Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini hands-on (video)

It may have broken cover officially at the end of last month, even popping up for a quick hands-on along the way. However, at last, we're getting to know the Galaxy S4 Mini a little better at Samsung's bonanza product bash here in London tonight. We already have all the key specs: a 1.7GHz dual-core processor, 4.3-inch qHD AMOLED display, with 8- and 1.9-megapixel cameras, but how does all that come together in real life? Hop on past the break to find out.


Unsurprisingly, the Galaxy S4 Mini looks and feels a lot like, well, the Galaxy S 4. The design language is nearly identical apart from the notification LED (now absent) next to the earpiece, and the size and general orientation of the camera and sensors on the other side. Oh, and how could we forget... it's smaller, too. As obvious as that might be (given that this is the "Mini"), with a 4.3-inch display at its center, it's not all that small. Well, perhaps by modern standards it is, but remember it was just a couple of years ago that the 4.3-inch Droid X prompted the question, "Who needs a screen that big?"

Samsung got a bit of a bashing for making the GSIII Mini too low-spec, so it seems that -- this time at least -- it's trying to find a middle ground. The 1.7GHz dual-core CPU and 1.5GB of RAM aren't exactly bleeding-edge, but it should be enough for most tasks. The materials are the same expanses of plastic, with faux-metal details and they continue to feel... how do we put this... less than premium? Squashing all of the components down to a smaller size does lend a slightly denser feeling to the device. And we mean that in the best way possible.

If you're wondering how that qHD display stands up against its bigger brother's 1080p offering, then it's not great news. It's by no means terrible, but once you're used to the superior display on the original Galaxy S 4, stepping down to 960 x 540 can never really compare, even if the screen itself is smaller. Still, the viewing angles are just as good and the saturation is stunning, as it usually is on AMOLED panels.

On the software front, you are missing a few key features from the GS4, most notably Air View and Air Gestures. But, you still get most of the camera enhancements, along with S Translator, S Voice and S Health, so all is not lost. The Galaxy S4 Mini should hit shelves in the UK this July.

Terrence O'Brien and Joseph Volpe contributed to this report.