Notebookcheck

Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini Smartphone Review

Florian Wimmer (translated by Andreas Osthoff), 08/18/2014

Big is now "Mini". One year ago, the Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini would have easily been a standard-sized smartphone. But it is smaller than the Galaxy S5 and does not offer all the features, either, so it is called "Mini". Where did the manufacturer save some money? And how does the Galaxy S5 Mini perform compared to other "Mini" devices?

In Review: Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini. Review unit courtesy of Cyberport.

For the original German review, see here.

Mini versions of top smartphones are a good tradition by now and they are not always worse than their bigger siblings. We actually liked the HTC One Mini 2 better than the HTC One M8 in some areas. The current top smartphones are also too big for many buyers with display sizes over 5 inches. Such a 4.5-inch "dwarf" like the Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini might be the solution.

Some features of the bigger sibling are available in the smaller version as well: Fingerprint reader, water- and dust-resistant case, heart rate monitor and the Ultra Power Saving mode. However, you have to waive the high-quality camera from the Galaxy S5: The 8 MP sensor of the Galaxy S5 Mini is average for a mainstream device. The display resolution is lower as well: 720p for the Galaxy S5 Mini, whereas the Galaxy S5 has a Full HD screen.

Obvious devices for a comparison are the Galaxy S5 as well as the HTC One Mini 2. The LG G2 Mini is not a very convenient example of a mini version of a top smartphone in our opinion; the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact on the other hand was good. It is also interesting to see the differences compared to the Galaxy S4 Mini. Other mainstream smartphones in this price range would be the Motorola Moto XGoogle Nexus 5 or the LG Optimus L9 II.

Case

The design is similar to the Galaxy S5 and the back is once again slightly textured.
The design is similar to the Galaxy S5 and the back is once again slightly textured.

The case shares many similarities with its sibling: The matte back with a subtle dot pattern, the chrome-colored frame with the two surrounding grooves and the silver frame of the home button really remind us of the Samsung Galaxy S5. Samsung fans love the case because it is light; the people that do not like Samsung revile it because it is completely made of plastic. As a fact, the material impression is not as sophisticated as the HTC One Mini 2, for example, which is completely made of metal. However, the case is sturdy: Pressure on the back or the front is not visible on the screen. 

The back with its roughened surface has good grip and it is easy to hold the very narrow case in the hand. The design is obviously a matter of taste, it is not as reduced as the HTC One Mini 2 or the iPhone 5s, but it combines several shapes, which does not look as sophisticated as other high-end smartphones in our opinion. On the one hand, the design is not striking enough to attract attention, on the other hand, it will probably scare off fans of simpler shapes.

One highlight is certainly once again the good maintainability: The battery can be removed or replaced if necessary. Just like the bigger sibling, the case has been certified according to IP-67, which means it is water- and dust-resistant. The smartphone can be submerged and resists sweat and rain, but the removable back cover has to be attached correctly, which is also indicated by a popup quite often. Interesting: It seems that Samsung found a way to make the live USB port waterproof. The Samsung Galaxy S5 still used a cover for that, now you can submerge the smartphone without a cover.

Connectivity

The USB 3.0 port from the bigger Galaxy S5 is unfortunately not available in the "Mini" version and you will have to live with the slightly slower USB 2.0 port. The system memory is also 500 MB smaller than the larger sibling at 1.5 GB. Near Field Communication (NFC) is possible with the Galaxy S5 Mini as well, but the USB port does not support MHL anymore.

The internal storage is still 16 GB in the standard version and can be expanded via MicroSD card. The fingerprint reader, which is supposed to protect the smartphone very effectively, is once again integrated into the home button and worked reliably in a first test, but similar to the Galaxy S5, you have to precisely swipe from the top to the bottom to unlock the device. If it does not work with the fingerprint, you can also unlock the device with a password.

At the back is once again a heart rate monitor, which showed different results with multiple measurements and resulted in a pretty high resting heart rate of almost 90.

Bottom: USB 2.0, microphone
Bottom: USB 2.0, microphone
Top: Infrared, combined stereo jack
Top: Infrared, combined stereo jack
Left side: Volume rocker
Left side: Volume rocker
Right side: Standby
Right side: Standby

Software

Samsung's Touch Wiz user interface is based on Android 4.4 and there are just small differences compared to the Galaxy S5: The app "My Magazine", which was the news aggregator for the Galaxy S5, is not available ex-works, but it can be activated in the settings. Otherwise, the interface is very intuitive for Android users and Samsung veterans, but new users might be overwhelmed by the features at first. The Galaxy S5 offered a few more features, but the number is still huge.

Samsung also installs some useful apps, for example "S Health", which is supposed to improve fitness. Those apps are obviously available from other companies, but the direct integration of the heart rate monitor, the immediate start of the step counter and some other features are comfortable and free features of the app. The voice control "S Voice" is still on board, just like the calendar app "S Planner", the picture effect from "Studio" or "Smart Remote" that can be used to control the TV via infrared sensor at the top. Apps can also be copied to the SD card via "Application Manager" as long as the author of the app allows it.

However, there are also some apps that were installed for advertising purposes. This bloatware includes apps from shopping sites, food and hotel services. All in all, there are around five apps, so they can quickly be deleted.

