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Review Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195 Smartphone

Daniel Schuster (translated by Ariana Brodsky), 07/17/2013

Little giant. Not long ago, it would have been unthinkable to give a 4.3-inch smartphone the title "Mini" - but times change. The new Galaxy S4 Mini is a smaller version of the current Samsung flagship. Can it live up to the Galaxy S4 name?

For the original German review, see here.

Though it's the current trend, not everyone is interested in getting larger and larger smartphones. Those who still value high manufacturing quality but don't need the best possible performance can set their eyes on the smaller versions of the various smartphone flagships. The Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini, for instance, is a shrunken version of what was Samsung's showcase model at the time. The Galaxy S4 is now at the top of the food chain, so it was easy to predict that Samsung would soon release a smaller model. In its "flagship test", the top model made an impressive display of its abilities - for instance its new ability to interpret touchless gestures.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini's display is 0.7 inches smaller and unfortunately doesn't share its big brother's Full HD resolution. Aside from their similar appearance, on closer look you see several differences between the two phones.  For example, the Mini's SoC runs at 1700 MHz and has 1.5 GB working memory.  Accordingly, the manufacturer reduced the phone's recommended retail price by 200 Euros (~$262). But does the price match up with the performance, and can the smartphone meet the demands of potential buyers?

Case

Samsung stays true to their usual flexible material.
Samsung stays true to their usual flexible material.

Despite the fact that the display grew since the last generation, the South Korean manufacturer manages to reduce the phone's weight by 6 grams (107 grams, 3.77 oz). They also put the S4 Mini on a diet in terms of its width and thickness. As a result we're left with the following measurements: 124.6 x 61.3 x 8.94 mm (4.91 x 2.41 x 0.35 in). The differences in appearance between the two flagship devices were minimal - and the same goes for the differences between the S3 Mini and S4 Mini. Samsung stays true to their style, keeping with the motto, "Never change a winning team". The two-piece case of course consists of polycarbonate, but since Samsung almost always uses this material, they know how to use it well. The device is not easy to twist, it doesn't yield to pressure, and its manufacturing quality is high in every area. The back cover's structure and appearance is exactly the same as that of the S4. The smartphone is available in white or black. However, our "black" device looks more dark blue than black.

Connectivity

On the four sides of the device, there's only one insignificant difference between our review model and the Galaxy S4. Samsung relocated the bottom microphone a few millimeters to the right. Otherwise, the power button is still on the right side of the device, and the volume rocker still sits on the opposite side. The micro USB port transfers data according to the 2.0 standard and is centered on the bottom side of the phone. On the top we find an infrared port, another microphone and the 3.5 mm jack.

In order to expand the 8 GB of flash memory via micro SD card, you have to remove the back cover and battery. The slot is compatible with cards up to 64 GB and is located directly next to the micro SIM slot.

Left: Volume rocker
Left: Volume rocker
Top: 3.5 mm jack and infrared port
Top: 3.5 mm jack and infrared port
Right: Power button
Right: Power button
Bottom: Micro USB port
Bottom: Micro USB port


Software

The Galaxy S4 Mini employs the Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean) operating system. Now that Android has implemented the TouchWiz user interface, there's not much you'll still recognize from the original Android operating system. The system settings received an especially comprehensive overhaul. The sub-menus are split into four parts: "Connections", "My Device", "Accounts", and "More".

In addition, Samsung preinstalled huge apps. Along with access to the Google Play store, after completing an application process the user also has the option of downloading apps from the Samsung store.

 

The GPS module does its job well.
The GPS module does its job well.

Communication & GPS

In this segment our test subject fulfills nearly every possible desire. The WLAN module transmits according to the 802.11 a/b/g/n standard - even in dual-band mode. For data transfer while on the go, the phone possesses an LTE module that reaches a download speed of up to 100 Mbit/s. Half that speed is available for uploads. Bluetooth is on board in version 4.0, and Samsung didn't even leave out an NFC sensor (Near Field Communication). We didn't experience any problems with reception, nor was the connection ever unexpectedly dropped during our tests.

In today's world, the GPS module (incl. GLONASS) has a variety of uses. This receiver can be used for more than just navigation through unknown territory - for instance, you can also "tag" photos you shoot with the coordinates of your current location. The sat-fix works within seconds with an acceptable degree of accuracy. As long as the phone had clear access to the sky, to our knowledge the satellite connections were never interrupted.

