Samsung Galaxy S4 mini vs S3 – Which one is better?

In this article we’ll take a closer look at the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini versus Samsung Galaxy S3.   There are many people who are debating whether to get The S4 mini which is Samsung’s latest phone, or get the S3 which is already aging gracefully but has some features that are designed for a flagship model. Many people feel eager to get the latest model, knowing that they have a new device. However, the Galaxy S3 is still an amazing device and of course its price was reduced significantly since it was first released. At the time the S4 mini was announced, AT&T dropped the Galaxy S3 prices by $100 and it will sell for $99.99 with a two-year contract. The point is that the S3 is a great bargain, at least if you compare it to the S4 that is being sold for $199.99 with 2-year contract on AT&T. That’s why this is a great point in time to purchase the S3 for an excellent price.

Phone Design

The Samsung Galaxy S4 mini follow the same design as its bigger cousin, the S4. Samsung took a different approach in design, making the less rounded in the corners but still follow relatively the same design concept as earlier models.  The S4 mini as its name suggests is smaller than the S4 and S3 but larger than the SIII mini.  I’ve read many comments about people being frustrated with the S4 size, hoping that Samsung will stay with at most the S III mini dimensions, not larger than that.

Samsung Galaxy S4 mini: 61.3 x 124.6 x 8.94 mm (2.41×4.91×0.35 in.) | 4.3 inch | 107 g (3.77 oz)
Samsung Galaxy S3: 70.6 x 136.6 x 8.6 mm (2.78×5.38×0.34 in.) |  4.8 inch | 133 grams (4.69 oz)
Samsung Galaxy S3 mini: 63 x 121.55 x 9.9 mm (2.48×4.79×0.39 in.) | 4 inch | 111.5 grams (3.93 oz)

The Samsung Galaxy S4 mini has a thinner bezel than the SIII mini, has a larger screen but at the same time the S3 mini is wider than the S4 mini by 1.7 mm. So we can see that Samsung probably had no choice but making the S4 mini taller than the S3 mini in order to fit a larger display, but with a 1.7mm less wide phone, it will be even easier to put this phone in a small jeans’ pocket – so I personally don’t see the S4 mini being higher as a bad thing, you get more in return. In fact, that’s what Apple has done with the iPhone 5, making the phone taller in favor of a larger display, but making the phone less wide than the iPhone 4/4s.

Samsung Galaxy S4 mini, S3 mini and S3 size comparison
Samsung Galaxy S4 mini, S3 mini and S3 size comparison

The Galaxy S3 has the advantage of having a larger 4.8-inch display, which also have much higher resolution of 1280×720 pixels (HD) vs 860×540 pixels of the S4 mini. Both displays are of Super AMOLED type, which means very vibrant colors, large viewing angles, high-contrast and deep blacks.  This is one reason why some people might prefer getting the S3. Having a larger display greatly enhance the user experience for many type of uses, especially for when playing games, watching videos and browsing webpages.  It might not sound such a big different when you look at the numbers, but it’ is noticeable when you look at both screens side by side.

If you are looking for a larger display with higher resolution, the S3 is the better choice. If you are looking for a more portable/compact phone, the S4 mini is definitely the one to go for – in my opinion, the S4 mini is “just the right size”.



The Samsung Galaxy S4 mini comes with a 8MP + LED Flash rear-facing camera that can also record Full HD 1080p30 movies, and a 1.9MP front-facing camera that can capture HD videos. The Samsung Galaxy S3 also uses a 8MP rear-facing camera and a 1.9MP front-facing camera and offer the same video recording capabilities.

The S3 has support for simultaneous HD video and image recording, which means that you can capture images while recording videos at the same time,without the need to switch between the two. Don’t confuse it with ‘Dual video recording’ on the Samsung GALAXY S4.   The Dual camera recording is a very neat feature which I really like. I think YouTubers will find it really useful because it allows them to embed a small video square of themselves floating on top of the original video that adds another dimension to YouTube videos that comes along with a commentary. If you want this feature, you will need to get the S4 instead.

The Samsung Galaxy S3 rear camera has a 3.7mm f/2.6 lens and a 1/3.2-inch (4.54 x 3.42 mm) Sony IMX145 sensor for its main camera.  As for the time of writing this article, there isn’t any more specific info on the camera specs, but I do expect it to carry the same focal length as the S4, which is smaller than the S3, and hopefully the same f/2.2 lens, but again, no info about the lens is available at the moment and we still need to wait for some sample images to examine the image quality and see which one performs better, if at all.

Both the S3 and S4 mini utilize a LED flash. The S4 mini has its flash below the lens, the S3 has its flash left to the lens. With the Galaxy S4, Samsung has decide to put the flash below the lens, so maybe it’s a better position for it and that’s why we’ve seen the LED flash positioned below the flash on the SIII mini as well.

