on May 22, 2012
It arrived this morning and I've been playing with it all day. I've been using the Galaxy Player 4.0 and I got this one to replace it because of the slightly larger screen and up-front speakers. I was hoping this wouldn't be too big or heavy to be comfy in my shirt pocket. Very surprisingly, it's the same size as the 4.0 and it's both thinner and considerably lighter.
I'm particularly surprised at the lightness because it has a larger battery and, according to their specs, quite a lot longer battery life. That also influenced my decision to buy it. Of course I haven't tested that yet but so far I've found Samsung's specs to be reasonably close.
They've improved the lock screen so that it's easy to flick it away. With the 4.0 the lock screen was so clumsy I changed to a pattern to unlock it, not because I cared about security but because it was just easier. This one has fixed that nicely.
Another nice surprise was how fast it connects to Wifi when it wakes up. The old one wasn't slow but this one is about twice or three times as fast connecting.
It feels great in my shirt pocket. The little bit larger screen is just what I was hoping for and the speakers are a big improvement over what was an already good speaker.
There are three minor disappointments. I thought I was buying a white one and it's black. I'm not really sure if a white one is available, but that's not important enough to return it. Also the home button is a physical button instead of a capacitive button. I may decide that I like that in time, but if I'd had a choice I'd have chosen a capacitive button. And the last and most disappointing thing is that I can't change the 4 items in the banner at the bottom of the screen like I could on the Player 4.0. I'm sad about that.
Edit: I found that by going into Applications and then hitting Menu and then Edit I'm able to change the items in the task bar at the bottom of the screen. This thing keeps getting perfecter and perfecter. :)
All in all though, this is a significant improvement over what I thought was already a great little device. I wasn't sure I'd like it better than the 4.0 but it's a lot nicer. I'm really pleased with this thing.
Before I got the Player 4.0 I was using an Ipod Touch. Both of these things are a huge improvement over the Ipod, which was itself a pretty nice device. Electronics just keep getting better and better. :)
Edit: I just got the spare battery I ordered and charged it and all is well. If anyone is interested it's a Samsung phone battery EB484659VA. Even Samsung service or parts people weren't able to give me that number. I had to get it from the battery that came with the player. Amazon does have them. A seach on that number will find it for you.
Samsung has released four different Galaxy Music players: the 5.0, 4.0, 3.6, and now the 4.2-inch Galaxy Player model. Running Android's 2.3 Gingerbread, the Galaxy player is an excellent alternative for someone looking to escape the limitations of an iPod.
So what's to like about the Galaxy Player 4.2? An expandable micro SD slot lets you expand storage of the player from 8 GB to 40 GB with a 32 GB card. The 4.2 also comes with a replaceable battery, which means it doesn't become a paperweight when the battery no longer holds its charge. Display resolution is not as bright as an iPod but more typical of an Android phone. The 4.2 inch screen is the right size for me. Videos from You Tube are sharp. The 5.0 is probably too big to tote around in a pocket and the 3.6 would probably be too small for me. Internet browsing is quick. I ran an Internet test against my Third Generation iPod Touch and when going to sites like Google and Yahoo the Galaxy player was about twice as fast as the iPod.
The 4.2 comes pre-loaded with lots of apps as well as two games ("Need for Speed" and "FIFA 12"). Of course, with an Android device you also have access to hundreds of thousands of apps in the "Google Play' or Amazon App store. Other features include Bluetooth, WiFi, GPS, FM radio, and multi-format playback of numerous audio and video formats, which means I can "drag and drop" AAC format music from my iTunes folder on to the Galaxy Player, Camera (front and rear) is below average at only 2 megapixels but I didn't buy this for the camera (my phone has a better camera) but as a MP3 music player. A 2 megapixel camera is fine for uploading photos to the Web (to sites like Facebook) or for 4 x 6 prints. Resolution will not be as good if you try to print 5 x7 or 8 x 10 photos.
The stock music player on the Galaxy player is fine, with the Samsung SoundAlive audio system producing better sound than an iPod Touch, but I downloaded two apps, Equalizer and Poweramp, to improve the sound even more. With these two apps, sound is completely customizable, with many presets (Jazz, Rock, Classical, Dance, etc.) and an equalizer that allows me to totally control my music and how it sounds. Getting music on to the Galaxy player is as easy as drag and drop, or you can use Windows Media Player, Winamp, etc. Drag and drop worked fine for me, and, guess what Apple, album art actually shows up on the Galaxy player, something iTunes, and my iPod Touch, can't seem to pull off with any consistency. The Galaxy player also has a built in speaker with the grill in front, so if you put the player down the sound will not be muffled.
