Samsung Galaxy Mini 2 review: Samsung Galaxy Mini 2

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The Good Compact, sturdy design; Colourful casing; MicroSD card slot.

The Bad Not very powerful; Screen isn't the greatest.

The Bottom Line The Samsung Galaxy Mini 2 is a budget blower designed for a younger owner. It's light on features and not very powerful but as a cheap and cheerful first-time smart phone it's charmingly basic. There are more powerful and capable Androids at bargain basement prices so do your homework before committing your pocket money.

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6.5 Overall

Samsung's smart phone Galaxy universe is populated by devices of all stripes -- from the pricey Galaxy S3 right down to the cheap as chips Galaxy Y.

The Samsung Galaxy Mini 2 is definitely more budget red dwarf than money-burning white hot giant -- hence the dinky price tag. It's basically a slightly beefed up Galaxy Y with a very compact, palm-friendly shape and a bright yellow behind.

You can grab the Galaxy Mini 2 for pocket-money prices. It's being offered free from around £10 a month on a two-year contract. Amazon has it SIM-free for circa £150.

Should I buy the Samsung Galaxy Mini 2?

If you've already crossed into the smart phone universe, there's little to tempt you here -- so warp on elsewhere.

The Mini 2 is a palm and wallet-friendly mobile that, much like the original Galaxy Mini, is aimed at tempting standard phone owners to swing into orbit around their first smart phone.

Since the first Mini landed, Androids have become cheaper and more capable. A £100 outlay can now bag you a phone with a 1GHz chip and a colourful 4-inch display -- in the form of the excellent Huawei G300. If you can stomach the network branded bloatware apps clogging their interfaces, there are pretty capable devices such as the T-Mobile Vivacity or Orange San Francisco 2. So the Mini 2 is a less attractive prospect than its predecessor.

Smart phone wannabies should do their homework and check out the budget competition before splurging all their pocket money. That said, the Mini 2 is not without its charms. For basic tasks it's a nippy little fellow, thanks to the combo of a fairly powerful engine (for a budget blower), and a smallish, lower-res display. So if you just want an inexpensive smart phone mostly for texting, lightweight apps and a spot of web browsing, it should be a pleasing addition to your school bag.

Samsung Galaxy Mini 2 front
While the Mini 2 is appealingly simple, there's a lot of competition at the budget end of the smart phone market.

Galaxy Mini 2 versus Galaxy Y

The Galaxy Mini 2 is definitely not a phone for folk with big hands. Indeed, its slippery surfaces and bright backplate mean it'll be at its happiest in the mitts of sweaty-palmed schoolkids -- much like the almost-identical looking Galaxy Y.

If you're trying to choose between the Mini 2 or the Galaxy Y, don't agonise too much as there's not a huge difference between them. The Mini 2 is a smidge bigger and heavier. It has a better, more colourful screen, a touch more storage and RAM and its camera has a slightly higher megapixel count. There's also a version that comes with contactless near field communication (NFC) tech inside, which could come in handy for swipe payments in a sandwich shop in the future.

On the flipside, the Galaxy Y has a slightly faster chip and better battery life -- plus it's a few tenners cheaper when buying SIM-free. So if you want a budget Samsung-branded sidekick with more stamina, the Y looks like the better bet (provided your eyeballs can live with its awfully low-res screen).


The Mini 2 is a compact creature -- albeit the screen is a smidge bigger than the original Mini. Whereas the earlier model measured 3.14 inches on the diagonal, this screen is a 3.27-inch affair. That's still a rather small display -- but if you have tiny childish fingers, you won't have too much trouble texting and swiping.

Along with the physical size, the Mini's display resolution has been increased as well. The first Mini was a tad blurry, thanks to its 240x320-pixel display. So I'm glad to see Samsung has boosted that to a more palatable 320x480 pixels.

While more pixels is a good thing, the screen still isn't great. Indeed, it sports a headache-inducing shimmer and it's not a patch on the classy screens you'd find on more expensive phones, or even similarly priced alternatives such as the Huawei G300. So if you want a phone for eyeballing lots of video, the Mini 2 is not your best bet.

Elsewhere, the design looks largely the same as the previous Mini. The phone is quite chunky, with a rounded, textured back. It's 11.6mm thick, though the NFC version is a shade thicker at 11.9mm.

Samsung Galaxy Mini 2 side
It's charmingly chunky at 11.6mm, or 11.9mm if you opt for the NFC-enabled version of the Mini 2.

One thing it's nice to see still in place is the Mini 2's colourful behind. It's rare to find a mobile these days that offers a splash of colour, so the orangey yellowy hues of its backplate warm the cockles of my heart.

If you prefer your mobile to blend in with playground concrete, you'll be pleased to know that my colleague Luke Westaway has also spotted a grey version.

Android software

The Mini 2 is a Gingerbread-flavoured Android, which is Google's own mobile operating system. Android is brilliant, because it grants you access to the thousands of apps available through the Google Play app store, many of which are free to download.

Stick a few key apps on there (Facebook and Spotify spring to mind), and you'll likely find the Mini 2 becomes a lot more useful. Sadly, this phone isn't running the latest version of Android -- it's packing version 2.3 Gingerbread rather than 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. But this won't be an issue for smart phone newbies.

Having an out-of-date operating system is embarrassing for high-end smart phones, where you'd expect to see the latest, greatest version of Android showcased, but seeing as the Mini 2 is as cheap, it's not something to gripe about.