Samsung Galaxy S4 mini review: Little droid that could

Little droid that could

GSMArena team, 16 July 2013.

Unboxing the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini

The Samsung Galaxy S4 mini comes in a very compact box, in line with the recent trend of using recycled paper and soy-ink print for the packaging.

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The retail package

The accessories in the bundle are nothing out of the usual. The A/C adapter, to be used with the supplied microUSB cable, are joined by a pair of earphones. All of the above are painted white.

Samsung Galaxy S4 mini 360-degree spin

The Samsung Galaxy S4 mini measures 124.6 x 61.3 x 8.9 mm, and it's actually surprisingly smaller than the flagship. More importantly though, the S4 mini is nearly the same size as a Galaxy S III mini, thinner at that, while offering a bigger screen of higher-resolution.

Design and controls

The Samsung Galaxy S4 mini is a downsized replica of the flagship only it has much less imposing physique. Keeping the same styling and finish as the top product in the lineup was obviously a conscious choice - the aura of the flagship is probably expected to be a major sales driver. Some kind of design accent to bolster the mini's character may've made sense though, we think. Particularly when you consider how played out the design has become at this point - it's only undergone a small refresh since the Galaxy S III came around and we've seen in on a few dozen devices already.

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The Samsung Galaxy S4 mini and Samsung Galaxy S4 side by side

Anyway, let's take a good look at the handset. Bellow the display you get the usual three keys: capacitive Menu and Back buttons and a regular press Home key.

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The usual set of keys sits below the display

Above the display we have the earpiece, as well as the usual ambient light and proximity sensors. What's missing is the Air gesture sensor - the mini version doesn't have that feature. There's a 1.9 megapixel front-facing camera for video-calls.

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There's a bunch of sensors next to the front-facing camera

The left side of the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini is where the volume rocker is located.

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The volume rocker is on the right

On the right side there's only a power key. Considering the original Galaxy S4 hasn't got a dedicated camera key, we couldn't possibly expect to find one here.

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The power key is in its usual spot

The top of the Galaxy S4 features the 3.5mm audio jack, the secondary microphone and the IR blaster that allows you to use the smartphone as a remote control for your home appliances. There's also a feature-rich remote control app, so the functionality is available right out of the box.

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The 3.5 mm audio jack and the IR blaster on top

The microUSB port resides alongside the primary microphone at the bottom and is used for both data connections and charging. There's no USB host and MHL support.

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The microUSB port and the primary microphone

The Samsung Galaxy S4 mini sports an 8MP camera, capable of recording 1080p video, and a LED flash. The loudspeaker grille is in the bottom left corner.

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The 8 megapixel camera lens

The package is powered by a 1900mAh battery. The microSD card slot and the microSIM compartment are located under the battery itself, so hot-swap is not an option.

Handling

The Samsung Galaxy S4 mini is really easy to handle with its curved back fitting nicely in the palm of your hand. Given the friendlier, compact size, the slippery finish is a lot less of an issue than it was in the bigger Galaxy S4. Single-handed operation is very comfortable and the AMOLED screen is a pleasure to look at, both indoors and outdoors.

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The Samsung Galaxy S4 mini held in hand

Reader comments

  • AirC

My GT-I9192 impressed me with what it could do. Out of the box I think the 1900 mAh battery was a bit unsatisfactory. It should have been at least 2100. Too bad it suddenly died after 4 years of usage, I suspect failure of the Power-IC chip...

  • adhaf

battery dies too quick,screen automatically turns black after minor usage,it heats as holding fire very quick,overall i cant afford another now so this will have to do

  • Hadid

hi.i have a samsung s4 mini gt19192. i cannot update new version for my mobile. please help me