Communication & GPS 

The super fast wireless standard 802.11ac that we know from the Galaxy S5 is not supported by the S5 Mini. However, wireless networks up to the standard 802.11n should be sufficient for most users right now. 

The wireless networks are fairly flexible: Thanks to four frequencies for GSM and 3G each, as well as six frequencies for LTE, you should be able to establish a connection in most countries around the world. The GSM and 3G signals are good and largely sufficient in the metropolitan area most of the time. We cannot test the LTE signal right now due to the bad network coverage of our provider.

GPS outdoors
GPS outdoors
GPS indoors
GPS indoors

The GPS module also supports the Russian Glonass network and the smartphone offers several settings: You can locate your position with the WLAN and mobile network only to save power or use them to enable a more precise location (A-GPS).

The signal quality outdoors is good: The device quickly found enough satellites to locate our position down to 7 meters (~23 feet). However, the signal is not sufficient to establish a connection indoors; you can only use the location via WLAN and mobile network in this case.

We took the Galaxy S5 Mini and a professional navigation device, the Garmin Edge 500, on a bike ride. The two devices showed similar results, and the track length that was determined by Runtastic did not really differ, either. Both show quite a precise track and the Galaxy S5 Mini is even a bit more accurate around the bridge, but it lost us in the forest for a while in return.

Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini: GPS complete
Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini: GPS complete
Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini: GPS bridge
Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini: GPS bridge
Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini: GPS forest
Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini: GPS forest
Garmin Edge 500: GPS complete
Garmin Edge 500: GPS complete
Garmin Edge 500: GPS bridge
Garmin Edge 500: GPS bridge
Garmin Edge 500: GPS forest
Garmin Edge 500: GPS forest

Telephone features and Voice Quality

The phone app did not change compared to the Galaxy S5: Large pictures and rectangular buttons dominate the picture and remind us of the current Windows design language. The app still works in landscape mode, which is a good idea. The buttons are slightly smaller compared to the larger sibling due to the screen size, but still big enough for users with limited eyesight.

The voice quality during calls is similar to the Galaxy S5, but not quite as brilliant as the HTC One Mini 2, which has an excellent voice quality and also a very high maximum volume because the integrated speaker is used as an earpiece. However, the recipient understands us very well with the Galaxy S5 Mini and the recipient also confirms a decent noise filtering in louder environments. The hands-free feature via speaker works pretty well, while the "Additional Volume" button of the phone app once again only resulted in a small improvement.

Cameras & Multimedia

The camera of the Galaxy S5 Mini has been reduced to a mainstream level with 8 Megapixels. Every user has to decide for himself, whether he needs the gigantic 16 Megapixels of the Galaxy S5 or not, but the results of the Galaxy S5 Mini are actually pretty good: The colors are good and the pictures are neither too bright nor too dark. At the same time you can see many details, only very big colored surfaces show some pixels when you have a closer look. The edges are not as sharp compared to the Sony A57 or the Nokia Lumia 1020, but still more than sufficient if you do not want to create a billboard.

Overall, we like the 8 MP camera of the Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini, especially the reliable autofocus, even though it is not the fastest. The sensor also works pretty well in dark environments without the flash. This does affect the sharpness, but color noise is only an issue in very dark environments in return. The LED flash does a good job. Videos can be recorded in Full HD and we like the picture quality as well as the smooth frame rate.

The front camera takes decent pictures with its comparatively low resolution of 2.1 Megapixels, but you should not zoom too much. The mandatory selfies work pretty well and the sensor does a good job in dark environments, but it has to since there is no flash at the front.

Image Comparison

Choose a scene and navigate within the first image. One click changes the zoom step. One click on the zoomed-in image opens the original in a new window. The first image shows the scaled photograph of the test device.

Scene 1Scene 2Scene 3

Accessories

A headset is included with the Galaxy S5 Mini. It is the standard Samsung model, which also comes with the Galaxy S5. Furthermore, you get a quick start guide, a micro USB cable and the power adaptor. There are not many additional accessories for the Galaxy S5 Mini at a first look, and Samsung only offers cases right now.

However, you can, for instance, connect the Galaxy S5 Mini with the Samsung Galaxy Gear Fit, a smart watch with focus on the fitness features. A more detailed description of the qualities and the battery runtime is available in the review of the Galaxy S5. The smart watch Galaxy Gear can also be connected with the device.

Warranty

The warranty period in Germany is 24 months. Samsung does not offer a warranty extension.

Input Devices & Handling

The touchscreen controls are very precise, even in the peripheral areas and the screen recognizes up to ten fingers simultaneously. Thanks to its high-sensitivity mode, you can also use it on cold days with thin gloves. We could not determine an input delay and the surface provided good gliding capabilities. There is almost no friction for the finger.

Samsung adjusted the keyboard pretty comprehensively, but the input of the Galaxy S5 Mini, probably due to the smaller screen, does not have all the options of the Galaxy S5: The separate number keys have been waived, including the option to assign frequently used words with them. Still, the keyboard can be adjusted with multiple settings and the other input methods are comprehensive as well with alternatives like voice or Swype inputs. However, writing on the panel itself is not possible this time. 

Typing works pretty well, even though the keys are now very close to each other in portrait mode. Still, typos were rare and the system automatically corrects wrong inputs if you activate it.

