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The Samsung Galaxy S III mini is the company's most premium compact Android smartphone and is here to prove that you don't need to come close to phablet territory to get the latest and greatest from the world's largest smartphone manufacturer.
The Galaxy S III mini comes with half the number of CPU cores and just 41% of its resolution. Will those two balance out with the smaller screen and still get you the high-end experience? We'll only know for sure when we are done with the review, but here's the quick rundown of the Galaxy S III mini key strengths.
Design and controls
The Galaxy S III mini is a pretty nice looking mid-range smartphone.
While we did have our reservations about the Samsung Galaxy S III all plastic construction, its design is one that grows on you. What's more, the Galaxy S III mini is not facing the same kind of elite competition as its bigger sibling, so its looks might actually be an advantage.
The Samsung Galaxy S III mini is really easy to handle with its curved back fitting nicely in the palm of your hand. Single-handed operation is also always an option - one of the few areas, where the Galaxy S III mini beats the original Galaxy S III.
The Samsung Galaxy S III mini uses a 4" Super AMOLED screen of WVGA resolution (800 x 480 pixels). It's identical to the screens used in the original Samsung I9000 Galaxy S.
The pixel density clocks in at 233 ppi, but since the AMOLEDs of that generation use a PenTile matrix, you can spot the familiar dottiness. It's not a big deal, but it's one of those things that once you spot, you can't get out of your head.
The Galaxy S III display offers more than decent image quality for a mid-range device. Colors a punchy, blacks are as deep as on other AMOLEDs and the viewing angles are extremely wide. There's some color shift when looking from an extreme angle, but the screen remains perfectly legible.
The Samsung Galaxy S III mini comes with a 5MP camera and is able to capture photos at a maximum resolution of 2560 x 1920 pixels. It has an LED flash to assist it in low lighting conditions.
On the right there's the still camera / camcorder switch, a virtual shutter key and the gallery shortcut (which is a thumbnail of the last photo taken).
On the left you get several controls and the good news is that you can pick any four shortcuts to put there - you can easily have all frequently used features just a tap away.
Samsung has done a good job of optimizing the hardware and its latest custom launcher Nature UX is arguably the most functional on the market.
The price is too ambitious at the moment, but it should come down quite quickly at which point the Galaxy S III mini will be a great mid-ranger to buy.