Samsung Galaxy S5 mini – Much ado about…?

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image0070Samsung have always gone all out with their Galaxy lineup, with the devices carrying the same numerals as their flagship having more attention lavished on their development than other, less bright stars. Now, with Samsung’s lineup undergoing a spot of pruning, those Galaxy Mega-Super-Deluxe handsets will possibly be going away. Stalwarts like the ‘mini’ version of the Galaxy S flagships, in this case the Galaxy S5 mini, will probably be sticking around though.

Read More: What We Think We Know About The Galaxy S6

But Samsung has its work cut out convincing people that the Galaxy S5 mini is a good alternative to the full-sized flagship. The price isn’t all that much smaller for the handset compared to the Galaxy S5 proper and you’re looking at a reduced range of specs, though there’s a nigh identical experience available in a smaller package here.

Honey I Shrunk The Phone

What are we looking at with the Galaxy S5 mini? It’s definitely smaller, coming in with a display size of just 4.5-inches. It’s still larger than an iPhone 5S but that’s not difficult to achieve.

Samsung’s design ethos is in full evidence here, the silvered edging, distinctly Samsung-made screen area and the textured back are all things that we’ve seen before. Line a whole lot of the product lineup together and you’d be hard-pressed to tell one from another from the back. It’s thicker than the S5 but that’s to be expected, given the drop in screen acreage.

Galaxy S5 mini

Display: 4.5-inch Super AMOLED (720 x 1,280), 326ppi
Chipset/CPU: Exynos 3 Quad 3470/1.4GHz Cortex-A7 quad-core (1.5GB RAM)
Storage: 16GB, up to 64GB external
Camera: 8MP (3,264 x 2,448), autofocus, LED flash/2.1MP (front)
Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 LE
Battery: 2,100mAh Li-Ion
Operating System: Android 4.4.2
SIM Card: Micro-SIM
Features: Fingerprint sensor, IP67 rating
Dimensions: 131.1mm x 64.8 x 9.1

Performance-Based

Samsung never has a problem with screens and there’s not much different here. Our eyes are used to HD or better displays at this point so the 720p 4.5-inch screen takes some adjusting to but it’s still clear as a bell for everyday usage. If you’re not attempting to edit a lot of images, you probably won’t notice many difference between this and something HD.

What you will notice is that the Galaxy S5 mini is sometimes laggy. It just doesn’t multitask as well as we’d like. This might have something to do with the fact that while the processor has changed, from the Snapdragon 400 found in the S4 mini to this year’s Exynos 3 Quad 3470, there’s not much difference in actual processing power.

The battery, despite being a little 2,100mAh Li-Ion, is capable of decent day-to-day performance.  It should give you more than a day, provided you’re not going absolutely bonkers on your web browsing. We’ve seen better batteries but few phones can use them the way Samsung’s mini-phone does.

The camera, though… is just an 8MP. It’s odd how fast what used to be the best of the lot has been relegated to the mid-range but Samsung’s Galaxy S5 mini uses what it has quite capably. It’s fast off the mark in most modes, with sharp images possible with a bit of software tweaking. We’d be loathe to stack it up against the 16MP camera in the S5, or even the HTC One M8’s 4MP effort, however.

Points To Resistance

Samsung have seen fit to continue their waterproofing to the smaller phone in their S-family, so it’s safe from most aquatic deaths that lurk around the home, like an unruly toddler, a frustrating game of Candy Crush Saga while in the loo or an unlikely incident involving a fish-tank and a pirhana. Hey, it could happen. You don’t even have to plug the ports to reap the benefits.

The fingerprint sensor? Meh, it’s a gimmick here in SA, it supports PayPal overseas and you can use it to unlock your phone but unless you’re constantly travelling to the States to purchase digital national security details from an Etsy seller, you’re not going to be making much use of it.

Verdict

The Galaxy S5 mini is definitely a scaled-down version of its larger namesake, offering very similar functionality to the full S5. We’re pleased with the waterproofing, as we’ve drowned a few phones in our time, but the lack of a noticeable CPU bump makes us wonder what the point of upgrading to this would be otherwise. The Galaxy S5 mini isn’t a bad phone by anyone’s margin but it’s just average across the board – too average for the asking price.

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