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Samsung Galaxy S4 vs S4 Mini - Specs, Design and Camera

Andrew Williams


Samsung Galaxy S4 vs S4 Mini

Samsung Galaxy S4 vs S4 Mini - which should you buy?

The Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini wants to offer a mid-size, affordable phone for those who think the full-size Samsung Galaxy S4 is a bit too big, a bit too pricey.

But does it really offer the same level of quality in a smaller body? Let’s take a closer look.

Samsung Galaxy S4 vs S4 Mini – Price and Deals

Galaxy S4 – SIM-free from £450

Galaxy S4 Mini – SIM-free from £390

The Galaxy S4 Mini is, predictably, cheaper than the full-size S4. But by how much?

The S4 Mini is up for pre-order at £390. It is no budget phone. However, at present the Galaxy S4 is available for just £60 more.

Given the spec compromises involved, which we’ll cover later, this makes the S4 seem like a bit of a bargain, and the S4 Mini over-priced.

That the S4 Mini is brand new does not help. The phone is expected to go on sale in July 2013, while the larger Galaxy S4 was released back in April – what a difference a few short months can make.

Galaxy S4 vs S4 Mini

Samsung Galaxy S4 vs S4 Mini - Design

Galaxy S4 – Plastic battery cover, 130g, 7.9mm

Galaxy S4 Mini – Plastic battery cover, 107g, 8.9mm

As its name suggests, the Galaxy S4 Mini is the spitting image of the Galaxy S4. It’s smaller and lighter, but its curves are almost identical.

However, the Mini is actually a bit chunkier than the S4 – by a full millimetre. This ensures that it doesn’t feel quite as slender as its big brother.

Galaxy S4 Mini 4

That smaller phones tend to be that bit chunkier makes sense, though, as they have to fit roughly the same internal components into a smaller area. The Galaxy S4 Mini only comes in black and white finishes, and has the same faux-metallic (i.e. plastic) finish as the full-size S4.

When the S4 launched, it came in two colours, white and blue. However, now you can get the phone in white, blue, black, red, brown and grey shades. Not all are widely available in the UK, though. Galaxy S4 Mini 3

Galaxy S4 vs S4 Mini 2

Samsung Galaxy S4 vs S4 Mini – Screen and Portability

Galaxy S4 – 5-inch Super AMOLED, 1080p resolution

Galaxy S4 Mini – 4.3-inch Super AMOLED, qHD resolution

To go with the smaller body, the Galaxy S4 Mini has a smaller screen. It’s 4.3 inches across instead of a full five inches. Many people argue that 4.3 inches is a more sensible size because a body as large as the Galaxy S4’s is just too much for some people – saying that, Samsung’s clever design makes the S4 almost exactly the same width as the Galaxy S3.

The S4 also has a much more advanced screen than the S4 Mini. They use the same basic panel tech – Super AMOLED – but the resolution of the larger phone is much higher, both in plain numbers and relative to its screen inches.

The S4 Mini as 255 pixels in every inch of screen, the S4 has a mammoth 440. As a result, the full-size Galaxy S4 display is much, much sharper. Galaxy S4 Mini 5

In an IPS-based LCD display, 256dpi would give a pretty sharp image, but as the S4 Mini uses a PenTile display (PenTile is a kind of sub-pixel arrangement) its images won't be as sharp. In other words, the S4 Mini screen isn’t just a step down in size, it’s a step down in quality too.

Galaxy S4 vs S4 Mini

Samsung Galaxy S4 vs S4 Mini – Storage

Galaxy S4 – 16GB, with microSD slot

Galaxy S4 Mini – 8GB, with microSD slot

Continuing the trend of being cut down in every sense, the Galaxy S4 Mini has 8GB of internal memory while the Galaxy S4 has 16GB. Samsung also produces 32GB and 64GB editions of the 5-inch phone, but they’re not widely available in the UK.

Both phones have a microSD memory card slot, which minimises the negative impact of this cut in storage. It doesn’t get rid of it altogether, though.

Galaxy S4 Mini 2

The issue is that most apps can only be installed to the internal memory, not memory cards. However, the 5GB or so that will be accessible in the S4 Mini will be more than enough for most people.

MicroSD memory cards are dirt cheap these days, and 32GB ones can be had for well under £20. It’s a great solution if you want to use your Galaxy phone as a music or media player, and these files can happily live on a memory card.

Galaxy S4 vs S4 Mini 3

Samsung Galaxy S4 vs S4 Mini – Power

Galaxy S4 – Qualcomm APQ8064T Snapdragon 600 Quad-core 1.9GHz, 2GB RAM

Galaxy S4 Mini – Qualcomm MSM8930 Snapdragon 400, 1.7GHz dual-core, 1.5GB RAM

The processor of the Galaxy S4 Mini is a lot less powerful than the Galaxy S4’s – more proof that this really isn’t just a shrunk-down S4. It uses a Snapdragon 400 dual-core chip running at 1.7GHz.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 has a quad-core Snapdragon 600 chip running at 1.9GHz. Both are based on the Krait architecture.

There is a little less RAM in the S4 Mini too, although not a great deal. The 3G version uses 1.5GB of RAM, which is actually more than features in the Galaxy S3, while the S4 has a full 2GB.

It’s less powerful, sure, but the Galaxy Mini’s specs make it a mid-range mobile rather than a low-end one.

Galaxy S4 vs S4 Mini 3

Samsung Galaxy S4 vs S4 Mini – Software

Galaxy S4 – Android 4.2 with TouchWiz

Galaxy S4 Mini - Android 4.2 with TouchWiz

The interfaces of the Galaxy S4 and S4 Mini are almost identical, both based on a recent version of Android with the Samsung custom UI TouchWiz splattered on top.

