Samsung Galaxy S4 mini vs Galaxy S4 Comparison

Samsung Galaxy S4 mini and S4 side by side on pink background

Samsung has announced the Galaxy S4 mini. This new phone is cheaper and more compact than its older brother, the S4. It was designed to allow people to enjoy many of the great features of the S4 (ie. Samsung KNOX, Group Play, S Translator, S Health, etc.) but it’s less powerful and doesn’t enjoy some of the high-end features of the S4. In this article I will compare the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini vs Galaxy S4. We’ll take a closer look at the differences between the two devices, and hopefully give you a good standing point for a future buying decision.

Samsung Galaxy S4 mini – Overview

The Samsung Galaxy S4 mini continues Samsung’s tradition of releasing a ‘mini’ version of its higher-end models. Samsung did it with the Galaxy, Galaxy II, Galaxy III and now with the Galaxy S4. These devices ride on the popularity and great features of the flagship mobile phones and offer consumers a budget-friendly path to enjoy some of Samsung’s latest technology innovation, but without the hefty price.

The GALAXY S4 mini is relatively compact device, shorter by 1.2 cm, 8.5 mm narrower but 1mm thicker than the S4.  The difference in height between the S3 and S3 mini was 1.5 cm. The S4 mini is 23 grams lighter than the S4.

Samsung Galaxy mini size comparison

Samsung Galaxy S4 vs S4 mini, S3 vs S3 mini comparison (via mobiledevicesize.com)

In terms of external design, we can see that both phones are very similar, with the slightly curved edges, rounded corners, etc. The S4 mini will appeal to those who actually prefer a more compact phone, rather than a large phablet that many people find it less comfortable and portable. In fact, that’s the main reason why Samsung releases a mini model, to offer consumers a phone that is smaller and less expensive than its flagship, while inheriting many of its software features.

The S4 mini features a 4.3-inch qHD Super AMOLED display, smaller than the S4 5-inch display. It’s great to see that Samsung have decided to use the same high-quality Super AMOLED display on its mini version. Unfortunately, we don’t get to have a Full HD 1920×1080 (2.1MP) resolution display, but rather a 960×540 pixels (0.5MP) qHD resolution with is much smaller than the S4 one. The pixel density if of course also much lower, ~256 ppi vs ~441 ppi.

The Galaxy S4 mini features a 8-megapixel rear-facing camera and a 1.9-megapixel HD front-facing camera. It incorporates many of the S4 great camera features, including Sound&Shot, Story Album and Panorama shot. The S4 mini inherits many of the S4 software features, including S Translator, S Health and S Travel.

Some of you might be disappointed to hear that the S4 mini features a 1.7GHz dual core processor, rather than a quad-core one. Samsung didn’t reveal the S4 mini price as for the time of writing this article, but by going with a dual-core processor, Samsung wants to keep the price low and allow more people to enjoy this brand new cell phone.  For those of you who don’t know, the S3 mini also uses a Dual-core processor (1GHz) compare to the S4 1.4GHz Quad-core processor. So this is not a surprise that Samsung decided to go with a dual-core processor, also considering the fact that the Samsung Galaxy S3 mini was announced on October 11th 2012. I probably had high expectations, and expected this mini phone in the second quarter of 2013 to have a quad-core processor.

The S4 mini comes installed with Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean) operating system, also has an IR LED (remote control), 8GB of internal memory (5GB usable) and storage memory can expanded using a microSD card (up to 64GB). The S4 mini will also come in a 3G Dual SIM version as well.

Many of you are probably very interested to know the differences between the S4 and S4 mini. After all, not everyone can afford getting the S4. The S4 16GB costs ~$640 on AT&T for month-to-month monthly contract. As exciting as this phone is,  many consumers search for an alternative, but still want to have access to those great S4 features that they have heard and read about.  In the next section we’ll dive deeper in to the specs and we’ll get to see how the two phone differ, and whether or not you might consider getting the S4 instead of the S4 mini, and vice versa.

Galaxy S4 vs Galaxy S4 mini Compared

Let’s take a closer look at the differences between the S4 and S4 mini.

 
S4 mini
S4
AnnouncedMarch 14, 2013May 30, 2013
OSAndroid 4.2.2Android 4.2.2
Dimensions & Weight124.6 x 61.3 x 8.94 mm

107 grams (1080 grams for the Dual SIM)
136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9 mm

130 grams
The S4 mini is smaller than the S4 in its width and height, but around 1mm thicker. The S4 mini will appeal for those who don't like the size, handling and ergonomics of a phablet and actually prefer a phone in the size of the S4 mini. I personally find the S4 mini as the perfect balance between portability and usability for my specific needs. The size also comes at the cost of a smaller screen, and we'll talk about it in relevant section.

