The Samsung Galaxy III Mini: Do good things come in small packages?

samsung s3 miniJust when you thought things couldn’t get any more heated between Samsung and Apple, a new smartphone has been released that will ramp up the rivalry even higher.

Samsung’s Galaxy 3 has been massively popular but did come in for some criticism from users who thought it was too big to be used as a smartphone and too small to be a tablet.

So to tempt consumers who think good things come in small packages, Samsung has announced the Samsung Galaxy III Mini, which comes with a 4-inch screen. That puts it in direct competition with Apple’s new iPhone 5, which has the same size display screen.

But Samsung is feeling confident it is up to the stiff competition. It brings the high performance, intuitive ease-of-use and nature-inspired design of the Galaxy S III to an elegant, compact,” said the firm.

Simon Stanford, vice president of the telecommunications and networks division for Samsung UK and Ireland, said: “The award-winning Galaxy S III has been extremely well received globally since it launched earlier this year so we are thrilled to offer our customers the same revolutionary design, intuitive usability and intelligence in a mini version.”

Powered by Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, the latest version of the smartphone operating system, the Galaxy III’s little brother comes packed with the same sort of technology.

Taking on Siri, Apple’s voice-recognition system, Samsung’s S Voice allows you to use your voice to unlock your phone, to ask your device to play a favourite song, change the volume, sort out your daily schedule or launch into camera mode.

It also understands human gestures to make using the phone easier and more natural. The Smart Stay feature uses the phone’s camera to track your eyes so, as long as you’re looking at it, the screen will stay lit.

Our favourite is Direct Call which means if you’re reading a text message from a friend, you can call them simply by lifting the phone to your ear – clever, huh?

Powering all this innovation is a 1GHz dual-core processor. It’s a world away from the 1.4GHz enjoyed by users of the original S3 but that’s bound to be reflected in the price.

It comes with a 5 megapixel camera, compared to the 8 megapixels you get with the Galaxy S3. There are two storage options – the 8GB or 16GB models but you can use a microSD card to bump up capacity even further if you want.

No price has been revealed just yet, but it will clearly be less than the hi-end grown-up S3, with Simon Stanford saying: “We will continue to develop smartphones to cater for a variety of customer needs and this latest release demonstrates our ongoing commitment to offering our customers more choice at every price point.”

Whether the price point is enough to tempt customers remains to be seen but the bigger version of the S3 has already proved popular with consumers and critics alike, having just scooped the coveted Phone of the Year prize at the T3 Tech Awards.