TouchWiz is the interface Samsung has used in its phones for years. It has come a long way in those years, but its present focus is in adding reams of features you don’t get in Android, some of which are little more than filler fluff. Software

Extra features include an exercise tracker, language translator, a custom speech recognition app and more. Most feature in both phones, including WatchON, which uses the IR transmitter to let you control your TV (and other equipment) with the phone. This is missing in the Galaxy S3 because the phone does not have an IR transmitter – it’s a neat extra for a lower-cost phone like the Galaxy S4 Mini.

Both phones also have TouchWiz’s more annoying features – such as Smart Scroll, which lets you tilt the phone or nod your head to scroll through articles.

Galaxy S4 vs S4 Mini 3

Read our look at TouchWiz's snazzy new features

Samsung Galaxy S4 vs S4 Mini – Camera

Galaxy S4 – 13MP with LED flash

Galaxy S4 Mini – 8MP with LED flash

The Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini has a camera that’s roughly a generation behind the Galaxy S4, with an 8-megapixel sensor rather than a 13-megapixel one – seen in most top-end Android phones of 2013.

As this point, we do not know if the S4 Mini uses the same sensor as the Galaxy S3, which also has an 8-megapixel camera. If it does, there shouldn’t be a massive disparity between the image quality of these two phones. As we saw in our comparison of the iPhone 5 and S4, there’s not a huge gulf between good 8-megapixel and 13-megapixel phone cameras.

They are similarly constrained by the tiny size of sensors of this type. We’ll be back with a full look at the S4 Mini’s photo capabilities when we get the chance to take the phone out for a camera test drive.

Both phones also has high-quality front cameras - the S4's uses a 2MP sensor, the S4 Mini's a 1.9MP sensor.

For a closer look at what the S4 camera is capable of, check out our Galaxy S4 vs iPhone 5 comparison.

Galaxy S4 vs S4 Mini 1

Samsung Galaxy S4 vs S4 Mini – Verdict

Like the S3 Mini before it, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini is not really a shrunken version of the S4. Its screen is not only smaller but worse too, its processor is slower, it has less storage and a weaker camera. However, in each field it packs enough of a punch to offer a solid mid-range Android experience. If you want everything the S4 has but in a smaller body, however, this isn’t it.

Next, read our full Samsung Galaxy S4 review and our full Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini review


June 1, 2013, 8:24 pm

The mini looks good for what it is, a mid range phone. If you can find a good deal for it when it comes out it might sell well, after all a 4.3 inch screen is a better fit for most people then the 5 inch screen of the S4, still I don't know if I would go either one one of these when its time to update my S3 contract in October, might hold off for the new Motorola X phone that's been rumoured about atm on the net.


June 2, 2013, 5:45 am

The display on the S4 mini is not a PenTile matrix; it uses a similar technology to the display of the Samsung Note II. In this regard, the S4 mini is actually a step ahead of the regular S4, which does have a PenTile matrix display (all things being equal, non-PenTile matrix displays are sharper). However, since the S4 has almost double the resolution of the mini, its display will still be sharper, but the difference shouldn't be huge.

Debbie Massey

June 2, 2013, 8:04 am

Why is it so difficult to get a decent small phone?!

Hamish Campbell

June 3, 2013, 8:07 am

My only concern would be the 8Gb memore. I have an S2 with 16 and still have some issues with apps that need the local storage.....although I notice that is broken up into phone and usb storage, but believe it uses both as 'local'.

Michael Gunner

June 4, 2013, 11:32 am

I really struggle to understand the concept that a smaller, cheaper version of the S4 should have identical specs? Of course it's not going to, that's the whole point.


July 4, 2013, 7:37 am

This review like many others, is just comparing specs - pretty boring and useless for the average user and anyone can just do that. No hands on experience using the s4 mini! I am particulary concerned about the battery endurance but I guess will have to wait for the gsmarena test for that


July 21, 2013, 10:27 am

even though the samsung galaxy s4 is much much bigger than the s4 mini, the s4 is way better than the s4 mini yes the s4 mini is smaller and reasonably sized it is if i may say so it is absolute rubbish compared to the s4.



September 10, 2013, 4:41 pm

Thanx ...............


September 10, 2013, 8:21 pm

You've made the S4 mini sound absolutely terrible. With no satisfactory answer as to whether or not it is worth buying. You've basically listed a load of facts that anyone could do and told us that the S4 is better...well yeah, it costs more.


September 23, 2013, 9:46 am

i love my s4 mini!! so dont knock it until you've tried it!!!


October 2, 2013, 6:24 am

hi gents, what about the network drop of S4 mini Duos? any one heared about?


October 6, 2013, 7:53 am

excellent comparision, exactly what i was looking for, i dont have to look any other reviews. thanks.


October 6, 2013, 11:43 pm

I was in the EE shop on Sunday 6 October and noticed they had both an S4 & S4 mini right next to each other for comparison which was great! The thing that really baffled me was that the S4 mini's display really 'punched-out' and out-shined the S4's display; in fact it made the S4's display look rather dull and lacklustre in comparison. Yes I did check the settings and both units had their Brightness slider's set to MAX with the auto brightness un-ticked on both. This flies in the face of what was said in the review about the display apparently being of a lesser technology in the S4 mini, yet from what I witnessed I could see that I would struggle more with the more dull display of the S4 in very brightly lit locations and sunny days.

Humaa Jan

April 2, 2014, 2:57 pm

The s4 battery might be down that's why it was dull

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