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Samsung launched its flagship mobile, the Galaxy S5 in the spring. It features the latest tech desirables, such as a fingerprint sensor for extra security, a heart rate monitor to help keep track of your health and a 16-megapixel camera that’s capable of shooting video in the ultra-high 4K resolution.

But its 5.1-inch display means that it’s pretty big, almost on the brink of being a phone/tablet hybrid. So there are many who didn’t plump for it because it was just too big to use comfortably (click here to read our review of the original S5).

If you’re one of those people, you may be interested in the company’s latest release, the Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini. As you’ll guess from the name, this model is more finger-friendly.

The display here is 4.5 inches and where the bigger screen managed a 1080p resolution, here it’s 720p – still high-definition and equal to the 326 pixels per inch of Apple’s Retina display on the iPhone 4 and beyond. It’s a stunningly bright, vivid and ultra-colourful screen that looks tremendous. The lower resolution is not really noticeable and video playback, for instance, looks glorious on this phone.

Usually when companies produce smaller versions of their flagships, they cut a lot of corners. The display is one of few ways that Samsung has dropped specs from the full-size S5. The fingerprint sensor is here, with its PayPal compatibility to make it easier to pay for stuff online. The heart rate monitor is also present and as useful as on the bigger phone. Even the infra-red blaster of the S5, which allows you to use the handset as a TV remote, is here.

And there’s even one way that the Mini is better than its heftier sibling. Both phones are water-resistant, which means that some elements have to have flaps to prevent the damp getting in. On the S5 this means a cover on the charging socket which is frankly a bore to flip open and shut every time you use it. Samsung has cleverly managed to get rid of the flap on the S5 Mini, but still retain its water-resistance. This may not sound much but, trust me, it’s a big benefit.

The camera is a step down, it’s true. The 8-megapixel model is perfectly capable with lots of extras such as a Beauty Shot feature (to reduce lines and blemishes in portraits). It’s a decent rather than outstanding camera.

The processor is also slower than on the bigger S5 but it doesn’t really matter – this is a fast, responsive phone that works well even with lots of apps open. Battery life is okay but I’d recommend daily charges for peace of mind.

Bigger phones are great for letting us watch movies on our handsets, or stream live sports. But for many a less enormous screen is preferable. The S5 Mini is a great balance of size and power. It lacks the exceptional speakers of the HTC One Mini 2 or the standout 20.7-megapixel camera of the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact. But it’s a fast, effective phone that’s fun to use whether you’re measuring your heart rate or changing the TV channel. It makes calls, too, by the way.

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