In an effort to resize the biggest competition on the smartphone market, Samsung just built its signature device a little smaller — enough to run with the iPhone, and with enough battery to run all day, just not quite small enough. Indeed, Samsung has redefined the term "mini," confirming the rumored smaller version of its popular Galaxy S IV phone. You can see the S IV mini at right via Engadget, and you can see that at 4.3 inches, its screen still comes in a little bigger than the 4-inch iPhone 5. You see, the Samsung Galaxy S IV, with its 5-inch screen, borders on phablet territory — a popular size for phones in certain parts of the world, but still embarrassing to tech snobs and people with, you know, pockets. Sizing down the second most popular of the truly powerful smartphones to 4.3 inches puts it closer to normal territory when it comes to phone size, and yet Samsung can still flaunt the Galaxy S's signature big, beautiful screen over the iPhone's measly portal. Now it's got mini and big to go up against Apple and the truly biggest phone out there.
There are certainly benefits to a bigger screen: Using the Galaxy S IV's big, beautiful high-res screen relieves the eyes compared with an iPhone's little window into the Internet. But there are also some obvious drawbacks, only one of which the new mini-er screen on the Galaxy S IV corrects: battery life.
A larger screen with better performance means not-so-good battery life, as Slate's Farhad Manjoo noted in a recent column. "A bigger phone allows for a bigger battery, which allows for a faster processor," he wrote. The Galaxy S IV reportedly had better staying power than its predecessor, the S III. But an even smaller version should last longer and placate worries about the mid-day recharge. "Be warned," Manjoo writes. "The most powerful phones are going to be much more pleasant to use than everything else on the market — until about lunchtime, when you’ll need to recharge them." Still, the slighter body of the new S IV Mini won't house quite as much power when it begins to the UK market in July, with a less impressive processer than its big brother. Other than that, though, the Mini will look and pretty much act like the S IV — now with more juice.
The other issue with a big screen, however, is an issue the still pretty large Mini does not fix: usability. Even with the iPhone 5's 4-inch screen, new users complained that they could no longer navigate with one hand. It's certainly not possible to do that with the Galaxy S IV's 5-incher, as Manjoo — a general Galaxy S curmudgeon — noted Wednesday on Twitter. "The most obvious, unsolvable problem is that you can't use it well with one hand, because your thumb can reach only about 70% of the screen," he wrote. And the Mini's 4.3-inch screen won't not solve that issue either, unfortunately, but at least it will fit in your pants pocket a little better.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.