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Samsung Galaxy S3 mini review

Is this miniturised edition of the popular Android handset worth it for those on budget?

Smaller display

We'd have loved Samsung to bring a high-ppi panel to the Galaxy S3 Mini, but sadly that's not the case - the 4in screen inside this smaller handset has a lesser resolution of 480 x 800. That sits squarely in mid-range territory, and anyone who's used a high-end handset will be disappointed - pixels are very much visible, and the whole screen lacks the pin-sharpness of more expensive devices.

That said, it's still a Super Amoled panel so it brings the S3's attributes to the table, with good contrast and perfect black levels. The measured brightness of 182cd/m2 is middling, though, and it means that this panel isn't as vibrant as the Amoled screens included on other phones and we don't like the slight blue tint to lighter colours, either.

Value for money?

Samsung's latest smartphone ticks most of the mid-range boxes, and its contract prices reflect its status: it's available free on 15-per-month, 24 month contracts. At this price it's a great mid-range handset.

If you're buying SIM-free, though, expect to pay around 240. For that money you'd get an 8GB Google Nexus 4, which has a larger, higher-resolution screen alongside a better camera and more powerful internals. We'd recommend Google's handset to those buying off-contract.

Overall

Samsung's Galaxy brand is found on the world's best smartphones bu, underneath its familiar name and features, the S3 Mini is a disappointment. Its screen lacks the sharpness of high-end devices and even some phones available at this price range and it's not got the levels of performance we'd expect from a mid-range phone in 2013.

Verdict

Samsung’s mini handset looks and feels like the Galaxy S3, but falls behind in several key areas. The screen doesn’t have the sharpness or quality of the original, and the specs aren’t up to scratch. We’d advise you look elsewhere for a mid-range handset.

OS: Android 4.1.1. Jelly Bean Processor: 1GHz dual-core ARM Cortex A9 NovaThor U8420 Memory/Storage: 1GB RAM, 8GB/16GB, up to 32GB microSD Screen: AMOLED 4in (480 x 800) Connectivity: dual-band 802.11 b/g/n, micro-USB, 3.5mm headphone jack Other: Accelerometer, Gyro, proximity, GPS Bands: GSM (850/900/1800/1900), HSDPA (900/1900/2100) Camera: 5MP rear with LED flash and autofocus, 0.3MP front-facing Battery: 1,500mAh Size: 121 x 63 x 9.9mm (WxDxH) Weight: 111g

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