Unveiled in Quarter 4 of last year as a follow-up to the Samsung flagship device of 2012, the Galaxy SIII, Samsung Galaxy SIII mini GT-I8190 was meant to cater mainly for the smaller hands. There was so much talk on-line then after Samsung launched two premium devices that could only cater for people who loved big screens. From the days of the Galaxy S, Samsung has been increasing the screen size of their flagship device in the Galaxy S series, the Galaxy S, Galaxy S II and Galaxy S III. The premium feel wasn’t felt in the smaller screen sizes. Hence the need for Galaxy S III mini. Since it was a mere rumour, Galaxy S III mini which rode on the fame of the Galaxy S III was expected to don high end specs with a smaller screen size. Well, there were some compromises, and these were reflected upon in the pricing.
The Galaxy S III mini has a smaller screen at 4 inches, LCD display technology as opposed to the Super AMOLED in the Galaxy S III, screen resolution, storage, processing power and battery. The camera too was smaller in capacity. Below are the Galaxy S III mini specifications.
Galaxy S III Mini main Specifications:
- 4 inch WVGA Super AMOLED
- 1GHZ Dual Core Processor
- 1GB RAM
- 8GB Internal storage with 32GB microSD support
- Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
- HSPA 14.4Mbps
- 5MP AF Camera rear with LED FLash, VGA Front Camera
- Wi-Fi, WI-Fi Hotspot, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0
- Accelerometer, Digital Compass, Proximity, Gyro
- Dimensions: 121.55 x 63 x 9.9 mm and weight of 112.2g
- Battery is 1500 mAh
Design and feel
The Samsung Galaxy S III mini took after the Galaxy S III in terms of design, the curvy feel was replicated, the camera position, the buttons positioning on the right and the left is mostly the same. left we have the v0lume rocker, on the right we have the power button, at the bottom there is the microUSB slot and the 3.5 mm jack slot is at the top, right nest to the battery cover opening slot. On the front, around the 4 inch WVGA display we have touch sensitive controls at the bottom on each side of the home button and at the top there is the earpiece and on it’s left the front VGA camera and proximity sensor.
The rear has a prominent 5 MP camera, with a speaker on the left and the LED flash below the camera. The rest of the back is all curves. The device fits well in the hands and if there ever was a size that one could operate on easily with five fingers it’s this, considering the curvy feel that makes it look smaller than it really is. Samsung’s design and build of plastic and curves makes it easy to use and light while at it. Typing on the device makes you feel a strain when trying to get things done, particularly if you had previously used a larger screen, but you can actually solve that by purchasing a keyboard from Google play, I recommend SwiftKey, the most popular keyboard. It makes the buttons quite easy to touch and type fast with.
Under the hood, we have the miniSIM slot. Nothing is really hot-swappable as you will require to remove the battery to access both the SIM card and the microSIM. The Galaxy S III mini comes in six colours, White, Blue, Titan Gray, Amber Brown, Garnet Red, Onyx Black, although you will mostly find the white and blue versions in most places.
The usual bells and whistles that come with TouchWiz are there to make things easy to find and use. The necessary shortcuts are there in the notifications area, like bluetooth, mobile data, wi-fi, GPS, screen rotation, vibrate, blocking mode, power saving and sync so on a tap you can activate or deactivate a feature.
TouchWiz allows you to add apps off the drawer and their widgets, both stock and custom Samsung apps. Some widgets I use are the active applications widget, Assistive light, clock, Accuweather and the Google search widget. With the Galaxy S III mini you have T Memo unlike what we have on the Note series, the S Memo that has some serious add-ons. You get Samsung specific apps like Game Hub which I have never used, the downloads app, S Planner and S Voice.
In settings you are able to get more than the usual home screen mode, there is an added home screen mode for people who just landed on and Android Galaxy device that will have shortcuts to most used apps and suggested apps on the homescreens. S Suggest will suggest to you some apps that would come in handy for your device, again if you just came on board. It will get you apps as they come and will be useful to every kind of user.
In motion UI we have quite interesting features like Direct call, Smart Alert, Double tap to top, tilt to zoom, pan to move icons, pan to browse images, shake to update and turn over to mute or pause. Most of these features came with Galaxy S III so they are not new, but they do mean something when for example you are playing music and all of a sudden need to shut it down, if you had checked motion UI and also checked Tilt to zoom you are covered.
The 5 MP camera does quite some justice to the device with clear images, not like what the 8 MP Galaxy S III or others will give, but with the 5MP camera. The camera shooting modes include single shot, continuous for several photos at a go, panorama mode, buddy photo share, smile shot and cartoon shot. It has scenes like portrait, landscape, sports, indoor, snow, dawn, autumn colour, text, candle lit, backlight and night mode. You also get to choose from some preset effects like black and white, sepia and negative. See what you can get in the gallery below.
The battery will give you some 7-8 hours of life, so you will basically go through your work day well. The lower pixels 480 x 800 and a smaller screen demand less than the Galaxy S III so having a 1500 mAh battery versus the 2100 mAh on the Galaxy S III. You can always set up battery saving and watch the apps you have open if you need to squeeze in some more time on the battery.
The Galaxy S III mini was clearly developed to address a niche, considering that by the time it was announced, there was the flagship Galaxy S III and the even larger premium Galaxy Note II that had just entered the market. And it did fit in, the specs were underwhelming to many who expected it to come running high end features like the Galaxy S III, but the pricing also reflected this. It went to the market at a price most were comfortable with, and with the wave of the Galaxy S III it really did not need much marketing. Samsung priced it at $420 (Kes 35,000) and at the moment there are offers for Kes 29,000. It’s a device you can use on the daily. For those who feel that larger screen devices expose them too much this fits in right there where you will feel comfortable enough to walk in a backstreet holding it. I have used it for a few weeks and I was actually amazed at how I was able to adopt, even having come from the much productive Galaxy Note II.