Samsung’s grip on the Android smartphone market shows no signs of slowing down – it continues to headline the top-end with powerhouse devices and has catered nicely to less demanding users with stripped-down versions. The S5 mini was more a case of “when” than “if”, and shows up to fill a familiar niche in users who want a smaller device and don’t necessarily need the raw power of the big brother.
As with the rest of these miniature marvels, the S5 mini does look like an undersized S5 and takes many of the core features with it, including the ultra Power Saving Mode, a heart rate monitor, fingerprint scanner, and of course full compatibility with Samsung wearable devices. It also mimics the design, with a unique perforated pattern on the back cover along with a premium, soft-touch grip.
Elsewhere there’s a 4.5”Super AMOLED (720 x 1280) display, quad core 1.4 GHz processor, 1.5GM RAM and an 8MP camera, and its 4G compatible if you’re up for paying more for super-fast downloads. It’s also IP67 dust and water resistant, which means it’s fully protected against dust and protected against immersion in water to depths up to 1 meter for a limited time, a very real benefit if, like us, you’re prone to dropping these things down the toilet.
Compare the S5 mini to its predecessor, the S4 mini, and you’ll see a small size increase, largely due to the increased 4.5” display (up from 4.3”). Pixel density is also up from 256 to 326ppi, which matches the iPhone 5s. Other notable upgrades include double the internal storage (16GB), the fingerprint scanner and heart rate monitor of course and the fact that it will ship with the updated KitKat interface alongside the latest version of Samsung’s TouchWiz UI.
Overall it’s a worthy upgrade on the stripped down S4, encompassing enough of the novelties of the full-sized S5 and still delivering a phone that punches above its weight in terms of “budget” handsets. This term is a slight misnomer however – the S5 mini is a premium device in an undersized chassis and allows users to benefit from a relatively underpowered but still more than capable handheld in a smaller form factor, with the added bonus of all of Samsung’s new value-added extras.
No details on pricing are available at this stage, though we’d expect it to cost around £350 sim-free. It hits Russia first in a range of colours including Charcoal Black, Shimmery White, Electric Blue and Copper Gold, and is expected to follow shortly to the UK and US with a similar range of aesthetic options.
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