The eye tracking for browsing through pages is not implemented this time, but some apps once again support gestures from a finger that hovers above the display for additional features. The enhanced gesture control is available as well: Swipe across the screen to take a snapshot or hold the smartphone to your ear to call the opened contact automatically, which can be quite useful.

Keyboard portrait mode
Keyboard portrait mode
Keyboard landscape mode
Keyboard landscape mode

Display

Compared to the Galaxy S5, the display resolution was reduced to 1280x720 pixels, but that is still an improvement over the Galaxy S4 Mini, where the screen only had a resolution of 960x540 pixels. Samsung still uses a Super-AMOLED display that can show rich colors and basically an infinite contrast thanks to the absolute black. In return, there are often some issues with the brightness, so it can be tricky to use it outdoors.

The black value is actually 0 cd/m², so black areas are really shown without any other colors or color shades. The maximum brightness on the other hand is clearly below the LCD displays from the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact or the HTC One Mini 2. 307 cd/m² is the maximum result for the Galaxy S5 Mini, but we were able to measure up to 441 cd/m² with direct light on the light sensor. It seems that Samsung has some brightness reserves for very bright environments.

307
cd/m²
288
cd/m²
270
cd/m²
304
cd/m²
288
cd/m²
273
cd/m²
305
cd/m²
289
cd/m²
274
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 307 cd/m²
Average: 288.7 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 88 %
Center on Battery: 288 cd/m²
Black: 0 cd/m²
Contrast: ∞:1

The complete black theoretically results in an infinite contrast ratio, which results in a very vivid and rich color presentation. Samsung once again uses different display modes, so that every user can adjust the display according to their needs, but the smartphone can also select the corresponding color mode automatically. The “Dynamic” mode has the richest colors, but it looks a bit artificial. “Cinema” is the other extreme with a very reduced saturation and a much less dynamic picture. Somewhere in between are the modes “Standard” and “Professional Picture”.

We use the software CalMAN and special measurement devices to see the impacts of the four color modes on the color presentation and to check the color accuracy of the display. The “Cinema” mode shows the lowest deviation from the ideal value of the color space sRGB in general. The colors are too saturated in the “Dynamic” mode and medium gray tones have a visible blue cast. The latter is also present in the “Cinema” mode, but not as strong.

It is a joy to watch content in the modes “Dynamic” or “Standard” since the colors appear very vivid and rich. However, you should select the “Cinema” mode if you want the most natural picture. The automatic selection tends to favor rich colors instead of a natural presentation based on our experiences.

Color Management "Dynamic"
Color Management "Dynamic"
Color Management "Picture"
Color Management "Picture"
Color Management "Cinema"
Color Management "Cinema"
Color Management "Standard"
Color Management "Standard"
ColorChecker "Dynamic"
ColorChecker "Dynamic"
ColorChecker "Picture"
ColorChecker "Picture"
ColorChecker "Cinema"
ColorChecker "Cinema"
ColorChecker "Standard"
ColorChecker "Standard"
Grayscale "Dynamic"
Grayscale "Dynamic"
Grayscale "Picture"
Grayscale "Picture"
Grayscale "Cinema"
Grayscale "Cinema"
Grayscale "Standard"
Grayscale "Standard"
Saturation Sweeps "Dynamic"
Saturation Sweeps "Dynamic"
Saturation Sweeps "Picture"
Saturation Sweeps "Picture"
Saturation Sweeps "Cinema"
Saturation Sweeps "Cinema"
Saturation Sweeps "Standard"
Saturation Sweeps "Standard"

A device with a glossy display will never be perfect for the use outdoors. Still, you can use the Galaxy S5 Mini on the road: The brightness sensor quickly recognizes the environment and adjusts the display brightness accordingly. We could always see the display content on a sunny day with clouds, but you will have to live reflections.

As we mentioned before, the display brightness can be raised above the maximum value in very bright environments, so the visibility of the display content was still decent. Using the Galaxy S5 Mini indoors or in the shade is no problem.

Samsung's Super-AMOLED displays always left a positive impression in terms of viewing angle stability so far. That does not change with the Galaxy S5 Mini; the display can maintain its full contrast even with very flat viewing angles.

Outdoor use
Outdoor use
Viewing angles
Viewing angles

Performance

The Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini is a significant step down compared to the Galaxy S5 in terms of performance: The SoC Exynos 3470 with 1.4 GHz has a much lower clock than the Snapdragon 801 MSM8974AC with 2.45 GHz, which is used for the Galaxy S5. The memory was reduced by 512 MB to 1,536 MB, and the integrated graphics solution, the Mali 400 MP4, is slower than the Adreno 330 in the Galaxy S5

The SoC inside the Galaxy S5 Mini is actually a bit slower compared to other mainstream smartphones, at least in the synthetic benchmarks. This is not really an issue in practice, but there can be small stutters, for example, when you open the notification center while you use another app. The Multi-Window mode was also smoother on the Galaxy S5.

According to our measurements, the Galaxy S5 Mini cannot keep up with its predecessor, the Galaxy S4 Mini, either. The Sony Xperia Z1 Compact on the other hand almost performs at the level of the big Galaxy S5 and manages high-end results. This also means it is clearly ahead of the Galaxy S5 Mini.

