NovaThor instead of Exynos
The relation between the Samsung Galaxy S III Mini and the original S III may be very obvious from the outside, on the inside the similarities aren't obvious at all. The Mini doesn't have an Exynos SoC. Samsung opted to use a ST-Ericsson NovaThor chip instead. NovaThor chips are pretty common nowadays in midrange smartphones, which makes it a reasonably choice for this £300-ish device. As far as we could trace, the NovaThor in the Mini is a U8420, which we haven't seen before. As far as we know, the NovaThor line-up starts at U8500 and moves up from there.
Samsung's choice for NovaThor isn't all that surprising though. The Galaxy S Advance also uses one, the U8500. It's difficult to determine the differences between the two SoC's. Both contain a CPU with two Cortex A9 cores that are clocked at 1 GHz. The GPU is also familiar. That's the Mali-400 MP, which Samsung has used in numerous mobile devices over the years, albeit in different guises. For example, the Mali-400 MP in the Galaxy S III has four cores, which is not the case for the GPU in this Mini.
The display in the Galaxy S III Mini has a resolution of 800x480 pixels. It is a Super Amoled display (PenTile, not RGB), the same technology we find in the S III and the S Advance. This means that the contrast is outstanding, but that the brightness may be a bit lower than what you're used to from LCD panels.
If we compare the rest of the hardware in this Mini with its big brother, it becomes clear that Samsung chose not to include NFC in the model that we tested, the model with 8 GB of storage. There will also be a model with 16 GB of storage that will include NFC.