Samsung's Galaxy line has been expanded again. This time it concerns the new Galaxy mini 2. This compact yet powerful device is the successor to the Samsung Galaxy mini.
The Galaxy mini 2 is small in size but has quite some specifications. It has an 800 MHz processor, 512 MB internal memory, a 3.3 inch TFT screen and a 3 megapixel camera. The mini 2 runs on the Android 2.3 Gingerbread operating system allowing the user to access all kinds of applications from the Play Store. Moreover, the device only costs around 150 euros. Despite the low-end segment where this phone is located, the price/quality ratio certainly doesn't seem bad.
Main features of the Galaxy mini 2 in addition to the previously mentioned points are its compact size and interchangeable cover. Indeed, the cover is interchangeable. Samsung supplies the device with both a black and a yellow battery cover. The latter gives the camera a cheerful edge, while the black cover makes the camera a bit more businesslike.
What's with the device?
The Galaxy mini 2 comes in a small box. The box contains a charger, a microUSB cable, a 1300 mAh Li-ion battery, an extra battery cover and a quick start guide. The extra bright yellow battery cover that Samsung supplies is a nice gimmick that can give the device a fresh look. Remarkably, no headset is included. The accessories also look good and solid. The device comes standard with 4 GB memory of which 2.6 GB can be used. There is a microSD slot available so that you can expand this memory as desired.
The mini 2 is a very compact device. The dimensions (109 x 59 x 12 mm) and the weight of 105 grams ensure that the device feels nice and light and fits comfortably in the hand. Samsung supplies two battery covers. A yellow one and a black one. Especially the yellow back provides a playful character. On the other hand, the device also has a luxurious touch because of the chrome edges.
The top of the phone is equipped with a 3.3 inch touchscreen with one physical home key and two soft keys: menu and back. The sides are finished with a chrome rim with a number of buttons and connections underneath.
On the left are the volume keys and a microSD slot. On the right side is the lock button. For the audio jack and microUSB connection, we need to be at the top and bottom respectively.
The back of the mini 2 is completely covered by the battery cover. Cut-outs have been made for the camera and the speaker. Under the cover are the battery and the SIM card slot. The battery needs to be removed to be able to change the latter.
Because of the small screen (3.3 inches) the Galaxy mini 2 does not need a large battery to last a long time. The device has a 1300 mAh Li-ion battery of which the capacity is more than enough to keep the device running for about 24 hours.
Of course, as a user, you have a lot of influence on the endurance of the device. Through GPS, WiFi or other connections, the device consumes a lot of power.
The call quality of the Samsung Galaxy mini 2 leaves nothing to be desired. The sound is clear and can be adjusted in volume. Striking is that the sound can be quite loud. During phone calls, it is possible to mute the volume, turn on the speaker or put the call on hold. It is also possible to move through the menus while calling.
Starting a call is done via the call button. You then enter the call menu after which you can look up contacts by means of number or number combinations. This system is standard in Android, but no less convenient.
The screen of the Galaxy mini 2 is 3.3 inches large and has a resolution of 320 x 480 pixels. Unfortunately, Samsung has used a cheap panel that is very mirror-like and therefore difficult to read outdoors. The viewing angle is also quite small. This has clearly been cut back.
The small size of the touchscreen also affects the operation of the device. Typing and browsing is not as smooth as on larger Samsung devices such as the Galaxy S II or S III. As a result, typing errors can sometimes occur. However, the mini 2 does deserve a plus for the fast response time of the screen. The touchscreen works nice and direct, which ensures pleasant operation. For this it is important that the device is not just unlocked. Just after unlocking, there is still some lag. This has little to do with the screen, but more with the processor power. After that, the speed is just fine.
The Samsung Galaxy mini 2 is equipped with Android 2.3 Gingerbread. This is not the latest version of Android, but is absolutely sufficient. An update to the newer Ice Cream Sandwich is not expected. Next to the Android 2.3 operating system, the mini 2 also runs Samsung Touchwiz with Samsung's L!ve Panel UX. This shell has a playful character with a lot of color.
The home screen consists of 7 tabs that can be set up as usual with Widgets and shortcuts. At the bottom of the home screen there is a permanent dock consisting of 4 shortcuts, namely: telephone, contacts, messages and applications. By clicking on the application button, the menu that is designed as a 4 x 4 grid of applications appears. Just like the home screen, the menu consists of different windows (depending on the number of installed applications). At the bottom of the menu, the dock is also permanently present.
The notification bar in the home screen of the mini 2 is retractable as with other Android devices. The screen that appears lists all the notifications received and allows you to manage different connections. For example, it is possible to turn WiFi, GPS or Bluetooth on or off at the touch of a button.
