The Galaxy mini 2 runs on Gingerbread 2.3.6 and has the latest version 4.0 of Samsung's custom TouchWiz launcher. Although it cannot even dream of Ice Cream Sandwich, the phone is reasonably fast and the 800MHz processor has no trouble running Gingerbread. TouchWiz in turn is supplying a good deal of nice little features and decent visuals. Things look good on the HVGA screen (up from QVGA in the original Galaxy Mini) and the handling is not bad either.
Take a look at our video of the device in action.
The lockscreen of the mini 2 has the usual integration of missed events with shortcuts to the relevant apps. Missed calls and incoming texts are displayed but not emails. The lockscreen can be removed by swiping in any direction.
The homescreen accommodates tons of widgets with lots of functionality. You can have up to 7 homescreen panes. A pinch on any of them zooms out to an aggregate view of all active homescreen panes, which can then be rearranged, deleted or added.
Widgets, shortcuts or folders are pulled onto the homescreen from a side-scrollable taskbar at the bottom of the screen once you enter edit mode (press and hold on an empty spot or do Menu > Add).
The numbered dots that identify the homescreen panes serve as a scroll bar too. A press and hold on the dots lets you scroll sideways through the resized images of the available homescreen panes in one short go rather than with several swipes. In typical TouchWiz fashion, looped scrolling is enabled.
The app launcher is very similar to the homescreen - you can create folders to go with your shortcuts and you can add, remove and rearrange pages just like you would homescreens.
If you prefer, you can choose List view instead of the default Grid view.
There are four shortcuts docked at the bottom of the screen that are visible both on the homescreen and in the app launcher. You can swap the first three with different ones (by default the shortcuts are Phone, Contacts, Messaging). The rightmost is the app drawer/home shortcut used to toggle between the apps menu and the homescreen, so it makes sense to always keep it in the same place.
The task switcher on the Samsung Galaxy mini 2 is launched by a long press of the Home key. It has a shortcut to a custom task manager, which not only lets you kill apps one-by-one and in bulk, but offers plenty of stats on installations, RAM usage and storage.
The Task Manager comes with a handy widget, which shows you the number of active applications right on the homescreen.
Most of the time, Android does really well when it comes to managing apps by itself (in fact, some claim that using a task manager is detrimental to the performance of a phone), so you should only need the task manager to occasionally kill a buggy app.
The Samsung Galaxy mini 2 runs on a single-core 800 MHz processor with the older Adreno 200 GPU and has 512 MB worth of RAM. The device itself feels fairly snappy when navigating the OS, but we never expected it to do wonders in the synthetic benchmark tests.
Linpack tests pure processing speed and the Galaxy mini 2 handily beats out all of budget-range competition.
Higher is better
NenaMark 2 tests the GPU of the Galaxy mini 2. While 15.4 frames per second are enough to top this chart, they hardly suggest spectacular gaming performance.
Higher is better
In SunSpider and BrowserMark the mini 2 took the top position by an impressive margin. The results indicate pretty good web browsing performance, especially considering the specifications.
Lower is better
Higher is better
HD video is a bit too much to ask from the processor, and the poor codec support is another downside of the Qualcomm chipset.
Web browsing is generally a seamless experience, with the notable exception of flash videos, where there is a significant amount of lag.