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Hands-on with Samsung's new line of Galaxy devices

Evan Dashevsky | June 24, 2013
Samsung is out to create as many Galaxy devices as stars in the actual galaxy. We finally got our hands on the previously announced Galaxy S4 Mini and Galaxy S4 Zoom, as well as the just-unveiled Galaxy NX, an Android-powered interchangeable-lens camera with 3G/4G/LTE and Wi-Fi that gives new meaning to the passé term "cameraphone."

Samsung is out to create as many Galaxy devices as stars in the actual galaxy. We finally got our hands on the previously announced Galaxy S4 Mini and Galaxy S4 Zoom, as well as the just-unveiled Galaxy NX, an Android-powered interchangeable-lens camera with 3G/4G/LTE and Wi-Fi that gives new meaning to the passé term "cameraphone."

Following a wild slate of Galaxy extensions and releases over the past year, Samsung's head of sales and marketing, DJ Lee, announced on Thursday that with the advent of the Galaxy S4, the waterproof S4 Active, the petite S4 Mini, and the crossover S4 Zoom, the "Galaxy S4 line is now complete." We'll see about that.

Galaxy S4 Mini

Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini
The Galaxy S4 Mini (left) next to its older cousin, the Galaxy S3.

In the meantime, I got a chance to play with the smallest member of the family: the diminutive S4 Mini. The term "mini" may be a bit of a misnomer; it isn't that noticeably different than its beefier cousin. The Mini still carries a respectable 4.3-inch display, compared to the full-throttled S4's 5-inch screen, and it is only lighter by 0.06 pounds. Still, for those with certain expectations for how a Galaxy should feel, the smaller phone may take them back. In my daily life, I use a Galaxy S3, and despite the relatively small weight difference, the feathery Mini felt like it was barely there.

The Mini is still a top-tier smartphone, but aimed at midrange consumers. Inside, the Mini boasts a respectable 1.7GHz dual-core processor and 1.5GB of RAM. Those who already use the full-throttled Galaxy phones (for the record, the full S4 has a 1.9GHz chip) may notice the slightest of lags in performance. But really, I can't imagine that many users who are already devotees of the plus-sized Galaxy handsets would care to trade down to the Mini.

The Mini is expected to hit U.K. shelves in July. No word on availability or price for a U.S. version.

Galaxy S4 Zoom

Samsung Galaxy Zoom

The Galaxy S4 Zoom is a smaller cousin of last year's Galaxy Camera and resembles a Galaxy S4 Mini except that it has a retractable 10x optical lens on its back--Samsung claims it's "the first phone" to have that function.

 

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