Samsung launches the compact Galaxy S III Mini with four-inch display

In a twist of self-inflicted irony, South Korea-based Samsung today launched a smaller version of its flagship Galaxy S III handset, giving it a four-inch display instead of a whopping 4.8-inch screen found on the original. This is the same company which readily slams Apple in advertising over the iPhone 5’s four-inch display which the ads suggest isn’t massive enough for people’s tastes.

Well, guess what? Looks like four inches is the perfect screen size for the new Galaxy S III Mini. This Jelly Bean-driven smartphone with Samsung’s TouchWiz interface inherits much of the Galaxy S III’s software and hardware features and appears to be aimed squarely at the iPhone 5…

Samsung’s media release quotes mobile head JK Shin who said the goal was to bring the Galaxy S III’s “revolutionary design, intuitive usability and intelligence to the Galaxy S III mini in a more compact form”.

Compact it is.

The Mini is 121.55mm wide, 63mm tall and 9.85 deep. Compared to the S III, the Mini is 15.5mm narrower, 7.6mm smaller and a millimeter thinner. It should also feel lighter in your hand, weighing in at 111.5g (the S III is 133g.

Its display is based on the same Super AMOLED technology that the S III uses, sans a lower resolution of 800-by-480 pixels versus a 1,280-by-720 pixel display on the S III.

Unlike its bigger brother, the Mini packs in a dual-core 1GHz processor, a step down from the quad-core Exynos 4 chip found inside international, Australian and Korean versions of the handset.

It also has a five-megapixel camera on the back versus an eight-megapixel sensor on the Galaxy S III.

On the networking front, it supports HSPA on the 900/1900/2100MHz bands

The Galaxy S III Mini specs

• 4.0-inch WVGA Super AMOLED display
• 1 GHz dual-core processor
• 121.55 x 63 x 9.85 mm, 111.5g
• Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
• five-megapixel rear camera with LED flash
• front-facing VGA camera
• WiFi a/b/g/n, WiFi HT40
• Bluetooth 4.0
• 1,500 mAh battery

Features shared between the two smartphones, among others, include Samsung’s natural language recognition software called S Voice (a Siri knock off), Direct Call to automatically call a person you’re texting by lifting the phone to your ear and wireless media transfer called S Beam, the Buddy Photo Share function to automatically share an image between people pictured in a photo and Smart Stay technology that tracks your eye’s movement to automatically shut down the display when you’re not looking at it.

It should be noted that S Beam is not a stock Android version and only works between S Beam-enabled device, like the Galaxy S III or Galaxy Note II. Likewise, Buddy Photo Share only works between Galaxy phones.

Samsung will announce details on pricing and availability in due time.

May be a good idea to work on that branding, Samsung.

And stop capitalizing the Galaxy name, for God’s sake.

So, is the Mini in your view a better choice for folks seeking a compact smartphone than the iPhone 5?