At first glance, the Mini 2 is an endearing handset, bordered by a silver trim and encased with a sunny, yellow plastic casing. Generally, the phone follows in the Ace 2's design footsteps, with the same layout of hardware keys: signature home button on the base, power on the right, volume rocker and microSD slot on the left, 3.5mm headphone jack up top, as well as a port for microUSB at its bottom. Below its removable back are a 1,300mAh battery and a SIM slot hidden just beneath it. Thanks to its ultra-compact construction, the handset is a joy to hold, fitting quite snugly in our palms. Like its stablemate, we would have preferred for this smaller unit to be slightly lighter, but that extra bit of weight does inspire confidence in its durability.
Power on the screen and you'll immediately notice the lower pixel density of the HVGA display. Again, we can't moan and groan too much about this low-end spec given the space it occupies on the consumer spectrum. As you might imagine, viewing angles are rather poor, evincing a loss of contrast and washout with a slight tilt. But, if this is the class of phone you're after, you probably won't notice, nor care much about that decrease in screen quality.
Surprisingly, performance on this Android 2.3.6 handset exceeded our expectations. Somewhat curiously, the device, sporting a sole 800MHz processor, managed to outpace the dual-core Ace 2, responding much more rapidly to our touch and moving in and out of applications with an appreciable speed boost. Browsing, however, wasn't quite as speedy. We're not quite sure what could account for this noticeable difference considering both run the same software and TouchWiz UX.
Imaging aficionados won't have much to salivate over here, as the Mini 2 comes equipped with a 3.2 megapixel shooter capable of 480p video capture. We didn't have time to test the module, but it's safe to say picture quality should be average at best. As you might expect the camera app is customized for Samsung's UX and offers up the usual array of scene modes and exposure settings.
The Mini 2 will be the first of Sammy's two low-to-mid rangers to hit Europe early this spring, with a planned March launch for consumers in France. It's the ideal handset for Moms, luddites and otherwise next-gen spec-averse wireless users. If you count yourself amongst that lot, then this wee Gingerbread wonder is for you.Mat Smith contributed to this report.