Over the last couple of weeks, the tech world had been abuzz with speculations around yet another new smartphone from Samsung, the “Galaxy S3 Mini,” which was thought to be in direct competition with Apple’s iPhone 5. Samsung itself said recently that the 4-inch “mini” version of the Galaxy S3 won’t be an entry-level handset, but would have “full form factor.” Now that the device was officially unveiled at an event in Germany Thursday, it appears to be just another mid-range smartphone like many others that the company released in the past.
Yes, as if the title “Galaxy S3” is just for the namesake and “Mini” is what that defines the smartphone accurately. With a 4-inch display and a dual core processor, the new Galaxy S3 Mini is just a mediocre version of its larger, more powerful cousin, the 4.8-inch Galaxy S3 that was released globally in May and made available in the US this summer across five major carriers.
When it comes to challenge the new Apple iPhone 5 and other high-end handsets with smaller displays, unfortunately the Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini does not look like a smart rival.
Let’s have a detail look at the specs and features of the Galaxy S3 Mini in comparison with the iPhone 5.
Form Factor and Hardware
It’s ironical to note that when Apple is touting its “bigger” 4-inch iPhone 5, Samsung has reduced the screen size of its device to 4 inches and calls it “mini.”
The Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini comes with Super AMOLED display technology at a lower resolution of 800 x 480 pixels. On the other hand, the iPhone 5 has LED-backlit IPS TFT Retina display with 1136 x 640 pixel resolution. The Galaxy S3 Mini has 233 pixels per inch versus iPhone 5’s 326 pixels per inch.
In terms of dimension, the Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini is 121.55mm (4.8 inches) tall, 63mm (2.5 inches) wide and 9.85mm (0.39 inch) deep. The iPhone 5, on the other hand, stands 123.8mm (4.87 inches) by 58.6mm (2.31 inches) by 7.6mm (0.30 inch).
Both Galaxy S3 Mini and iPhone 5 weigh almost same, 111.5 grams and 112 grams respectively.
Where the internal parts are concerned, the Galaxy S3 Mini clearly appears to be a different phone than the original Galaxy S3. The S3 Mini is powered by a smaller 1GHz dual-core processor, while the global S3 features a quad-core processor and the U.S. variant of the phone features a 1.5GHz dual-core chip. When it comes to the iPhone 5, it also sports a superior dual-core 1.2GHz A6 chip.
The same story goes for the cameras as well. In the Galaxy S3 Mini, the South Korean tech giant has replaced S3’s 8-megapixel rear-facing camera with a 5-megapixel camera. The front-facing camera has also been altered from 1.9-megapixel in the S3 to a VGA camera in the Mini.
The iPhone 5 again has an upper hand here. It features an 8-megapixel iSight rear-facing camera and an 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera.
As far as the connectivity is concerned, the Galaxy S3 Mini lacks LTE support. The device only supports HSPA bands 14.4/5.76 900/1900/2100 and EDGE/GPRS 850/900/1800/1900 bands.
Coming back to the iPhone 5, the device supports 2G network (GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 - GSM A1428; CDMA 800 / 1900 / 2100 - CDMA A1429), 3G network (HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100 - GSM A1428; CDMA2000 1xEV-DO - CDMA A1429) and 4G network (LTE 700 MHz Class 17 / 1700 / 2100 - GSM A1428 or LTE 850 / 1800 / 2100 - GSM A1429; LTE 700 / 850 / 1800 / 1900 / 2100 - CDMA A1429).
The only connectivity related feature that Galaxy S3 Mini has and which the iPhone 5 doesn’t have is the Near Field Communication (NFC) technology.
The Galaxy S3 Mini is available in 8GB and 16GB versions with expandable memory up to 32GB. On the other hand, the iPhone 5 comes in 16/32/64GB versions with no card slot. Both the devices have 1GB RAM.
In terms of battery, S3 Mini’s 1,500mAh battery is on the smaller side, compared to the 1440 mAh battery in the iPhone 5.
Operating System and Other Features
The Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini comes with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean pre-installed upon it with Samsung’s TouchWiz interface bringing in much of the Galaxy S3’s software extras that include photo-sharing features among networked phones and the admirable S Beam.
Apple iPhone 5 runs on the company’s latest version of its mobile OS, the iOS 6 that is claimed to have over 200 new features.
The Galaxy S3 Mini also features S Voice, Samsung’s brand of Google Voice Actions and its response to Apple’s Siri. However, in comparison to Siri, Samsung’s S Voice still needs to perform well.
The Mini does get some cool features like the one that keeps the screen lit when the user looks at the camera and DLNA sharing that lets users transfer content like photos and video between compatible devices.
Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini: Price and Availability
Samsung didn’t reveal anything about the Galaxy S3 Mini’s price and release date. However, as CNET pointed out, “top U.S. carriers aren't likely to be among the first wave.” On the other hand, prepaid carriers could offer the phone as a higher-end or midrange option to its customers. It is also expected to do well in emerging markets like Latin America, the Middle East, India and Africa, the report added.