The Samsung Galaxy S4 has finally arrived on shelves in regions around the world, however, it won’t be the only Galaxy S4 branded smartphone to touch down for consumers. Samsung has already confirmed that it’s planning to release a Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini which figures to be a cheaper, smaller version of its largest flagship smartphone.
Last year, in May, Samsung announced the Samsung Galaxy S3, its flagship smartphone that sold millions upon millions of units worldwide and a device that propelled it to the same pedestal as Apple and the iPhone not only in terms of sales but in terms of consumer visibility as well. And while most of the attention was placed on the Galaxy S3, it wasn’t the only Galaxy S3 to hit shelves last year.
In the months after the Galaxy S3 release, Samsung unveiled and released a smaller version of the Galaxy S3 that arrived with lesser features and a much more affordable price tag. That device of course was the Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini, a device that touched down in many of the same regions that got the Galaxy S3, including the United States where it hit several carriers under different brand names.
It appears that Samsung is going to be following a similar path this year with the Samsung Galaxy S4. Despite not announcing anything at the Galaxy S4 event in March, it has now become clear that the company is gearing up to release a smaller version of its brand new flagship, a couple of months after the debut of the larger device.
For the next few months, the larger Samsung Galaxy S4 will be the only Galaxy S4 that can be bought or sold. This summer though, the Galaxy S4 Mini will arrive, presenting two different options for consumers looking to buy a Galaxy S4.
While the Galaxy S4 Mini has been confirmed by Samsung, it still hasn’t seen its specifications nor its release date confirmed. That doesn’t mean that we haven’t heard whispers though.
Here, we take a look at how the very official Samsung Galaxy S4 matches up with the official yet still rumored Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini in terms of release dates, pricing, features and more.
In March, Samsung debuted the Samsung Galaxy S4 and said that it would be released beginning at the end of April. The manufacturer actually was spot on with its announcement though it did not reveal any of the nonsense that has accompanied the U.S. release of the Galaxy S4.
Over the past few weeks, the Samsung Galaxy S4 U.S. release has been a bit of a spectacle as it has seen delays, confusion and more befall consumers looking to buy the new Galaxy S smartphone.
Thanks to inventory issues, likely due to demand, carriers in the U.S. have had to push back their release dates from the ones they made official only a short time ago.
As it stands, here is how the Galaxy S4 release in the U.S. breaks down.
- AT&T: Online & In-Stores – April 27th
- Sprint: Online – April 27th, In-Stores – TBA
- T-Mobile: Online – April 29th, In-Stores – May 8th & May 15th
- U.S. Cellular: Online – Right Now, In-Stores April 30th
- Verizon: Online – TBA, In-Stores – May 30th
What this means is that the Verizon Galaxy S4 will be the last major carrier to unleash the Galaxy S4 in the United States, with a release date that comes more than two months after Samsung’s initial announcement in New York City.
It also will come, it seems, about two months before the release of the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini which is currently pegged to be arriving during the month of July.
Thus far, all signs have pointed to a release in July with a release looking like it might come during the week of July 15th and July 21st. Samsung has not confirmed any date for the Galaxy S4 Mini but it did say that it would be arriving after the Galaxy S4 launch so July lines up perfectly with that kind of timing.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 features a design that will be familiar to those that are familiar with the Galaxy S3, though, Samsung has managed to give it some worthwhile tweaks that make it improved from its predecessor.
Samsung’s new smartphone is built out of plastic, like all Samsung flagships are, only the plastic used with the Galaxy S4 is a bit more durable and as we’ve found, easier to grip than the plastic used on the Galaxy S3.
As for aesthetics, the Galaxy S4 features a metal-looking band that wraps around the device giving it a different look than the previous model. It does, however, retain the home button on the bottom of the device for quick navigation.
Samsung has slimmed down the device as well, with the design checking in with a 7.9mm form factor and weighing a mere 130 grams, both improvements from the Galaxy S4.
The Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini used much of the same design as the larger Galaxy S3 and from what we’ve seen from the Galaxy S4 Mini, or what we think is the Galaxy S4 Mini, it looks like it may resemble a smaller Galaxy S4.
Samsung’s Galaxy S4 Mini appears to look very similar to the Galaxy S4, complete with curves, home button, and a speaker grille in the top middle. There does appear to be a slight difference near the home button where the Galaxy S4 Mini appears to have two other nav buttons including a menu botton and a back button.
We still aren’t sure about specifics when it comes to weight and thinness but we imagine that it won’t be too much thicker or heavier than the Galaxy S4.
Two of the major upgrades that Samsung included on the Samsung Galaxy S4 were the addition of 1080p resolution and a high pixel-per-inch count to go along with the increase in size from the 4.8-inch Galaxy S3 screen to the larger 5-inch Galaxy S4 display. The Galaxy S4 display is just .5-inches smaller than the Galaxy Note 2.
As we’ve pointed out, that is the same resolution as most 55-inch HDTVs, only its packed into a 5-inch space. The large display allows for owners to not only enjoy good looking content but also large content as well. The Galaxy S4 display is perfect for the web, for movies and for multitasking.
Samsung has also included Gorilla Glass 3 on its display for greater protection, the Galaxy S3 only featured Gorilla Glass 2, and it comes with a sensor on board that enables the ability to make touch less gestures.
The Galaxy S4 features two distinct features called Air View and Air Gesture. Air View allows owners to simply hover their finger over content to get a preview before opening it. Air Gesture allows users to simply wave their hand above the display in order to change a song or skip to another web page.
As expected, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini display doesn’t look like it will match up with the Galaxy S4 display. Those hoping for a smaller, 1080p display with a high pixel-per-inch count will likely be disappointed.
Rumors all point to a smaller 4.3-inch display, just a little bigger than the iPhone 5 display, and resolution that checks in at 960 x 540. That is not HD and instead, is older qHD resolution.
No word yet on whether or not the Galaxy S4 Mini will include sensors that allow users to take advantage of touch less gestures but at this point, we wouldn’t count on it.
With the Samsung Galaxy S4, Samsung has finally taken a step up with the sensor, moving from an 8MP sensor in the Galaxy S3 to a new 13MP sensor in the Galaxy S4.
We’ve taken an exhausting look at how the Galaxy S4 matches up with other phones on the market and while it’s probably not the best smartphone camera in the existence, it can hold its own against the big boys like the iPhone 5 and the HTC One.
Those looking for in-depth analysis can find it in our camera showdown between the iPhone 5, Galaxy S4, and HTC One.
Samsung wasn’t just content on putting a better sensor in the Galaxy S4 either. In fact, Samsung also made some additions to its camera app, an app that is arguably better than the stock Android camera app. Two of the biggest new features include Sound & Shot and Dual Camera, the former which allows owners to include sound with an image, the latter of which allows owners to use the front facing camera to add their face in a rear camera photo.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini isn’t rumored to have a new 13MP camera on board. Instead, it’s thought to have a smaller 8MP sensor. We don’t know how the camera will perform, but we highly doubt that it will challenge the Galaxy S4.
That said, we’ve heard that the device will have some of the new TouchWiz Nature UX featues on board and that could mean that it has access to at least some of the Galaxy S4’s powerful camera features.
After all, Samsung confirmed them for the aging Galaxy S3.
Most consumers know that there will be plenty more powering the Galaxy S4 Mini when it arrives. Here, we take a look at how the rest of the rumored Galaxy S4 Mini specs match up against the Galaxy S4’s.
First, the Galaxy S4.
- 5-inch Full-HD 1080p Super AMOLED HD Display
- 1.9GHz Snapdragon 600 Quad-Core Processor/Exynos 5 Octa Processor
- 16/32/64GB of Storage
- 13MP Camera
- 2,600 mAh (Removable)
- 2 GB RAM
And, the Galaxy S4 Mini.