Cameras & Multimedia

The camera modules in our test model are inferior to those in the 5-inch version - that's one of the cutbacks a potential buyer will have to take into account. There's still a sensor on both the front and back sides of the device, but the maximum resolution is lower. The main camera on the back side of the phone has a maximum resolution of 8 megapixels and can capture moving images in Full HD quality. To achieve the best results you can choose from various presets that correspond with your current environment ("Beauty Face", "Rich Tone" (HDR), "Panorama", etc.).

The front camera is equipped with a 1.9 MP sensor and is principally intended as the camera for video calls. The front camera records videos at a maximum resolution of 1280x720 pixels.

The main sensor renders colors very close to those rendered by our reference camera. The only noticeable problem is that the image has a slight green cast. Overall, we're very satisfied with the camera's performance.

Apple iPhone 5
Apple iPhone 5
Google Nexus 4
Google Nexus 4
Nokia Lumia 920
Nokia Lumia 920
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini
Reference: Sony A57
Reference: Sony A57
Apple iPhone 5
Apple iPhone 5
Google Nexus 4
Google Nexus 4
Nokia Lumia 920
Nokia Lumia 920
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini
Reference: Sony A57
Reference: Sony A57
Apple iPhone 5
Apple iPhone 5
Google Nexus 4
Google Nexus 4
Nokia Lumia 920
Nokia Lumia 920
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini
Reference: Sony A57
Reference: Sony A57

Accessories & Warranty

The manufacturer includes a modular charging device and an in-ear headset in the smartphone's packaging. Buyers will have to go without any other free accessories.

The warranty lasts for 24 months. To take advantage of the warranty, the owner must bring in the device and see to it that the repair process is initiated.

Input Devices & Operation

The capacitive display can handle up to ten fingers worth of simultaneous input and is therefore well prepared to interpret a variety of gestures. Commands are executed very quickly and nothing is left to be desired - just like you'd expect of the top-class devices. Additionally, many of the display's precise settings can be altered under the system settings menu.

The virtual QWERTY keyboard sets the keys far enough apart for the user to be able to type with accuracy, both in portrait and landscape mode. Unfortunately, in landscape format the virtual keyboard takes up over 50% of the display. Anyone who would like to type more comfortably should turn their attention to devices with larger displays - for instance the Galaxy Note line.

Display

Super AMOLED display as on the Galaxy S4
Super AMOLED display as on the Galaxy S4

The 4.3-inch display has a Super AMOLED screen with a resolution of 960x540 pixels at its command. Unfortunately this is far from its big brother's Full HD display. Naturally, the pixel density is also lower. At 256 ppi, the screen has nearly 200 less ppi than the Galaxy S4Directly compared to its predecessor, the Galaxy S3 Mini the display is slightly better - it's 0.3 inches bigger and the resolution is now at the qHD level.

We measured another improvement in the area of display brightness with the X-Rite i1Pro2. At an average brightness of 297.8 cd/m², the screen is slightly brighter than that of the Galaxy S3 MiniHowever, the brightness distribution is substantially less uniform - it fell from a 94% similarity across the display to 81%. The X-Rite i1Pro 2 measured the black value at 0.0 cd/m², thus rendering the calculated contrast value as "infinite". The screen's AMOLED technology is responsible for that strange measurement, as it displays the color "black" using an unlit pixel.

324
cd/m²
293
cd/m²
276
cd/m²
324
cd/m²
286
cd/m²
272
cd/m²
335
cd/m²
292
cd/m²
278
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 335 cd/m²
Average: 297.8 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 81 %
Center on Battery: 286 cd/m²
Black: 0.0 cd/m²
Contrast: ∞:1

Samsung made it possible for the phone's user to switch display modes. Using four pre-defined profiles, the user can change the phone's color spectrum, saturation and sharpness settings. The display's grayscale reproduction is substantially different across the four modes. The gray gradient inches considerably nearer to the optimal values as you step up through the "Dynamic", "Standard", "Video" and finally "Professional Photo" modes. The same phenomenon occurs in relation to coverage of the AdobeRGB color space. The "Professional Photo" setting was designed by the manufacturer to adjust the display to cover as much of the AdobeRGB color space as possible. In our subjective opinion, the "Video" setting is best suited to display colors within the sRGB color space.

