Samsung has continued its push of Android WiFi devices for the media consumption crowd with their all-new Galaxy Player 4.2 iPod rival. The Galaxy Player 4.2 aims to take on media players of all shapes and sizes coming with great specs, a large screen, impressive sound output and more all for a low price. This is everything a high quality Samsung smartphone is, only without the phone parts. Read on for our full review and conclusion.
Just like their tablets, Samsung has a wide array of sizes for Galaxy Players too. We've reviewed a few (linked below) but today will be focusing on the new and improved size and design of the Galaxy Player 4.2. Complete with decent specs and a simple user interface this device is what Samsung hopes will reach the hands of Android fans needing an iPod replacement.
In a similar design fashion as the Galaxy Tab 2 (thanks Apple) the speaker grills have actually been moved to the front. A design I've been wanting forever and that makes this device just awesome. The speakers on the Galaxy Player 4.2 really steal the show and make it a worthy purchase if you ask me. As far as hardware you'll get a 4.2-inch 480x800 display, a 1.0 GHz single-core processor, 1GB of RAM, and 8GB of internal storage. Unlike the iPod this however has a micro-SD slot so you can add as much space as you'd like.
As you can see above, the design is awesome and is a perfect blend of the Galaxy S III and a tablet. Taking the same hardware home button and two capacitive touch buttons for controls and tossing large and loud speaker grills on both sides for optimal audio bliss. To complete the specs we have a 2 megapixel camera on the rear (no 720p video recording), a VGA front camera if you care to use it, a decent 1,500 mAh battery under the hood and Android 2.3 Gingerbread.
The design is very sleek and simple. In the video below I compare it to the Galaxy Nexus, and the only buttons we have is the power button, volume up/down on the right. Then the bottom gets the 3.5mm headphone jack and a charging port. Very minimal -- but in a good way. The only downside to the hardware is the capacitive buttons seem a bit dim, and the dedicated home button doesn't feel extremely sturdy. Neither of these are a big concern though, just me nitpicking.
As you saw from the video the phone looks great, but it also feels great in the hand. The hardware is top notch although it uses the usual Samsung cheapy plastic -- but I'd hardly consider that a con. If you like Samsung products and smartphones you'll love the Galaxy Player. One last time I must comment on the speaker and audio quality. Obviously while listening through the provided headphones the device sounds great, but while playing games like the pre-installed Need For Speed the two stereo speakers sound amazing. Seriously it is that good, and beats any smartphone or media players built-in audio that I've used thus far. I was really blown away and enjoyed it immensely.
The Galaxy Player 4.2 sadly comes with Android 2.3 Gingerbread, and will probably never see an upgrade to Android 4.0 ICS, but it doesn't really need it. Obviously having the latest and greatest would be nice, but it runs great on 2.3 and has Samsung's Touch Wiz UX changes to give it that extra polish. Running on a 1.0 GHz single-core processor the device runs quick enough. It's no Galaxy S III but it doesn't need to be. It handled all the games I tried with ease, daily usage was smooth and fluid, and it doesn't need to be a powerhouse -- especially at $199.
As far as games go you've already seen a few hints from the pictures or video above. Out of the box you'll get a few classics like Angry Birds and Tetris, but Samsung also added Need for Speed Hot Pursuit and FIFA Soccer 2012 to the device for free -- which is a nice touch. I found NFS more addicting than I thought it would be. Who knew racing through streets and running from cops could be so much fun. The loud sirens and awesome sound effects enhanced by the stereo speaker grills probably helped out here too.
Unlike some knock-off devices the Player 4.2 comes with full Google support. We have Gmail, Google Play Store, Google Music, and everything else we've come to expect on our smartphones, even Google Maps with full GPS support -- so long as you have a WiFi connection.
As usual we ran a quick benchmark just for fun, because we know you Android crazies love that stuff. Obviously running an older 1.0 GHz single-core processor it doesn't beat any records, but works great for what Samsung's intended it for.
The Galaxy Player is mainly a media consumption device. To be nice Sammy added a front and rear camera to the device but they aren't only there to complete the package. The 2 megapixel camera worked good enough for the usual Facebook photos, but I'd stop at that. Video recording wasn't capable of 720p but it handled video quite well. Below is a video sample and a few photos using the Galaxy Player 4.2.
We don't get the biggest battery life we've seen in a mobile device, but then it doesn't need it. The Galaxy Player doesn't have a huge 4.8-inch screen or a quad-core processor, nor does it have 3G and 4G LTE sucking away the battery. Instead Samsung's added a 1,500 mAh battery that should last the average user plenty long. Obviously if you play games for 4 hours straight you'll probably be pushing your luck but I've managed good battery life. I streamed music for 3 days straight, 72 hours without the battery dying. With average music streaming, a few gaming sessions, and updating a few apps I still managed almost 3 days of usage as you saw in the video. It's safe to say battery life shouldn't be a concern for this media player.
If we had to choose a Galaxy Player from the Samsung lineup this new 4.2 would clearly be it. The 3.6 and smaller options are too small now we are used to large screens, and the 5.0-inch model is a bit large and thick. Compared to the competition like the iPod Touch the Galaxy Player has a bigger screen, better sound, Android (of course) and unlimited amounts of storage thanks to a micro-SD slot.
Coming in at only $199 for the 8GB Galaxy Player 4.2 this is a hard deal to pass up for anyone that needs a dedicated media device. I currently just use my Galaxy Nexus, but I'm sure there are users that would like a separate media player. My only concern is once the rumored Google Nexus 7-inch tablet and others start arriving for the same $199 price point will this be priced too high? Or is the small portable MP3 player size just what users are looking for. That my friends, is up to you.