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Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini review

Michael Sawh

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Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini

Summary

Our Score:

8

Pros

  • Bright, vibrant screen
  • Very capable 8-megapixel camera
  • Great battery life

Cons

  • Plastic back feels cheaper than on S5
  • Some missing TouchWiz features

Key Features

  • 4.5-inch 720p HD display with 326 ppi; 8-megapixel camera; Micro SIM; 4G support; Bluetooth 4.0; 16GB storage; 1.5GB RAM; 1080p HD video recording; Android 4.4.2 KitKat; Exynos Quadcore 3470 1.4GHz; 2,100 MAh battery; 2.1-Megapixel front-facing camera
  • Manufacturer: Samsung
  • Review Price: £389.95

What is the Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini?

The Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini is a 4.5-inch Android phone that's essentially the Galaxy S5 in a smaller body. Much like the S3 and S4 Mini. It looks like the S5, retains most of the flagship's new features, but it does make some compromises. It doesn't have a Full HD screen and it lacks the S5's impressive camera — two of the S5's best features. There are better value phones out there, but the S5 Mini is a step from from the S4 Mini.

Watch our Galaxy S5 Mini video review

Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini: Design & Features

So the good news is that from afar, the S5 Mini is every bit the spitting image of the S5. That’s down to the colours its available in and the positioning of all the key buttons and ports. The same curvy corners are still in place, as is the plastic silver trim around the edge, so no Galaxy Alpha metal here. It still has that dimpled plastic back, which makes a nice change from the polycarbonate rears on previous Galaxy handsets.

Much like the white S5, however, the white version of S5 Mini feels extremely cheap compared to the soft, more textured feel on the Charcoal Black S5. It’s a little more slippy to the touch and while you won’t lose grip of it, it simply doesn’t feel as snug or stylish as the One Mini 2. For this reason the black version is the one we recommend.

The S5 Mini measures in at 9.1mm thick and weighs 120g, making it slightly thicker and heavier than the S4 Mini as well. It’s not a difference you'll notice, though. This is still a light, well-built phone. The plastic back still unclips to reveal a removable battery along with micro SIM card and microSD card slots. Around the back is the single speaker and camera sensor with LED flash along with the heart rate sensor featured on the S5, though the sensor isn't especially accurate or useful.

The S5 Mini also retains the fingerprint reader, though it's still a hit and miss affair. Apple's Touch ID trounces it for consistency and accuracy, so much it's hard to persevere with it.

S5 Mini 5

Elsewhere, there's an infrared (IR) blaster to turn the S5 Mini into a universal remote control and the body is IP67 certified dust and water-resistant. This means you can dunk it in water up to one metre deep for 30 minutes as long as the battery cover is securely in place. You also don't have to worry about any fiddly latches as the S5 Mini doesn't have any.

The missing latch also reveals one of the hardware casualties. The micro USB 3.0 support is gone. That means you miss out on faster data rates to transfer files, music and video. It's a shame that this isn't included, but understandble in the name of keeping the price down — we can't think of any phone at this price that supports USB 3.0.

S5 Mini 6

Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini: Screen

The S5 Mini is a step-up from the S4 Mini in three important ways. At 4.5-inches it's 0.2-inches larger, it has a higher 720p resolution and it uses Corning Gorilla Glass 3.

That’s no real surprise on all fronts. Phones continue to creep up in size, while the Moto G has shown cheaper phones don’t have to make such dramatic compromises in screen resolution. It’s a Super AMOLED display just like the S5, and it's just as bright, rich and colourful. It's a great screen. If you are not entirely happy with the screen, Samsung still includes the same display settings on the S5 with dynamic, standard, professional photo, cinema and adapt display modes.

Like most smaller AMOLED, the S5 Mini uses a PenTile array. This relates to the arrangement of sub pixels that make up a single pixel in the display. Samsung uses four sub pixels as opposed to three, which most smartphone displays use. Those sub pixels are lined up diagonally instead of on top each other, as is the case with smartphones using RGB screens. This can can lead to some screen fuzziness up close, but you are going to be hard pressed to really notice it on the S5 Mini.

epic

August 28, 2014, 9:46 pm

how about telling us something about the radios - does it do LTE 4G?, 5Ghz Wifi? Anything coming onto the market now should do both if only for futureproofing.

iFrank

August 28, 2014, 11:16 pm

They stated "4g support" though I'm not sure what that is.
Does it mean it tries to help but isn't actually it?

Samsung have bitterly disappointed with this, it's an okay phone that's way too costly for something only a little above adequate, for these times.

The summary nailed it, an older phone is a more attractive choice.
I'm gutted that the rumours proved to be so well founded after all.

Cornel Stefan

August 30, 2014, 8:45 am

Hmmm this is not a surprise.... the s5 mini is a good smartphone but is not really a budget one and at its price you can buy something else.. todaysit.net

Cabe Echaide

June 11, 2015, 8:10 pm

I totally disagree about the battery. I bought a Samsung Galaxy s5 mini about a week ago and I charge the battery all the night and it just lasts about 6 and half hours

Prashanth G

February 1, 2017, 3:02 pm

Hi all,
This might be too late to write opinions on this phone. But i purchased this phone very recently and have seen lot of people complaining about battery. So, thought of sharing some opinion here.
first there are couple attractive things on this phone, The splendid camera and the phone size and nothing else. I downgraded my mobile experience from Moto g4 to this phone only because of the size. No time to regret, I have already made the mistake. After using Moto phones and experiencing their battery life, all the other mobile batteries performance looks useless. I apologize Samsung fans here, but this battery is not worth for a giant like samsung. after there was a firmware update on my phone, the battery was draining tremendously. I was so frustrated that i wanted to degrade the firmware (which is not possible without moding). And the biiiiiiiiiiig mistake i did was login to samsung account and allow the samsung apps kill my battery. Not sure if Touchwiz is the culprit here, but i was very annoyed with this mobile. Cause i put more money than what i actually thought.
Later i did a factory reset again and this time i didnt do the mistake of logging into samsung account, As far as possible, i have disabled all samsung apps. And i have installed Nano launcher and not using touchwiz. I dont understand the purpose of this phone... to save battery we need to turn off wifi and data. All i now do is turn off sync in the background, putting the phone in battery save mode. and turn of wifi and switch it on only once an hour to check any messages. As i have disabled the sync i will need to check the mails manually.
This is like going back to 1980's after experiencing 20th century. I only have a feeling, i have wasted my money purchasing this. I didnt expect any miracles but a phone with good usage and not needing to sit near the charging port. I dont intend to promote moto brand here, but i have used Moto G, Moto g4, moto e3, moto g turbo edition, all these phones were awesome. I never install games on my mobile and strictly use it for official purpose. and the speaker is a joke, all the latest phones are coming up with a speaker near charging port or near the mic, and this phone has a speaker on the back and we lose all the important calls as the phone sticks to the base and cant hear the incoming ringtones. I dont need a phone to look stylish but need a better battery performance and this has literally failed on the expectations part. The only good thing is it fits the pocket unlike the huge moto phones. and if you want to avoid chinese company phones, then this is the only option. Samsung, please hear the customers problems, you could have done better than this at such price range.
Well to let you know, after disabling as many apps as possible and after removing sync option and after disabling wifi and data (thank god this doesnt support 4g or it would have been still worse) and after installing only majic jack and whatsapp battery looks little better (i mentioned after switching off wifi :) ). Now i have to deal with this till it damages itself or i damage it. samsung fans am sorry once again.

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