on 1 October 2013
Lost my iphone in the back of a taxi, my insurance wasn't carried over so what to do now? Take out another contract.. no way!
Saw the samsung S3 mini for a great price. Got delivered fast, great looking phone.. took a while to get used to, but that was simply as I have only had iphones since the 3G came out.
Amazing phone has opened up my eyes and now I see the iphone for what it is.. a fashion item.
The galaxy is faster and the tech spec beats it everyway possible..
The S3 is a great `little' phone, well suited to those of us who do not live on our phones. It is not quite what I would call a mini phone - it measures 120mm x 60mm x 10mm approx., with a viewable screen of about 4". Still, when compared to the full `pocket filling' S3 and S4 phones it is quite compact.
The screen is reasonably clear, sharp and responsive to the touch and fairly quick in flicking from screen to screen.
Signal reception seems to be generally decent (on Tesco Mobile/O2) but does sometimes struggle to deliver a full 3G connection. I do not really know if this is down to the phone, the signal or a combination of the two. I have rarely found this to be an issue though.
As a SIM - free version, it does not come too overloaded with Apps, which is a blessing (but still a few too many 'useless ones' for my liking), leaving you free to load those that you really need. You do get a few Samsung and Google Apps, which you may or may not use. Email, Internet, Maps and the SATNAV are my mainstay ones. I just wish it was easier to completely get rid of the little used pre-installed Apps, without having to resort to 'rooting' the phone, which is a minefield for inexperienced or 'non techie' users! (This is typical of Android devices though).
I also liked the soft earbud type earphones that were supplied with the phone, I find them quite comfortable.
The supplied Email and internet seem to function without issue for me and the Maps and SATNAV, whilst not up to Garmin standards, have served me well when travelling. Do make sure you have an in car charger, as the phone obviously needs Wi-Fi and GPS running when using this and the battery will drain quite quickly. I have loaded and use the Viber App to call friends abroad (they need to have it on their phones as well) and this uses about 17MB of data for a 45minute call. As I never get through my 500MB allowance each month, this is a great way to make international calls `for free'.
The 5MP camera is OK, but does seem to be a bit slow at times. I have not really used this too much, but is handy standby if you do not have your camera to hand.
If battery life is important to you, remember to switch off Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth and Mobile Data until you actually need them - these are easily accessible from the swipe down top menu bar. Also there is a power saving option, which I do use as well. As I mainly use the phone for short calls and texts, I can quite regularly get 4 days out of the battery before recharging, which is pretty good, I think. Leaving Mobile data switched on significantly reduces battery life, in my experience. If you need to shut down any Apps that use too much in the way of resources, a long press on the centre 'HOME' button will bring up the Task Manager, allowing you to shut down any persistent Apps. Strangely the Task Manager does not seem to be available by any other means, which I found a bit odd.
If there is one thing I don't like it is the on screen keyboard, I find it a bit small and easy to mistype with, but have not found it annoying enough to bother loading one of the larger keyboard Apps which are available. I did acquire one of those little soft nosed stylus, which makes typing more accurate, if slower.
So, overall a nice little package and the phone is upgradeable via the Samsung Kies software that you can download to your computer. It is not the best bit of software in the world, but I have upgraded both of our phones to Android 4.1.2 using it, without too many issues. Also, this is used to back up contact data, photos etc.
A useful addition to get is a wallet case with a stylus to protect the phone and give the assistance of easier typing. there are a few options available on Amazon or EBay. Also treat yourself to a 32GB microSD card (the maximum it will accept) as these are cheap enough now and allow storage of photos, music etc.
The only real downside that I have experienced is the extremely poor customer service available from from Samsung UK - you ask them a question or for guidance and you would be better asking a fish how to ride a bicycle!! They are really that bad!!
*AND NEW EDITs AT BOTTOM OF REVIEW*
This android 4.1.2 smartphone has received mixed reviews from the experts, mainly receiving around 3/5 scores. This is really due to the fact that it was overpriced at RRP - £300 - £315. Other handsets, offered a better screen, a quicker processor, more megapixels on the camera etc, and also it was nothing like the Galaxy S3 (other than in looks - the features were stripped back so much) so the reviews were justified.
Now the price has been reduced, and mostly so at Amazon, the phone becomes an excellent buy for the price.
It's size is really good, it fits the hand well, being a more preferable size in my eyes to the very large S3.
It is well made, looks good, works well, with no noticeable lag.