S4 mini vs S4 height and thickness comparison

S4 mini vs S4 height and thickness comparison

Build QualityPlasticPlastic
The Samsung Galaxy S4 was criticized for its plastic construction, as the HTC One (its direct competitor) is made with unibody all-metal body. Having a plastic chassis can be an advantage. The S4 and S4 mini have a removable battery and microSD card slot and native Qi wireless charging, the HTC one enjoys neither. I see this as a big advantage, and I'm sure that many of you will look at it this way.
Display4.3-inch
960 x 540 pixels (16:9)
Super AMOLED
~256 ppi pixel density

Corning Gorilla® Glass 3
5-inch
1920 x 1080 (16:9, Full HD)
Super AMOLED
~441 ppi pixel density

Corning Gorilla® Glass 3
4.3 vs 5-inch screen size comparison

S4 mini 4.3-inch vs S4 5-inch screen size comparison



An advantage or disadvantage for the S4 mini depends how you look at it. Samsung has to go with a smaller display due to the reduction in the phone size. qHD resolution is optimal for this screen size, but many people will prefer having a larger screen with Full HD resolution that will enhance the experience when watching Full HD videos, playing HD games, browsing the web, reading PDF documents, etc.

This comes at a price of carrying a larger device, some people don't mind that, others certainly do. The S4 mini does maintain an excellent balance between size and usability in my opinion. If you love playing games and watching videos on your mobile phone, the S4 5-inch display will give you a better experience.

The Super AMOLED display looks gorgeous with vivid colors that really make each photo looks gorgeous on it.

Both phone utilize Samsung Adapt display that optimizes the screen saturation, brightness and contrast according to the ambient light surrounding the phone. The S4 has a unique feature called "Adjust Touch" that automatically adjusts the screen's sensitivity to allow users to use the touch screen even with gloves on.

According to gsmarena.com, the I9190 Galaxy S4 mini screen is a bit less bright at 100% brightness - 296 cd/m2 vs 404 cd/m2 but both of course enjoy real black due do the AMOLED screen technology that can turn off single pixels to display blacks.

Both phones support Air View and Air Gestures, as well as Smart Stay and Smart Rotation that prevent the phone from locking as the front-camera recognizes your face.
Air ViewAvailableAvailable
Air GesturesAvailableAvailable
Smart Scroll (scroll and pan through web pages by tilting your device)NoAvailable
Smart Pause (pauses video when you look away from your screen)NoAvailable
Direct Call (call by lifting the phone to your ear while the contact info is being displayed)AvailableAvailable
Smart Alert (vibrates on missed events when you pick up the phone)AvailableAvailable
So with the S4 mini you won't get the Smart Scroll and Smart Pause. 'Smart Pause' paused videos when you don't look on your phone directly. 'Smart Scroll' allows you to scroll and pan through webpages by just tilting the device.

I don't think that those features will be missed by many, but nevertheless, here is a video that demonstrate those two features.



So do you feel you missed those features?

CameraRear-facing: 8-megapixels / 1080p30 video recording + LED Flash
Front-facing: 1.9-megapixels / 720p30 video recording

BSI sensor technology
Rear-facing: 13-megapixels / 1080p30 video recording + LED Flash
Front: 2-megapixels / 720p30 video recording

BSI sensor technology
FlashLEDLED
Dual Camera (Use Both Cameras in the same time)NoYes (Dual shot, Dual recording, Dual video call)
HDR StillsYesYes
Camera Features- Sound & Shot
- Night (Low Light Shot)
- Best Photo
- Best Face
- Beauty Face (inc. Live Beauty)
- HDR (High Dynamic Range)
- Panorama (up to 360°)
- Sports
- Continuous Shot
- Dual camera
- Sound & Shot
- 360 photo
- Cinema photo
- Eraser
- Night (Low Light Shot)
- Best photo
- Best Face
- Beauty Face
- HDR (High Dynamic Range)
- Panorama
- Sports
The S4 has a higher resolution rear-facing camera. Both phones can record Full HD videos at 30 frames per second. The mini lacks the Dual camera feature of the S4.
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 400 MSM8930 Dual core 1.7GHz KraitQualcomm Snapdragon 600 APQ8064T Quad core 1.9GHz Krait 300 or 1.6GHZ Octa-core (different based on market)
GPUAdreno 305Adreno 320
RAM1536 MB RAM LPDDR2

