A while back, I wrote a post about using a tablet as a phone. Well, after a few drops, mostly thanks to other boaters passing by and hitting me with three huge wake, I’ve killed yet another phone.
Why The Change
When it came time to replace it, I decided to go completely the opposite direction and go with a much smaller smartphone. I still think using a tablet as your phone is a great option if you’re cruising or working on a larger boat, and I still miss not having a tablet.
But for my jetski tours it was very difficult to fit the tablet And to the dry compartment on the jetski. Also the tablet was a little too big for taking on long paddles on a kayak or stand up paddleboard.
The phone I decided to go with is the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini. It’s slightly smaller than the Galaxy S3 with similar specs, making it much smaller than the giant oversized smartphones that seem to be so common these days.
Features And Performance
The Galaxy S4 Mini measures only 4.91” x 2.41” x 0.35” (124.6 mm x 61.3 mm x 8.9 mm) with a 4.3″ Super AMOLED touchscreen. The small size makes it very easy to fit in a pocket, even inside of a case. It comes with Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean) installed and is up-gradable to 4.4.2 (KitKat). This phone features an 8 MP camera, just like the Galaxy S3.
The overall image quality isn’t quite well as it is on the S3, especially in lower light situations. But it is good enough that a lot of the photos and videos on this website and my Facebook page were shot with this phone. All of my other apps work perfectly exactly as they did on all my previous Androids.
An added benefit of this phone for cruisers is it’s a dual SIM card phone, so when I am ready to start cruising I should be able to keep my US SIM card in the phone and just add a second SIM card to the other slot for whichever countries I’m traveling to.
There isn’t a waterproof case that’s designed specifically for the S4 mini. I went with an Aryca Aricase Wave III that is designed for the iPhone 5 and other Larger smartphones. With a few modifications to the plastic holder that goes inside the case, the S4 Mini fits perfectly.
I only use Aricase when I’m doing jetski tours or running the boat at work. For everyday use I went with the OtterBox Commuter Series, which has dust covers on all the ports which will help to keep water out to some degree, but it’s not really waterproof.
For added protection I went with the PThink Tempered Glass Screen Protector which protects the screen from scratches and cracks without affecting the screen visibility like the plastic screen protectors do.
I love having a phone that comfortably fits in my pocket, unlike all the other gigantic sized phones you see these days. This phone also fits inside of a very small dry bag that I use as my wallet when it’s not inside of the Aricase.