The Samsung Galaxy Mini’s screen is the place where the most conspicuous cuts have been made. It’s a 3.14in model and features a low-res 240×320-pixel display. This is the same size seen in the original HTC Wildfire, and it looks very blocky compared to better-spec’d sceens like the HTC Legend’s and the Orange San Francisco’s.
This makes Android look altogether less attractive and has a big effect on games and video-watching. Here’s a photo comparison of Angry Birds on the 240×320 pixel Galaxy Mini and the 320×480 pixel Legend to demonstrate –
Games look either blurry or blocky and text is not sharp, which affects web browsing significantly. Video suffers too, but then the video player of the Galaxy Mini isn’t much cop anyway. Unlike Samsung’s more expensive Galaxy-series and Wave handsets, it won’t play Divx files, Xvids or MKVs, just the standards H.264 and MP4 formats. And if those are too high-res, it’ll refuse to play them anyway.
There are third-party video apps available, but if you want a phone that’ll let you watch TV episodes on the way to work, you’d be much better off with a larger-screened device like the Orange San Francisco. Or the original Samsung Wave, now available fairly cheaply.
However, although the resolution is about as low as an Android phone can sink, the quality of the display isn’t too bad at all. Contrast is good and at the top brightness setting the display is scorchingly bright. It’s all overshadowed by the pixellated look though.
The camera is another victim of the Galaxy Mini’s price cuts. It’s a 3.2-megapixel model with no flash and no autofocus. In bright sunlight it can take a pleasant picture, but close-ups are flat-out impossible – anything nearby ends up blurry – and the lack of flash makes it useless for evening or night shots. It is a cut above most smartphone cameras of the same specs. But that’s not saying much.
Negative, black & white and sepia effect filters are included, there are eleven scene modes and some fun shooting modes too. Alongside classics like Smile Shot, Panorama and the Continuous shooting mode, there’s Add Me, which lets you take a picture of someone and splice them into another photo. As you might imagine, it doesn’t work very well but provides a few minutes of fun. There’s a 3x digital zoom packed-in, but like any digital zoom it only serves to degrade picture quality – not a good idea when the PQ is mediocre from the off.
Video capture is limited to the very low resolution of 320×240, which is barely worth uploading to YouTube, let alone using to capture precious memories. Vids are saved as MP4 files.