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Is Samsung Serious With the Galaxy S III Mini?

The next thing is here, and it’s an enormous head scratcher. Samsung on Thursday made its Galaxy S III Mini official: a smaller, lesser spec’d version of its immensely popular big brother, the S III. But this one is so underwhelming that it truly doesn’t deserve to share the same lineage of one of Samsung’s most amazing devices. This is an obvious grab at capitalizing on the Galaxy S III name, and that’s terrible.

Remember Motorola’s DROID RAZR M for Verizon? It is a smaller, more compact member the RAZR HD/MAXX HD family. Nothing to particularly shake a stick at, but it at least possesses somewhat respectable guts comparatively. It has a 4.3-inch display (540 x 960),  a 1.5GHZ dual-core processor processor, an 8-megapixel camera, LTE, 1GB of RAM and a 2,000mAh battery. The S III Mini? It feels like Samsung had a warehouse of leftover parts, and this is the result. Does anybody even want this?

During the latter half of this year, companies have been perpetuating the notion that smaller immediately equals worse. We saw it with the HTC Windows Phone 8X and Windows phone 8S, while Nokia did the same thing with its Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 combo. Want a small device? That’s fine, but it’ll have derisory, watered-down specs. Too bad. At least they’re cheap. But really, you’re better off buying the better, bigger version. And in the case of the S III/S III Mini, the Galaxy S III is hands down the way to go.

When you’re preparing to go on a cross country journey — given the choice — nobody would choose to take a janky, rusted-out two-seater over a brand new SUV. We understand cost constraints for consumers, but this is that same idea.

But Samsung let us down, and itself to an extent. I’m sure the experience of the S III Mini will be good enough. Against a device like the iPhone 5, however, a device with the same screen size, the S III Mini just isn’t up to snuff. Apple managed to pack in a 326 ppi display, an improved 8-megapixel camera and up to 64GB of storage in its latest handset. The overall standard of devices this year — that includes iOS, Android and Windows Phone —has been raised across the board. Samsung should have, at the minimum, matched Apple.

We know the Korean company is more than capable of manufacturing spec-heavy devices — hello, Note II. But because its latest device is “mini,” I guess customers who are looking for that size don’t deserve the most bleeding edge specs. There are engineering aspects involved, sure, but that’s not a good enough excuse. With the RAZR M, which admittedly has a slightly bigger screen than the S III Mini, Motorola proved great devices don’t always have to come in huge packages.

So why in the world does the S III Mini exist in its current form? Clearly because the S III is a recognizable name. But in Samsung’s steadfast quest to introduce The Next Big Thing, the company did a 180 and gave customers The Next Thing. The Mini obviously isn’t aimed at taking on a flagship crown, but we expected more from a company capable of producing such quality handsets. At least it runs Jelly Bean right out of the gate?


Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...

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