As the smartphone manufacturers are fighting to win the supremacy on the high-end segment, a lot of people seem to be forgetting that the there are a lot of affordable handsets out there who can bring you pretty decent performance for under $400.
While all the media is focusing on flagships like Samsung Galaxy S4, Sony Xperia Z1, HTC One, or LG G2, we though we should put two affordable smartphones face to face in a specs battle.
In today’s versus article the Samsung Galaxy Core will face the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini, two smartphones that are currently priced under $400.
Samsung Galaxy Core was introduced by the Korean phone maker in May 2013 and released on the market in June the same year. Galaxy Core’s main strengths are the price and the dual SIM support.
The Galaxy S4 Mini is aimed as an affordable alternative to the full-sized Galaxy S4 flagship, bringing some of the software features you will find integrated on its bigger brother. But would the Galaxy S4 Mini defeat the Dual-SIM Galaxy Core?
If you were with us for our previous Versus battles, you would probably know that the Samsung Galaxy Core vs Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini battle will be split in ten different rounds. Each round is worth one point and after the battle comes to an end the smartphone that scores most points is declared the winner. The ten rounds of the battle will be: Display, Dimensions, Processor, Memory, Connectivity, Camera, Design, Price, Battery Life, and Operating System.
As you probably know, most of the low and mid-end Android smartphones come with screens below 4.5 inches and neither of them go past the HD resolution standard.
Samsung Galaxy Core packs a 4.3-inch TFT display with a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels that supports multitouch. It’s rival for today, the Galaxy S4 Mini boasts about a Super AMOLED screen sized 4.3 inches diagonally that brings a resolution of 540 x 960 pixels and 256 ppi pixel density. Moreover, Galaxy S4 Mini’s screen is protected against scratches by a Gorilla Glass 2 layer.
Unfortunately for the Galaxy Core the TFT panel is not the most battery friendly on the market, while its viewing angles are almost inexistent. The Super AMOLED unit fitted on the Galaxy S4 mini has great brightness and contrast, but the color reproduction is not what you might want to call accurate. Moreover, its performance under direct sunlight is less than satisfying.
Still, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini wins the Display round courtesy of its higher-resolution screen with Gorilla Glass 2 protection.
Because the smartphones involved in the battle bring 4.3-inch screens the are pretty compact, as well. I know you like pocketable smartphones!
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini is 124.6 mm tall, 61.3 mm wide, and 8.9 mm thin, while having a weight of only 107 grams. Galaxy Core measures 129.3 x 67.6 x 9 mm, being 4.7 mm taller, 6.3 mm wider, and 0.1 mm thicker than the GS4 Mini. It’s even heavier than its rival, weighing 124 grams.
It’s pretty obvious which smartphone wins the dimensions round. As you’ve probably guessed it’s the Galaxy S4 Mini which is lighter and more compact that the Galaxy Core.
While the high-end smartphones manufactured by the Korean company make use of Snapdragon 600, Snapdragon 800, or Exynos 5 Octa chipsets, the Galaxy S4 Mini and Galaxy Core are based on less-powerful-but-cheaper alternatives.
Galaxy Core is underpinned by a Snapdragon S4 Play (MSM8225 ) SoC which brings a dual-core 1.2 GHz Cortex A5 CPU and Adreno 203 GPU.
S4 Mini’s heart is a Snapdragon 400 (MSM8930) chipset with two Krait cores clocked at 1.7 GHz and Adreno 305.
Well, the Samsung Galaxy S4 has the faster processor, so it wins another round in the battle against Galaxy Core.
The great thing about Samsung’s affordable smartphones is that they come with microSD card support and the Galaxy Core and Galaxy S4 Mini make no exception.
Samsung Galaxy Core brings 8 GB of internal storage that can be expanded using microSD cards of up to 64 GB. The same for the Galaxy S4, which has the same 8 GB of internal storage + microSD (up to 64 GB) configuration.
It’s also worth mentioning that Galaxy Core brings 1 GB of RAM, while Galaxy S4 Mini brings 1.5 GB RAM, which means the latter one will provide an enriched multitasking experience. For this fact alone the Galaxy S4 Mini wins the Memory round.
There are some connectivity standards that are common for all smartphones, while some are only found on high-end smartphones, but there are smartphone that bring the best of both worlds.
In terms of connectivity, the Samsung Galaxy Core brings HSDPA, 7.2 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP, and microUSB 2.0. Anyway, the most important connectivity function of the Galaxy Core is the dual SIM card support with dual stand-by.
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini’s connectivity features include HSDPA, 42 Mbps, HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps; LTE, Cat3, 50 Mbps UL, 100 Mbps DL, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, dual-band, DLNA, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy with A2DP, NFC, IR blaster, and microUSB 2.0.
Even though Galaxy Core’s dual-SIM support almost scored the first point for it, the LTE and NFC chips of the Galaxy S4 are a must-have for any smartphone, thus the Galaxy S4 Mini wins another round.
Even though the high-end smartphones are the cream of the crop when it comes to cameras, this doesn’t mean that the affordable devices can have decent camera units.