Dynamic calibration
Dynamic calibration
Standard calibration
Standard calibration
ColorChecker AdobeRGB Dynamic
ColorChecker AdobeRGB Dynamic
ColorChecker AdobeRGB Professional Photo
ColorChecker AdobeRGB Professional Photo
ColorChecker AdobeRGB Standard
ColorChecker AdobeRGB Standard
ColorChecker AdobeRGB Video
ColorChecker AdobeRGB Video
ColorChecker Dynamic
ColorChecker Dynamic
ColorChecker Professional Photo
ColorChecker Professional Photo
ColorChecker Standard
ColorChecker Standard
ColorChecker Video
ColorChecker Video
Grayscale Dynamic
Grayscale Dynamic
Grayscale Professional Photo
Grayscale Professional Photo
Grayscale Standard
Grayscale Standard
Grayscale Video
Grayscale Video
Saturation Dynamic
Saturation Dynamic
Saturation Standard
Saturation Standard

Outside and in the sunlight, our test device displays its screen content very well. The extreme black value and resulting infinite contrast are primarily responsible for this. Even though the phone's average display brightness doesn't appear very high on paper, like it does for example for the iPhone 5, the Super AMOLED can put its strengths to good use here.

The Galaxy S4 Mini in outdoor use
The Galaxy S4 Mini in outdoor use
Viewing angle Galaxy S4 Mini
Viewing angle Galaxy S4 Mini

We can report just as excellent a result in the area of viewing angle stability as well. The colors displayed always look good, even when you view the screen from extreme angles - no cause for concern here.

Performance

This section of our review may be disillusioning, as unlike the Galaxy S4, the S4 Mini doesn't have extremely high-performance hardware squeezed into its little body. The smartphone contains a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 with the model name 8930AB. This SoC is manufactured in a 28 nm configuration and based on the ARMv7 platform. The dual-core Krait 300 processor runs at a clock rate of up to 1.7 GHz with 1.5 GB of working memory as a sidekick, and it joins forces with an Adreno 305 GPU. Here the difference between our review device and its big brother is quite obvious, as not only is the flagship equipped with a higher frequency quad-core processor - it also possesses the up to date Adreno 320 GPU.

Nonetheless, the S4 Mini's hardware still plays in an upper league, and the difference between the two devices isn't very obvious unless you look at the benchmark results. Subjectively, the difference shouldn't be noticeable with everyday use. To lay out the results as transparently as possible, we'll start with our analysis of the synthetic results. There we see that the S4 Mini achieves better results than the Galaxy S3 in almost every synthetic benchmark, and the brand new Galaxy Mega 6.3 always comes in behind our review device as well - despite the fact that it has the same SoC. Of course the S4 Mini can't keep up with the two flagships from Samsung and HTC.