Smartbench 2012 - Productivity Index (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
4264 points ∼41%
Samsung Galaxy S5
9054 points ∼87% +112%
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195
4878 points ∼47% +14%
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
9039 points ∼87% +112%
LG G2 Mini
5137 points ∼50% +20%
Motorola Moto X
4727 points ∼46% +11%
Google Nexus 5
4966 points ∼48% +16%
LG D605 Optimus L9 II
3235 points ∼31% -24%
Linpack for Android
Single Thread (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
87 MFLOPS ∼11%
Samsung Galaxy S5
355 MFLOPS ∼46% +308%
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195
193.164 MFLOPS ∼25% +122%
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
386.329 MFLOPS ∼50% +344%
LG G2 Mini
86.426 MFLOPS ∼11% -1%
Motorola Moto X
145.292 MFLOPS ∼19% +67%
Google Nexus 5
95.049 MFLOPS ∼12% +9%
LG D605 Optimus L9 II
133.919 MFLOPS ∼17% +54%
Multi Thread (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
195 MFLOPS ∼14%
Samsung Galaxy S5
678 MFLOPS ∼47% +248%
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195
347.766 MFLOPS ∼24% +78%
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
839.432 MFLOPS ∼58% +330%
LG G2 Mini
226.703 MFLOPS ∼16% +16%
Motorola Moto X
332.676 MFLOPS ∼23% +71%
Google Nexus 5
273.81 MFLOPS ∼19% +40%
LG D605 Optimus L9 II
183.533 MFLOPS ∼13% -6%
Geekbench 2 - 32 Bit - Total Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
1207 Points ∼10%
Samsung Galaxy S5
3965 Points ∼32% +229%
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195
1919 Points ∼15% +59%
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
4088 Points ∼33% +239%
LG G2 Mini
1375 Points ∼11% +14%
Google Nexus 5
2166 Points ∼17% +79%
Geekbench 3
32 Bit Single-Core Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
369 Points ∼11%
Samsung Galaxy S5
941 Points ∼27% +155%
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
924 Points ∼26% +150%
LG G2 Mini
343 Points ∼10% -7%
Motorola Moto X
682 Points ∼19% +85%
Google Nexus 5
521 Points ∼15% +41%
LG D605 Optimus L9 II
454 Points ∼13% +23%
32 Bit Multi-Core Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
1113 Points ∼9%
Samsung Galaxy S5
2885 Points ∼22% +159%
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
2869 Points ∼22% +158%
LG G2 Mini
1141 Points ∼9% +3%
Motorola Moto X
1263 Points ∼10% +13%
Google Nexus 5
1613 Points ∼13% +45%
LG D605 Optimus L9 II
457 Points ∼4% -59%
PassMark PerformanceTest Mobile V1
System (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
2838 Points ∼45%
Samsung Galaxy S5
4158 Points ∼66% +47%
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195
2521 Points ∼40% -11%
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
3464 Points ∼55% +22%
LG G2 Mini
2184 Points ∼35% -23%
Motorola Moto X
2708 Points ∼43% -5%
Google Nexus 5
2984 Points ∼47% +5%
LG D605 Optimus L9 II
1815 Points ∼29% -36%
CPU Tests (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
8008 Points ∼18%
Samsung Galaxy S5
17472 Points ∼39% +118%
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195
7195 Points ∼16% -10%
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
17739 Points ∼40% +122%
LG G2 Mini
7514 Points ∼17% -6%
Motorola Moto X
6979 Points ∼16% -13%
Google Nexus 5
9380 Points ∼21% +17%
LG D605 Optimus L9 II
4865 Points ∼11% -39%
Disk Tests (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
9689 Points ∼25%
Samsung Galaxy S5
16759 Points ∼44% +73%
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195
6252 Points ∼16% -35%
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
8399 Points ∼22% -13%
LG G2 Mini
4971 Points ∼13% -49%
Motorola Moto X
6500 Points ∼17% -33%
Google Nexus 5
8021 Points ∼21% -17%
LG D605 Optimus L9 II
3510 Points ∼9% -64%
Memory Tests (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
1740 Points ∼30%
Samsung Galaxy S5
3921 Points ∼68% +125%
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195
3178 Points ∼55% +83%
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
4275 Points ∼74% +146%
LG G2 Mini
1817 Points ∼32% +4%
Motorola Moto X
3197 Points ∼56% +84%
Google Nexus 5
2424 Points ∼42% +39%
LG D605 Optimus L9 II
2358 Points ∼41% +36%
Quadrant Standard Edition 2.0 - --- (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
8047 points ∼33%
Samsung Galaxy S5
23083 points ∼96% +187%
Motorola Moto X
8390 points ∼35% +4%
LG D605 Optimus L9 II (2.1.1)
5114 points ∼21% -36%

Legend

 
Samsung Galaxy S5 mini Samsung Exynos 3470 Quad, ARM Mali-400 MP4, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Samsung Galaxy S5 Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 MSM8974AC, Qualcomm Adreno 330, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195 Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 8930AB, Qualcomm Adreno 305, 8 GB SSD
 
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 MSM8974, Qualcomm Adreno 330, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
LG G2 Mini Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 MSM8926, Qualcomm Adreno 305, 8 GB SSD
 
Motorola Moto X Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro MSM8960DT, Qualcomm Adreno 320, 16 GB iNAND Flash
 
Google Nexus 5 Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 MSM8974, Qualcomm Adreno 330, 16 GB iNAND Flash
 
LG D605 Optimus L9 II Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus MSM8230, Qualcomm Adreno 305, 8 GB SSD

The GPU is the Mali 400 MP4 and its four cores are clocked at a fast 700 MHz. Still, the graphics performance of the Galaxy S5 Mini is not on the level of other mainstream smartphones. The Samsung Galaxy S5 and the Xperia Z1 Compact are in a completely different league anyway.

