Many were hoping for a more compact, pocketable Samsung Galaxy S3 when word of the Samsung S3 Mini got out, what they got was a mid-ranger with the look of the Samsung flagship, but not the same hardware punch they were hoping for. Having said that, the Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini does a fantastic job of emulating the premium Samsung Android experience, but how does it compare to the real deal?
Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini VS Samsung Galaxy S3 - Design
In our comparison it’s easy to see how consumers could be mistaken for thinking the relationship between the two handsets is so close. Samsung hs paid special care and attention in bringing the most recognisable visual cues from the S3 into the S3 Mini. For starters, the S3 Mini is available in the same Pebble Blue and Marble White colour options which appeared on the S3 at its initial launch.
Both backs also have the same Hyperglaze finish on them and although the S3 Mini features more rounded corners, the feel in the hand, with regards to both texture and form, feels surprisingly close to that of the larger S3. The silver plastic border can be seen on each phone as well as the hardware controls, cameras and sensors all being found in approximately the same place, or in the case of the S3 Mini, at least mirroring elements of the S3.
Aside from the size of display and body, the only other notable differences in design are with the placement of the LED flash, which sits underneath the Galaxy S3 Mini’s camera as opposed to being found alongside the lens on the Galaxy S3 and the loudspeaker shroud which is an integrated slit in the plastic back of the Galaxy S3 Mini instead of being covered by a dedicated chrome grille on the Galaxy S3.
Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini VS Samsung Galaxy S3 - Screen
The Samsung Galaxy S3’s HD Super AMOLED display is one of the best around and competes with similarly specced flagship handsets. Meanwhile the S3 Mini display doesn’t quite offer a fair comparison, with the significantly smaller size (the S3 uses a 4.8-inch display whilst the S3 Mini uses a 4-inch screen) and lower resolution, side by side comparisons produce lacklustre results.
Standing on its own, the S3 Mini display is in fact very good. It may not have the 720p HD prowess of its bigger brother, but the responsiveness, brightness outdoors and colour reproduction show the same levels of vibrancy as the standard S3 and the resolution is high enough to give the S3 Mini’s display a sense of high-end all its own.
Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini VS Samsung Galaxy S3 - UI
There are now two elements between these more handsets then the UI. Both Galaxy S3 and Galaxy S3 Mini play host to the latest form of Samsung’s UI, TouchWiz Nature UX and with all manner of tweaks and additions which provide extra functionality and customisation options to the user.
TouchWiz may not be for everyone, that’s always been the case, but the full, premium experience, complete with all its quirks is present on both handsets. The fact that the S3 Mini runs Android Jelly Bean out-the-box and the Galaxy S3 was upgraded to the same version of the OS, technically place the S3 Mini out in front, but both offer an equally rewarding user experience.
Samsung has not only include added tools for customisation with TouchWiz, but in its latest form, users of either device have access to a myriad of Samsung apps and services, such a S Planner, the Music, Video and Learning Hubs and more.
What’s more, despite the 1.4GHz quad-core at play in the S3 and the dual-core 1GHz chip under the hood of the S3 Mini, the UI seldom lags and when it occasionally does, the stutters are only apparent on the S3 Mini.
Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini VS Samsung Galaxy S3 - Price
SIM-free the Samsung Galaxy S3 is available for over £100 more than the Galaxy S3 Mini which retails for around £300 and the Galaxy S3’s price tag is as expected for a device of its status and hardware. Having said the user experience across both phones crosses a far smaller gap than the price than the hardware lets on. For around £300, the S3 Mini may come across on the expensive side and for those who simply want a scaled down Galaxy S3, it’s not quite device they’d hoped for, but it does perform very well in its own right.
Earlier we referred to the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy S3 Mini were referred as brothers, but it’d be fairer to say they’re more cousins. The S3 Mini shares more under the hood with the Samsung Galaxy S Advance than it does the S3, but to the consumer seeing both handsets on the store shelves, the S3 Mini elicits the same experience that you’d expect from the full-fat Galaxy S3.
Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini VS Samsung Galaxy S3 - Conclusion
Samsung has been smart, meeting consumers in the middle, with the S3 Mini’s looks and feel almost on par with the S3, but at the end of the day, it makes more sense to either spend more for the full Galaxy S3 experience, on spend less to have access to the same (and often better) hardware for less, even if the handset you choose is a little older than the S3 Mini in its shiny white (or blue) outfit.