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Great phone, one of the best, if not the best I ever used! In the past, I owned BIG SCREEN PHONES as Galaxy Note (with 5.3" screen, too heavy and too big) and wanted something smaller that I could hold in one hand comfortably. Since I am a true techie, I researched this phone for all specs as soon as it was released on several websites. Since this phone has EXCEEDED all of my expectations, here is my very detailed review of this very special and fun to use Mini S3 phone. My goal in this review is to help in your buying decision one way or the other regarding this phone.

Update 8/24/13 - Just received today, the newest firmware/OS for the 4.1.2 OTA (on my phone directly) as it was updated from Samsung and this is very new at this date of Monday, August 5, 2013 and arrived in my phone's Notification area today. After the upgrade completed, I noticed at once that this phone is lightning fast and the touchscreen is very, very fast and responsive! This is the THIRD update that I received since I purchased this phone in April 2013. Each update is not that large, however, it enhances the performance of this phone. Very encouraged as if the updates keep coming regularly, perhaps
4.2.2 will be coming to the S3 Mini. And from my research, it is possible that the S3 Mini may receive the 4.2 OS but it will be a while longer...Till then, I shall keep on trying to update and keep you informed...

PROS:

- SIZE AND WEIGHT: Perfect size for me as it fits easily into my jeans pocket or smallest purse. And I purchased a leather vertical case that clips to my waistband so I take it with me to the gym to listen to my music or radio when I work out.

- STANDARD SIZED SIM CARD: The S3 Mini has a standard Sim card slot (unlike the full sized S3 that has a micro Sim slot). Good to know as I did not have to cut my Sim card, I just placed it into the S3 Mini and I was good to go, and I did not have to set up the APN settings for Internet and MMS as the setup did this for me automatically). This is good to know if you want to use your regular Sim card and not have to deal with settings yourself. What a great feature.

- Phone call clarity etc. - No matter what my location using this phone for phone calls the clarity of calls is loud and clear whether on the phone's speaker, headset etc. I even had to turn down the volume quite a lot as the calls come in so well.

- WiFi/3G (Internet): Connects to any WiFi I have tried very quickly and easily and the signal strength is excellent even when I am far from my router. And when not near a WiFi hotspot, I use AT&T for data and easily get 3G and found the data to be very fast, almost as fast as my home WiFi is. (For browser, I installed Opera Mini free from Playstore and found it to be a very easy to use and fast browser).

- Overall speed, performance, smoothness, picture quality of the screen--very fast and peppy. And I found a way to SAVE on both memory and on battery. What I did was to go into Apps/ Manage Apps and DISABLED the apps I don't use. Without rooting the phone, you cannot uninstall pre-installed factory apps, but you can disable them. Disabling the ones you don't use makes the phone run faster and frees more memory! Since I am a techie, I know which ones to disable and which ones not to disable, so if in doubt, please ask me in the comments and I will be glad to assist you in this.

- BATTERY LIFE: This phone has given me the BEST battery life of ANY smartphone or that I ever owned. And I use 100% brightness. For me, even at 100 brightness, if I use WiFi or Data just when I need it and then turn it off, I get all day into the night on one single charge! (I charge nightly and the phone is at 100% ready to go the next morning).

- EXTERNAL SLOT FOR MICRO SD CARD - This helped to sell me on this phone as I can add my personal music, photos, videos and more to this phone!

And I placed a 32g in mine for music, files etc. *Keep in mind where External SD cards are concerned: They are JUST for your personal files: music, videos, photos, and other files. When you install apps from Playstore or other sources, they store either in INTERNAL Memory Card or sometimes in the phone area (most store in the INTERNAL SD AREA). This is the law of the land where Android is concerned and ALL newer Android devices (including Samsung) work this way when storing your downloaded apps are concerned.

- INTERNAL STORAGE SPACE:
This phone is advertised at 8GB of Internal space. The 8GB is the space BEFORE the drive was formatted, OS installed and then factory apps installed. So what I had on the phone BEFORE I installed any apps it had 4.75GB left. This is how it is on any flash drive, SD card, Hard Drive as formatting alone takes up space.
Also, since 3.0 Android and above, you cannot save any apps to your personal SD card. Instead the apps are installed one way or the other to the INTERNAL SPACE. However, the good thing is that your personal files as photos, music, videos, and more can be installed to your EXTERNAL SD Card so you do have that space for yourself.
**I have a few apps I downloaded from the Playstore, but no games so I still have about 4.08 GB left on my phone for more apps later should I wish to install them.