3DMark (2013)
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
3570 Points ∼3%
Samsung Galaxy S5
18367 Points ∼13% +414%
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
19340 Points ∼14% +442%
LG G2 Mini
4856 Points ∼3% +36%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Graphics Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
3047 Points ∼1%
Samsung Galaxy S5
19530 Points ∼7% +541%
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
20031 Points ∼7% +557%
LG G2 Mini
4350 Points ∼2% +43%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
8942 Points ∼17%
Samsung Galaxy S5
15198 Points ∼30% +70%
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
17257 Points ∼34% +93%
LG G2 Mini
8189 Points ∼16% -8%
Basemark X 1.1
Medium Quality (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
7405 Points ∼20%
Samsung Galaxy S5
23999 Points ∼66% +224%
LG G2 Mini
4225 Points ∼12% -43%
High Quality (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
2693 Points ∼9%
Samsung Galaxy S5
11990 Points ∼42% +345%
GFXBench (DX / GLBenchmark) 2.7
1920x1080 T-Rex HD Offscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
6.6 fps ∼1%
Samsung Galaxy S5
27.7 fps ∼4% +320%
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195
6.2 fps ∼1% -6%
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
23 fps ∼4% +248%
LG G2 Mini
5.7 fps ∼1% -14%
Motorola Moto X
16.5 fps ∼3% +150%
Google Nexus 5
21 fps ∼3% +218%
LG D605 Optimus L9 II (2.7.2)
5.1 fps ∼1% -23%
T-Rex HD Onscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
9.4 fps ∼16%
Samsung Galaxy S5
27.8 fps ∼46% +196%
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195
14 fps ∼23% +49%
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
35 fps ∼58% +272%
LG G2 Mini
15.1 fps ∼25% +61%
Motorola Moto X
26.6 fps ∼44% +183%
Google Nexus 5
23 fps ∼38% +145%
LG D605 Optimus L9 II (2.7.2)
8.2 fps ∼14% -13%
Epic Citadel
High Performance (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
49.4 fps ∼81%
Samsung Galaxy S5
57.2 fps ∼94% +16%
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195
55.2 fps ∼91% +12%
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
57.5 fps ∼95% +16%
LG G2 Mini
58.4 fps ∼96% +18%
Motorola Moto X
59.9 fps ∼99% +21%
Google Nexus 5
56.3 fps ∼93% +14%
LG D605 Optimus L9 II
56.3 fps ∼93% +14%
High Quality (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
48.7 fps ∼80%
Samsung Galaxy S5
55.7 fps ∼91% +14%
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
57 fps ∼94% +17%
LG G2 Mini
57.5 fps ∼94% +18%
Motorola Moto X
59.5 fps ∼98% +22%
Google Nexus 5
55.2 fps ∼91% +13%
LG D605 Optimus L9 II
54.7 fps ∼90% +12%

In terms of browsing performance and technologies like HTML5 or JavaScript, the Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini is pretty good and can manage an average spot among our comparison units. It is slightly ahead of the Galaxy S4 Mini, but the Galaxy S5 is much faster.

Peacekeeper - --- (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
690 Points ∼11%
Samsung Galaxy S5 (29)
712 Points ∼11% +3%
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195
530 Points ∼9% -23%
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
809 Points ∼13% +17%
LG G2 Mini
686 Points ∼11% -1%
Motorola Moto X
643 Points ∼10% -7%
Google Nexus 5
835 Points ∼13% +21%
LG D605 Optimus L9 II
539 Points ∼9% -22%
Octane V2 - Total Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
2019 Points ∼8%
Samsung Galaxy S5 (1.6.28)
3875 Points ∼16% +92%
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
4114 Points ∼17% +104%
LG G2 Mini
1768 Points ∼7% -12%
Motorola Moto X
3187 Points ∼13% +58%
Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
15201 ms * ∼26%
Samsung Galaxy S5 (1.6.28)
6302 ms * ∼11% +59%
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
7876.1 ms * ∼13% +48%
LG G2 Mini
15670.5 ms * ∼26% -3%
Motorola Moto X
9454.5 ms * ∼16% +38%
Google Nexus 5
7852.3 ms * ∼13% +48%
LG D605 Optimus L9 II
16231.2 ms * ∼27% -7%
Sunspider - --- (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
1119 ms * ∼28%
Samsung Galaxy S5 (1.6.28)
408.7 ms * ∼10% +63%
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195
1145 ms * ∼28% -2%
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
893.7 ms * ∼22% +20%
LG G2 Mini
1085.6 ms * ∼27% +3%
Motorola Moto X
621.9 ms * ∼15% +44%
Google Nexus 5
716.3 ms * ∼18% +36%
LG D605 Optimus L9 II (1.0.2)
1154 ms * ∼29% -3%

* ... smaller is better

The Galaxy S5 Mini can at least beat its predecessor in regard to the storage performance: The 16 GB eMMC flash storage transfers data quicker than the storage of the Galaxy S4 Mini. There are also slight performance advantages compared to other mainstream smartphones. We can determine fairly short loading times for apps on the Galaxy S5 Mini.

