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Samsung Galaxy Mini Review: In Depth

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The Galaxy Mini is part of Samsung’s Galaxy Family series of mid-range Android phones. It’s a mid-range touchscreen phone that’s been released in tandem with the Samsung Galaxy Ace and is available to buy on some seriously low cost contracts. Read on to see how the latest addition to the Family sits on the shelf.


What we like

The Samsung Galaxy Mini is a nippy little thing. It responds quickly to menu commands and button presses, loads up apps like Facebook and the camera app without any fuss. Scrolling left and right between homescreens to and pinching to zoom on webpages is fast and snappy.

It’s no slouch when it comes to browsing the web and loading Google Maps either, provided you’ve got decent 3G coverage/you’re connected to Wi-Fi.

Like any phone the Galaxy Mini gets a bit flustered when you try to get it doing too many things at once. It’s no dual-core Galaxy S 2 (II) that’s for sure. But for what it is – an inexpensive mid-range Android phone – The Galaxy Mini is pretty darn fast.

The 3.2-megapixel camera is pretty nice, coming with a range of the usual effects (sepia, negative etc). We liked that pictures didn’t take an age to ‘develop’, meaning you can easily rattle off a handful of shots just by using the standard shutter mode.

There’s a continuous shot mode which and an ‘add me’ mode as well. The former rattles off up to nine shots in quick succession, while the latter allows you to create interesting compositions by stitching two shots together.

The Galaxy Mini is running on Android 2.2 Froyo, which not the most up to date version of Android out there, but good enough – it means you can make use of most of the apps available on the Android Market and do useful things like Wi-Fi tethering, i.e. turn the Galaxy Mini into a portable Wi-Fi hotspot.

You’ve been able to do this on Android phones for ages now, but it’s a really cool feature and it works as well on the Galaxy Mini as it does on the HTC Desire HD or Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc.


What we don’t like

We didn’t like that the on screen keyboard and text editor took up a good three quarters of the touchscreen. It sometimes meant that replying to texts became a problem, as you didn’t get a lot of room to see what the other person had said in the previous message.

The low resolution of the Samsung Galaxy Mini’s screen really lets the phone down. Not only does it mean that web pages, Facebook, menus and games look fuzzy around the edges, it also means that you don’t get always get an accurate idea of how well your pictures have turned out. The Galaxy Mini’s camera is good for a 3.2-megapixeler, not that you’d always be able to tell.

The only gripe we have about the camera is that it’s got a fixed focus, so things up close tend to look a little blurry (see the label on the lemonade bottle below). That and the absence of a flash, which means no nocturnal shots.

Call quality isn’t that great. We called a variety of friends and colleagues on various landlines and mobiles and found that calls sounded muffled on both ends in pretty much every situation. That said, we found that the call volume was good enough so that calls cut through evening traffic and train station noise.


Conclusion

The Samsung Galaxy Mini is an average phone with an ok camera and questionable call quality. When you consider that you can pick up the Samsung Galaxy Ace (a better phone) on similarly priced contracts it’s difficult to recommend. That said, the Galaxy Mini is cheaper by about £100 on pay-as-you-go, so you could always invest in a Galaxy Mini as a back up/second phone.

Specification

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