Overall, I am very pleased with the Galaxy 4.2. It sounds great (which is most important to me) has an FM radio, replaceable battery, and micro SD slot. I also love the fact that I can improve and customize the sound either with the stock player or by downloading apps like Poweramp or Winamp. I highly recommend the Samsung Galaxy 4.2 if you are looking for an alternative to an iPod Touch.
on July 5, 2012
My life centered around my Palm PDA for several years until that broke down and I was bewildered that nobody made PDAs anymore. I use a cheap pay-as-you-go cell phone so I didn't want a smart phone. The iTouch looked good except it provides no way to back up to an SD/microSD card, which is an absolute deal-breaker for me since a major use of the PDA was to keep notes when I am traveling (e.g. in the wilderness w/ no WiFi). (Also I developed a grudge against Apple after they banned Flash from the iDevices.) So for several years I have been keeping a $5 calendar book in my back pocket, and writing trip journals on scraps of paper, then type them into computer when I get home.
Found out about the SGP 4.2 from David Pogue's column, and was surprised that the other Galaxy Players had been around for some months without my knowing. After owning the 4.2 for several days I am blown away by its capabilities.
-Replaceable batteries!! A rarity these days. Perfect for those who take notes in the wilderness... EDIT: I ordered the "Samsung ET-CGPK003GSTA Battery Charger Kit for Conquer 4G D600" and it works great. Original Samsung product, originally intended for one of their phones, but it seems the same "standard" battery is used on multiple Samsung devices. The battery that comes with it is exactly the same as original battery for the SGP 4.2, same size and battery number (EB484659VA). The cord that comes with it also fits in the SGP 4.2 microUSB port so can also be used as a backup direct power cord for the 4.2. EDIT 2: When ordering batteries, it's hard to know if you'll get a genuine one or a knock-off. Someone recommended "Anker® 2 x 1500mAh Li-ion Batteries for Samsung Exhibit 4G... " from Amazon. I am using these now and they work great on the 4.2.
-Battery life seems OK - probably about 6-8 hours; actually less than I would guessed, though I don't have another device to compare it to.
-Swappable microSD card! I will use this to back up during trips. Unlike the Palm devices, the SD doesn't just stick out the top of your device, which protects the connections from lint, but also makes it less convenient to replace (you pry open the flimsy back).
-Language learning: Wow!! You can use this thing to practice speaking a second language; just use the microphone to enter text (e.g. in the installed Memos app) and Google's software figures out the words, or Chinese characters which is my interest; and it evens knows which character (shi4 = to be, vs. shi4 = market) to use depending on context. Wow, and wow. This works in Spanish, too (and lots of obscure languages available). The point is, you can practice speaking and the positive feedback is seeing the intended words appear. I can see this transforming language learning in a few years...imagine having a rudimentary conversation with your device. Also with the free Pleco Chinese dictionary (provides flash cards, etc.) I am in heaven.
-GPS: I have played with this a bit locally and it seems to work comparably to my Garmin Nuvi for navigating. Quite a good value in one device. At one point I drove into an area where the map hadn't downloaded when I had set up the navigation in my Wifi zone, and the map got blurry, but still somewhat usable, which was interesting. I'm sure if you go far enough the map will eventually just end. Google lets you pre-cache maps, which should let you use the GPS even w/o internet access. I am excited to try this & will add comments after I do. Navfree looks to be the open-source GPS tool of the future, but currently it doesn't offer the countries I travel to so I think Google pre-caching may still be the best option. EDIT: Google pre-caching works, but when the software auto-updates it will delete your cache. Maps With Me seems a more reliable solution.
-FM radio: It works great - an unexpected bonus. You need to use the earphones for this to work, or attach to external speakers (I guess they serve as the antenna).
-Text entry/edit: So far I am liking TouchPal Keyboard and Jota Text Editor. These were easy to download from Google Play (free). QuickOffice comes with the device but is starterware, lacking features. Memos is too simple for handling large documents. Automatic word completion helps speed things up, but interestingly, I find the microphone the preferred way to keep notes now; may lead to some awkward situations as I look for a private room (EDIT: Voice dictation is one of the coolest features of the 4.2, but one of the biggest shortcomings is that it only works when you have WiFi connection). EDIT: MessagEase is the fastest solution. Excited to see it is available for Android. (I used to use it on Palm PDAs.)
-Cameras: I wasn't expecting much, but these work fine. They seem good enough as a back-up for a dedicated camera, or for Skype, etc.