The camera is decent for the price and the Samsung TouchWiz overlay is attractive and easy to use. The screen is good enough, although not the sharpest available, but you have to take in to consideration the price you are getting it for.
The processor is 1GHz Dual Core which again is decent but not outstanding compared to other models but good overall for the price. This will be fine for nearly all apps other than big graphic gaming ones.
Well worth buying a case for it as I've seen lots of these style phones with a smashed screen due to a drop.
Although not especially noted, this is the 8GB version. After taking into account the android and samsung software you get 4.55GB free, which is enough for plenty of apps and you get the option of buying and installing a large SD card for all your photos and music etc.
Well worth considering at this price. You are getting a very good phone at just over budget price.
**Definitely buy directly from Amazon too, rather than Amazon Marketplace. You will definitely then get a non branded phone and a UK charger and instructions.**
Some have said the battery doesn't last long, but I've found it very good. Using the Power Saver Mode, I've had two full days out of it. My usage would be push emails, some internet browsing, maybe 1 or 2 photos taken, listening to music for 30mins, and internet connection via apps. I think this is really good!
If you use it to watch a lot of videos on youtube or make long calls then maybe it would go down quicker but it certainly lasts twice as long as my last smartphone.
This is very mirrorlike outside in the sunlight and it is quite difficult to see what's on screen. Inside it is fine. But then I think a lot of smartphone would probably suffer in a similar way.
From reports it seems that the S3 Mini will stay at Android 4.1.2 and not be upgraded above this, like newer models will. For most of us this won't really be an issue but if you want to be at the cutting edge of technology and want all the latest features, then with this model you may end up having to ROM it (at your own risk).
The simple fact is though that all smartphones will have a lifetime and at some point the manufacturer will stop sending through the updates to later versions of android.
You will still be able to use the phone fine though.
The Samsung Software Update from October 2013 keeps you on Android 4.1.2 but adds a few improvements. The size of the file is about 82MB so according to your data plan, you may need to download over Wi-Fi. The installation is a reasonably quick and easy process.
on 22 July 2013
It is with sadness I must announce the death of my 2 month old Samsung Galaxy SIII Mini. In its short lifetime, this has to be one of the best phones I have ever owned. The phone is quick, texting is a breeze (the predictive text being quite outstanding) and the camera is first class. So why one star?
Samsung Galaxy 3 can and often develop something called SDS. (Sudden death Syndrome) After 2 months I tried to unlock the phone and it was completely dead. After much research I removed the battery and sim card for two minutes and then rebooted the phone. Phew, back to life! However, it did it again two days later.
Now you would expect Samsung customer services to be understanding and helpful with a common fault with this model. After all there is supposed to be a firmware update to sort out this issue. Sadly, they seem to be in denial. "Have you tried changing the battery?" After some prompting they admited there was a problem but it was not that common. However, they stated that the major problem with S3's are they do not power up!!! (Same thing???)
They told me to send my phone to them for a few weeks and they would have a look at it. And what am I supposed to use for 3 weeks while they have my phone? And apparently if your phone shows any signs of damage, then they will not repair it under warranty.
So, sadly I sent the phone back to amazon (no quibbles) and bought a Sony Xperia SP. A litle more money, in some ways better, some ways not so good.....but hopefully we can forge a long and meaningful relationship!
on 30 December 2012
I wasn't sure about getting this phone as first as there are lots other handsets available with better specs for the same price and a lot of people having been complaining that it's nowhere near as good as the s3. However, after having the product since Christmas Day, I can say it has been nothing but perfect!
With its 1GB of RAM, the phone runs many applications seamlessly without any trouble. It doesn't offer 2GB of RAM like the larger model (S3), but in reality 1GB is plenty unless your planning on running 50 games at the same time. The phone offers 8GB of internal memory which is reduced to about 5/GB with the operating system and pre-loaded software which means you can easily install over 100 apps on your phone without any problem. If this still isn't enough, however, you can always insert a mini SD card for extra storage capacity (for photos, videos, music etc).
The phone runs Androids latest operating system 4.1 Jellybean which can be immediately updated to 4.1.1 after a software update and runs off a 1 GHz dual-core Cortex-A9. Again, this is not as good as the larger S3, however, I don't see this as a problem as the phone runs perfectly and there is no need for a faster processor.
Unless your a photographer, the S3 Mini's 5MP camera is great for taking photos and the additional support for 720p video recording is a good extra touch. No, it's not 1080p but I find this perfectly fine. If you are wanting a better quality camera though, I'd recommend looking for another phone as this probably isn't the best phone for you. But if you just want to take photos and videos of a decent quality, this phone is great.