S4 mini camera features:

Sound & Shot, Night (Low Light Shot), Best Photo, geo-tagging, Best Face, Beauty Face (include Live Beauty), HDR (High Dynamic Range), Panorama, Sports, Continuous Shot, touch focus,  face and smile detection, Panorama, image stabilization

S3 camera features:

Simultaneous HD video and image recording, Night (Low Light Shot) with Jelly Bean 4.1.2 and up update,  Beauty Mode, geo-tagging, best-face, HDR Mode, touch focus, face and smile detection, image stabilization


 S4 miniS3
Sound & ShotYesNo
Story AlbumYesYes (via Android 4.2 update)
Group PlayYes (with S4 mini and S4 phones)Yes (downloadable via Google Play)
ChatONYesYes (downloadable via Google Play)
S TranslatorYesYes (via Android 4.2 update)
S HealthYesYes (downloadable via Samsung Apps)
Adapt DisplayYesYes (via Android 4.2.2 update)
Adapt SoundYesNo (but found this one so take a look
S Travel (TripAdvisor)YesNo
S VoiceYesYes (more updated version via Android 4.2.2 update)
S HealthYes (downloadable from Samsung Apps)Yes (downloadable via Samsung More Service in Google Play, market dependent)
Samsung KNOXYesSAFE with KNOX security suite (via OTA software update)
Android4.2.2 (Jelly Bean)4.2.2 (Jelly Bean) via update
Eraser ModeYesYes (via update)
Smart PauseNoYes (via Android 4.2 update)
S AlbumYesYes (via Android 4.2 update)
Air ViewNoNo (the S3 digitizer isn't capable of handling Air View)
Smart ScrollNoYes (might be via Android 4.2 update, not 100% sure though)
Samsung HubYesYes
Samsung LinkYesYes

According to what I’ve read on many online resources, Samsung plans to bring many of the S4 software features to the S3. However not all features will be available, like “Air View” which is dependent on a digitizer that from what I’ve read online, the S3 digitize isn’t capable of supporting this feature.  To enjoy those new features, you will have to update to the latest 4.2.2 version of Android and some software features are already available for download via Samsung Apps and Google Play.


Samsung Galaxy S4 mini comes with a Qualcomm MSM8930 Snapdragon 400 Dual-core 1.7GHz processor and Adreno 305 GPU. The Samsung Galaxy S3 comes with a Exynos 4412 Quad-core 1.4GHz Cortex-A9 processor (International version) or Dual-core 1.5 GHz (US version) and Mali-400MP GPU. The S3 comes with either 16, 32 or 64 GB of internal memory (11GB available on 16GB version) compare to the S4 mini with its 8GB of internal storage memory (5GB user available). The S4 mini comes with 1.5GB of RAM in the 3G model and 2GB of RAM in the LTE model. The S3 comes with 1GB of RAM.

As we wit for benchmark to flow in in the next months, I expect the S3 to perform much better for apps and games that utilize the multi-processor, but other than that per single processor, I expect both phone to have very close performance – but again, we still need t owait for the benchmarks in order to be sure. I personally didn’t expect Samsung to use a quad-processor on the S4 mini and that’s understandable. For the target audience that this phone is aimed for, I think that this hardware specs will serve them well.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 mini features an infrared port and WatchON app, the S3 lacks an IR port. This IR feature was inherited from the Galaxy S4 and for those who take advantage of it, this is certainly a well-worthy advantage. Both phones has support for microSD memory card up to 64GB of storage.

Which One Do You Prefer?

For those who don’t mind the S3 larger size, the S3 16GB now sells for a very attractive price, it has a larger screen with higher resolution and higher pixel density. That by itself might lead many people to get the S3 instead of the S4 mini.  The S3 is expected to get most of the S4 software features down the road with the 4.2.2 updated. The S4 already comes bundled with many of the S4 software features, and people will love its small size.  Both phones offer high-capacity removable batteries that will give you plenty of power to last all day long. The S3 does have a larger range of options and it will appeal for those who always wanted to get a high-end Samsung device but couldn’t afford getting one due to the high price.

I personally prefer the S3 for its large rand higher-res display, but of course this is only my preference, you will make a different decision based on your specific needs.


7 thoughts on “Samsung Galaxy S4 mini vs S3 – Which one is better?

  1. you said that the s4 mini has air view and gesture when u compared it to the galaxy s4 when u are comparing to the s3 u say s4 mini does not have air please could you confirm that does s4 mini has air view and air gesture..cos i really want buy that phone

    1. Eh…yeah thats the point!! Why should a smaller phone be slower etc??? I want a mobile that I can use with one and but still have high-end hardware!! So exactly is it that you dont understand??

    1. S4 mini, but it’s not as superior to the S3 mini as reviews have you believe. If you find an S3 mini at a bargain price, it would be the pick of the two. Only go for the S4 mini if it’s about 25% more expensive than the S3 mini. I have/had both, btw!

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