- 4.3-inch qHD Display
- Exynos 5120 Quad-Core Processor/Dual-Core Processor
- 8MP Camera
Sadly, not much is known about the Galaxy S4 Mini but there are a few things to consider. One, the Galaxy S4 Mini is thought to have a quad-core processor for the single SIM version and dual-core for the dual-SIM version. Whatever the case may be, expect the processor to under perform against the Galaxy S4’s powerful quad-core processors.
Two, the Galaxy S3 Mini had a removable back cover for use with an extended battery and also featured a microSD card slot for expanded storage. The Samsung Galaxy S4 retains both of those and that leads us to believe that the Galaxy S4 Mini will have that type of support on board as well.
It will surely have a smaller battery than the Galaxy S4 which means that an extended battery might be almost necessary for those that want a lot of power out of their device.
Three, the Samsung Galaxy S4 features wireless charging support through a back plate. Neither the Galaxy S3 nor the Galaxy S3 Mini supported it but now that the Galaxy S4 has the ability, it’s possible that we could see it with the Galaxy S4 Mini.
And four, we aren’t exactly sure which storage options will be made available for the Galaxy S4 Mini but at the very least, expect a 16GB model. The Galaxy S4 on the other hand has 16GB, 32GB and 64GB with only the 16GB and 32GB options being available in the U.S. And even then, the 32GB is only available on AT&T, at least for now.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 is the first Samsung smartphone to feature Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, the most current version of Android. In fact, it will be one of the first non-Nexus devices to sport the software. Of course, that’s not all the software firepower that the Galaxy S4 has on board.
Samsung’s Galaxy S4 comes with a TouchWiz Nature UX overlay that adds features and offers an experience far different than the vanilla Android found on the Nexus 4.
Two of the new TouchWiz software features coming with the Galaxy S4 include Smart Scroll and Smart Pause. Smart Scroll allows users to use their eyes to scroll a web page while Smart Pause pauses content on the device when users look away. It also comes equipped with an IR port, a feature that lets users take control of their home entertainment system and it also comes with the Swype keyboard built in right from the get-go.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini is also rumored to have Android 4.2 Jelly Bean on board as well as at least some of the new TouchWiz software. It will need to have an assortment of sensors baked into its software in order to possess many of the Galaxy S4’s features but features like Swype could definitely be on board the smaller Galaxy S4.
The Samsung Galaxy S4, like the Galaxy S3, has emerged for a number of carriers in the U.S. and around the world.
In the United States, it will be available on U.S. Cellular, T-Mobile, Sprint and the two largest carriers, AT&T and Verizon. All five carriers will host the device on their 4G LTE high speed networks which unfortunately differ in size.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini has not yet been confirmed for any carriers and it’s unlikely to see as wide of a launch in the United States, if it launches at all. The Galaxy S3 Mini only became available on two carriers, T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular, and it arrived under different brand names.
AT&T, Sprint and Verizon passed on the smaller device and it’s possible that they could do so again. We likely won’t know until after Samsung announces the phone.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 price is unfortunately all over the board, unlike last year’s Samsung Galaxy S3 which launched for $199.99 on-contract across the board.
In the United States, consumers are going to be facing a number of different price points for the Galaxy S4. AT&T and U.S. Cellular will be offering up the Galaxy S4 16GB for $199.99 on-contract. AT&T will offer the 32GB for $250 in the coming weeks. T-Mobile, which has shifted to off-contract pricing, offers the Galaxy S4 for $150 down while Sprint and Verizon will offer it for $250 on-contract.
Sprint will drop the price to $199.99 for those bringing in a new line while Verizon will knock the price down $50 with a mail-in rebate.
Thus far, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini price remains uncertain though if it does come to the U.S., perhaps with a different name, it should be on the lower end of the scale in terms of price.
The Galaxy S3 Mini arrived in the U.S. for around $80 on-contract and that could be a price that we see for the Galaxy S4 if and when it touches down on a carrier in the U.S.