Look and feel
The Samsung Galaxy Mini 2’s compact, chunky body feels good in the hand, thanks to a reasonable heft and curved edges. The colourful backing helps it to stand out from rivals
Ease of use
A smaller screen makes it a little trickier to text and email, but we managed to browse the web and navigate through Android without too much fuss
A basic three-megapixel camera takes decent everyday shots although a lack of auto-focus and built-in flash makes close-ups and evening shots tricky. The 3.27-inch screen is disappointingly average
With a single-core 800MHz processor on board, Android apps and games struggle at times, while the latest 3D titles refuse to load. Gamers should look elsewhere
With constant app use, emailing and texting, you should still get 24 hours of battery life from a single charge
We’re starting to worry that our hands are growing exceedingly fat, as a large number of tiny smartphones have passed through Mobile Choice Towers lately. Between the HTC Desire C, Sony Xperia U and the miniscule Huawei Ascend Y100 (barely registering with a 2.8-inch display), we’re wondering if less really is more – or if we’ll soon be near-blind from squinting at dinky displays so much.
The Samsung Galaxy Mini 2 continues the teeny trend, packing a 3.27-inch screen that’s dwarfed by the likes of the HTC One X and Samsung Galaxy S III. The Galaxy Mini 2 still rocks a chunky body, but one that feels good in the hand thanks to its curved silver edges and reasonable heft, while the removable back panel is bright yellow, making it stand out in the sea of white and black mobile phones. But are the insides as good as the out?
A basic single-core 800MHz processor powers games and apps on the Samsung Galaxy Mini 2, or at least has a stab at it. Apps such as Google Maps were a little jittery at times, while modern 3D games often refused to even load up. This phone is best used for basic tasks such as email, texting and phone calls.
As the Galaxy Mini 2 can only stretch to basic performance, it makes do with an older version of Android (2.3 Gingerbread). It isn’t exactly a case of smooth running still, as some menus are a little jerky when scrolling. Still, you get some great widgets to throw across your desktops, including a live inbox that updates with your latest emails, and the usual array of weather and news windows.
Sadly the compact 3.27-inch screen isn’t as strong as we’d hoped, and not just because of its diminutive stature. As soon as the Android desktop loads, it’s clear that the display lacks the vibrancy of its competitors. Images aren’t as sharp as with rivals such as the Nokia Lumia 610. Viewing angles are also disappointingly narrow, as we realised with horror while tilting the phone during Temple Run, when the entire screen darkened.
You can still enjoy a movie or stream clips with YouTube, but we’d point film fans in the direction of a larger mobile with a sharper screen, such as the Alcatel One Touch 995. The Galaxy Mini 2’s display is fine for browsing the web, although you’ll need to zoom into websites to clearly read text. Thankfully, the touch-screen is perfectly responsive to pinches and swipes, so you can smoothly bounce around the internet as long as the processor keeps up.
Texting is a bit more tricky – you have to hold the phone horizontally, as the keys are too crushed together in portrait mode. We had no real problems texting in this format, especially thanks to the much-needed autocorrect facility, although the keyboard does take up a huge chunk of the compact screen so you’ll struggle to see what you’ve already written in a text or email.
You don’t get a front-facing camera for Skype chats, but you do have a rear-facing three-megapixel lens for random shots. It’s a basic snapper, producing reasonably crisp photos that look fine when viewed back on a small monitor, although there’s no auto-focus or built-in flash. You can also shoot video if needed. We were surprised to see a ‘burst mode’ feature that takes several pics in quick succession, but quickly realised that this only works with VGA quality photos – in other words, very small images that can only really be viewed on a tiny screen like the Galaxy Mini 2’s.
The Samsung Galaxy Mini 2 is a compact, low-powered Android device that is fine for the basics. Complex apps and 3D games prove too much for the Mini 2 to handle, however, although the three-megapixel camera is fine for everyday shots. Gamers and movie fans should look elsewhere for their fix, but others will find enough here to enjoy.