Four inches of fail: Why the Galaxy S III Mini is such a total dissapointment

October 11, 2012
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Samsung is going to unveil the Galaxy S III Mini in a little less than 10 hours at one of their flagship stores in Frankfurt, Germany. We severely doubt that the company is going to tell us something we don’t already know, so in case you haven’t been keeping up with the leaks, here’s what to expect: the Galaxy S III Mini will have a 4 inch 800 x 480 pixel display, a dual core 1 GHz processor from ST-Ericsson, 1 GB of RAM, and a 5 megapixel camera. Design wise, it’s a perfectly scaled down version of the original Galaxy S III that was launched during the first half of the year.

When we first heard about this phone, we were hoping it would have the exact same specs as its bigger brother, but obviously with a smaller display. Despite the Galaxy S III selling over 20 million units in 100 days, we have an inkling it could have done far better if it was just a tad bit easier to hold in one hand. Think back to the Galaxy S II for a second. When it launched back in 2011, it came with a 4.3 inch screen, and even then people were freaking out about how big it was. With the third generation Galaxy S, Samsung just made the thing even bigger!

The unfortunate reality of today’s smartphone market is that you can’t buy a flagship device without first admitting to yourself that you’ll have to compromise on size. The HTC One X has a 4.7 inch display. The Samsung Galaxy S III has a 4.8 inch display. Apple’s iPhone 5 is significantly smaller at just 4 inches, but that doesn’t mean they made the right decision.

Who should the industry take inspiration from? One of the companies you least expect, Motorola. Their recently launched RAZR M (or the Intel variant, the RAZR i) has a 4.3 inch screen, yet it’s just 122.5 mm tall and 60.9 mm wide. For the sake of comparison, the iPhone 5 is 123.8 mm tall and 58.6 mm wide. Those two devices are pretty much the exact same size, but Motorola managed to pack in a screen that has the exact same dimensions as the screen in the Galaxy S II. How? By listening to Google and making the front of the phone completely touch, meaning no physical or capacitive buttons.

Yes, the RAZR M’s display only does 960 x 540, but we know 4.3 inch 720p displays exist. Sony will use them when they launch the Xperia V in the coming weeks, and the same goes for HTC when they launch the Windows Phone 8X in November. Does Samsung make a 4.3 inch 720p panel? No, and that can potentially become a serious problem for them. Earlier this year the company announced that they figured out how to make OLED panels that can do 350 pixels per inch. When will that technology enter mass production? Sadly, they didn’t give any specific dates.

Now don’t get confused, we’re not trying to imply that the Galaxy S III is too big. The whole point of Android is to let companies try whatever they want to when it comes to form factors. Several of us in the office have already ordered the Galaxy Note II! We just hope that one day Samsung starts figuring out that not all of us want a smartphone that’s the size of our face, yet at the same time we also don’t want to compromise when it comes to specifications. It’s a downright shame that the mobile industry has picked up the brain dead American SUV mentality, that bigger is guaranteed to be somehow better.

It makes people think “small” phones are toys, when they’re anything but.

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