Samsung’s Mini range might not be quite as exciting as the flagships they’re based on, but they’re still highly competent mid-range smartphones with smaller, more pocket friendly screens.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini was well received when it came out last year and is still one of the better phones in its class, but now the South Korean giant is back with a Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini. So what’s changed, other than the number in the name?
These two phones have quite similar designs. They both have plastic back covers and both also have a faux-metallic band that runs along the edge of the handset, but they’re not identical. The Galaxy S4 Mini has a slightly more rounded shape and the dimensions are different too. The S5 Mini is 124.6 x 61.3 x 8.9mm and 107g and the S5 Mini is 131.1 x 64.8 x 9.1mm and 120g.
So Samsung’s newer handset is bigger and heavier, but perhaps the biggest difference is that the Galaxy S5 Mini is IP67 certified dust and water resistant while the S4 Mini isn’t, so the S5 Mini is more durable overall.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini has a 4.5 inch 720 x 1280 Super AMOLED display with a pixel density of 326 pixels per inch, while the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini has a 4.3 inch 540 x 960 Super AMOLED screen with a pixel density of 256 pixels per inch.
As they’re both Super AMOLED they’re also both bright and vibrant, but the Galaxy S5 Mini is a little larger and substantially higher resolution. It also uses Gorilla Glass 3, while the S4 Mini uses the older Gorilla Glass 2, so it’s not likely to stand up to scrapes and scratches quite as well.
There are some big differences in the power of the two devices. The Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini has a 1.4GHz quad-core Samsung own-brand processor and 1.5GB of RAM, while the Galaxy S4 Mini has a 1.7GHz dual-core Snapdragon 400 processor and 1.5GB of RAM.
So the RAM has remained unchanged, but the Galaxy S5 Mini has made a big jump from a dual-core to a quad-core processor. It remains to be seen how Samsung’s own-brand innards will stack up to a Snapdragon 400, but the latter is hardly the pinnacle of power and the extra cores should make a big difference, so expect the Galaxy S5 Mini to be substantially more powerful than its predecessor.
The camera is one of the few things which has hardly changed at all between these two handsets. Both have an 8 megapixel main camera and can shoot 1080p video at 30fps. However the Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini has a 2.1 megapixel front facing snapper, while the Galaxy S4 Mini has a slightly inferior 1.9 megapixel camera on the front, so it’s not quite as good for selfies.
The Galaxy S5 Mini comes with 16GB of built in storage while the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini has just 8GB built in. But they both also have a microSD card slot with support for cards of up to 64GB.
The Galaxy S5 Mini has a 2100 mAh battery while the S4 Mini has a slightly smaller 1900 mAh power pack, but then it has a smaller screen and slower processor to power, so it remains to be screen whether the S5 Mini will actually have better battery life.
There’s no difference in connectivity options, both phones support 3G, 4G LTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC and infrared, so they’re exceedingly well equipped for mid-range handsets.
While the Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini is bigger and more powerful than the S4 Mini the differences don’t end there, it also has some stand-out features that the Galaxy S4 Mini doesn’t. First up there’s a fingerprint scanner buried under the home button, which both adds an extra layer of security and can make unlocking your phone and logging into things faster than ever.
Then there’s a heart rate monitor, which can serve as a handy tool if you’re interested in tracking your health and fitness. They’re both features which will be a lot more useful to some people than others, but they’re also both things that the Galaxy S5 Mini has while the S4 Mini doesn’t.
Currently the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini can be bought for around £250 SIM free. There’s no confirmed price yet for the Galaxy S5 Mini but it’s expected that it will cost around £380, as that’s what the S4 Mini launched at. It may even come in slightly more expensive due to the extra bells and whistles, but we’d be surprised if it was more than £400. Even so, that leaves it at almost £150 more expensive than its predecessor, which is quite a substantial difference.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini is a big improvement over the Galaxy S4 Mini, with everything from the processor and screen, to the durability and storage receiving attention and even a few extras being packed in in the form of a fingerprint scanner and a heart rate monitor.
It’s still very much a mid-range phone, but a much higher end one than the S4 Mini. Of course it’s also likely to be quite a lot more expensive so it’s less clear whether it will be worth the extra money. We’ll have a full review for you as soon as possible, but for now know that it looks like a great little handset and a far better one than the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini.
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