Minis on the move – Galaxy S 5 Mini, HTC One Mini 2, LG G3 Beat or the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact

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Everybody who is anybody these days has got a smaller version of their flagship Android handsets on the market or on the way, something that Samsung started but probably isn’t all that happy about seeing the competition get into.

LG has taken a page out of Samsung’s playbook by introducing us to the LG G3 Beat, HTC’s One mini has gotten a sequel and everybody was expecting Samsung’s Galaxy S 5 Mini way before the flagship device was even announced.

But there’s another phone on this list, one that has yet to be revealed. Sony’s Xperia Z3 Compact, which is expected to make its grand entrance in September, will hopefully follow in the footsteps of the Z1 Compact, our top pick of the miniature handsets from last year. For that one we’ve pieced together what rumour says about the Z3 Compact and stacked up word-of-mouth against what we already know so we can answer this question: Which mini-smartphone deserves your attention in 2014?

  • Galaxy S 5 Mini
    Display: 4.5-inch 720p (720 x 1,280), 326ppi
    Chipset/CPU: Exynos 3 Quad 3470/Cortex-A7 1.4Ghz quad (1.5GB RAM)
    Storage: 16GB
    Camera: 8MP (3,264 x 2,448), LED flash, autofocus/2.1MP (front)
    Connectivity: 3G, LTE, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 LE
    Battery: 2,100mAh Li-Ion
    Operating System: Android 4.4.2 KitKat
    SIM Card: Micro-SIM
    Features: Fingerprint sensor, IP67 water and dust resistance (1 metre, 30 minutes)
    Dimensions: 131.1mm x 64.8 x 9.1
    We’d be very shocked at anyone who wasn’t aware that Samsung likes to release loads of different models for their product line front-runners and, while 2014 doesn’t hold a candle to recent years, this year isn’t all that different. The Galaxy S 5 Mini is, on this list at least, one of the better outfitted ‘mini’ smartphones. RAM allocation is above most of the competition, the processor is arguably better and Samsung have decided to keep some of the better features from the S 5 – the fingerprint sensor and the IP67 ratings.

    Who should buy it?

    Those who were in the market for the Galaxy S 5, specifically the heart-rate monitor feature and the waterproofing, but found it outside of their budget will be pleased to note that the innovative bits have made the jump for this little device. You’re sacrificing some power for a cheaper price but will still be able to make extensive use of the S-Health app and the Galaxy Gear compatibility that this smartphone features.

  • HTC One mini 2
    Display: 4.5-inch 720p (720 x 1,280), 326ppi
    Chipset/CPU: Snapdragon 400/Cortex-A7 1.2GHz quad (1GB RAM)
    Storage: 16GB
    Camera: 13MP (4,128 x 3,096), Autofocus, LED flash/5MP (front)
    Connectivity: 3G, LTE, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0
    Battery: 2,110mAh Li-Po (non-removable)
    Operating System: Android 4.4.2 KitKat
    SIM Card: Nano-SIM
    Features: That 5MP selfie-cam is sticking around
    Dimensions: 137.4mm x 65 x 10.6
    The little Mini that could, HTC’s One mini has a younger brother on the market and you should be able to pick it up from stores now. It’s not the same bundle of high-end silicon that the M8 has proven to be but HTC have kept most of the important bits in place. The Ultrapixel tech found in the One M8 won’t be found here, the company having opted for a single 13MP sensor in place of the dual 4MP cameras found in their larger device.

    Who should buy it?

    Most of the same people who would be keen on the One M8 but who are feeling the budget pinch might do well to cast their eyes in the direction of the One mini 2. HTC’s decision to keep the ginormous 5MP front-facer means that selfie fans will be looking to this hardware in particular when planning an upgrade – which isn’t a bad plan for folks trying to appeal to the Instagram crowd.

  • Lg G3 Beat
    Display: 5.0-inch 720p (720 x 1,280), 294ppi
    Chipset/CPU: Snapdragon 400/Cortex-A7 1.2GHz quad (1GB RAM)
    Storage: 8GB
    Camera: 8MP (3,264 x 2,448), Laser autofocus, LED flash/1.3MP (front)
    Connectivity: 3G, LTE, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0
    Battery: 2,540mAh Li-Ion
    Operating System: Android 4.4.2 KitKat
    SIM Card: Micro-SIM
    Features: LG’s laser autofocus
    Dimensions: 137.7mm x 69.6 x 10.3
    LG joined the rest of the Android folks in creating a smaller version of their biggest phone, calling it the LG G3 Beat for its launch in South Korea. It’ll be making its way to other locations eventually, bringing along reduced specs (but keeping that laser autofocus) and a hopefully reduced price. LG tends to undercut everyone else if they can so it’ll be interesting to see how they approach pricing on this one. The G3 Beat could wind up being the best deal to be found in a ‘mini’ handset.

    Who should buy it?

    At the moment, people in South Korea. But it should be heading to the rest of the world soon enough, under the LG G3 S banner. LG’s stripped-down handset is the largest of the lot, which makes us question the inclusion of all of these phones in the ‘mini’ category, but it’s about on part with HTC’s One mini 2 in hardware terms – on paper, at least. We’re waiting till we see it in action before deciding where it should live.

  • Z3 Compact Leak TechRadar
    Display: 4.57-inch HD (1,080 x 1,920)
    Chipset/CPU: Snapdragon 801/Krait 400 2.5Ghz quad (2GB RAM)
    Storage: Unknown, likely 16GB
    Camera: 20.7MP/2MP (front)
    Connectivity: 3G, LTE, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0 LE (unconfirmed)
    Battery: Unknown, possibly 2,300mAh Li-Ion
    Operating System: Android 4.4.4 KitKat
    SIM Card: Micro-SIM
    Features: IP58 rating, water/dust-resistant (at least)
    Dimensions: Unknown
    Sony is supposed to be announcing an Xperia Z3 as well as an Xperia Z3 Compact – or possibly the Z2 Compact, which has yet to appear – at IFA in Berlin in September. The specs you see above have been pieced together from reports and rumours concerning their second go at a compact or ‘mini’ (we know Sony dislikes the term for their phones) handset. If correct, this will be the heaviest hitter of the lot.

    Who should buy it?

    Those with loads of cash who are looking for a smaller smartphone that doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to hardware. Based mostly on the Z1 Compact, whatever this handset winds up being called will retain Sony’s premium build quality, most of the specs of their bigger phones and will feature a 20MP camera. With specs like that you can expect a price that rivals most other company’s flagship devices but we’ll know more about it next month.

    Image: TechRadar

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