The phone book can be found under the contact key. The contacts are logically arranged in alphabetical order and are easy to look up using the search bar. Via this menu it is possible to select contacts to call or text, but you can also view the mutual call history, for example. It is also possible to add contacts with the '+-button'. Contacts can be stored in the SIM or phone memory. Various data can be added, such as e-mail address, postal address or organization.
In the contacts menu it is also easy to consult the logbook. It shows call and text message conversations in chronological order.
As far as this part is concerned, there is actually little to be noticed with this unit. By mail, sms or WhatsApp we have had no problems. The Galaxy mini 2 supports the standard email providers and has a separate application for Gmail. In the message menu, text messages are automatically arranged in conversational form so that you can still see the previous messages when tapping an SMS. When a photo or file is added to the message, an SMS changes to an MMS.
Typing with the Samsung Galaxy mini 2 is not fantastic. Because of the small screen, a typing mistake sometimes wants to sneak in. Fortunately, instead of a full QWERTY keyboard, you can also choose a numeric keyboard with T9 word prediction. This function can also be deactivated. It is also possible for the enthusiast to Swypen with the mini 2. Instead of typing, text is entered by swiping the keyboard.
On the Galaxy mini 2 all connection options are available. Bluetooth, GPS, WiFi-n and data connection (up to HSDPA) did not cause any problems. Data files can be sent from phone to computer via the microUSB cable, or vice versa. Samsung also offers the unique Kies Air app. This makes it possible to wirelessly sync with the device via your browser. The only condition is that both are connected to the same WiFi network. Music and other data files can also be easily exchanged with this application.
The browser on the Samsung Galaxy mini 2 is the standard Android 2.3 browser. The browser works very well and needs little explanation. The operation is also pleasant. Because the device has a multitouch interface, it is easy to zoom in and out on pieces of text. By means of a short double click on a text area, the device automatically adjusts the text format to the screen size.
The Samsung Galaxy mini 2 has a 3 megapixel camera. The maximum shooting resolution in camera mode is 2058 x 1536 pixels and in video mode 640 x 480 pixels. The Samsung Galaxy mini 2 does not have a secondary camera for video calling. There is also no flash. Zooming is done digitally with the buttons on the side of the camera. A fairly basic camera.
The camera menu does not rotate when you rotate the camera in a vertical position. On the left side of the menu there are top-down buttons for picture mode (type of shot), scene modes (night, sports, landscape etc.), brightness and settings (including resolution, timer and white balance). Nice detail is that it is possible to take continuous pictures. Up to 9 shots. This way you can choose the best shot afterwards.
On the right side of the screen we find the switch button to the video mode, the camera button and the shortcut to the gallery. In video mode the menu looks about the same. The biggest difference is the lack of adjustable scene modes. In addition, the video mode can be set to 'normal' or to a limit for MMS files.
Videos and pictures of the Galaxy mini 2 are of low quality. There is a strong blue glow over the shots leaving a chilly impression. We are not often impressed by mobile phone cameras, but this one is really bad. For snapshots it's just fine, but if you want a little more, this camera is not recommended.
The Samsung Galaxy mini 2 has the following programs: Clock, Calendar, MP3 Player, Internet, Camera, Maps, Email, Gmail, Gallery, Search, Play Store, Samsung Apps, Social Hub, My Files, Notes, Settings, Voice Recorder, FM Radio, Calculator, AllShare, Talk, Task Manager, News and Weather, YouTube, Latitude, Navigation, Voice Guided Search, Places, Downloads, Choose Air, ChatOn, Google+, Messenger, Samsung MMM, Thinkfree Office and Videos. Additional programs such as Whatsapp or Facebook can be downloaded from the Play Store.
One of the applications is Social Hub. This program integrates various social media, mail and sms traffic. It is a fairly simple application that is easy to use. Another program, Samsung MMM, is also a nice addition. This app integrates various news, music and movie media in one overview. You can decide for yourself how often you want the overview to be updated.
No games are preprogrammed on the Galaxy mini 2. The Play Store offers the solution. Here you can download all kinds of games, free of charge or not.
The name of the Samsung Galaxy mini 2 actually already names exactly the most important plus and minus points of this device. It is small. On the one hand, that is very pleasant. It is compact, fits comfortably in the hand and feels light to the touch. On the other hand, that also has its disadvantages. Typing and browsing are not optimal and the readability of the screen can also be improved. How you experience these plus and minus points, however, depends very much on what you want to use the mini 2 for.
Next to the compactness of the Galaxy mini 2, Samsung has also succeeded in its appearance. This device has a fresh look and does not look cheap despite the low segment. Still, we can also see what Samsung has saved on during production. The camera leaves a lot to be desired, the TFT screen is not top notch and it is a shame that no headset is included. However, if this is not your priority, it will not really bother you. After all, these are not the primary things you expect from a smartphone.