AnTuTu Benchmark v3 - Total Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195
Adreno 305, 400 8930AB, 8 GB SSD
13958 Points ∼39%
HTC One
Adreno 320, 600 APQ8064T, 32 GB SSD
23500 Points ∼66% +68%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
Adreno 320, 600 APQ8064T, 16 GB iNAND Flash
23181 Points ∼65% +66%
Samsung Galaxy S3
Mali-400 MP4, 4412 Quad, 16 GB SSD
15395 Points ∼43% +10%
Samsung S3 Mini GT-I8190
Mali-400 MP, NovaThor U8500, 8 GB SSD
6605 Points ∼18% -53%
Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 I9200
Adreno 305, 400 8930AB, 8 GB SSD
13392 Points ∼37% -4%
Geekbench 2 - 32 Bit - Total Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195
Adreno 305, 400 8930AB, 8 GB SSD
1919 Points ∼13%
HTC One
Adreno 320, 600 APQ8064T, 32 GB SSD
2332 Points ∼16% +22%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
Adreno 320, 600 APQ8064T, 16 GB iNAND Flash
3216 Points ∼23% +68%
Samsung Galaxy S3
Mali-400 MP4, 4412 Quad, 16 GB SSD
1816 Points ∼13% -5%
Samsung S3 Mini GT-I8190
Mali-400 MP, NovaThor U8500, 8 GB SSD
754 Points ∼5% -61%
Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 I9200
Adreno 305, 400 8930AB, 8 GB SSD
1907 Points ∼13% -1%
Basemark X 1.0
On-Screen (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195
Adreno 305, 400 8930AB, 8 GB SSD
11.825 fps ∼36%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
Adreno 320, 600 APQ8064T, 16 GB iNAND Flash
8.608 fps ∼26% -27%
Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 I9200
Adreno 305, 400 8930AB, 8 GB SSD
6.879 fps ∼21% -42%
Off-Screen (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195
Adreno 305, 400 8930AB, 8 GB SSD
3.092 fps ∼15%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
Adreno 320, 600 APQ8064T, 16 GB iNAND Flash
8.015 fps ∼38% +159%
Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 I9200
Adreno 305, 400 8930AB, 8 GB SSD
3.01 fps ∼14% -3%
GFXBench (DX / GLBenchmark) 2.7
1920x1080 T-Rex HD Offscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195
Adreno 305, 400 8930AB, 8 GB SSD
6.2 fps ∼1%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
Adreno 320, 600 APQ8064T, 16 GB iNAND Flash
15 fps ∼2% +142%
Samsung Galaxy S3
Mali-400 MP4, 4412 Quad, 16 GB SSD
4.1 fps ∼0% -34%
Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 I9200
Adreno 305, 400 8930AB, 8 GB SSD
6.2 fps ∼1% 0%
T-Rex HD Onscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195
Adreno 305, 400 8930AB, 8 GB SSD
14 fps ∼4%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
Adreno 320, 600 APQ8064T, 16 GB iNAND Flash
15 fps ∼4% +7%
Samsung Galaxy S3
Mali-400 MP4, 4412 Quad, 16 GB SSD
5.6 fps ∼2% -60%
Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 I9200
Adreno 305, 400 8930AB, 8 GB SSD
10 fps ∼3% -29%

The results from the browser speed tests are mixed. Overall, the results from the various devices inch closer together and no device has a clear lead, unlike what we saw with previous generations.

Browsermark - --- (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195
Adreno 305, 400 8930AB, 8 GB SSD
2188 points ∼30%
HTC One
Adreno 320, 600 APQ8064T, 32 GB SSD
2152 points ∼30% -2%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
Adreno 320, 600 APQ8064T, 16 GB iNAND Flash
2502 points ∼35% +14%
Samsung Galaxy S3
Mali-400 MP4, 4412 Quad, 16 GB SSD
1898 points ∼26% -13%
Samsung S3 Mini GT-I8190
Mali-400 MP, NovaThor U8500, 8 GB SSD
1038 points ∼14% -53%
Google V8 Ver. 7 - Google V8 Ver. 7 Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195
Adreno 305, 400 8930AB, 8 GB SSD
2165 Points ∼12%
HTC One
Adreno 320, 600 APQ8064T, 32 GB SSD
1899 Points ∼10% -12%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
Adreno 320, 600 APQ8064T, 16 GB iNAND Flash
2222 Points ∼12% +3%
Samsung Galaxy S3
Mali-400 MP4, 4412 Quad, 16 GB SSD
1978 Points ∼11% -9%
Samsung S3 Mini GT-I8190
Mali-400 MP, NovaThor U8500, 8 GB SSD
1013 Points ∼6% -53%
Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 I9200
Adreno 305, 400 8930AB, 8 GB SSD
2304 Points ∼13% +6%
Octane V1 - Total Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195
Adreno 305, 400 8930AB, 8 GB SSD
1958 Points ∼9%
HTC One
Adreno 320, 600 APQ8064T, 32 GB SSD
1986 Points ∼9% +1%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
Adreno 320, 600 APQ8064T, 16 GB iNAND Flash
2290 Points ∼11% +17%
Samsung Galaxy S3
Mali-400 MP4, 4412 Quad, 16 GB SSD
1954 Points ∼9% 0%
Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 I9200
Adreno 305, 400 8930AB, 8 GB SSD
2169 Points ∼10% +11%
Peacekeeper - --- (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195
Adreno 305, 400 8930AB, 8 GB SSD
530 Points ∼9%
HTC One
Adreno 320, 600 APQ8064T, 32 GB SSD
683 Points ∼11% +29%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
Adreno 320, 600 APQ8064T, 16 GB iNAND Flash
555 Points ∼9% +5%
Samsung Galaxy S3
Mali-400 MP4, 4412 Quad, 16 GB SSD
664 Points ∼11% +25%
Samsung S3 Mini GT-I8190
Mali-400 MP, NovaThor U8500, 8 GB SSD
150 Points ∼2% -72%
Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 I9200
Adreno 305, 400 8930AB, 8 GB SSD
608 Points ∼10% +15%

