Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini is a sheep in wolf's clothing

On Thursday, South Korean manufacturer Samsung announced a new smartphone part of its upscale Android lineup, called Galaxy S4 Mini. The handset is marketed as a smaller variant of the company's current green droid flagship, the Galaxy S4, but don't expect any of the latter's bells and whistles.

The Galaxy S4 Mini is shorter, narrower, thinner and lighter than its predecessor, the modest Galaxy S III Mini. However, it can easily be compared to the Galaxy S II (the company's older Android flagship) rather than newer halo devices when it comes to hardware specifications. It's a sheep in wolf's clothing and not the other way around.

"We want to give people more choices with Galaxy S4 Mini, similar look and feel of Galaxy S4 for more compact and practical usages", says Samsung CEO JK Shin. "The new Galaxy S4 Mini provides consumers with a new way to enjoy the flagship Galaxy S4 experience". So let's compare the two and highlight the commonalities.

The Galaxy S4 Mini comes with a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 540 by 960; 1.7 GHz dual-core processor; 1.5 GB of RAM; 1,900 mAh battery; 8 MP back-facing camera; 1.9 MP shooter on the front; 8 GB of internal storage; microSD card slot; Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n; GPS with Glonass support; Bluetooth 4.0; NFC (Near Field Communication) in the 4G LTE variant; 4G LTE and HSPA+ cellular connectivity. The smartphone runs Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean and comes in at 124.6 x 61.3 x 8.94 mm and 107 grams. There is also a dual-SIM version which is one gram heavier.

The Galaxy S4 on the other hand sports a 5.0-inch Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 1080 by 1920; 1.9 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 or 1.6 Ghz Exynos 5 Octa processor; 2 GB of RAM; 2,600 mAh battery; 13 MP back-facing camera; 2 MP shooter on the front; 16 GB, 32 GB or 64 GB of internal storage; microSD card slot; Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac; GPS with Glonass support; Bluetooth 4.0; NFC; 4G LTE and HSPA+ cellular connectivity. The handset runs Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean and comes in at 136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9 mm and 130 grams.

Bar the usual suspects (sensors, connectivity options and different size and weight), in the hardware department, the Galaxy S4 Mini has little in common with the Galaxy S4. The latter has a larger and higher resolution screen, faster processor, larger battery, bigger cameras and more internal storage.

Both run Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean with a similar TouchWiz experience. On top of the stock green droid version, the Samsung packs features like KNOX (separates personal and work content and beefs up security), S Translator, Link, Adapt Display, Adapt Sound, S Travel, S Health, S Voice and Story Album among others.

The Galaxy S4 Mini arrives in two color trims, White Frost and Black Mist (obviously, shared with the Galaxy S4). There is no word yet concerning pricing or availability.

The Galaxy S4 Mini's strengths mostly lie in software features and design, both of which are quite similar to the Galaxy S4. Are the two traits attractive enough for those seeking a less expensive alternative to Samsung's Android flagship?

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