contacts that have the 323 number combination within their contact details. As a feature, it's one of those that really helps make a UI feel intuitive, and while being supported on many, it is still missed on others (read iPhones and Windows Phone handsets).

Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini review

For the second group of people, who tend to access their contacts via the Contacts app, the list is rather uninspiring as per usual. The high contrast black background with white text looks a lot like the old easy read settings on Windows machines.

Functionality-wise, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini's Contacts app is among the best. The list brings up smaller, low resolution pictures that when tapped bring up methods of contacting people, as well as little icons to show how many accounts are linked with that individual contact.

Moving around the contact list is smooth, swiping up and down the dual-core insides copes well, and moving around selecting the individual letters to scroll around even quicker.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini pulls in your contacts from all your pre-installed social media accounts, such as Google, Facebook, Exchange, as well as others from other social accounts such as Skype and Twitter (which unfortunately no longer comes pre-installed), should you use and install them.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini review

It works very well, but can leave your contacts list feeling a little cluttered. That said, tapping the menu button and going to Contacts to Display' means that you can choose different accounts, and even better is the option to show Only Contacts With Phone Numbers.

Again we were a little disappointed that, unlike with the excellent HTC Sense, there is no automatic contact matching and linking.

Selecting individual contacts does enable you to link contacts, and the suggestions it comes up with are generally fairly accurate, but they can require some manual searching.

Samsung devices also don't have the ability to show up Facebook statuses, nor browse through photo albums pulled in from varying social accounts, much like HTC devices such as the HTC One. We can't tell if it's a good or bad feature, since we can take it or leave it.

Another niggle we found is that, unlike other phones that we have used and reviewed, high resolution pictures can't be selected from your social networking accounts, they can only be pulled in from your Google account. It's not a major thing, but having high resolution photos throughout the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini would go a little way towards making the phone feel a little more premium.

Calling

Once you have selected the contact you want to get in touch with, you need to be able to speak to them properly.

Thankfully, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini is more than up to the task. Just like on its bigger brother, the Galaxy S4, the earpiece does need to be positioned correctly.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini review

That said, we found that call quality was nothing less than superb. HD Voice is also supported, depending on your carrier, ensuring that call quality over 3G/4G networks is also the best on offer.

Signal holding was also impressive. We certainly didn't have any dropped calls, and the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini seems to hold on to the Samsung Galaxy S4's ability to keep its shoes and shirt on, since there were very few times when there was no service.

Samsung's Adapt Sound feature from the Galaxy S4 is also included on the Galaxy S4 Mini. Pop in a headset, or some headphones, and the phone will tailor the sound to suit your ears. Soft Sound' and Clear Sound are also available, but we didn't really notice a lot of difference.

Within the call are the standard Android options of Headset, Keypad, Speaker, Mute and End Call.

One feature we have praised Samsung's Galaxy devices on before, still makes a very welcome appearance on the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini.

After the call has ended, the screen brings up options to Message, Call or Video Call. This is ideal if you've agreed to text over some details, or suddenly realised you forgot to mention something and want to quickly call back. We use this all too often.

If you hadn't gathered from all of that, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini includes the ability to video call a contact. We don't entirely see the point of this, since Skype and other dedicated apps are a lot easier to use, and with Skype contacts syncing with other contacts, you can Skype-call them direct from the contact screen.

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
Operating System VersionAndroid 4.2.2 Jelly Bean
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), Email, MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Instant Messaging
RealtoneYes
Radio Tuner TypeFM
Call FeaturesCall Log
Pixel Density256 ppi
Height124.6 mm
Width61.3 mm
Depth8.9 mm
Radio TunerYes
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