Galaxy S4 vs Galaxy S4 mini: what’s in a name?

Samsung announced the “mini” version of its Galaxy S4 Android flagship today (30 May 2013), promising “a powerful yet compact version of Samsung’s bestselling smartphone, Galaxy S4.”

Those expecting a Samsung Galaxy S4 with a smaller screen from the “mini” may be disappointed, though, as there are some significant differences in hardware between the two.

The biggest difference is the processor of the S4 mini, which Samsung said will be a 1.7GHz dual core chip.

This falls well short of the Galaxy S4, and to some degree even last year’s S3 which had a quad-core processor.

The S4 mini also has a little less RAM than its “big brother”, but outdoes the Galaxy S3 by around 500MB, according to the spec sheets.

Samsung has also dropped the 13 megapixel (MP) camera of the Galaxy S4, with the S4 Mini’s camera specification more closely resembling the S3 than the S4.

Brand creates expectation

The Korean electronics giant pulled the same bait-and-switch with the Galaxy S3 Mini last year, which had hardware that more closely resembled the Galaxy S2, even though it bore the S3’s name.

This doesn’t mean that the S3 Mini didn’t offer good value for money, or that the new S4 Mini won’t.

Assuming the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini lands in South Africa at around the same price the S3 Mini did (R4,599 RRP at launch, R3,800 at Orange ZA today), on paper it actually seems to offer pretty good value.

You must just remember that if it says “mini” behind the name of a Samsung product it’s not just the screen that’s been “minified”, and that the hardware more closely resembles that of the previous generation than the current one.

Specifications Samsung Galaxy S4 Samsung Galaxy S4 mini Samsung Galaxy S3 Samsung Galaxy S3 mini
Dimensions 136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9mm 124.6 x 61.3 x 8.94mm 136.6 x 70.6 x 8.6mm 121.55 x 63 x 9.9mm
Weight 130g 107g (3G dual SIM version: 108g) 133g 112.2g
Operating system Android 4.2.2 Android 4.2.2 Android 4.1 Android 4.1
Display 5″ 1080p HD (1080×1920) 4.3-inch qHD (540×960) Super AMOLED 4.8″ 720p (720×1280) Super AMOLED 4.0″ WVGA (480×800) Super AMOLED
Rear camera 13MP 8MP 8MP 5MP
Front camera 2MP 1.9MP 1.9MP VGA (sub-1MP)
Storage, internal 16GB/32GB/64GB 8GB 16/32/64GB 8/16GB
Storage, expandable microSD microSD microSD microSD
RAM 2GB 1.5GB 1GB 1GB
Processor Exynos Octa 5410: 1.6GHz quad-core Cortex-A15 + 1.2GHz quad-core Cortex-A7 (3G only) / 1.9GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon (LTE) 1.7GHz dual-core (Krait 200*) 1.4GHz Exynos 4212 quad 1GHz dual core
Graphics PowerVR SGX 544MP / Adreno 320 Adreno 305* Mali-400MP Mali-400
Battery 2,600mAh 1,900mAh 2,100mAh 1,500mAh
Cellular data LTE and HSPA+ models HSPA, LTE 21Mbps HSPA+ HSPA
NFC Yes LTE version only Yes Optional
* Unconfirmed specs via GSMArena

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Galaxy S4 vs Galaxy S4 mini: what’s in a name?