The Samsung Galaxy S III Mini was announced in October, but has remained relatively elusive since then. We've now got one in the office for a full review, but while we're working on that, we thought we'd share our first impressions and give you a glittering gallery of photos to look at.

The Samsung Galaxy S III Mini is a mid-range, Android smartphone, looking to capitalise on the success of its 4.8-inch big brother. The name, design and UI are what they have in common, but the specs are very different.

Here you get a 4-inch display. The 4-inch Super AMOLED display gives you a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels, 233ppi - typical of devices in this middle tier. Compared to those high-end devices, things are a little coarse and less refined, but you still get a decent amount of space.

Samsung Galaxy S III Mini

The display is bright and vibrant, but we’ve already noticed the lack of auto-brightness. There is a brightness adjuster in the notifications area, however, so it's quick and easy to tweak when necessary.

Visually, the user interface and features look very similar, with things like S Voice and Smart Stay on offer, among a variety of Samsung's tweaks. Sitting underneath the Samsung's interface is Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. 

The SGS3 Mini feels good in the hand, the curve of the back reflecting the "nature-inspired" design that Samsung favours. The handset measures 121.55 x 63 x 9.85mm and weighs only 111.5g.

But the light weight and compact design doesn't see the Samsung Galaxy S III Mini forsake quality. It feels solid and it doesn't creak or warp as you grip it. The backplate, as typical to Samsung phones, is fairly flimsy plastic, but once in place it feels solid.

Samsung Galaxy S III Mini

There's a 5-megapixel camera with LED flash on the rear, with the typical range of tweaks that Samsung adds to its camera UI; there's a front-facing camera too.

The removable back means you have access to the 1500mAh battery within, as well as the microSD card slot, so you can expand the memory over the 8GB (or 16GB) of internal memory.

Sitting at the core is a 1GHz dual-core processor and 1GB RAM. The phone is a little on the slow side to navigate compared to those top-tier devices, but we'll give you a better idea of the performance when we complete our full Samsung Galaxy S III Mini review.

But priced at £299, the SGS3 Mini is more expensive than the much higher spec Nexus 4 and that might pose something of a problem, unless there are some good deals to be had. But in terms of hardware, we're impressed with what we've seen so far.

READ: Nexus 4 review