AndroBench 3
Sequential Read 256KB (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
79.6 MB/s ∼45%
Samsung Galaxy S5
83.53 MB/s ∼47% +5%
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195
50.88 MB/s ∼28% -36%
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
66.47 MB/s ∼37% -16%
LG G2 Mini
110.05 MB/s ∼62% +38%
Motorola Moto X
62.7 MB/s ∼35% -21%
Google Nexus 5
74.9 MB/s ∼42% -6%
LG D605 Optimus L9 II
57.61 MB/s ∼32% -28%
Sequential Write 256KB (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
15.2 MB/s ∼26%
Samsung Galaxy S5
19.05 MB/s ∼33% +25%
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195
6.33 MB/s ∼11% -58%
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
20.02 MB/s ∼35% +32%
LG G2 Mini
11.81 MB/s ∼20% -22%
Motorola Moto X
12.04 MB/s ∼21% -21%
Google Nexus 5
15.52 MB/s ∼27% +2%
LG D605 Optimus L9 II
10.34 MB/s ∼18% -32%
Random Read 4KB (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
9.99 MB/s ∼48%
Samsung Galaxy S5
8.5 MB/s ∼41% -15%
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195
9.37 MB/s ∼45% -6%
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
13.85 MB/s ∼66% +39%
LG G2 Mini
14.18 MB/s ∼68% +42%
Motorola Moto X
12.39 MB/s ∼59% +24%
Google Nexus 5
9.88 MB/s ∼47% -1%
LG D605 Optimus L9 II
11.13 MB/s ∼53% +11%
Random Write 4KB (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
1.28 MB/s ∼41%
Samsung Galaxy S5
1 MB/s ∼32% -22%
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195
0.32 MB/s ∼10% -75%
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
1.68 MB/s ∼54% +31%
LG G2 Mini
1.18 MB/s ∼38% -8%
Motorola Moto X
2.44 MB/s ∼78% +91%
Google Nexus 5
0.84 MB/s ∼27% -34%
LG D605 Optimus L9 II
0.99 MB/s ∼32% -23%

Gaming

We tried some of the most GPU-demanding titles from the Google Play Store to check the gaming performance of the Galaxy S5 Mini: Asphalt 8 is a fast racing game with nice environments, Gangstar Vegas reminds us of GTA and you can race fast jet skis with nicely animated water in Riptide GP2. All three games run smoothly on the Mali 400 MP4, but not completely without dropped frames. The best experience is Riptide GP2, we can see some dropped frames in Asphalt 8 and you quickly notice that the frame rate in Gangstar Vegas is around 30 fps because there are stutters and the loading times can be quite long as well.  

This means you should try the titles on the Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini and see if they run smoothly if you want to play complex games. We were able to play all tested games, but you will need more performance if you want a completely smooth experience for every title. However, the performance is usually sufficient for most games: Angry Birds: Star Wars 2 and similar titles are much less demanding.

"Gangstar: Vegas", ...
"Gangstar: Vegas", ...
... "Riptide GP2"...
... "Riptide GP2"...
... or "Asphalt 8": The smartphone handles even demanding games very well.
... or "Asphalt 8": The smartphone handles even demanding games very well.

Emissions

Temperature

Samsung did its homework in terms of heat development: There is only a slight warming under maximum load. The absolute maximum is 34.9 °C (94.8 °F) at the front; the back is slightly cooler in general. This means the Galaxy S5 Mini stays cool compared to the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact or the HTC One Mini 2. The perceptible warming is also much lower than the HTC One Mini 2, for instance, because plastic conducts heat worse than metal. The predecessor Galaxy S4 Mini was also noticeably warmer with up to 41 °C (105.8 °F).

The warming during idle is highest in the area of the front earpiece with up to 30.2 °C (86.36 °F), which is a bad spot because the ear is a pretty heat-sensitive spot on the body. However, the warming is reasonably low, so this small issue is negligible.

Max. Load
 34 °C34.2 °C31.3 °C 
 34.8 °C34.9 °C31.6 °C 
 32.9 °C32.3 °C31.1 °C 
Maximum: 34.9 °C
Average: 33 °C
29.5 °C31.3 °C31.7 °C
30.1 °C32.2 °C32.1 °C
29.7 °C32.3 °C32.2 °C
Maximum: 32.3 °C
Average: 31.2 °C
Power Supply (max.)  32.6 °C | Room Temperature 23 °C | Voltcraft IR-350

Speakers

Just like the Galaxy S5 or the Galaxy S4 Mini, the speaker sits at the back and has to do the job alone – a second speaker for stereo sound similar to the HTC One Mini 2 is not available. The position at the back has advantages and disadvantages: Put the phone on a solid surface and you can use it as an additional resonance body that enhances the sound. However, if you put it on a smooth surface or hold it in your hand and cover the speaker with a finger, the sound is muffled.