- Reading/Creating/Editing Word, Excel, Text Files and much more on this tablet: I downloaded a FREE APP called Kingsoft Office which I use for Office files (it reads, edits and creates Office files). And it also reads PDF eBooks so there is no need to download a separate PDF Reader app. *This is a MUST have if you have to read PDF or Word Docs etc, my docs are crisp and clear using this app.

- CAMERA - The 5MP camera concerned me that is UNTIL I took both indoor and outdoor pictures and even video. Well, I was pleasantly surprised. When I printed out some close up and other shots, I was really happy with the detailing in the pictures. And it compared to the picture quality I had with my Samsung Galaxy Note with 8MP camera, so what a happy surprise! Turns out to be a pretty good camera.

- Bluetooth Speed and Performance - The Bluetooth paired quickly with several devices and copied files at a great rate of speed.

CONS:

- Adobe Flash is not supported in this phone or ANY ANDROID DEVICE after 4.0 OS. The only way to get flash is to get a archived flash and use a high end browser such as Puffin or Maxthon Browser. So downloading the older archived flash gives the ability to view SOME internet videos, but this is better than no flash at all. Keep in mind this is a problem with ALL brands of Android devices with 4.0 OS and higher it is just after 4.0 Android came out, the NEW and best flash is NOT supported for Android devices. It is what it is...

- Very small instruction "manual" provided with the tablet, however, I went to the Samsung site and downloaded the full manual and saved it in PDF on my laptop for reading anytime I need it. If you want the link for the manual, let you know in the comments and I will give it to you.

- This phone will NOT accept an OTG (On the go) USB plug for flash drives, mice, etc. This was not a problem for me, I just plug in the USB Cable to copy files to the phone. So no big deal.
-
- International Phone so NO US WARRANTY. Not a problem for me because I have learned over time that if a device is going to fail, it usually does it within the first 30 days. This phone has been great--no problems at all!
-
- No NFC except on the model with the N on the model number. I do not use NFC so I have no problem with that.

Bottom line: Would I buy this phone all over again? Yes I certainly would. Will this phone be the best for you? Yes, if you do not expect every bell and whistle feature from the BIG S3, want just the most important features, want a smaller and more lightweight phone that will do all the basic things of a Smartphone, then I totally recommend this phone!
Hope this review has assisted you and thank you for reading it. Please feel free to ask me any questions in the comment area and I will answer all questions in a very timely manner.
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on January 9, 2013
Hi guys,
I must admit that I when I purchased this mobile, I was a little afraid. I had read lots of reviews and watched some videos on YouTube before the purchase. Anyway, I was worried mainly because of the screen resolution (480 x 800, that means no HD), the battery life and the size of the screen.

I can tell you, this mobile is just awesome! It comes with Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean installed, which is so beautiful and fluid. The screen is great, battery life is very good and the size of the screen is, in my opinion, perfect. I've never considered the "regular" Samsung Galaxy S3 because it is way to big for me. I wanted something quite small (although the screen is bigger than an iPod touch 4th gen), responsible, attractive and efective. This mobile is excellent for me! :-).

The mobile accept 3G, it has smart stay, and all those "high-tech" features like his bigger brother the S3.
I will reply any question you might have about this device and update this review next saturday.

SPANISH:
Hola! Debo decirles que antes de comprar este teléfono tenia un poco de miedo con respecto a la pantalla, ya sea al tamaño como a la resolucion de la misma (no es HD). Tambien estaba desconfiando un poco por las reviews que leí y videos que vi, sobre la duración de la batería. Sinceramente el telefono me ENCANTA, yo vivo en Argentina y funciona perfectamente con las redes de acá. La pantalla es realmente muy muy buena, todo se ve fluido y es increíble. El tamaño tambien es muy bueno, en mi opinion es el tamaño perfecto, ya que un Galaxy S3 de los comunes me parece excesivamente grande.