-File transfer: Very convenient. I use Macs and you just plug the device in with USB, and drag & drop files. I also tried the installed Kies Air, which works via WiFi, without the plug. It worked, though it uses an awkward web interface. Note: A nice touch is that the USB cord is the same cord used to charge the device with the power plug; very elegant. (The power plug is nothing but a plug with a USB port.)
-Bluetooth pairing: Pairing devices works. There is a free app Bluetooth File Transfer to exchange files w/ a laptop when you have no WiFi, but I haven't gotten it to work yet (probably software is needed on the laptop). It's amazing this PDA has four communication systems (bluetooth, wifi, GPS, FM) for this price!! EDIT: Bluetooth File Transfer works great, you just have to allow Bluetooth Sharing in the Mac system preferences.
-Web browsing seems fine. And it runs Flash! I am a Flash developer so it was a thrill to see my stuff displays just fine. People who denigrate Flash don't realize that it still a great tool for sophisticated games and simulations.
-Touch response is good. I use a Ringbo screen protector.
-Art: Sketching on the go is another thing I've always wanted to do with my PDA. The Palms were pretty clunky for this. One reason I have never bought an iDevice is the interface is meant for fingertips, and the styluses are pretty clunky. I was waiting for a true handheld art device. (Digression: The best portable art device is the Samsung Series 7 Slate, but that is a full Windows PC for > $1K.) The Samsung Galaxy Note seems the best option for handheld sketching at this time, but it is > $500 and is a phone; I'll probably get one, or its best successor/competitor, if they offer a WiFi version in a couple years... EDIT: Sketchbook Mobile is incredible, has gorgeous brush textures in full version, worth the $2; just get used to pinching to zoom in a lot, and you can add detail to compensate for the clumsiness of sketching with your fingers. Highly recommended (though will never replace the accuracy of stylus input on more sophisticated devices).
-Voice recorder: Believe it or not, I seriously shopped around for a dedicated voice recorder a while back (the good ones were expensive - $50-60 I think?) Well, the 4.2 has an installed voice recorder app that works great. So there's yet another gadget I don't have to carry around. Recording quality seems passable - I'd give it a 6 out of 10. There is a slight background hiss.
-Music listening: The internal speakers on the front side seem great to me. Earphones seem great too.
The only negative is the shortage of accessories...Hopefully more cases will come out. Ideally, I'd like a slim shell/bumper to hold it in, plus a padded case to protect from rain and drops when not in use. EDIT: Spent an hour trying on cases at a Best Buy and found this soft vinyl one that fits about perfectly: RocketFish HTC Evo 4G Soft Shell Case (RF-WR542). The fit is perfect, but I had to slice off a mm of vinyl from the port at bottom for USB plug to fit. (EDIT: Also had to do surgery w/ razor blade to make room for earphone, but perfect now.) The camera slot is *perfect* for the 4.2 because it just clears the camera enough to avoid obscuring it, but provides an overhang that offers a little protection. There is a small hole at top for antenna, which doesn't bother me. EDIT 2: This actually makes a great place to attach a hand strap which makes it much easier to carry around safely; highly recommend doing this. Also bought RocketFish Leather Hip Case for larger-sized handsets (RF-UL2BL); the device plus the vinyl shell fit perfectly inside it. Nice rigid protection for tossing it in a backpack, but it has open corners where water could easily get in. CaseLogic makes a 5.75" x 3.5" x 1" neoprene camera case that is a pretty good fit, although the zipper hugs the device a bit snugly (with the vinyl shell on); this seems better protection from rain.
EDIT: Setting up corporate email (Microsoft Exchange) was a major hassle. It simply did not work with the 4.2's built-in email software. But TouchDown trial version works great -- syncs email promptly -- so I will probably pay for the full version ($20).
All in all, it's an incredible device, and if you were a fan of PDAs you'll be delighted at how far things have evolved.
on June 19, 2012
This is a great little media player!! I switched from the Galaxy Player 5.0, which was also very good, however this newer model does have 1 gig of ram (vs 512k in the 5.0) and so feels zippier to me. Having the speakers in the front of the device is also a nice addition and although the 5.0 served me well, I did find it a wee bit too large. This seemed like a great opportunity to upgrade.
Since these players run Gingerbread, it is possible to download the Amazon Instant Video player and make use of my Prime membership. You can really tell the difference between the 5.0 and the 4.2 when streaming a movie - the 4.2 does so without so much as a hiccup, while the 5.0 would stutter now and then in playback. Although no one could argue that the huge screen of the 5.0 made for a nicer movie watching experience, the 4.2 is still a nice, sharp screen and short of carrying a tablet around to watch movies on, it serves the purpose. Is it the Super AMOLED of Samsung's high end phones? No. But again, for it's intended purpose (and the price point) it suffices nicely.
