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Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini Review - Software and Performance Review


Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini: Software

Samsung’s take on Android has improved dramatically in recent times. It’s no longer an ugly, bloatware-riddled place. Now with Android 4.4.2 KitKat, it’s cleaner and eaiser to use. Most of the bloatware is gone and Google’s own apps have a greater presence throughout the UI, though Samsung apps such as S Health and the rebranded My Galaxy app store are still there, too.

When you move into settings, it’s a familiar experience. Samsung packs the S5 Mini with options presented in the new colour coded, circular layout. There’s plenty to take in, but with the usual S Finder search feature it’s certainly a far less scattered approach to finding things than previous versions of TouchWiz.

S5 Mini photo samples 10Screenshot of a mobile operating system's app drawer and quick settings.

Most of the features seen in other phones are intact, the notable omissions being the multitasking Multi-Window mode, gestures like Air Browse and the new download booster feature introduced with the S5. Leaving out Multi Window makes sense given the size, though. It wouldn’t work well on a phone this size. Indeed, none of the features are critical losses.

S5 Mini photo samples

Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini: Performance

The S4 Mini came in for some criticism, mainly due it lacklustre performance in games. Other than that, the dual-core CPU was well equipped to keep things running smoothly. The S5 Mini retains the same smooth general operation, but performs better in games.

It’s moved to a quad-core Samsung Exynos 3470 CPU clocked at 1.4GHZ with Cortex A7 cores. That’s accompanied by 1.5GB RAM and a Mali 400 MP4 GPU. This is more than suitable for everyday tasks and some of the more playful features. It handles multiple running apps without any real signs of a struggle and Real Racing 3 runs with few signs of lag or framerate issues.

It’s not faster than any close rival, though. The S5 Mini manages a 1,134 multi core score in our Geekbench 3 benchmark, about the same as the HTC One Mini 2 (1,120) and Moto G (1,155), suggesting there’s very little between the £300 and sub £100 phone.

When you compare things to the Xperia Z1 Compact, it’s something of a different story. Sony’s smaller offspring of the Xperia Z1 runs on a Snapdragon 800 CPU, the same architecture found inside the LG G2. It’s undeniably the most powerful of the minis scoring a 2,836 multi core score in Geekbench.

Outside of the One Mini 2 and the Xperia Z1 Compact, we shouldn’t forget about the sub-£300 Nexus 5, which also runs on the Snapdragon 800 CPU and also scores up into the 2,000 in the Geekbench benchmark tests.

Clearly, then, while the S5 Mini is ‘fast enough’ you don’t have to spend more to find phones that perform better. It’s competent, but not outstanding.

We test every mobile phone we review thoroughly. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly and we use the phone as our main device over the review period. We’ll always tell you what we find and we never, ever, accept money to review a product.

Find out more about how we test in our ethics policy.

Used as our main phone for the review period

Reviewed using respected industry benchmarks and real world testing

Always has a SIM card installed

Tested with phone calls, games and popular apps

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