Samsung just added two more handsets to its 2013 Galaxy portfolio – the Galaxy S4 mini and the Galaxy S4 Zoom. The S4 mini is a trimmed down variant of the S4 in order to make it more accessible to a wider audience. The S4 mini has most of the features of its big brother, but with some critical cuts in specifications to bring the price down. The S4 Zoom is targeted at a more niche audience who would want the functionality of a full-fledged digital camera and all the phone functionalities as well. We had a chance to play around with these devices before they hit retail stores in about a week.
Galaxy S4 mini
Samsung has borrowed the design of the S4 right down to the T. The S4 mini feels incredibly light at just 107 g and the 4.3-inch display size is perfect for your fingers. It does feel a little small if you’re used to bigger screens, but we found it very comfortable. The S4 mini has the same layout and type of ports as the S4, including the IR blaster on the top. The one that’s launched in India is the GT-I9192, which unfortunately does not have NFC.
A good looker
The Nature UX 2.0 interface from Samsung is very quick and peppy with little to no slowdowns noticed. The S4 mini ships with Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean and should be among the top phones for future Android updates. Some advanced gestures like the Air View, Smart Scroll, Smart Stay have not made it to the mini. While these may not be deal breakers, the launch price certainly is. At Rs 27,900, the S4 mini is more expensive than Samsung’s previous flagship, the S3. The latter may be a year old, but it still has better specifications than the mini.
The onboard storage has been cut down to just 8GB, out of which only 3.6GB is usable. Thankfully, we can expand it to 64Gb via a microSD card.
A copy of the S4 from all angles
The S4 mini has the potential to do really well as it bridges the gap between the Galaxy Grand and the Galaxy S3. If priced around Rs 22,000 or lesser, the S4 mini would make a really good buy.
Galaxy S4 Zoom
The Galaxy S4 Zoom is for a niche audience who didn’t like the fact that the Galaxy Camera couldn’t make phone calls. The S4 Zoom is primarily a mobile phone with all the makings of a full-blown digital camera.
Looks like a typical smartphone from the front
Looking at it as a phone, the S4 Zoom packs in the same 4.3-inch qHD Super AMOLED display as the S4 mini. However, Samsung backs this up with Corning Gorilla Glass 3. There’s 8GB of onboard storage and the phone is powered by a Pega-Dual +XMM6262 chipset (a first for Samsung) along with 1.5GB of RAM. NFC is present, unlike the S4 mini, and the Zoom also gets a much larger 2330 battery. This device is just the opposite of the S4 mini in terms of dimensions. It’s very unwieldy at 15.4 mm in depth and quite heavy too at 208 g. This extra bit of heft is due to the big 16MP sensor upfront with a 10x optical zoom. The camera interface is lifted a bit from the Galaxy Camera with a few tweaks thrown in. You can zoom-in using the silver ring around the camera lens. Zooming in and out is very smooth and the picture quality is pretty decent given the poor lighting at the launch.
Who put a camera on the smartphone!
Not too shabby for indoor shots
With the full 10x zoom
Samsung has priced the Galaxy S4 Zoom at Rs 29,990 and quite frankly, there isn’t any competition out there for it. There’s no point comparing it to anything else either, as it has a pretty unique USP that you will either love or hate.
Out of the two new launches, we definitely think the S4 mini is the more interesting one. It’s a far better product than the S3 mini was, and if priced right, it has the potential to be a runaway success.