Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini Review – Power Packed Mini Format Phone

Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini Review: Released in 2012, the Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini (also named i8190) followed in the footsteps of the Samsung Galaxy S3 (released the same year). It seems quite strange that we can talk about a handset with a 4-inch screen as being ‘mini’. At this screen size, this was bigger than many smartphones, the Apple iPhone included.

But the trend here was for bigger screens. The Samsung Galaxy S3 already had a 4.8 inch screen, and perhaps the surprise hit of this year was the Samsung Galaxy Note. At 5.5 inches, it was wondered whether this phone was more of a tablet than a phone and too big for carrying around. The sales volumes proved otherwise, and the extra bulk was a compromise many would not mind taking.

Quite often, the mini versions of phones also featured some pared-back specifications to keep the price down. This was no exception with the S3 mini. Despite sharing a common look with the Samsung Galaxy S3, it was weaker in almost all departments. However, the differences were subtle and in its own right the mini was still a powerful handset.

Full specifications here.

Obviously the Galaxy series of phones was all-enduring and became the de facto challenger to the iPhone. However, the ‘mini’ series of the Galaxy phone would only survive another few iterations. This was no great loss, as there was a load of other sub-families under the Galaxy umbrella that could take its place.

Samsung Galaxy S3 Review Pros:

  • The phone came in a smaller format but had lost none of the looks that made the Galaxy series successful. A large screen ratio as well as removable back and battery made this quite a flexible handset.
  • The phone comes with the latest Android Jelly Bean software installed, and software would become quite important in the longevity of phones. Older Galaxy handsets were unable to upgrade.
  • The phone supports the latest voice recognition software from both Samsung and Google, putting this on a par with the latest Apple selling point. Connectivity wise, the phone was the same as the larger S3.
  • Despite a reduced spec, there was nothing left wanting on the phone and it featured most of what the full-feature smartphone offered. There was also a reasonable price difference, with the S3 Mini more amenable to being acquired on a pay as you go contract.

Samsung Galaxy S3 Review Cons:

  • The size difference wasn’t that large. In weight terms, the phone was only 20g lighter. The LCD suffered the most, coming in at a much reduced 480 x 800 display, which was well under the retina displays used in the iPhone.
  • The cameras suffered as well: the rear camera dropped to 5MP with the 1080p video recording gone. More pertinent was the front facing camera which was VGA and had poorer quality for video calls.
  • The phone also lacked the quad-core processor of the bigger phone, dropping to a dual core. This reduced its capability, especially for the latest games.
  • The smaller phone also had a smaller battery which reduced talktime and standby times.

Current Pricing and Future Prospects

Despite the phones age, they are still more than acceptable in use today. Things like SIM card sizes and memory cards have changed little and retain compatibility today. There is a certain demand for them as backup phones rather than for collecting. As such they are still good sellers even today.

Where can I get one?

Both Ebay and Amazon have second-hand and refurbished models.

Interested in more phones? See a list of phones I own here.

Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini Disassembly Guide

If you are interested in taking apart the Samsung Galaxy S3 mini for repair purposes, here is a useful link.

Samsung Galaxy S3 Video Review

Here is a video review of the Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini which shows most of its features:

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