Samsung has just announced its Galaxy S3 Mini device in an event in Germany. The new phone sports the same signature design as its bigger sibling, the Galaxy S3, but drops all the specs to fit in a significantly more compact device.
With a smaller 4″ screen at 800×400 pixels, a slower dual-core 1.2GHz processor, a less impressive 5MP camera, and a smaller 1700mAh battery, the S3 Mini seems to shed a lot of power and keep the only features that made the S3 so iconic: its design and its human and nature inspired themes.
This isn’t however the first time that a “Mini” equivalent of a popular smartphone is released. The Galaxy S2 Mini comes to mind, and the practice was even tried in 2009 when Nokia announced the N97 Mini, a smaller version of its flagship N97. Obviously, companies want to build on their success stories and milk the cash cow as much as they could. A “Mini” version appeals, as it sports the same name and hence the same halo effect as the original device, all while giving access to a smaller price category and providing a brand entry point to a new category of customers.
Personally, I believe that even though this will prove to be a popular choice for Samsung, it isn’t a smart decision for someone to buy this particular Mini iteration. It’s not the “Mini” naming that turns me down, but the fact that the specs fail to impress, even for a mid-level smartphone, and don’t offer any significant change or advantage over the sibling. By comparison, when I got the N97 Mini back in 2009, it had more internal storage and more RAM than the N97 and had fixed a few other problems, making it a worthy investment. With the S3 Mini, you don’t get the HD screen or the great camera that the S3 offer, so you’re eventually buying the same specs as any smartphone circa 2010-2011 and only paying for the brand instead of the device itself.