Along with the “growing” trend of phablet flagships each year, it shouldn't surprise us that “mini” versions of these popular flagships have become a thing in order to cater to the crowd of people who prefer smartphones of a smaller size (such as yours truly). While mini versions are definitely a great idea, what's not so great about them is that typically the smaller versions of such flagships have very little in common with their larger progenitors. While the minis might tout the name of the flagship, they don't usually act like it.
But it would be a disservice to manufacturers if I didn't admit that they have improved somewhat over the past couple of years, and aren't necessarily the complete joke that they used to be. With that in mind, only one “mini” has truly stuck out in my mind as being worthy of their flagship name, and that's the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact.
I'm hoping that this year I can include Samsung’s mini as well.
In the past, I have not been impressed with the Samsung Galaxy S minis. The Galaxy S4 Mini wasn't good, and the Galaxy S5 Mini was better, but still not great. These minis fell into the category of looking like their larger versions, but a far cry from acting like them. With the Samsung Galaxy S6, I feel like Samsung would be doing a great disservice to their latest refresh if they didn't take a clue from Sony and make the S6 Mini as close to the original S6 as possible.
In this case, I think it would be best for Samsung to leave the edges out of this equation. The S6 Mini is likely already in production, or at the very least planned, so not much is likely to be done at this point even if there is a Mini S6 Edge. With the S6 Mini, I'm really hoping for a focus on specs and performance over a (primarily) design feature like edges. It looks great, but it's not necessary. Since Samsung hasn't really made a mark in the mini category yet, I'd like to see them pour all of their focus into just one Mini and not head down their typical path of making multiple variants of one smartphone – not yet, anyway.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 is a big hit this year with its design overhaul. I have no doubt that the S6 Mini can achieve big success as well if it has both the beauty and the brains of the S6 – but one without the other would just make it another unforgettable variant that nobody will even know exists.
Samsung doesn't need another mid-range, mid-sized smartphone. Samsung offers so many smartphone variants at this point that they pretty much have something in every size, but they don't have a true flagship in a compact size yet. There's no reason why the Galaxy S6 Mini shouldn't be that device. It has the flagship name, it’s called a “mini” – it’s a crazy thought, but why not make this exactly as the name makes it sound this year?
Maybe Sony spoiled me, but I'd like to think of it more as raising the bar. I frequently mention how people like me (small hands) are left with a considerably smaller pool of flagships to choose from these days, so minis are kind of a last hope for the foreseeable future for me (and yeah, it's a little daunting). Now that I know that Sony can make a comparable mini for its flagship, my expectations are set; I won't be interested in a flagship’s mini if its only purpose in life is to be recognizable to other people.