Samsung Galaxy Player 4.2 Review

June 1, 2012

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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.

Galaxy Player 4.2 hands-on

[youtube 9mvxpiwV1AY]

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.

2 megapixel camera video sample

[youtube KWHSOtpMDPE]

Camera samples

Battery Life
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.

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  • Can’t believe this! It’s a media player and yet not a word about sound quality in headphones.

  • eduardo

    the truth I was surprised by Wednesday, buy one and I am happy and satisfied with this purchase

  • Alex

    Damn, looks a lot better than my 4.0 that I purchased in October when it just came out.
    I’ll definitely pick up the 4.2 once my 4.0 bites the dust, which I’m guessing will still be some time. I love my 4.0, this looks better design wise and RAM wise!
    For audio quality, it’s a quirky subject. It depends on the quality of your downloaded music, the app you run the music through, and the quality of your sound playing device.
    I don’t have a single problem with the 4.0’s audio, so I’d imagine the same situation here. This is something you can’t miss if you’re looking for a smartphone without a plan! Very Impressed with my 4.0!

  • Seems odd that the review makes no attempt to compare this device to the iPod Touch, considering that the Touch owns this market. Comes across as a very shoddy and/or biased review…

    • I mentioned the iPod Touch at least twice in the review… Did you even read it?
      Like the bigger screen, microSD support, additional music app options, and the price.


  • k

    My daughter has a 4.0 it has a pretty good 3.2mp camera and a decent front facing camera….if they improved this version, why did they downgrade the cameras. Also, my daughter’s 4.0 has a great “clear view” screen…very vibrant. I read elsewhere that this screen was just ok. I see this device designed more for teenagers to replace their ipod touch….like my daughter. Seems like they would have made this dual core for the gaming as kids are into games. I know they are trying to keep the prices down, but the older 1ghz dual core’s have been out for quite a while and should be more affordable. I just don’t see this as much of an upgrade overall except for the speaker placement.

  • tds101

    Great review,…I’m glad Sammy did such a good job on this one. I owned the 5.0, and I loved it. I sold it, but only because I’m a gear head who changes tech like I change my socks. These devices are KILLER!!!

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  • Jon Garrett

    Since when is “480×800 display, a 1.0 GHz single-core processor, 1GB of RAM, and 8GB of internal storage” considered “great specs” in 2012?

    This device is exactly the same as the player 4 and player 5.

    • Consumer

      Considering the scale of iPhone 4 “cutting-edge” to iPod Touch 4 “fantastic” to Galaxy Player’s “great”, it’s a matter of relativity. The biggest factor in considering how great it is is measuring it up to price factor (throw in a 32GB micro SD and compare it with the 32GB iTouch).

      Sadly, you’re correct that there are several areas inferior, though it is ultimately up the consumer whether or not it is even relevant in their consideration for a well-rounded media player or if they can overlook less robust features. This means that the SGP is not particularly stellar in almost every category, but competent in the least–worthy of being “great” in a time where $200 is a tough price point for slick devices profiting from cellular contracts and software purchases.

    • MRaw

      Ya, but think about the iPod’s RAM…that is very little.

  • Zee

    its does not have 1000mb of ram its only 512mbs from what I could find. Can you check this?

  • I really wanted this. I emailed samsung and they told me it will not be released in the uk.

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  • Dave

    Question on the GPS:
    I’ve read if you’re using a map app that has pre-loaded maps, you don’t need the wifi for the GPS to work.
    Can anyone verify this?
    And if they can, how good is the GPS signal? Good enough for car navigation?

    • Consumer

      Well…obviously your position can’t be tracked by satellite without a satellite network connection of sorts, so pre-loaded maps will simply be static. If you’re not completely lazy, you should be able to find much use in a convenient map for directions.

  • Kai Lundstrom

    You can change the bottom row apps without another launcher, just go to the app drawer hit menu>edit and bam you can rearrange the apps in any order including the 3 on the bottom row.

  • BunnySlipp(ersMan)

    I want something like this, but with better specs, upgrade screen, camera, processor, memory and I’ll buy it then. Can someone recommend something like this that is not a phone, but a player-type thing?

    • Giant Sloar

      Well, the Ipod touch has a higher resolution screen, a better camera, processor, and memory, but the trade offs include a smaller screen, no gps, no expandable memory, and of course, the fact that it’s an apple product. I’m afraid that this is as good as it gets at this time. Hopefully by the time my Ipod touch dies, the newest Galaxy player will have a resolution of at least 720p.

  • #theyoungster13

    i lov ethe galaxy player 4.2, it is the best of them
    I highly recommend the galaxy player 4.2

  • Magicalpopsical

    Can the Samsung Galaxy Player 5.0 run Android Version 4.0?