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Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini review

 Review: November 2014  

Rating: 4 stars

In a nutshell: The Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini is a smaller version of the top-selling Galaxy S5. Slim and lightweight, it's an excellent Android phone, but over-priced.

Today's best buy: Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini SIM-F ... from Amazon (£0)


A compact Galaxy S5

It's traditional for a Mini version of Samsung's S series phones to appear shortly after release of the flagship phone. Sure enough, the S5 Mini is a cut-down version of the Galaxy S5. The similarity in design is obvious. The S5 Mini looks exactly like a smaller version of the S5. The same plastic build is here, but the device is smaller and lighter (it weighs just 120g), although not quite as slim as the S5 itself. It also features the dust and water resistance (IP67 certification) of it's big brother. It's a practical design, but there's nothing here that shouts "premium". For that, you're better off considering the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact.

Its screen measures 4.5 inches, which is typical for a mid-range phone. Anything smaller would be considered entry-level. It's a HD screen, with a 1280 x 720 pixel resolution, making for a reasonably fine display. The AMOLED screen is bright and vivid, and we'd rate it at 4 stars. If you're looking for a compact phone, you probably won't find any with a better screen than this.

Android KitKat 4.4

Like the S5, the S5 Mini runs Android 4.4, together with Samsung's familiar TouchWiz user interface.

The phone features a swipe-operated fingerprint sensor embedded in its home key, and also a heart rate sensor that syncs with the S Health app.

Quad-core performance

The quad-core processor isn't as fast as the flagship S5, but at 1.4GHz it's quite capable. It's certainly not the fastest at this price, but you should be able to run all but the most demanding games without any significant problems. Sometimes there's a hint of lag though, which is surprising for a processor of this speed.

The 1.5GB RAM is reasonable too, although 2GB would have been more in line with what rival manufacturers are offering.

The phone comes with 16GB of built-in memory, which is standard for phones of this type. As ever, we'd really like more, but you can add an additional 64GB of storage with a microSD memory card.

8 megapixel camera

The main rear-facing camera is similar to what we saw on the Galaxy S4 Mini, and has an 8 megapixel sensor with autofocus and flash. It can record video at full HD 1080p resolution. It's a step-down from the 16 megapixel camera of the S5 itself, and can't match Sony's range of Xperia Compact phones.

The front-facing camera has been upgraded to 2.1 megapixels and can record video at full HD 1080p resolution, which is very welcome.

4G and connectivity

This is a 4G phone, and also runs on 2G/3G networks with support for HSPA.

The phone supports Wi-Fi with Wi-Fi Direct available as well as Bluetooth 4.0 and NFC wireless connectivity. There's also a microUSB 2.0 connector and a 3.5mm headphone socket.

Battery life

The S5 Mini packs a 2,100mAH battery, which isn't the best in this grade of phone. Other manufacturers are pulling ahead of Samsung in the size of battery included in their smartphones. In full use, battery life is limited to 8 hours, which is on the low side. The phone does offer Samsung's "ultra power saving" feature, but this is really a kind of life support, changing your screen to black and white and shutting down unnecessary features, so it isn't something that you'd want to make regular use of.

Conclusion - good, but over-priced

The S5 Mini isn't a bad phone by any means. It's better than the S4 Mini. But it's a lot more expensive too. We feel it's over-priced.

The design is nothing special - it's a plastic Android slab with an average size screen. Samsung is telling everyone that it's ultraslim, but it's not, according to our ruler. It's a good all-rounder, with a decent HD screen, OK camera, fast-ish processor, and sufficient memory. Everything is good enough, apart from the battery life, which probably isn't. If the price was lower, we'd be raving about it. We think it ought to be priced around £15 per month on a 2-year contract. If you can pick it up at that price, we'd say go for it. If not, keep searching.

Other phones to consider include the Samsung Galaxy S4, Sony Xperia M2 and Sony Xperia Z3 Compact.

Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini features include:

Best buys
Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini SIM-F ...
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Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini G800h ...
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Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini user reviews

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Average rating from 3 reviews:

Reviewed by Rob from UK on 9th Apr 2016
I have to say that I upgraded to this from an S4 mini. As a man who only has pockets unlike my partner who carries her handbag i've always thought that a lot of mobiles seem to be getting bigger and bigger. As great as some of them are they are just too big for pockets. I loved the S4 mini and decided that the S5 mini would be the natural progression for an upgrade and it really was . It's a great phone. Nice size (not too big). The camera's good enough for what I need and on Vodafone like the S3 mini and the S4 mini has never let me down. I used to drive artics from Lands End to the north of the highlands and only ever lost signal in the most remote places. This seems to be a brilliant upgrade and if it carries on performing as it does now I wouldn't hesitate in recommending it to anyone.

Reviewed by Greg from Uk on 14th Apr 2015
The poor battery life, comparing to s4 mini is even worse. The real standby time is about 24 hours no more even less sometimes. My s5 mini doesn't freez but the battery is awfull a real nightmare.

Reviewed by Adrian from UK on 21st Mar 2015
I've had the S5 mini for 6 months and can easily say it's the worst phone I've ever had. It is constantly freezing and locking up,I've lost count how many times I've taken the battery out. Avoid at all costs.

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