Hardware-wise, it is the typical Samsung plastic build, and feels downright weightless when compared to an iPod Touch. That being said, it does not feel like a chintzy device at all. I popped a 32 gig micro SD card in and am able to carry the better part of my entire music collection with me, which I really like. I have a separate card full of movies and it's nice to know that I can swap out cards at will and have endless media options. That is one thing I personally did not like with my iPod Touch; whatever memory you bought, that's all you had. Having a user replaceable battery is also a plus in my book.
You do have to remove the back and battery in order to swap out SD cards (on the 5.0 the card slot was on the top, which was very convenient), but this is a small price to pay for the ability to carry a spare battery & change it out.
The sound is more than adequate for a portable media player. The front speakers get some good volume going (though at top levels it does sound tinny) and the stock music player has extensive EQ options. Yes, when you change them you really can hear the difference. The FM radio is nice to have as well. You CAN listen through the speakers, however you must have the headphones plugged in, as they serve as the antenna. Once you plug them in you can go into settings and select either the headphones OR speaker.
Basically these players are like an Android phone without the phone, so any games, apps, widgets, etc that you have on your other Android devices can be used and customized on the player. Even though I use it primarily to listen to music, it's nice to be able to have my calendar at my fingertips too.
This has easily become my favorite media player to date, and I hope Samsung continues to make devices such as these available. It would be cool if an ICS update would come to it (though from what I have read that seems unlikely at this point), but for its intended purpose, Gingerbread works fine and does not detract from the experience of using this player.
If you are invested in the Android ecosystem, or just want an alternative to an iProduct, this...in my opinion...is a fantastic option.
on August 14, 2012
- Updated October 25, 2012 -
I purchased this as an upgrade to my older limited iPod Touch 2nd Generation. The iTouch web browser was a pain to use and I was tired of having to go through iTunes and deal with all its restrictions just to add media to it (didn't want to jailbreak). Anyways, as to the review:
So far adding content to the Samsung has been a breeze, it has synced with everything I've connected it to with no problems (XP, Mac OSX, Windows 7/8). The interface is nice, but outdated (Android 2.3, not 4.0 like Samsung has on the S3). It was rumored Samsung had a major software update planned for the future, but I wouldn't hold your breath. No CyanogenMod either (all though there was work being done on the 4.0 by Team SuperNOva on XDA Developers). The touch screen is very responsive, maybe too responsive, I inadvertently hit keys when I don't want to, but it's not been much of an issue. The onscreen keyboard, while ok in profile mode, is difficult to use in landscape mode as it easily takes up more than two thirds of the screen.
Media Playback: (update on music player!)
Music and video playback are descent. The Galaxy Player recognizes a bunch of popular formats by default (MP3, OGG Vorbis, MKV, MP4, WMA, etc). The included music player can be awkward to use, but I do like that you can add the album cover to the music (it's a bit tricky to get working, see "cover art note" below). While I've yet to find a free player that integrates as well into the device as the default one, I'd personally recommend downloading a replacement from Google's Play store as the included player has a show stopping bug if you want to use the Galaxy Player to do anything other than listen to music. If you pause the default player and go into another app, the player often resets, losing whatever place you were at in a track/album and dropping you all the way back to the default menu screen. I've been using the PIXI Music Player for now in place of the default one, while the battery drain is slightly higher and the lock screen doesn't work quite as well, it doesn't reset all the time.
Battery life is very good, on a full charge I'd estimate I get around 5 or more hours of battery life when web browsing or watching videos, a big step up from the 2~3 I had with my iTouch. I have no idea what the music playback battery life is in standby mode, it's easily 20 hours or more.
The WiFi antenna is good, I don't have any problems connecting to my own wireless router, but some public hotspots (a local library) have been problematic. Web pages load much faster than I've been accustomed to, and don't need to be reloaded all the time like they did with my 2G. The built in browser is kind of lacking, so I've been using Dolphin instead.
System memory is only 8GB, but it can be expanded upto 32GB via a micro-sd (which I did). You have to power off the device and remove the battery to install the card, but it's not a huge hassle.