In the last benchmark category, we measure the flash memory speed with the help of the AndroBench 3 app. In the more important read tests, the S4 Mini trumps the S3, S3 Mini and Mega 6.3. Write processes are more rare than read processes - which is good news for the S4 Mini, as the competition does better there (exception: the Galaxy S3 Mini's random write processes).

AndroBench 3
Sequential Read 256KB (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195
Adreno 305, 400 8930AB, 8 GB SSD
50.88 MB/s ∼28%
HTC One
Adreno 320, 600 APQ8064T, 32 GB SSD
58.75 MB/s ∼33% +15%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
Adreno 320, 600 APQ8064T, 16 GB iNAND Flash
75.1 MB/s ∼42% +48%
Samsung Galaxy S3
Mali-400 MP4, 4412 Quad, 16 GB SSD
38.08 MB/s ∼21% -25%
Samsung S3 Mini GT-I8190
Mali-400 MP, NovaThor U8500, 8 GB SSD
30.08 MB/s ∼17% -41%
Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 I9200
Adreno 305, 400 8930AB, 8 GB SSD
49.79 MB/s ∼28% -2%
Sequential Write 256KB (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195
Adreno 305, 400 8930AB, 8 GB SSD
6.33 MB/s ∼11%
HTC One
Adreno 320, 600 APQ8064T, 32 GB SSD
16.37 MB/s ∼28% +159%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
Adreno 320, 600 APQ8064T, 16 GB iNAND Flash
13.11 MB/s ∼23% +107%
Samsung Galaxy S3
Mali-400 MP4, 4412 Quad, 16 GB SSD
7.44 MB/s ∼13% +18%
Samsung S3 Mini GT-I8190
Mali-400 MP, NovaThor U8500, 8 GB SSD
9.28 MB/s ∼16% +47%
Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 I9200
Adreno 305, 400 8930AB, 8 GB SSD
7.48 MB/s ∼13% +18%
Random Read 4KB (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195
Adreno 305, 400 8930AB, 8 GB SSD
9.37 MB/s ∼45%
HTC One
Adreno 320, 600 APQ8064T, 32 GB SSD
11.83 MB/s ∼56% +26%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
Adreno 320, 600 APQ8064T, 16 GB iNAND Flash
12.28 MB/s ∼59% +31%
Samsung Galaxy S3
Mali-400 MP4, 4412 Quad, 16 GB SSD
7.13 MB/s ∼34% -24%
Samsung S3 Mini GT-I8190
Mali-400 MP, NovaThor U8500, 8 GB SSD
8.92 MB/s ∼43% -5%
Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 I9200
Adreno 305, 400 8930AB, 8 GB SSD
9.3 MB/s ∼44% -1%
Random Write 4KB (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195
Adreno 305, 400 8930AB, 8 GB SSD
0.32 MB/s ∼10%
HTC One
Adreno 320, 600 APQ8064T, 32 GB SSD
1.19 MB/s ∼38% +272%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
Adreno 320, 600 APQ8064T, 16 GB iNAND Flash
1.13 MB/s ∼36% +253%
Samsung Galaxy S3
Mali-400 MP4, 4412 Quad, 16 GB SSD
0.58 MB/s ∼18% +81%
Samsung S3 Mini GT-I8190
Mali-400 MP, NovaThor U8500, 8 GB SSD
0.27 MB/s ∼9% -16%
Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 I9200
Adreno 305, 400 8930AB, 8 GB SSD
0.38 MB/s ∼12% +19%

Videos & Games

Any current high-end product stemming from the upper middle class should be able to handle Full HD videos and various other multimedia tasks without a problem. We can attest that this "tiny tot" does just that. The device played our test sequences (1080p) fluidly on the first go. There's nothing to criticize about the phone's ability to run 3D games from the Play Store either.

Need For Speed Hot Pursuit and GTA III
Need For Speed Hot Pursuit and GTA III
are no problem for this device.
are no problem for this device.

