Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini vs Galaxy S4: What's the difference?

And so, after much speculation, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini is official. The company is expected to further enhance its Galaxy S4 line-up with models focusing on the camera and waterproofing and ruggedness, but the first to be unveiled to join its already available stablemate is the mid-range handset for those on a budget.

That's not to say the Mini shirks in the engine room or with other features. Indeed, much of the DNA of the larger Samsung Galaxy S4 has bled down to the more affordable version, so it's worth having a look at exactly what the difference is between the two, and whether it makes your buying decision easier or more difficult.

1. Size

Naturally, with "Mini" in the name the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini is smaller than the SGS4. Its dimensions of 124.6 x 61.3 x 8.94mm in comparison to the Galaxy S4's 136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9mm make it approximately 90 per cent smaller face-on, but to store the battery and other internal tech it's slightly fatter. The SGS4 Mini is also considerably lighter, at 107g in comparison to 130g, mainly thanks to the less glass needed for the front plate. If weight is important to you, you'll definitely notice the difference.

2. Display

As it's smaller, the Mini has a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED display, whereas the Galaxy S4's Super AMOLED screen is 5-inches. Consider that the Samsung Galaxy S2 had a 4.3-inch screen too, normal at the time, and you'll most likely be happy with the tighter screen real estate. One big difference between the two screens though is in resolution. The Galaxy S4 has a Full HD 1080p (1920 x 1080) screen resolution, while the S4 Mini's isn't even HD, at 960 x 540.

3. Processor

Although the Samsung Galaxy S4 has the 1.6GHz Exynos 5 octa-core processor in Korea and some other areas of the world, the UK and US versions come with Qualcomm's Snapdragon 600 1.9GHz quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM instead, to allow them to be LTE 4G-enabled. The Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini utilises Qualcomm's Snapdragon 400 1.7GHz dual-core chip with 1.5GB of RAM, but that should be more than capable for daily operation.

4. Connectivity

Perhaps surprisingly, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini will come in three variants, with the 4G LTE version tipped for a UK release - the others are 3G-only and 3G dual-SIM. That means the SGS4 doesn't have the upper ground when it comes to superfast data speeds. One of the Mini models will also have NFC, like its larger sibling, and Wi-Fi Direct. Group Play, Samsung's technology that allows you to pair similarly endowed devices together for multiplayer gaming or music-playing abilities, is also supported, so there's little to choose between the devices in this area.

5. Operating system

Both handsets come with the latest version of Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, but because of technological restrictions the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini does not have some of the more grandstand features of the SGS4 on board. Some of Samsung's own software add-ons to Android rely on the processor and other tech to work, so Smart Stay, Smart Scroll and the camera function Dual Shot are absent on the smaller phone.

Some others have made the transition, however, including S Translator, the company's integrated software that allows you to convert spoken phrases and text into 10 different languages, and S Health.

One upshot of the lack of some of the features is that of the 8GB of on-board storage on the Mini, 5GB is available to the user. Of the 16GB of on-board storage on the SGS4, only around 9GB is available - that's a less healthy percentage.

So which to choose?

The final choice between the devices won't necessarily be made on aesthetics or even functionality, but price. Although we're still waiting on the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini's UK pricing and release date, it will be considerably cheaper than the Galaxy S4. Yeah sure, the 5-inch Full HD screen of the SGS4 is amazing, and watching media on it is almost a tablet experience, but if you're on a budget the colours on the Mini will zing just as much through its Super AMOLED display.

It will be interesting to see what plans are available on the networks, but we'd be surprised if the Mini doesn't come free for reasonable monthly outlays. You even get the same choice of colour schemes, white frost and black mist.

That all said, if you do have a little extra put aside, the full-bodied Samsung Galaxy S4 is one hell of a smartphone.

READ: Samsung Galaxy S4 review



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