Friday, October 12, 2012

Samsung Galaxy SIII Mini is just mutton dressed as lamb

After a flurry of leaks and rumors 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 S III 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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