El telefono viene con Android 4.1.1 y apenas lo compré se me actualizaron unos paquetes (pero sin cambiar de versión). Para los que pasen de un celular con Android 2.2 o 2.3, les puedo asegurar que estamos hablando de dos cosas totalmente distintas. Les cuento que lo que avanzó este sistema operativo durante los ultimos meses es impresionante.

En cuanto a la cámara y a la batería, no tuve mucho tiempo de evaluarlos muy a fondo (durante estos días voy a subir un update de mi review sobre estos temas), pero incluso usando un fondo de pantalla de los dinámicos (live wallpaper) la batería ha durado todo un día.

Con respecto al teléfono en general, anda perfecto sin ningún problema. Todo es muy fluido y no hay ningún tipo de lag.

Cualquier duda que tengan no duden en preguntarme, les contestaré lo antes posible.
Saludos!
5150+ comments| 298 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on July 12, 2013
Good -
1) Delivery prompt and in excellent condition.
2) Display excellent.
3) Feature rich.
4) Full User's manuals in various languages available on the manufacturers site.
5) The language switch over from German easy and a non-issue. And no, I don't read German.
6) Apps, like GasBuddy, easy to install and work well in large metro areas.
7) Overall comparable to my work iPhone with exceptions noted below.

Bad -
1) Charging overnight last from ~6AM - ~3PM with WiFi and GPS off, brightness @50% with less than 1 hour of talk time. Repeated these results for several days; never achieved acceptable battery life. This was THE deal breaker.
2) The dropouts and lack of service could be poor carrier service - AT&T's GSM. Often had NO service with 3 bars. Signal strength varied >10db with the phone sitting on a table, no known local EM interference, and fair WX. When traveling, one needs good coverage - not excellent, just good. This phone/carrier combo did NOT deliver minimally acceptable service.

Other thoughts -
1) 3-star (neutral) rating because of the uncertainties involved.
2) Possibly a one-off lemon on the phone, but I don't play roulette - hoping the next spin will be a winner.
3) Case/cover and screen protectors I ordered/received are a loss.
4) Amazon refund prompt and hassle free. This was the only bright spot in the deal.
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on September 29, 2013
I just got this phone on Friday. 9/27 (finally arived) and today is 9/29 . words cannot express how excited I was to re I've this phone. It even arrived early! Got off work and sure enough there was a neat it the package sitting there for me. Opened it up and started playing with it.. Got. My service all set up.. Good.. THEN came the sadness. I love the phone itself... Just not the company that sells it on Amazon. (universal GSM mobile) in a nutshell, this company's short sightedness and general disregard for customers satisfaction is a huge issue. This company had the audacity to include a defective battery. And when I say defective, I mean it in a very blantent and obvious way. It does NOT hold a charge. It litterally loses about 1% power every minute. Its been on thee charger all night.. And after DE - charging (still plugged in mind you) to about 43% it's total percent is at a total of 68%. Which is after being on the charger all day YESTERDAY as well. Did I mention the phone won't stay off? I'll try to turn it off for the night just to give the charge more priority.... But it flips itself right back on! It even randomly resets itself in the middle of general tasks. Love it. The thing that bothers me the most... THEY KNEW IT WAS BAD! How do I know? Well.. They took it upon themselves to remove the little water damage stickers just leaving an empty little box. The fact that the firmware is also outdated any CAN NOT be updated without kies or flashing seems minor compared to this. Oh and you can forget about Samsung helping you out. They don't provide services to these phones since they are "international models". .. I've sent a complaint to the company to see if I can resolve this issue... But I'm not holding my breath. 240$ for a defective product. And another 30$ to MAYBE fix the problem. Cuz.. You know.. I love spending money I don't have. Buy at your own risk.
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on July 13, 2013
I like some of the feature it has such as FM radio and screen staying on if it senses you are looking at it. The fact that the phone is pretty small is a great plus.

The lack of LED notification made me a little sad but there is the NoLED app.

The biggest draw back that caused me to return it after about a week was the battery life. I don't use the phone much, maybe 30 min of call, 45 min of some gaming, an hour of reading during lunch break, and maybe 30 min of screen on for other messenger services and what not (+the NoLED app I guess). I had GPS and wifi and other stuff disabled most of the time along with 30% brightness and a short screen timeout, but still I'd unplug the phone would be at about 20% after 17 hours of this type of usage. My previous phone was a mytouch 4g and a similar usage (minus the NoLED app) i'd still be at about 50% at the end of the day. I'd worry how fast the battery would if I were to use it more intensely or on trips.

