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Galaxy S3 Mini - Just Right Size With Many Features - Detailed Review
on May 10, 2013
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...
- 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.
- 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.