One thing that might put some people off is the specs of the screen, but unless you're the really picky type about having a Super-LED HD screen then the phone still looks great and crystal clear, so please don't be put of by this.
The phone also comes with some cool motion features such as being able to touch the top of the phone to scroll to the top of an application, or being able to call a contact by simply lifting the phone to your ear. They're only small features, but in my opinion I find them quite impressive.
Overall, this phone is a great mid-high range phone and you shouldn't be put off it's specs. If you're something fast and stylish phone then I'd recommend this phone!
on 26 June 2013
this is my 1st time reviewing anything, to be honest if you want a phone that's basically is like a iphone 4 and samasung 3 put together for a cheap price and portable to use. I suggest you look no further and purchase your very own mini samsung 3.
on 26 January 2014
This is an excellent phone and deserves 5 stars but for one thing. It is advertised as a sim free phone which I interpret as a new phone that is not tied to any network. On the contrary this is more like a refurbished and unlocked phone that was originally tied to Vodafone. It is riddled with Vodafone bloatware and apps and keeps prompting for Vodafone updates.
I tried to delete all the Vodafone apps but could not. I have now done a Samsung factory reset and it is better with my Toggle SIM card in that it no longer nags for Vodafone requirements but even after un-installing V apps, I still cannot get rid of their icons which is annoying.
I purchased in good faith expecting this to be an untied Samsung phone and it is not. Shame on you Amazon!
If you buy one of thee, insert your sim card and then do a Samsung factory reset before using it. You would think they would have done this before selling it, or more preferably provided a new phone instead of a used one!
on 24 January 2013
Bought the phone for my partner for christmas. She wanted a powerful smart phone which wasn't the size of your hand. This phone fitted the bill perfectly. The overall size of the phone is perfect for her hands and she can easily reach all corners of the screen with one thumb. Although it is smaller than other new smart phones, the screen size is still great for web browsing and playing games. Comparing the screen to her old Apple 3GS the screen its around the same size but is much much brighter and clearer. As an added bonus you can even add a microSD card and add loads of music and videos. The dual core processor is great at running every app we've thrown at it so far with no lag at all. I wouldn't give it 5 stars as I feel its overpriced, for the same money you can buy the quad-core Nexus 4. If this was priced at around £230 it would be the perfect phone for everyday users.
on 13 September 2013
It is not easy at 78 years old to change with the times but my old Vodophone needed replacing and with advice from my Granddaughter I purchased the Samsung Galaxy S111 Mini. . I am so glad I did. With a little help from her it was set up in no time with a new provider and I cannot think how I ever didi without it. Yes, it did take a little getting used to, but all new things do. After about a month I am as good as anyone on it. Two things I added to my purchas were a very small stylus whic makes texting and googling a doddle, and a clear gel cover which makes it safer to hold. and keeps it looking good. I would recommend this phone to anyone. There is one problem though it makes internet buying even easier than the old PC so I expect my bank balance will suffer.
on 2 April 2013
After an unfortunate experience buying this phone off an Amazon Marketplace seller (at which point I'd have given the phone 2 stars) I bought another one (from Argos) to replace the one returned to Amazon, more expensive than Amazon but it really is new, unlike (I believe) the first one I bought, and can't fault it (yet.) Lovely size; would have liked a non-slip surface on the back of the phone but that's just being picky. Upgrading from a very old (8-year) phone meant that entering all the phone numbers was tedious, but once done it's done. I believe that it'd be much easier transferring data from one Android to another, so not the phone's fault. Connection to Gmail and FB was easy, phone is crystal clear and the 'suggestive' text function is wonderful; it remembers what you've typed before, including email addresses and names, and really does make life easier. So much better than predictive text, which is rubbish. Surprised it doesn't come with a stylus; the text keyboard isn't very big, and even though I have smallish fingers it's very hard to hit the keys precisely. Definitely not a bloke's phone (sorry, Samsung!) The 'Back' soft button on the front of the phone is great, as is the Menu soft button; the only annoying button is the Power button at the top right hand side of the phone, and tends to be the default 'pick-up' point. A 'Press and Hold' soft button would have been more user-friendly.
As a side issue, don't rely on Samsung to answer queries or requests for help. For Customer Service I'd rate them -10. Amazon, on the other hand, respond in extra-fast time, and resolve the problem with no hassle at all.