Samsung Galaxy S III mini pops up, we go hands-on (video)

When word first started trickling out that Samsung planned to make a mini version of the Galaxy S III, it had the air of plausibility -- we've heard from many a person about the too-large size of that phone for their hands. Then, a press invitation confirmed that "something small" was in the works, and finally mobile chief JK Shin confirmed that a smartphone of that name would be announced today in Frankfurt, Germany.

Now Samsung's spilled all the beans, and revealed the new Galaxy S III mini, a slightly paler version of its bigger brother in specs as well as screen size. Our own short time with the phone certainly revealed that its pushing all the same "inspired by nature" buttons of the original Galaxy S III (and the Galaxy Note II), with the same exact rounded pebble shape and layout. The German marketing rep we spoke to said his company's research found that users wanted the same phone design as the 4.8-inch Galaxy S III, but in a smaller form factor -- to more easily fit smaller hands and pockets. Samsung said those folks don't necessarily need or want the most powerful phone they can get their hands on and are content to have mid-level specs -- so the mini carries a 1GHz dual-core processor, 1GB RAM, a 4-inch, WVGA AMOLED screen and 32GB max of memory.

It remains to be seen if those specs will dilute the Galaxy S brand, but in any event, we found the phone certainly doesn't cramp our regular-sized hands like its older brother can (let alone the Note II), and the comfortable shape of the original works even better in a mini size. The button placement is identical to the larger handset, and the phone will come out of the box with nearly identical Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean functionality -- with the added Samsung TouchWiz twist, of course. That includes new niceties like the multi-screen option, and a brief play with the phone shows the same butter factor, even with the lesser dual-core processor. So might this mini-me Galaxy S III model sway you over to the Samsung Galaxy family if you disdain the giant screen of its predecessor? Check out the gallery below to see how the size compares with the rest of the family, and a hands-on video and interview with Samsung Germany rep Mario Winter, both after the break.