The Galaxy S III Mini: Samsung's latest device underwhelms

The Samsung Galaxy S III Mini looks like a chip off the old block – but its specs are firmly middle-of-the-road. 

Models hold a Samsung Galaxy S III Mini phone and a Galaxy S III phone during the Mini's world premiere in Frankfurt in October. Samsung is expected to open 1,400 mini-stores in Best Buy.

Samsung has rolled out a slimmed-down version of its popular Galaxy S III smart phone. 

In a press statement, Samsung said the Galaxy S III Mini will ship with a 4-inch screen – on par with the Apple iPhone 5, but smaller than the 4.8-inch display on the original Galaxy S III. (There's an undeniable irony in calling this thing "Mini," of course, considering that just a couple of years ago, before the big-screen arms race really began, a four inch display would have qualified a device for "Jumbo" status.) 

The specs released by Samsung indicate a firmly middle-of-the-road device: A 1 GHz dual-core processor (the Galaxy S III has a quad-core processor); a 5-megapixel camera (the camera on the original Galaxy S III has 8-megapixels); and no 4G LTE technology, which is standard on the Galaxy S III. Pricing and carrier availability are expected to be announced later this month. 

Already, Samsung's newest device has come under some fire. Gizmodo says it's a "major letdown." And over at Slashgear, Chris Burns calls the Galaxy S III Mini an "iPhone 4-sized pea-shooter" – a device that falls far short of the lofty precedent set by the original Galaxy S III. 

"If you’ve been following along with the strategy Samsung has been working with over the past year, you’ve noticed that they’ve been doing rather well the Samsung Galaxy S III as a single hero smartphone across the globe with no design compromises," Burns writes. "They’ve just thrown that all away with a... disappointingly low-level afterthought in this newer handset." 

In related news, Samsung announced earlier this month that it had recorded a record-setting $7.3 billion in operating profits in Q3 of this year. The great majority of that profit came from smart phones such as the Galaxy S III, which has performed extraordinarily well in Asian and European markets. 

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