I ended up getting another phone, and i noticed I was getting a lot better reception for 4G. I originally thought it was my location, but apparently its the phone.
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on January 5, 2014
Bottom Line Up Front: I highly recommend this smart phone if you're looking for a great phone at a reasonable price. I don't think you will find a better phone for the price, it's ready for international SIM cards. Android is fantastic, the screen and the colors are stunning. My only issue is battery life, but a full charge will last you all day as long as you're not playing games all day.

After extensive research looking for a new smart phone to replace the iPhone 4 that I lost, I decided to go with the S3 mini and I'm glad I did. I live in Europe, so factory unlocking was a must, and this phone worked perfectly. Just popped in the Italian SIM card and I was off to the races. Price was a big issue for me. I wanted a good phone but I didn't want to break the bank. When I got the phone, I was pleased with just about everything except for the battery life. The slim, rounded design makes it slip in and out of my pocket very easily even with a case, which was a problem when I had my case on my iPhone. The screen and the colors are extremely vivid and smooth, this is probably what I was most impressed with. The camera is not quite on par with my old iPhone camera, but I do trust it to take decent pictures in a bind. Camera quality was not a part of my selection criteria. The Android operating system, in my opinion, is way more customizable and versatile than iOS for the iPhone. The freedom to customize and the ability to accept third party apps really opens up the capabilities of this phone. Also, I can plug my phone into my computer and transfer files to and from like I would with a USB. With the iPhone I had to sync it with iTunes and use iTunes as the intermediary between me and the phone. I never realized how inconvenient that was until I plugged this phone in and was able to transfer music and photos in an instant!

The Cons: Processor speed, battery life, and storage space. With only 800 MB of RAM, I've noticed that the processor can be bogged down if I'm running too many apps, looking at multiple (4 or more) webpages at once, or doing other intensive things. However, 95% of the time I don't notice it, and now I simply manage my browsing habits and app habits to make sure I don't overload the processor. With regard to the battery life, I find I have to plug in the phone every night - the charge won't last for more than a day and a half. I could usually get a few days out of my iPhone if I wasn't using it much. If I use the S3 for games, browsing, etc, the battery drains pretty quick. If I closely manage my wifi, GPS, and mobile data settings to conserve battery life I find I can get two days out of the phone. Lastly, the phone only has 8GB of internal memory, of which about 3GB were taken by the operating system. Went to the store though and found a 16 GB mini-SD card on sale for $15, plugged it in, and voila, now I have 21 GB of usable storage space - more than enough.
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on June 5, 2013
This is my 1st smart phone so I have nothing to compare it to but after having it for a month, I have no complaints and still really like it. I am in US and used the phone for a short time with Tmobiles prepaid plan and now use it with their new Simple Choice plan that has no contract. It worked well with both plans.

I read plenty of reviews before my purchase and am glad I did as it prepared me for the phone being received with French as the main language. It only took 5 minutes with my laptop and Google translator and I had the phone changed to English. I also had to change other settings like temperature from C to F but it wasn't a big deal to me maybe b/c it was expected. Plus, you can find an English manual online. Just go to Samsung website or google i8190 manual. (The french one it came with was only the short version anyway.)

Something I didn't think of was the plug in charger being international too. Luckily the phone came with an adaptor. I don't know if all the shippers do this. I had it shipped from Worldwide Distributors. I was concerned when I received the phone b/c I noticed that while the safety seal on the product box was intact, there was another underneath it that had been previously opened. I thought maybe I had received a refurbished phone but when I emailed them, they replied right away and let me know that being an international phone, it would've been opened by Customs and resealed when it came to the US. They said I could confirm the info with Samsung by providing my serial# but I didn't go that far.

I think the phone is easy to use and I like the 4.1.2 operating system. It has some nice updates that my sister's Gingerbread phone doesn't have. And I like the size much better than the huge phones that seem so popular now.