Overall, the quality is actually not bad: The maximum volume is high, but the sound stays defined and clear. High and medium tones appear balanced in general, but the bass is, as usual, not very clear. The HTC One Mini 2 generally produces much better sound and even creates a stereo effect. Compared to the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact, however, we think that the Galaxy S5 Mini is superior in terms of sound quality. This means the Galaxy S5 Mini can take second place amongst our three comparison devices.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

If you compare the power consumption of the Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini with the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact or the HTC One Mini 2, you can quickly see that Samsung has an advantage in this section: It uses the least amount of power in all tested scenarios. Compared to the predecessor, it is evident that the consumption under load in particular was reduced. However, there is one restriction: The Sony Xperia Z1 Compact with its Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 is much more powerful compared to the HTC One Mini 2 or the Galaxy S5 Mini and needs more power as a result. 

The low consumption results of the Galaxy S5 Mini are impressive nonetheless: The device just needs 0.4 Watts during idle when the display is active. The maximum consumption is up to 1.1 Watts during idle and up to 2.4 Watts under load, which is roughly 50% of the maximum consumption from the HTC One Mini 2.

Power Consumption

Off / Standby 0 / 0.1 Watt
Idle 0.4 / 0.9 / 1.1 Watt
Load 1.8 / 2.4 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         Voltcraft VC 940

Battery Runtime

Such low power consumption in combination with the increased battery capacity of 8.1 Watts (Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini: 7.07 Watts) should provide excellent battery runtimes, right? The results are actually impressive: Web browsing via WLAN is possible for 14:09 hours with the Galaxy S5 Mini, the predecessor only managed 2 hours less and the HTC One Mini 2 just lasts for 9:06 hours. The Xperia Z1 Compact on the other hand manages a terrific runtime of 19:04 hours and beats our review unit.

However, you can still browse the web for almost two whole business days, which is impressive. There are also two different power saving modes that we already know from the Galaxy S5: The Ultra Power Saving mode only uses the colors black and white for the display and limits the functionality, but gets a couple of hours standby from an almost empty battery in return.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
18h 43min
WiFi Surfing
14h 9min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
12h 33min
Load (maximum brightness)
3h 13min

Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini is a reduced version of the Galaxy S5 in terms of performance and features, but there are still several features that let the borders between mainstream and high-end blur: Fingerprint readerwater- and dust-resistant case, great and comprehensive software, convenient handling, good camera, high-quality display, low temperature development as well as the good speaker are advantages of the smartphone. Last but not least, you also get great battery runtimes.

However, the competitors Sony Xperia Z1 Compact and the HTC One Mini 2 are also very good. If you want more performance, you should get the Sony smartphone, which supports 802.11ac WLAN as well. The One Mini 2 has a metal case and the best speakers in this product class. The biggest advantage of the Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini is that it has no real drawbacks in any category, even though the two closest rivals might have the advantage in some details.

Small issues would be the fingerprint reader, which is sometimes tricky to operate, the preloaded bloatware and the screen, which could have a higher resolution. The polycarbonate case is probably going to cause a debate for every Galaxy device, and the design is not as appealing to the masses compared to many other smartphones. We can still give a purchase recommendation since there is currently no smartphone in this product class that ticks so many correct boxes.

We add another point to the overall rating because we are convinced by the comprehensive software with dozens of options to personalize the phone, the comprehensive explanations of the features and the acceptably short loading times.

In Review: Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini.
In Review: Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini.

Comment this article:

In Review: Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini. Review unit courtesy of Cyberport.
In Review: Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini. Review unit courtesy of Cyberport.

Specifications

Samsung Galaxy S5 mini

:: Processor
Samsung Exynos 3470 Quad 1.4 GHz
:: Memory
1536 MB
:: Graphics adapter
:: Display
4.5 inch 16:9, 1280x720 pixel, capacitive touchscreen, Super AMOLED, glossy: yes
:: Harddisk
16 GB eMMC Flash, 16 GB , 12.1 GB free
:: Connections
1 USB 2.0, 1 Infrared, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm headphone jack, Card Reader: microSD up to 64 GB, 1 Fingerprint Reader, Sensors: Accelerometer, light sensor, proximity sensor, compass, hear rate monitor, GPS, GLONASS,
:: Networking
802.11a/b/g/n (a b g n ), 4.0 Bluetooth, Quad-band GSM, Quad-band 3G, Hexa-band LTE
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 9.1 x 131.1 x 64.8
:: Weight
0.12 kg Power Supply: 0.043 kg
:: Battery
8.1 Wh Lithium-Ion, replaceable battery, 2,100 mAh
Battery runtime (according to manufacturer): 8 h, Talk time 3G (according to manufacturer): 5 h
:: Price
449 Euro
:: Operating System
Android 4.4 KitKat
:: Additional features
Webcam: Rear: 8 Megapixels, Autofocus, LED-flash. Front: 2.1 Megapixels., Speakers: Speaker at the back, Keyboard: virtual keyboard, 24 Months Warranty

 

