Samsung’s Galaxy SIII Mini is just mutton dressed as lamb

Alex Masters

galaxys3 mini final 300x225 Samsung’s Galaxy SIII Mini is just mutton dressed as lambAfter a flurry of leaks and rumours over the past week Samsung have finally unveiled their latest Android handset: the Galaxy SIII Mini. Sporting a 4 inch Super AMOLED display, it’s hardly a ‘mini’ phone, but compared to its older brothers – the 4.8 inch Galaxy SIII and the 5.5 inch Galaxy Note 2 – it’s the smallest of the bunch.

The SIII Mini is obviously aimed at the budget conscious buyer looking for a new handset, the kind that might find the original Galaxy SIII a little on the pricey side, but this is far from a mini version of Samsung’s flagship phone. The mid-range Mini’s internals reflect this, with hardware more akin to the flagship Android phones from 18 months ago. The problem is, in today’s fast-paced mobile market, 18 months might as well be 18 years.

Considering the Mini is being placed alongside Samsung’s best mobile hardware to date, it does seem to dilute the quality of the lineup somewhat. The Mini is a lacklustre device not worthy of the Galaxy SIII name. The SIII Mini is basically just a re-packaged Galaxy S Advance with a software upgrade.

Inside you’ll find a dual-core 1GHz processor, 1GB RAM, five megapixel camera, 8/16 GB memory and an external SD card slot for expandability. Software wise, the Mini is running the latest Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system, wrapped in Samsung’s own TouchWiz skin. This is about the only feature worth getting excited about, and even that will be short lived. With hardware as dated as this, it’s unlikely that Jelly Bean will run smoothly. And as for future OS updates? You might as well forget it, this hardware will struggle – a lot.

If you’re currently on the market for a mid-range Android handset, then in my opinion you’re better off looking elsewhere. Samsung have made too many compromises this time around, which is disappointing because their latest line of Galaxy phones really have raised the bar in recent months. Even compared to the recently released iPhone 5 while HTC were forced to upgrade their  flagship One X just to keep up.

Samsung need to strip their mobile product lines down and concentrate on a few great devices, rather than dozens of handset variations that just confuse customers. They should stick with the previous generation Galaxy SII and use that as a mid-range alternative, rather than offering up this mutton dressed as lamb they’re calling the Galaxy SIII Mini.

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  • Robert Demery

    Using CyanogenMod Jellybean on my Sensation is super smooth. It has a higher clocked CPU but less RAM and a bigger screen. This phone won’t be cutting edge but it’ll run just fine.

  • Jón Björgvin Sigurðsson

    Alex Masters has no idea what he’s talking about, the 1Ghz dual core processor and 1GB of RAM is pretty close to the US version of the S3 with a 1.5Ghz dual core processor and 2GB of RAM.
    “unlikely to run Jelly Bean smoothly” – Jelly Bean runs smoothly even on my Nexus S, that’s what makes 4.1 so awesome, it runs pretty well as long as the hardware isn’t complete garbage. And even if Jelly Bean didn’t run smoothly on most hardware specs it would still run smoothly on the S3 Mini, just look at the Galaxy Nexus with a 1.2Ghz dual core processor and 1GB of RAM, almost the same, the Mini even has a slightly better GPU.
    I suggest you make sure you know enough about the subject before you start writing, it makes it a lot harder for you to make a fool of yourself.

  • harry hart

    I read somewhere that the iPhone has an app which can assess the volume of one’s fart. Now, if this device could produce an app which combines sound and smell in a matrix then I think it would be on a winner (My lady wife agrees.)

  • Tiredofnonsense

    Oh the irony of an iSheep calling a phone “mutton dressed as lamb” without bothering to try it out. Another quality article from the Independent.

  • Alex Masters

    I’m an Android user of four years. I do not like the iPhone. As for the SIII Mini, it is essentially a Galaxy S Advance. A phone that I am very familiar with.

  • Alex Masters

    Just to clarify, as an Android developer I am very familiar with Android and it’s performance requirements.

    There is a considerable difference between 1GB and 2GB of RAM. The same applies to 1GHz dual core versus 1.4 GHz quad core, (UK readers, UK phone). Why would you compare it to the US version, it’s entirely different processor specs than the UK model. The SIII mini’s camera is very poor, I would know, I own the Galaxy Nexus, which has a similar, if not identical camera and sensor.

    As for Jelly bean, you are referring to stock Android running on the Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus. The remaining Galaxy series of phones run a modified version called TouchWiz, now referred to as Nature UX. This version contains lots of additional graphical overlays, transitions, background processes, applications and power management modifications. These additions increase the load on processors and RAM considerably.

    Yes, stock Jelly Bean does run well on the Nexus S, but the Samsung Galaxy S III Mini is not running stock, it’s running Android with added TouchWiz/Nature UX mods, as I mention in the article.

  • Alex Masters

    This phone is not yet out, I have used the phone this model is based on. I am also not an iPhone user. I own a Samsung Galaxy Nexus.

    As you mentioned in your comment, this does sound like a low end smartphone, and that is exactly the problem. It’s a low end phone that has been branded with the high end models name. This, in my opinion (and the opinion of many other tech journalists since this was written) is the main concern. The phone in question is being miss-sold off the back of Samsung’s flagship handset and subsequently it will degrade the SIII brand. Hence the title.

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