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Summary:

AT&T’s first HD Voice phone launches next week for a low price, mainly because it’s a cut-down version of last year’s Galaxy S4 flagship. Still, you’ll have clear wideband audio calls if you live in an HD Voice market.

galaxy s4 mini

Last week we noted that AT&T’s first markets for HD Voice over its LTE network would be live on May 23. The carrier still plans to launch the service and will offer a compatible phone on the same day. Customers will initially need the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini handset to place or receive HD Voice calls.

In a news release on Monday, AT&T detailed both the phone and its cost. You can pick up the Galaxy S4 Mini for $49.99 with contract or take advantage of either zero down Next 18 or Next 12 programs; expect a monthly phone payment of $14.24 or $18.50, respectively, for that route. Why does that sound inexpensive compared to other new phones? This handset is a smaller version of last year’s Galaxy flagship phone so it’s not quite cutting-edge.

galaxy s4 mini

The handset has a 4.3-inch AMOLED handset with 960 x 540 resolution, for example. That’s actually the same size and resolution as the $129 Moto E budget phone. The Galaxy S4 Mini runs on a 1.7 GHz dual-core processor, includes 16 GB of internal storage, and has a pair of cameras: 8 megapixel in the back and 1.9 megapixels up front. A few premium features include NFC, infrared remote capabilities Samsung’s S Beam software.

It’s a bit of shame that a new handset is needed for AT&T’s HD Voice calling, as other third-party VoIP apps offer similar service with wideband audio for improved clarity. Bria for Android is a good example. I assume the carrier will start adding the function to new phones going forward, however, possibly paving the way for HD Voice to the masses with Apple’s next iPhone.