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(Pocket-lint) - Samsung has announced that an NFC-enabled variant of the Samsung Galaxy S III Mini will be available in the UK from the end of January.

Little else will be different about the budget smartphone, keeping the exact same colour scheme and aesthetics, but the new version will be compatible with contactless payment systems and S Beam -Samsung's instant share technology also found on the larger Galaxy S III and Note II.

Other specs for the phone - which Pocket-lint reviewed back in November 2012 (albeit the non-NFC edition) - include a 4-inch 800 x 480 Super AMOLED screen, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, a dual-core 1GHz processor, and 1GB RAM.

The phone is available with 8GB or 16GB internal storage, and there's a microSD card slot for expansion by up to a further 32GB.

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A 5-megapixel camera with flash in on the rear, with a 0.3-megapixel camera on the front for video calling.

As a budget smartphone, it benefits from a small body - 121.55 x 63 x 9.9mm - and only weighs 120g. Its battery is 1,500mAh.

The NFC variant of the Samsung Galaxy S III Mini will be available on all networks and a number of other online and high street retailers.

"NFC technology and the digital wallet started to gain significant traction in 2012, particularly in the run up to the Olympics," said Simon Stanford, a VP at Samsung UK and Ireland. "It’s an exciting time in the mobile market watching the next phase of its evolution take shape, so we’re happy to announce that we are bringing these new experiences to our customers through our growing number of NFC-enabled devices."

Writing by Rik Henderson.