Edward Swift - Hands On: The Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini

Publish Date
Friday, 17 October 2014, 12:00AM
The Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini (supplied)

The Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini (supplied)

Author
By Edward Swift

The thing that’s always put me off a number of the new premium smartphones is the size. Sure, it’s great to have a bigger screen if you’re writing an email or watching a movie. But when it comes to the practicality of carrying around a comparatively massive 5.6 inch phone (the size of the Samsung Galaxy S5) you either need rather large pockets, a handbag or you have to hold it in your hand constantly. However the Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini provides a fantastic alternative to these powerful phones without losing many of the features.

The phone itself is very similar to the S5, and a number of the features are only minor step down from its full-size older sibling. The obvious difference is the size of the device. The S5 Mini packs in all the features in a handy 4.5 inch device, a similar size to the iPhone 5 range. It is slightly thicker than the S5, but only by 1mm so it’s hardly notable. The screen resolution takes a minor hit, only having a 720p display compared to full 1080p on the S5. But the colours are bright and vivid, and the picture quality is great.

The battery life was amazing. I found I only needed to charge it every 24 hours, despite using a lot of mobile data and listening to music as well. Once again, slightly less than the S5 (2800mAh v 2100mAh), but still giving the user plenty of time to watch TV shows ondemand or surf the web. It will be interesting to see how long that charge will hold over months of use.

There has been a slight improvement in this compact device too. In the S5, there was a flap to cover the MicroSD port and the charging port. In the Mini, they’ve done away with these covers and hidden the MicroSD port behind the battry cover. But how is this an improvement. It makes a difference when it comes to the waterproof feature of the phone. Perviously if you were going to drop it in water or get it wet, you would have to make sure these flaps were closed. Not anymore! Now you just have to make sure the battery case is clipped in.

The Galaxy S5 came in a number of models (16GB, 32GB and 64GB) while this phone is only available in a 16GB model. However, you can easily expand the storage to 128GB using a MicroSD card – something Apple has never made available on their phones.

One cool feature I really liked was the 'emergency mode'. There are two parts to this. Firstly, it allows you to set up four primary contacts. If you get into trouble you can quickly send these contacts your location, a photo from each camera and a 5 second sound recording by tapping the power button three times. When showing this feature to my girlfriend, she reckoned it was a great feature especially for those who may be walking on their own.

The other part to it comes into play if there was a natural disaster or a power cut and there was no way to charge your phone (perfect in case there’s another power outage in Auckland). It will disable nearly every feature except messaging, phone, torch and an emergency alarm, prolonging your battery life. With a battery charge of 63%, it estimated it could last on standby for 7.8 days – plenty of time to find a power source.

The only bit I was disappointed with was the camera. The S5 has a 16MP camera, while the S5 Mini only offers a camera of half the resolution at 8 megapixels. Sure there always has to be some compromises, but I wonder if this was one area they could try and improve next time. That being said, it’s still just as good as what Apple offered in their new iPhone 6.

Overall it’s a fantastic device, and to be honest I’m reluctant to return it next week. If you’re looking to switch from iPhone to Android and/or want a powerful device but don’t want the size of the Galaxy S5, then I’d highly recommend the Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini.

Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini

  • OS:  Android 4.4
  • Display: 4.5 inch
  • Resolution:  720x1280 pixels
  • Processor: 1.4GHz
  • RAM:  1.5GB
  • Storage: 16GB
  • Battery capacity: 2100mAh
  • Rear Camera: 8-megapixel
  • Front Camera:  2.1-megapixel