[+] compare
The smaller version of the Galaxy S5 has arrived: The Galaxy S5 Mini.
The smaller version of the Galaxy S5 has arrived: The Galaxy S5 Mini.
But not only the size has changed, some features have been waived as well.
But not only the size has changed, some features have been waived as well.
The display, for example, has a lower resolution.
The display, for example, has a lower resolution.
The camera also has less pixels, but it still takes good good pictures.
The camera also has less pixels, but it still takes good good pictures.
We like the rich details and the sharp pictures.
We like the rich details and the sharp pictures.
Even the camera at the front takes decent pictures.
Even the camera at the front takes decent pictures.
The heart rate monitor next to the LED flash is still available.
The heart rate monitor next to the LED flash is still available.
The mono speaker does a decent job.
The mono speaker does a decent job.
Bass is a bit thin, but at least existent.
Bass is a bit thin, but at least existent.
The battery can still be replaced, even though the case is once again water- and dust-resistant.
The battery can still be replaced, even though the case is once again water- and dust-resistant.
A fingerprint reader is integrated into the home button.
A fingerprint reader is integrated into the home button.
It is pretty reliable, but you always have to swipe from top to the bottom very precisely.
It is pretty reliable, but you always have to swipe from top to the bottom very precisely.
The case is still made of polycarbonate, a high-quality plastic.
The case is still made of polycarbonate, a high-quality plastic.
There are many opinions about the material, but it is pretty sturdy, light and thin.
There are many opinions about the material, but it is pretty sturdy, light and thin.
The display has a brilliant color presentation and numerous color profiles.
The display has a brilliant color presentation and numerous color profiles.
It works pretty well outdoors, at least for a glossy screen: The light sensor automatically increases the brightness, so you can usually see the content.
It works pretty well outdoors, at least for a glossy screen: The light sensor automatically increases the brightness, so you can usually see the content.
All in all, the Galaxy S5 ticks many boxes, but cannot keep up with the performance of many rivals.
All in all, the Galaxy S5 ticks many boxes, but cannot keep up with the performance of many rivals.
The heart rate monitor is not always very precise: A resting heart rate of almost 90 is a bit high.
The heart rate monitor is not always very precise: A resting heart rate of almost 90 is a bit high.
There are additional settings for the location besides the GPS: You can increase the precision with WLAN and the mobile network.
There are additional settings for the location besides the GPS: You can increase the precision with WLAN and the mobile network.
The disaster warning is also available once again. However, the situation was pretty relaxed in central Europe during our review period.
The disaster warning is also available once again. However, the situation was pretty relaxed in central Europe during our review period.
It is nice that all the features are directly explained in the software.
It is nice that all the features are directly explained in the software.
The extensive gesture control works well, you can, for instance, call an opened contact by holding the device to your ear.
The extensive gesture control works well, you can, for instance, call an opened contact by holding the device to your ear.
More gestures: If you are annoyed by the ringtone, you can just put your hand on the display to silence it.
More gestures: If you are annoyed by the ringtone, you can just put your hand on the display to silence it.
Gaming is pretty good on the Galaxy S5 Mini. However, the frame rate in very complex games is often just smooth.
Gaming is pretty good on the Galaxy S5 Mini. However, the frame rate in very complex games is often just smooth.
The great Ultra Power Saving mode gets the maximum runtime from the battery and deactivates all unnecessary consumers. It even switches the display to black and white only.
The great Ultra Power Saving mode gets the maximum runtime from the battery and deactivates all unnecessary consumers. It even switches the display to black and white only.
Information about the weather or the current step count can be displayed on the lock screen.
Information about the weather or the current step count can be displayed on the lock screen.
The TouchWiz UI is based on Android 4.4 and did not change compared to the Galaxy S5.
The TouchWiz UI is based on Android 4.4 and did not change compared to the Galaxy S5.

Similar Devices

Devices with the same GPU

» Review Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 SM-T310 Tablet
Exynos 4212 1.5 GHz, 8", 0.314 kg
» Review Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom Smartphone
Exynos 4212 1.5 GHz, 4.3", 0.208 kg
» Review Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 Tablet
Exynos 4412 Quad, 8", 0.345 kg
» Review Archos 80 Titanium Tablet
RK3066, 8.0", 0.44 kg
» Review HP Slate 7 Tablet
RK3066, 7.0", 0.37 kg

Links

Compare Prices

Amazon: Invalid XML response.

Amazon.com

Show results on Amazon.com

Pricerunner n.a.

Pro

+Case is water- and dust-resistant
+Replaceable battery
+Fingerprint reader
+Heart rate monitor
+Infrared sensor
+Decent GPS
+Good voice quality
+Operating system with several features
+Cameras with good picture quality
+Precise controls
+Good display
+Low temperature development
+Low power consumption
+Decent speaker
+Great battery runtimes
 

Cons

-Preloaded bloat ware
-Case "just" made of plastic
-Hardly any settings for the sound
-Heart rate monitor not always reliable
-Operating the fingerprint reader can be tricky
-Slight blue cast of the display

Shortcut

What we like

Almost everything about the Galaxy S5 Mini is at least decent.

What we'd like to see

A Full HD display would have been nice.

What surprises us

That Samsung managed to design a water-resistant USB port.

The competition

HTC One Mini 2, LG G2 Mini, Sony Xperia Z1 Compact, Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini, Motorola Moto X, Google Nexus 5, LG Optimus L9 II.

Rating

Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
08/12/2014 v4
Florian Wimmer

Chassis
88%
Keyboard
70 / 75 → 93%
Pointing Device
92%
Connectivity
49 / 60 → 82%
Weight
95%
Battery
94%
Display
84%
Games Performance
53 / 75 → 71%
Application Performance
25 / 65 → 38%
Temperature
92%
Noise
100%
Audio
72 / 91 → 79%
Camera
79%
Add Points
+1%
Average
71%
87%
Smartphone *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini Smartphone Review
Author: Florian Wimmer, 2014-08-18 (Update: 2014-08-19)