Call quality seems good. I can hear callers OK and they can hear me. I do wish the volume could go just a little higher at times like when I'm using the speaker option in the car w/ a lot of road noise, but overall it's OK. Volume is fine when I use my headset. Also at 1st my Mom had trouble hearing me on speaker, but now I remove the gel cover when I talk on speaker and haven't had any issues since. (No one else complained)

Regarding comments that phone is not 8GB....it is. The android OS and apps added to phone before purchased eat up alot of GB...mine had just over 4GB available when I got it which is enough for me. You can add an SD card for more space too.

Hope my comments help!
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on February 17, 2014
ENGLISH: Phone reconstructed, I GOT THIS PHONE FROM OAKLAND WIRELESS.

this IS NOT A BRAND NEW CELL PHONE!!! when I opened the box what do i see? a cell phone with the charger and a car adapter, I thougt so cool that i've a car adapter for no extra price, but when i continue my search what do I find? NOTHING, there's no headphones, no user guide, no paper, ANYTHING! YOU JUST PAY FOR A BOX WITH A PHONE, A CHARGER AND A CAR ADAPTOR, THAT'S IT! Don't buy this, please don't.

ESPAÑOL: EL TELÉFONO ES RECONSTRUIDO, NO ES NUEVO, OBTIENES UNA CAJA CON UN TELÉFONO, UN CARGADOR DE AUTO Y UN CARGADOR, SIN AUDÍFONOS NI PAPELES QUE DEMUESTREN QUE EL TELÉFONO ES NUEVO. NO COMPRAR!!!!!
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on May 9, 2013
This is my first official Android phone outside of the Blackberry Curve and I love it! For a short time I switched over to the cheapest Wal-Mart brand Go Phone possible to save on money and well you get what you pay for. I have had this phone for about a week and I must say it is a breath of fresh air. I am able to do everything that I wanted...I've downloaded about 5 apps so far from Google Apps. I have taken about 10 pictures.......all FANTASTIC. I haven't taken off the factory screen protector yet until my screen protectors arrive in the mail.

I read other reviews, took advice given and will say that with everything turned off (Wi-Fi, GPS, and Bluetooth) my battery still does not last throughout the entire day. This is coming from someone who sits in front of a computer all day in a cubicle so no I have not been searching the internet on my phone or making phone calls during the daytime. This is the only reason I am giving it 4 stars BUT I am going to count it towards the possibility that maybe it is the battery. I have purchased two sets of batteries (Amazon Product: Onite 2x 1700mAh Li-ion Battery for Samsung I8190 Galaxy S3 / S III mini,Samsung Galaxy S Duos S7562 / Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 I8160, with Charger) in hopes to balance this issue out. In other reviews I learned that one drop can shatter the screen so it was a no-brainer to purchase a cell phone case that could provide protection (Amazon Product: HHI Flip Wallet Case with Stand for Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini - Gray (Package include a HandHelditems Sketch Stylus Pen).

The phone is what you make of it and the possibilities are endless. By the way, I have no speed issues. I am currently on AT&T $65 Smartphone Monthly Plan with 1GB Data I am loving it so far but will more than likely switch to Alltel as the signal is not that great in my home where I do the majority of my texting. Gotta love unlocked phones and the ability to switch services!
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on June 17, 2014
I originally ordered this phone for my wife, and it had great reviews. The first phone had a defective camera in which the auto-focus did not work, and all the pictures were blurry. I contacted the seller, and they agreed to send me a replacement phone if I would send the bad phone back (at my expense). They said I would have to wait until they got the returned phone and inspected it before they could send the replacement. This took over two weeks, so my wife was without a phone for that period. When the replacement phone arrived, the camera worked fine, and everything seemed OK. Since my wife is not a heavy phone user, she made very few calls over the next few weeks, but we began to notice that whenever she was talking on her phone, the person on the other end of the phone would hear their own voice echo back. We tested it on both land lines and other cell phones, and the echoing was always present, regardless of what type of phone it was. Since the seller's 30 day return period was up, I took the phone to a local repair shop. They tried replacing the microphone, but that did not fix the problem. I'm now stuck with a bad phone, and am out the almost $200 I paid for this one. I have since purchased an S4 mini from another Amazon vendor, and it has been flawless. I realize that you are taking a risk with unlocked phones, but having it happen twice from this supplier is not acceptable.
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