Samsung unveiled the heavily-leaked Galaxy S III mini today, in a move that is sure to ruffle some feathers among small phone loyalists. Touted as a mid-range device, the mini has a 4-inch Super AMOLED display with a WVGA (800×480) resolution. While there are likely improvements made to the screen technology since 2011’s Galaxy S II, the mini is no clear upgrade in the display department. The original Galaxy S i9000 utilized a similar-sounding Super AMOLED display at 800×480 but incorporated a PenTile matrix, while its 4.3-inch sequel did not. It will be interesting to see whether Samsung was able to overcome the PenTile stigma with this device.
Other specs include a 1Ghz dual-core processor, likely a variant of last year’s Exynos 4410 chip. Like the Galaxy S II family, the mini comes with 1GB of RAM as well as 8 or 16GB of internal storage. On the back is a 5MP camera capable of shooting 720p video. Inside is a 1500mAh removable battery, a NFC chip, WiFi b/g/n, A-GPS, Bluetooth 4.0 and a FM radio.
The device comes with Android 4.1.1 out of the box, as well as Samsung’s new TouchWIZ suite. That includes S Voice, S Beam, Smart Stay, Direct Call and Smart Alerts, all meant to improve the quality of your phone interaction. As we told you in our Galaxy S III review, some of these features work better than others, though we can appreciate Samsung’s desire for consistency through its product line.
Speaking of consistency, despite the phone’s trifling dimensions and weight — 121.55 x 63 x 9.85 mm, 111.5g — it resembles to the note a diminutive Galaxy S III. For a size comparison, the iPhone 5 measures 123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6 mm, making it slightly taller, but thinner and narrower, than the GS3 mini.
Let me take a minute to appeal to the narrow segment of the market that yearns for the glorious days of the 4-inch flagship. The Galaxy S III mini is being touted as a mid-range device, and judging from its specs, this could have easily slotted into Samsung’s mid-range lineup from last year. In fact, Samsung’s Galaxy R, which was released last August and never made it to Canada, shares many of the same numbers as this device, including a dual-core chip, 1GB RAM, 5MP camera and a WVGA screen.
What Samsung appears to be doing differentiating the quality of its devices based on size. The 4-inch iPhone 5 is Apple’s flagship device; to Samsung, that screen size is relegated to the mid-range. While we can’t imagine next year’s Galaxy S IV to exceed 4.8-inches, there’s no question that Android OEMs have adopted the “bigger is better” mantra. I firmly believe that a four-inch device is the sweet spot; this was true of the Galaxy S and Nexus S, and it’s true of the iPhone 5. With a larger screen size, it becomes more difficult to operate with one hand, and reaching one’s thumb from one corner to the other without readjusting the device in the hand is nearly impossible.
This is to say that despite the Galaxy S III mini being a nice-looking and decently-spec’d device, I wish it had more. I wish it pushed some boundaries, or at least didn’t feel rehashed. Samsung is clearly employing a strategy that is working unbelievably well. It sold more than 50 million smartphones in Q3, more than any other company in history. And maybe one day there will be a push-back and users will demand their pockets back. Until then, we have devices like this taking up space in the middle of the market, dashing our hopes of another flagship device under 4.8-inches.
Samsung Canada told us that “it doesn’t look like this device will be making it’s way to Canada,” but that may change down the road.
Via: Samsung Press