Samsung Galaxy S5 mini review: Big enough

Big enough

GSMArena team, 17 August 2014.

Retail box

The retail box of the Samsung Galaxy S5 mini is about the size of the phone it has within. Underneath the Galaxy S5 mini lie headphones, a microUSB cable and an A/C adapter. Several leaflets complete the retail box.

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Retail box and innards

Samsung Galaxy S5 mini 360-degree spin

The Samsung Galaxy S5 mini is a very compact phone by today's standards. At 131.1 x 64.8 x 9.1 mm it's in between its competition. It's bigger than its predecessor - the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini - bigger than the Apple iPhone 5s, but smaller than the HTC One mini 2 and taller than the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact. One thing's for sure though, the thickness is not that spectacular.

The weight is very good at 120g. Compared to the Samsung Galaxy S5 the mini is pretty petite.

Design and build quality

It seems that Samsung is very pleased with the design of its Galaxy S5 because it has been replicated in the mini version excellently. We like the approach more than what HTC and LG have done with their minis, which look similar to their bigger counterparts but still have a distinct lack of quality and refinement in comparison.

Side by side the two Galaxy S5s look exactly the same - from the button placements, to the proximity sensors, earpieces, camera lenses, hear rate sensors, IR blasters, 3.5 mm headphone jacks to the dimpled pattern on the back panel and the sides of both.

But there are subtle differences - for starters the size is an obvious one. Secondly, the microUSB port on the bottom of the Samsung Galaxy S5 mini is water resistant and doesn't require a water-repellant flap. The camera lens isn't protruding on the mini as well.

Compared to the HTC One mini 2 the Galaxy S5 is much shorter, mainly due to the lack of front-facing stereo speakers. The HTC One mini 2 feels colder and rounder in the hand and the added heft from its metal construction allows it to sit better in your hand.

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Samsung Galaxy S5 mini

The Samsung Galaxy S5 mini back panel has a matte finish and offers the same pattern of small dots that feel like dimples to the finger. The back panel has a nice little trick up its sleeve - it reflects light in a way that results in a little purple accent to the white color - a pearl-like effect.

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Samsung Galaxy S5 mini

We like the design of the Samsung Galaxy S5 mini and the fact that it hasn't moved away from the original. This is the first mini since the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact that does justice to its original. The Galaxy S5 mini and S5 look astonishingly alike and that has carried over to the feel of the device.

Controls

The front of the Galaxy S5 mini is where the majority of controls are. First on the list is the 4.5" display that gives most of the commands. Below it there are three buttons - a physical home button that doubles as a fingerprint scanner and two capacitive keys for recent apps and back.

Above the display lies the earpiece, the ambient light sensor, the proximity sensor and the 2.1MP front-facing camera. Also to the left of the earpiece lies the LED notification light, which is normally invisible - it blinks only for notifications.

There's no Air gesture sensor on the Galaxy S5 mini like there is on the Galaxy S5.

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The front of the phone

The power button sits on the right of the Galaxy S5 mini and the single-piece volume rocker is on the left side. The tiny slit that's used to undo the back panel is on the right.

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Looking at the sides

The top is where the IR blaster is - provided with the right software, it will easily control your TV or set-top box (or both) and with some able apps you can even go further to cameras or AC units. Next to it is a second microphone that's oddly not used for background in-call noise-cancellation but will add stereo sound to your videos. We conclude the topside of the Samsung Galaxy S5 mini with a water-resistant 3.5mm headphone jack.

The bottom has an exposed microUSB port and the main microphone. It's nice to have the microUSB exposed instead of under a flap that you'd need to pry open every time you want to charge your phone but you should be wise to wait until the port is dry before plugging in a charger.

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Top and bottom

The back panel plays host to the 8MP camera lens, a single LED flash that's used to aid the heart rate scanner (on the side of the LED). There's an etched-in Samsung logo and finally the loudspeaker grille on the bottom right.

Removing the back panel is easy enough and reveals a swappable 2,100mAh battery, a microSIM card slot and the microSD card slot. The back panel has a rubber inner-lining that fends off water in case of immersion.

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The back of the Samsung Galaxy S5 mini

Not only has Samsung translated the design of the Galaxy S5 into its mini variant but the company has also successfully made it feel the same. The materials feel equal in terms of quality and the phone feels equally-comfortable in the hand.

The smaller size will make a difference, especially if you get the mini right after the bigger Galaxy S5.

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Handling the Samsung Galaxy S5 mini

Samsung has done a very good job on the Galaxy S5 mini - easily outdoing last year's model in both materials and features.

Reader comments

  • Pathie

I have a same problem

  • Anonymous

and fragile lol

  • AnonD-540658

Hmm... like the S5 would get 1066 in basemark x... hm....