also available with 2048 MB RAM (model GT-I9195)
2048 MB RAM LPDDR3
Built-in Storage8GB (5GB user memory)16GB (8GB user available, 6.85 GB occupied by system files) /32GB (available on Verizon)
MicroSDYes (up to 64GB)Yes (up to 64GB)
The Samsung Galaxy S4 mini is less powerful than the S4 obviously. Those of you who plan to run the latest games in high frame rate will probably prefer the S4 for that. Still, the S4 mini will run many of the latest games and apps smoothly without hiccups. The S4 also utilize a faster RAM modules that offer higher bandwidth for data transfer between RAM and the main processing unit. The S4 also feature a faster graphic processing unit.
Dual-SIM VersionYes (Samsung GT-I9192)Yes (GT-I9502)
Group PlayYes

Share Music, Share Picture, Share Document,
Play Games
Yes

Share Music, Share Picture, Share Document,
Play Games
Samsung KNOXYesYes
Phone FeaturesS Health (downloadable), S Translator, S Voice, Samsung Adapt Sound, S Drive (downloadable), Samsung Link, Screen Mirroring, Safety Assistance, ChatON, WatchONS Health, S Translator, S Voice, Samsung Adapt Sound, S Drive, Samsung Link, Screen Mirroring, Safety Assistance, ChatON, WatchON
IR LED (Remote control)YesYes
Wi-FiWiFi 5.0GHz a/b/g/nWiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (HT80)
GPSGPS + GLONASSGPS + GLONASS
Bluetooth4.0 (LE)4.0 (LE)
NFCYes (LTE Version only)Yes
SensorsAccelerometer, Light, Proximity, Gyro, MagneticAccelerometer, RGB light, Geomagnetic, Proximity, Gyro, Barometer
Temperature & Humidity, Gesture
Battery1900 mAh1600 mAh

As you can see, the Samsung GALAXY S4 mini is an impressive device. It’s smaller, lighter and enjoys most of the S4 software features. The biggest impact s on the hardware side, where the S4 mini has a dual-core processor and less impressive graphic processor power.  The S4 mini lacks the ‘Smart Scroll’ and ‘Smart Pause’ features, but I think that those features can be easily be given up. I also think that 8MP is way than enough in terms of resolution, but we’ll still need to way and see some side by side sample image comparison to see if there is a noticeable difference in terms of image quality. The S4 mini lacks the “Dual Camera” feature of the S4 which I think it’s pretty cool feature to have.  ”Air View” and “Air Gesture” was inherits from the S4 as well.

The main differences therefore are around the hardware specs and size. The S4 is larger and therefore can hold a larger battery and we can see that from the specs, with the S4 featuring a 1900 mAh compare to 1600 mAh of the mini. The S4 mini has a smaller screen with lower resolution, something to consider, especially if you spend a lot of time downloading and playing games. I played games on both ~4-inch displays and phablets and the difference is huge. A larger display certainly adds muc to the user experience and I recommend the S4 for every person who love playing games on his phone.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 mini was designed to be a mid-range phone and Samsung aimed this phone for a large audience of in the enthusiast market that cannot afford getting the S4, but still want to enjoy the S4 great software features. The S4 mini is small, but it’s not as small as let’s say.. the Samsung Galaxy Young. Some people think it’s very compact because it is named ‘mini’, but when you hold it in your hands you can see that it’s not that small. The S4 is indeed a large device, one that you might put in your jeans back pocket rather in the front. That’s in fact on of the main advantages of the ‘mini’, of being smaller, but yet offer a relatively large screen.

If you don’t mind having a less powerful device, you really love some of the cool features of the S4 and you don’t want to break your wallet, the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini is the perfect device for you.

Sample Videos

Before we end this comparison, let’s take a look at two sample videos, first one taken with the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini and the second with the Galaxy S4, both in 1080p Full HD (by gsmarena.com)

Samsung Galaxy S4 mini sample video

Samsung Glaxy S4

Can you notice any difference?

The Samsung Galaxy S4 is available in two colors, White Frost and Black Mist.

Don’t forget to share.. Thanks for reading.

{ 3 comments… add one }

  • Renan August 13, 2013 at 3:22 am

    Hi,
    Could you explain it, please, step-by-step how can we download and install the S Health (downloadable), S Voice, S Drive (downloadable) on Samsung S4 Mini GT-I9192 to use them?
    Thanks!

    Reply edit
  • Wahaab khan January 24, 2014 at 3:56 am

    S4mini vs s4 is a good artical…
    And explain difference both devices in better way…

    Reply edit
  • Cheyenne July 7, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    Thanks for doing this comparison! It really is helping me make a decision! You do a great job on these!

    Reply edit

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