It's possible that there are still smartphone owners who use their devices for phone calls. During phone calls, the sound quality is very good on both sides. The caller's speech is clear and easy to understand, and the experience is the same on the other end. Of course all this is dependent on the telephone on the other end of the call and the cellular network's signal strength. We didn't notice any background noise (for instance soft crackling). 

Emissions

Temperature

A high-performance SoC in a small case, where there's little room for heat to be eliminated, generally has only one end result. Directly compared to the Galaxy S4Mega 6.3 and S3 Mini, our test device has bigger problems. The other competing models from Samsung remain several degrees Celsius cooler. The differences lessen when the SoC is under little or no load. Even when the temperatures are somewhat elevated the smartphone never grows disconcertingly warm, and certainly never hot.

Max. Load
 35.2 °C39.7 °C39.9 °C 
 36.2 °C39.9 °C40.0 °C 
 35.0 °C39.0 °C38.1 °C 
Maximum: 40.0 °C
Average: 38.1 °C
37.9 °C40.2 °C33.6 °C
37.0 °C41.0 °C34.1 °C
36.9 °C40.1 °C32.4 °C
Maximum: 41.0 °C
Average: 37 °C
Power Supply (max.)  38.6 °C | Room Temperature 23 °C | Voltcraft IR-350

Speaker

Though Samsung continues to build the speaker into the back of their device, the phone's results in this area are surprisingly good. The maximum volume is completely sufficient. Competing products often reach a higher sound pressure level, but unfortunately the speaker then emits distorted sound and generates other problems at high volumes. Here the sound pressure level is solid up to its peak and the sound is clear.

However, the sound produced by the S4 Mini's speaker is still far from the excellent sound emitted by the HTC One. Audiophiles should turn to external audio solutions.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

Battery life is highly dependent on a device's energy consumption at various levels of load. If we compare our review device's energy consumption in idle mode with that of the previous generation, we see that Samsung managed to make improvements in this area. The Galaxy S3 Mini needed 0.7 watts here, while the S4 Mini makes do with 0.3 watts. The tide turns under load; with values between 3.4 and 3.9 watts, the S4 is now the energy guzzler (S3 Mini: 1.8 - 2.4 watts). Still, our review device's energy consumption is less than that of the Galaxy Mega 6.3. Because of its huge display, the Mega 6.3 almost always eats up 1 watt more under load.

Power Consumption

Off / Standby 0.0 / 0.1 Watt
Idle 0.3 / 0.9 / 1.2 Watt
Load 3.4 / 3.9 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         Voltcraft VC 940

Battery Life

The Galaxy S4 is already known for its long battery life, as the lithium-ion battery stores 9.88 watt hours. Due to its construction, the S4 Mini simply must have a smaller power storage space. The battery has a capacity of 7.03 Wh. The lower energy consumption has a clear effect on battery life under low levels of load. The S3 Mini's lights went out after 9 hours and 45 minutes in WLAN load, but our new device holds out for 12 hours and 52 minutes. If the SoC is allowed to hum along without any work, the phone runs for a whole 19 hours and 52 minutes. However, our full load simulation reveals a downside - the S4 Mini cuts out after only 2 hours and 36 minutes. The smartphone needs 2 hours and 18 minutes to recharge.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
19h 52min
WiFi Surfing
12h 10min
Load (maximum brightness)
2h 36min

Verdict

Positive in every respect - the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini
Positive in every respect - the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini

With the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini, the South Korean manufacturer hit a bull's-eye once again. The smartphone is aimed at consumers who are looking for high performance but don't want to carry around a device practically half the size of a tablet. With a clock rate of 1.7 GHz and 1.5 GB of working memory, the Snapdragon 400 SoC has enough performance that no current program induces the device to break into a sweat -- at a suggested retail price of 529 Euros (~$693) that ought to be the case. The current street price is about 100 Euros (~$131) less.

The smartphone is also equipped with a ton of features and transmits over almost every thinkable module. Its manufacturing quality and feel are very good, despite its plastic case.

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In Review: Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini. Test device courtesy of Samsung Deutschland.
In Review: Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini. Test device courtesy of Samsung Deutschland.

