Samsung seems to churn out smartphones at a rate of knots. Part of its strategy involves keeping those at the top end of the market on their toes, and the recent Samsung Galaxy S II has really given the market leaders something to aim at. But Samsung is busy at the middle of the market too – and the Galaxy Mini feels in many respects like another very samey product with a different name.
The clue is in the name
One thing about the Galaxy Mini that’s indicated by its name is that it is small. At 110x61x12mm and weighing just 107g. it’s handy for little pockets and smaller, probably younger, hands. Such people might be fine with the somewhat lower-end specifications, as might those just dipping a tentative toe into smartphone waters for the first time.
But users should take care when they compromise, as the combination of features might not be quite what they’re after. The small overall size of the Samsung Galaxy Mini makes for a slightly squeezed screen – 3.1 inches, in fact. And its resolution is low, at just 240×320 pixels. That’s not ideal for web browsing, catch up TV or other media-rich activities.
The Galaxy Mini’s screen is also unusually proportioned; slightly wider than usual so that you don’t get the full widescreen effect when you twist it into ‘wide’ mode. That might sound like a small thing, but if you like your widescreen video or widescreen web browsing, it could be a bind.
While the basic smartphone essentials of Wi-Fi, GPS and HSDPA are all present and correct, and the Samsung Galaxy Mini runs Android 2.2, there’s no Flash support. The 600MHz processor can’t handle it. So there’s no streaming of video embedded into web sites. And in general the processor did seem to struggle at times. Finger presses were not responded to with lightning-fast reactions, video occasionally stumbled… that kind of thing. It’s not a disaster by any means, but it’s something to note.
Entering text is no fun fest either. The small screen makes for a squished keyboard, and only very small adult hands or children’s digits are likely to find the process comfortable. There’s 164MB of internal memory, which is a bit on the mean side, but you can add more using a microSD card. A 2GB card is supplied in the slot on the right-hand side to get you started.
The 3-megapixel camera does a reasonable job, and you start with three home screens to pepper with widgets. You can raise this to seven in individual increments if you need more. We rather like that feature.
- Small and pocket-friendly; low cost.
- Low screen resolution; under-powered processor; basic camera.
The Samsung Galaxy Mini is a neat, small smartphone at an attractive price. But check the specifications carefully to make sure the compromises will suit you before buying, though.