Dual front-facing speakers; Google Play store access; Expandable memory; Can double as a Bluetooth handset
Mediocre camera; Runs old version of Android; Lower-resolution screen than iPod touch
Samsung's Galaxy Player 4.2 is a good iPod touch alternative, offering a large screen, great speakers and easy access to Android games and apps.
The MP3 player isn't dead yet, not if Samsung has anything to say about it. Splitting the difference between the Galaxy Player 3.6 and Galaxy Player 5, the new Samsung Galaxy Player 4.2 improves upon both with better speakers and a brighter display. Like its older brothers, it gives you access to the full Google Play store for thousands of apps and can even be used as a handset when connected via Bluetooth. This Galaxy Player costs $199, the same as an iPod touch, but can it beat Apple's leading portable media player?
At 4.89 x 2.6 x 0.35 inches, this Galaxy Player is larger and thicker than Apple's iPod touch (4.4 x 2.3 x 0.28 inches) but features a much larger display, dwarfing the touch's 3.5-inch screen. Weighing in at 4.2 ounces, the Galaxy Player 4.2 is understandably heavier than the smaller touch (3.6 ounces) and the Galaxy Player 3.6 (3.9 ounces).
As with the smaller Galaxy Player 3.6, there is a front-facing VGA camera above the screen and a 2-MP camera on the back. The power and volume control buttons sit on the right of the device and a microUSB and 3.5mm headphone jack line the bottom. The back of the device is easily removed to reveal a removable 1500mAh battery and a microSD slot.
The Samsung Galaxy Player 4.2 definitely feels like a step up from the Galaxy Player 3.6, and it's not just because of the bigger screen. The dual front-facing speakers located on either side of the screen (when held in landscape mode) provide better sound quality. The large screen also makes the device feel less cramped, although far corners were a bit hard to touch when using the Player one-handed.
Despite these flaws, Galaxy Player 4.2 beat both the iPod touch and the Galaxy Player 3.6 in terms of screen brightness, measuring 497 lux. The touch came in second at 364 lux and the Player 3.6 was only 341 lux. You should have no problem using the Player 4.2 in direct sunlight. However, the iPod touch has wider viewing angles.
The music player included with the 4.2 provides numerous setting options and presets to customize the audio, thanks to the SoundAlive equalizer. There are 13 different preset options, and we particularly liked the Rock setting.
Software and Interface
Like most of Samsung's phones, the Player 4.2 runs TouchWiz software on top of Android. The first of seven home screens displays a weather widget beneath a huge clock. When you pull down the notification shade, you'll see convenient shortcuts for toggling Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, Sound settings and Auto rotation.
The four shortcuts along the bottom of the screen take you to Music, Videos, Internet and Applications, and you can't customize them.
Real-world performance was better but not blazing. While we played "FIFA 2012" without any glitches or performance issues, we noticed some sluggishness when scrolling websites (especially while they were still loading).
The Galaxy Player 4.2 includes 8GB of internal storage and can be increased by an additional 32GB with a microSD card, a must for this device.
The Social Hub application allows your device to receive push notifications from social media accounts, instant messages, email and SMS messages. Kies Air lets you view and back up your files from any Web browser.
We really enjoyed the AllShare app, which allowed us to wirelessly stream content from the Galaxy Player to any DLNA-enabled device. We connected the 4.2 to a 55-inch Samsung HDTV and were streaming video in seconds.
Along the same lines, Samsung's Smart View turns your Galaxy Player into a remote for your connected TV. It can change channels, access Internet-connected content, and serve as a gaming remote control. You can even turn your TV off with the app, but turning the TV back on will require the actual remote control.
The sheer size of some of the pre-loaded apps will necessitate the use of a microSD expansion card. "FIFA 2012" alone takes up 1.5GB of space, nearly 19 percent of the Player 4.2's 8GB of internal storage. The good news is that both "FIFA" and "Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit" are optional downloads.
Samsung Mobile Link
When paired via Bluetooth, the Galaxy Player will ring at the same time as the connected phone. Answering a call on the Galaxy Player is the same as any other Android Phone, and calls feel natural due to the placement of the speaker and microphone. As long as we remained within Bluetooth range--around 33 feet--everything worked as expected.
Camera and Camcorder
The 4.2 has a front-facing VGA camera that is decent for face-to-face video chatting, although facial features were a little blurry.
The Galaxy Player 4.2 scored high on the LAPTOP Battery Test, which consists of continuous Wi-Fi surfing with the screen at 40 percent brightness. The 1,500mAh removable battery lasted 7 hours and 56 minutes. The Android phone average is a lower 6:39, but that's over 3G and 4G, which uses more power than Wi-Fi.
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|PC Interface||3.5mm Headphone Jack|
|Audio Formats||OGG Vorbis|
|Memory Expansion||Micro SD Card|
|Size||4.89 x 2.6 x 0.35 inches|