Samsung Galaxy S4 vs S4 Mini
We’ve been telling you frequently that nowadays smartphone manufacturers hardly come up with unique designs. Instead, they come up with unique designs for their flagship products and create a vast line of sub-flagship products that are morphed in the image of the flagship product. Let me revise it a bit, sometimes manufacturers don’t even offer a unique design for their flagship devices, just a logical continuation from their predecessor devices is what is offered by the successor flagship device. Coming back to my point, there are a lot of sub-flagship devices coming to market these days and these are typically called ‘Mini’ versions of the flagship devices. Some examples are HTC One Mini, Galaxy S3 Mini, Apple iPad Mini etc. The newest addition to this mini line is Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini. In fact, Samsung is hell bent on capitalizing the success of the Galaxy line so that they are offering a variety of Mini smartphones in the image of their flagship device. So we thought of comparing the Mini version against the full version and find out how Samsung has cut down the features and the price per se. Here’s what we found.
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini Review
Samsung announced Galaxy S4 Mini in last May and finally released it couple of days back. At a glance, it certainly looks like a miniature version of Galaxy S4 with the same polycarbonate back plate and design elements. However, looks can be deceiving because when we got down to the hardware specs, we could see that Samsung has cut down some features considerably. Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini is powered by 1.7GHz Krait dual core processor on top of Qualcomm MSM 8930 Snapdragon 400 chipset with Adreno 305 GPU and 1.5GB of RAM. It’s not a stellar configuration to run your rig, but you have to credit Samsung for including the latest mid-range hardware elements from Qualcomm in the Snapdragon 400 line. The operating system in control is Google Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean which is the newest build as of yet. For any average users, this configuration would translate in to a smooth user experience that can get what you need done in a brisk. So we have no complaints there about the downgrade in performance to address the common folks in the market. However we have a problem with the display panel that is included in S4 Mini. It sports a 4.3 inches Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen display panel featuring a resolution of 960 x 540 pixels at a pixel density of 256 ppi, which means there is a considerable difference in the display panel to the worst. I mean, including a 720p panel is logical but making it a qHD panel doesn’t make much sense. It does have all the wide viewing angles and vibrant colors offered by Super AMOLED, but the lack of resolution is daunting.
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini is offered with quite a few connectivity options. The version we are reviewing has 4G LTE in it while there are versions with 3G network connectivity as well as dual SIM capability. In addition, Galaxy S4 Mini also has Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n for continuous connectivity as well as DLNA to stream your rich media content to the big screen and the ability to set up a Wi-Fi hotspot to share your super-fast internet connection with your friends. Some models feature NFC connectivity while the model having dual SIM doesn’t. The optics is rated at 8MP with autofocus and LED flash which is capable of capturing 1080p HD video at 30 frames per second. There is a 1.9MP front camera to be used for video conferencing that can capture 720p videos at 30 fps. If you are enthusiastic Samsung Galaxy S4 users, brace yourself for some of the cool features in S4 have been removed in S4 Mini. Samsung deemed Air View, Air Gestures, Smart Scroll, Smart Pause, Smart Rotation etc. to not to be included in S4 Mini. Some of the camera modes are gone, as well. Another interesting reduction is the Samsung TouchWiz multi window which may have been removed because it’s processor intensive. Samsung has included a 1900mAh battery which would hopefully have a talk time around 7-8 hours.
Samsung Galaxy S4 Review
Samsung Galaxy S4 that was revealed in March 2013 looks smart and elegant as ever. The outer cover emanates Samsung’s attention to detail with their new polycarbonate material making up the cover of the device. Samsung Galaxy S4 comes in two versions; Model I-9500 and Model I-9505. Samsung Galaxy S4 I9500 comes in White Frost and Black Mist with the usual rounded edges we are used to in Galaxy S3. I9505 model, in addition to White Frost and Black Mist, comes in Aurora Red too. S4 is 136.6 mm long while 69.8 mm wide with 7.9 mm thick. You can clearly see that Samsung has kept the size almost the same as Galaxy S3 to give a sense of familiarity while making it rather thin for a smartphone of this caliber. What this would imply is that you are going to have more screen to look at while having the same size as Galaxy S3. The display panel is 5 inches Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen display panel featuring a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels at a pixel density of 441 ppi. This is actually the first Samsung smartphone to feature 1080p resolution screen although several other manufacturers beat Samsung to it. Nonetheless, this display panel is incredibly vibrant and interactive. Also, Samsung features hover gestures in Galaxy S4; that is to say you can just hover your finger without actually touching the display panel to activate certain gestures. Another cool feature Samsung has included is the ability to perform touch gestures even with wearing gloves which would be a step forward towards usability. The Adapt Display feature in Samsung Galaxy S4 can adapt the display panel to make the display better depending on what you are looking at.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 I9500 features Samsung Exynos 5 Octa processor, which Samsung claims as the world’s first 8 core mobile processor. The Octa processor concept follows a recent whitepaper released by Samsung. They have taken a patent for the technology from ARM, and it’s known as big.LITTLE. The whole idea is to have two sets of Quad Core processors, the lower end Quad Core processors would consist of ARM’s A7 cores clocked at 1.2GHz while the high end Quad Core processors will have ARM’s A15 cores clocked at 1.6GHz. Theoretically, this will make Samsung Galaxy S4 the fastest smartphone in the world as of now. Samsung has also included three PowerVR 544 GPU chips in Galaxy S4 making it the fastest smartphone in terms of graphics performance as well; at least theoretically. The Samsung Galaxy S4 I9505 features 1.9GHz Krait 300 Quad Core processor on top of Qualcomm APQ8064T Snapdragon 600 chipset along with Adreno 320 GPU. Strangely enough, Samsung has decided to include a microSD card slot on top of the 16 / 32 /64 GB internal memory you already have. The RAM is the usual 2GB, which is plenty for this beefy device.