Specifications

Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195

:: Processor
:: Graphics adapter
:: Display
4.3 inch 16:9, 960x540 pixel, Capacitive, Super AMOLED, 16.7 million colors, glossy: yes
:: Harddisk
8 GB SSD, 8 GB , 5 GB free
:: Connections
1 USB 2.0, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm jack, Card Reader: Micro SD slot, Sensors: Position sensor, Acceleration sensor, Brightness sensor,
:: Networking
802.11a/b/g/n (a b g n ), 4.0 Bluetooth, UMTS, LTE
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 8.94 x 124.6 x 61.3
:: Weight
0.107 kg Power Supply: 0.032 kg
:: Battery
7.03 Wh Lithium-Ion, 1900 mAh, Talk time 3G (according to manufacturer): 12 h, Standby 3G (according to manufacturer): 300 h
:: Price
529 Euro
:: Operating System
Android 4.2
:: Additional features
Webcam: Rear: 8 MP, Front: 1.9 MP, Speakers: Mono speaker, Keyboard: Virtual, In-ear headset, Modular power supply, 24 Months Warranty

 

[+] compare
The Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini is the small version...
The Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini is the small version...
...of the current flagship. Visually only very little...
...of the current flagship. Visually only very little...
...about the design was altered.
...about the design was altered.
The camera's resolution is "only" 8 MP, vs. its big brother's 16.
The camera's resolution is "only" 8 MP, vs. its big brother's 16.
On the bottom everything remains the same.
On the bottom everything remains the same.
The display is also equipped with Super AMOLED technology.
The display is also equipped with Super AMOLED technology.
In portrait format there's enough space on the screen - not so in landscape mode.
In portrait format there's enough space on the screen - not so in landscape mode.
Under the hood the similarity continues.
Under the hood the similarity continues.
The storage can be expanded via micro SD card.
The storage can be expanded via micro SD card.
Very much needed with such little internal memory.
Very much needed with such little internal memory.
Samsung changed the look of the system settings, and now...
Samsung changed the look of the system settings, and now...
...it's a little confusing - partly because of the numerous new features.
...it's a little confusing - partly because of the numerous new features.
Samsung employs the current Android 4.2.2 as their operating system.
Samsung employs the current Android 4.2.2 as their operating system.
Alongside the Google Play Store, Samsung also offers their own version.
Alongside the Google Play Store, Samsung also offers their own version.
Samsung uses TouchWiz for their launcher, and the number of preinstalled...
Samsung uses TouchWiz for their launcher, and the number of preinstalled...
...apps is very high. Another place you have to find your way amid the chaos.
...apps is very high. Another place you have to find your way amid the chaos.
The two-piece case is made almost entirely of plastic, but...
The two-piece case is made almost entirely of plastic, but...
...Samsung is a master with this material, and therefore...
...Samsung is a master with this material, and therefore...
...the case is very well manufactured and feels high-quality and stable.
...the case is very well manufactured and feels high-quality and stable.
If you're content with a 4.3-inch screen and looking for up to date hardware, you should definitely take a look at this device.
If you're content with a 4.3-inch screen and looking for up to date hardware, you should definitely take a look at this device.

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Links

Price Comparison

Pro

+Good performance
+Main camera results
+Manufacturing quality
+Communication equipment
+Infrared port
+Very good display
 

Cons

-Price
-Slightly high temperature
-Low resolution front camera

Shortcut

What we like

Despite the fact that it has a plastic case, the smartphone feels good in your hand - you get the sense that it's high-quality and tough. The Super AMOLED display does its job excellently.

What we'd like to see

The Galaxy S4's Full HD resolution is enticing. We'd like to have seen a higher resolution on the S4 Mini.

What surprises us

Despite a few performance deficits, the S4 still performs at a very high level, offering no room for criticism. The camera's images nearly approximate those of our reference camera.

The competition

Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3

Samsung Galaxy S4

HTC One

Google Nexus 4

Apple iPhone 5

Rating

Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195
08/05/2013 v3
Daniel Schuster

Chassis
88%
Keyboard
51%
Pointing Device
92%
Connectivity
44%
Weight
100%
Battery
97%
Display
86%
Games Performance
36%
Application Performance
52%
Temperature
82%
Noise
100%
Add Points
88%
Average
76%
88%
Smartphone *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Review Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195 Smartphone
Author: Daniel Schuster, 2013-07-17 (Update: 2013-07-18)