Samsung today announced the Galaxy S5 mini, the now de facto standard practice for the mobile industry.
As smartphones get bigger, it’s an obvious and logical move to release a variant with a smaller display. The only problem is that the mini handsets are now about as large as the top-end phones from a year or two ago – meaning a lot of people will still think they’re too big.
LG’s new G3 mini could come with a 5-inch screen that, if true, would be crazy. Since when did 5-inch screens get reclassified as miniature? I must have missed the memo, along with the rest of the world.
Samsung’s announcement, just like HTC’s One mini 2 and other mini handsers before it, shows that everyone but Sony still seems to think that if someone wants a smaller phone, they don’t want or need the same power or performance as the original.
When it comes to the screen, it’s fine to drop to 720×1280 pixels for a 4.5-inch display (the S5 has a 5.1-inch full-HD screen), and the battery might also need to cut back a small amount, but beyond this, everything else that gets cut just smacks of short changing the customer.
Everyone but Sony still seems to think that if someone wants a smaller phone, they don’t want or need the same power or performance as the original
The S5’s 16 megapixel camera becomes an 8-megapixel snapper on the S5 mini. The quad-core processor drops to 1.4GHz, while RAM is down to 1.5GB (admittedly, the latter could have been worse).
The battery, which is possibly the most essential component of any smartphone today, is a mere 2,100mAh. For a 4G phone that’s just crying out to stream HD video, this simply isn’t enough.
While the S5 mini still gets the dust and water resistance (IP67), fingerprint reader, and the heart rate sensor of its bigger brother, in my opinion the phone is not comparable in overall performance to the Galaxy S5 and doesn’t deserve to have ‘S5’ in its name.
Thanks to the retention of the key features above, Samsung can of course still market the S5 mini as a smaller S5, and shop staff will clearly do the same to bag a sale. A lot of customers won’t know any different, but just because they don’t know doesn’t mean it’s okay to sell them an inferior product.
In the near future, Sony is expected to announce the Z2 Compact. This will almost certainly retain the 20.7-megapixel camera, Snapdragon 801 CPU (at the same clock speed), 4K video recording, tap-to-wake, and have a decent capacity battery.
It will also, hopefully, keep the front-facing speakers, plus the excellent noise cancellation feature that – finally – means Sony is now taking audio as seriously as it has for years with imaging.
Like the Z1 Compact, the only real cut will be a drop in screen resolution and a lower PPI. To me, that’s about the only thing that can be cut when you’re trying to sell a phone as a smaller version of the original flagship.
Please give us the option of having the most powerful phone in a smaller shell
It shouldn’t just be Sony that has this view. It should be the view of every manufacturer. Of course everyone can still make low and mid-range handsets for price-conscious users (like the Galaxy Trend 2, Galaxy Core 2 and Galaxy Young 2 handsets also announced today), but please also give us the option of having the most powerful phone in a smaller shell if we haven’t yet accepted that 5 or 5.5-inch screens are the new standard.
However, if you disagree with my thoughts, the Galaxy S5 mini will be available in the near future (exact dates to be confirmed) in the same colours as the S5, namely black, white, blue, or gold.
Don’t get me wrong, the Galaxy S5 mini will probably be a great performer (and good value if the price is right), but it really isn’t a smaller S5.