Samsung Galaxy Core brings a modest 5 MP rear-facing camera with autofocus, LED flash, geo-tagging, touch focus, face and smile detection, and a maximum of 480@30fps video recording support. The front-facing camera of Galaxy Core has VGA resolution.
Galaxy S4 Mini has borrowed the 8 MP camera that was used by Samsung in 2012 for the Galaxy S3 and, let’s face it, that was a more-than-decent shutter. Besides autofocus and LED flash, Galaxy S4 Mini’s primary camera brings geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, HDR, panorama, and 1080p@30fps video capture. The users will be looking at a 1.9 MP camera.
There’s no doubt that the Galaxy S4 Mini has the better camera, so that’s another point for Galaxy S4’s little brother.
Samsung is known using plastic for its high-end smartphones so I guess you didn’t believe that these two devices were made using different materials.
Galaxy Core is the terminal that looks cheaper, bringing a case with rather dull finishings and a silver plastic frame that surrounds the smartphone’s body. Anyway, these aspects would have probably mattered less in the end if Samsung has decided to make the bezel around the display thinner.
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini looks like a… errrr… mini Samsung Galaxy S4. Well, the shrunken Galaxy S4 even borrows the same pattern for the back lid and the same colors for the aluminium-finishing frame around the body.
Considering that the Galaxy S4 Mini is aimed at the mid-range segment, we can safely say that it looks good for an affordable smartphone. But does it look better than Galaxy Core? Of course it does. Another point for GS4 Mini. That’s a pretty one-sided battle.
Since we are comparing affordable smartphones here, it’s time to see how affordable they really are.
Because you can barely find the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini and the Galaxy Core at the US carriers, we will compare the unlocked prices of the two terminals. After a brief inspection on Amazon.com we’ve seen that we are indeed dealing with affordable smartphones.
The unlocked price of the Samsung Galaxy S4 is around $350, while the Galaxy Core is almost $100 cheaper as it costs around $275.
Galaxy Core is cheaper, so it scores its first point in the battle against Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini.
Because the low and mid end smartphones are usually compact deivices, the manufactures don’t have to much room to squeeze a proper battery, that’s why the cells powering them are most of the times below 2,000 mAh.
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini brings a Li-Ion 1,900 mAh battery and Samsung’s website mentions that it can stand by up to 300 hours on 3G and that the 3G talk time is up to 12 hours. Samsung Galaxy Core brings a slightly smaller battery, a Li-Ion 1,800 mAh cell, and according to Samsung it can also stay awake through 300 hours of 3G stand-by, and up to 9 hours of 3G talktime. Unfortunately, we weren’t lucky enough to test the samartphones ourselves, so we should take Samsung’s measurements as granted.
If you are asking why is Samsung Galaxy S4 has better autonomy with a battery that’s only 100 mAh bigger, hear that the hardware platform is to be thanked. Both the Snapdragon 400 chipset and the Super AMOLED screen are more battery friendly than the Snapdragon S4 Play chipset and the TFT display of the Galaxy Core.
Both smartphones involved in the Samsung Galaxy Core vs Samsung Galaxy S4 battle are running Android Jelly Bean, but you will find out that there are enough differences between the two.
Samsung Galaxy Core leaves the factory gates pre-loaded with Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean, and to be honest, I don’t believe that it will ever be updated to a newer Android firmware. Of course, Samsung has applied TouchWiz UI on top of Android 4.1.2 and the good news is that you will find some of Galaxy S3’s features ported to the Galaxy Core: Smart Stay, Smart Alert, S Voice, Voice Unlock, or Motion Controls.
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini runs Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean out of the box and just like you expected, it was customized with Samsung’s proprietary TouchWiz interface. Besides all the gesture-based features that debuted on the Galaxy S3 and that there were partially integrated on Galaxy Core, Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini has borrowed some of the software functions that were introduced with the full-sized Galaxy S4. Pre-loaded on the device you will find S Travel, Group Play, HomeSync and Samsung Link, and you can even download S Health from Samsung Apps to monitor your health status.
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini runs a newer Android version and packs more new and innovative software features than the Galaxy Core, so the Mini model scores another point.
This means that we are at the end of the Samsung Galaxy Core vs Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini battle and that we have to see which smartphone scored most points.
Samsung Galaxy Core has only managed to win one round after it beat the Galaxy S4 Mini when it came to Price. Well, the $75 difference and the dual-SIM support might weigh a lot for certain customers.
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini scored not less than nine points after it won the Display, Dimensions, Processor, Memory, Connectivity, Camera, Design, Battery Life and Operating System rounds. Why? I’m glad you’ve asked. Because it has a higher-resoltion screen, it’s thinner and lighter, it has a faster CPU, a higher amount of RAM, LTE and NFC support, better camera sensor, looks nicer than its rival, and because it can stay awake longer on a single charge and because it brings more useful software features.
So do you believe that the S4 Mini is the true winner of the Samsung Galaxy Core vs Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini specs battle? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.