Samsung Galaxy S4 has 13MP camera that comes with a bunch of awesome features. It certainly doesn’t necessarily feature a newly crafted lens, but Samsung’s new software features are sure to be a hit. Galaxy S4 has the ability to include audio in to photos you snap which can act as a live memory. As Samsung put it, it’s like adding another dimension to the visual memories captured. The camera can capture over 100 snaps within 4 second, which is just awesome, and the new Drama Shot features means that you can choose multiple snaps for a single frame. It also has an eraser feature which can erase unwanted objects from your photos. Finally, Samsung feature dual camera, which lets you capture the photographer as well as the subject and superimpose yourself in the snap. Samsung has also included an inbuilt translator called S Translator, which can translate nine languages as of now. It can translate from text to text, speech to text and speech to speech in any way convenient for you. It can also translate written words from menu, books or magazines, as well. Right now, S Translator supports French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Portuguese and Spanish. It is also deeply integrated with their chat applications, as well.
Samsung has also included a customized version of S Voice which can act as your personal digital assistant and Samsung has optimized this to be used when you are driving too. They have made the transfer from your old smartphone to the new Galaxy S4 very easy with the introduction of Smart Switch. The user can separate their personal and work spaces using the Knox feature enabled in Galaxy S4. The new Group Play connectivity seems like a new differentiating factor, as well. There were a lot of rumors going on about Samsung Smart Pause which tracks your eyes and pauses a video when you look away and scrolls down when you look down or up which is awesome. S Health application can be used to track your health details including your diet, exercises and can connect external equipment to record data, as well. They also have a new cover that is more or less similar to the iPad cover which makes the device sleep when the cover closes.
As speculated, Samsung Galaxy S4 comes with 4G LTE connectivity as well as 3G HSDPA connectivity along with Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n for continuous connectivity. The inclusion of removable battery is also a nice addition compared to all the unibody designs we’ve been seeing.
A Brief Comparison Between Samsung Galaxy S4 and S4 Mini
• Samsung Galaxy S4 is powered by 1.6GHz Cortex A15 Quad Core processor and 1.2GHz Cortex A7 Quad Core processor on top of Samsung Exynos 5 Octa 5410 chipset along with PowerVR SGX 544MP3 and 2GB of RAM while Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini is powered by 1.7GHz Krait dual core processor on top of Qualcomm MSM 8930 Snapdragon 400 chipset along with Adreno 305 GPU and 1.5GB of RAM.
• Samsung Galaxy S4 runs on Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean while Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini also runs on Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean.
• Samsung Galaxy S4 has 5.0 inches Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, featuring a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels at a pixel density of 441 ppi, and it is reinforced by Corning Gorilla Glass 3 while Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini has 4.3 inches Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen display, featuring a resolution of 960 x 540 pixels at a pixel density of 256 ppi and it is reinforced by Corning Gorilla Glass.
• Samsung Galaxy S4 has 13MP camera with advanced functionality like simultaneous HD video and image recording, dual shoot etc. with software controlled image stabilization that can capture 1080p HD videos @ 30 fps while Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini has 8MP camera with autofocus and LED flash that can capture 1080p HD videos at 30 fps.
• Samsung Galaxy S4 is bigger, thinner and heavier (136.6 x 69.8 mm / 7.9 mm / 130g) than Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini (124.6 x 61.3 mm / 8.9 mm / 107g).
• Samsung Galaxy S4 has 2600mAh battery while Samsung Galaxy S 4 Mini has 1900mAh battery.
As you can clearly see, Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini is a perfect miniaturization of Samsung Galaxy S4. In between the process, however, some of the unique features that make the Galaxy S4 tick have been abandoned. But if you are in to the looks, fear not because that has been well preserved. We don’t like the display panel downgrade, but the performance downgrade is agreeable with us. All the other features tend to be addressing the mid-range market, so we have no complaints about that except for the price which seems to hang at a steep point. This eliminates the worthiness of money for the device, and we tend to bias towards Galaxy S4 because compared to the prices they are offered, S4 certainly provides the best value for money compared to S 4 Mini.