Other (camera, radio, etc):
The built microphone is good, but the rear 2MP camera isn't so great, it's ok for outdoor photos, but indoor photos are terrible. The front facing camera is acceptable, but only 0.3MP (640-480). FM tuner is ok, but won't work without attaching headphones and (like the rear camera) doesn't work very well indoors. The display is nice and clear, but can be hard to make out in bright sunlight without turning up the devices brightness to maximum. The external speakers are very good, something I didn't expect for a handheld. I haven't yet tested out the built in GPS, so no comment there. The case/body itself is made of a hard plastic and doesn't hold up so well. You'll want to get a hard case or descent carry pouch for the device to avoid chipping/scratches (I've been using USA Gear's Neoprene Sleeve). UPDATE: The GPS works, but I'm not sure I'd recommend it in place of a Garmin as it can take a while (3~5 minutes) to find your location. Once the GPS does locate itself, it seems fairly decent at tracking your location. It was able to track my walk around the block with an "Oflline" map in Google Maps.
The included headphones are descent, but because of the rubber earpieces it sometimes feels like I'm wearing a stethoscope. I usually loop the cord over the top of my ears to dampen the vibration (thanks Lifehacker). The USB connection cable isn't very long (maybe 3ft?), but gets the job done. The other nice touch was an included AC adapter, something my 2G didn't include.
Connects to everything, doesn't need iTunes
Long battery life
Good external speakers
Micro-SD card slot
Descent for web browsing
Includes headphones and AC adapter
Default music player is buggy (but you can download a free replacement)
Outdated/older version of Android (still widely supported though)
Case/Body is scratch prone
Rear camera is mediocre
Default landscape keyboard is almost useless
I've been using the Galaxy Player 4.2 for several months now without any real problems. Overall I'd say I'm very happy with it and do not regret the purchase.
Cover art note:
The built in Samsung music player is a bit quirky when it comes to detecting album cover art. It took me waaaaaay too long to figure it out as the included manual was very lacking. For it to work you need to first make sure the music player's "Music play screen" option is set to "Albumart". Next, each album should be stored in a separate folder with the artwork for the album stored in that same folder. The artwork needs to be in the JPEG format and should be named "folder.jpg" (without the quotes and ".jpg" not ".jpeg"). If you make changes to the artwork, you may need to connect the player to a computer and then disconnect it so the media scanner will re-run. If you still have problems, try exiting music player app and clearing out all the files in the "/mnt/sdcard/Android/data/com.android.providers.media/allthumbs/" folder (where the album art thumbnails are stored) before doing the above. As a side note, you won't be able to change the album artwork this way if there's artwork embedded into the music files themselves.
Upgrade from the 4.0?
Didn't have this in my original review, but for the sake of clarity it should be noted that the 4.2 is NOT AN UPGRADE from the 4.0, it's more of a remix. While certain features were improved in the 4.2 (TouchWiz UI, screen size, weight, thickness, RAM, battery life, speakers) other features became WORSE (screen clarity, CPU, GPU, rear camera, price). I'd recommend making your pick depending on what you think you'll do the most with the player. Playing games? 4.0 Listening to music? 4.2 Picture taking? 4.0 etc. There honestly isn't a huge difference between the two overall.
on May 23, 2012
After switching from my Ipod touch, this device is a breath of fresh air.
From its bigger screen to its wonderful android operating system, I am much more satisfied with this piece of hardware than I was with anything apple has made. The speaker is pretty good, And I love that it can play .avi and .mkv video files. The GPS works great too, you just have to get a GPS app that doesn't need internet like Sygic.
I am totally satisfied with this Galaxy! :D
on June 11, 2012
I already own a 3rd gen iPod Touch (64 GB). I stumbled upon this device when doing research for a gift for my daughter. I was intrigued by the price, removable battery, and memory card slot. I have an Andriod tablet (Xoom), so I have some experience with Andriod devices.
My expectation was that it would seem less polished than the iPod. Was I ever wrong! Apps seem to be more stable on this device than on my Xoom. Perhaps this is because Gingerbread has been around for quite some time and the apps written for it are very stable and mature.
The screen display is brighter and crisper than on my iPod. That surprised me. The touch screen is very responsive. The sound quality through the headphone jack is on a par with my iPod - no background hiss with a decent amount of power output. Sound seems to be well balanced - not treble or bass heavy.
The provided music app isn't that great - the iPod on is more full featured. HOWEVER, this is not a problem since you can just install your own! Gapless playback is a key requirement for me, and the free version of Winamp provides this quite nicely.
Battery life is good - I didn't notice it to be really long nor is it really bad.
Compared to the iPod, this device feels a little plasticy and not as rugged. That would be because of the removable plastic back of the Galaxy Player. The upside of that is the battery is easily removed and replaced! For me, it's well worth the trade off.
Web surfing is quite good - no lags. Angry Birds comes installed and plays great on this device. No stuttering or lags. WiFi was easy to setup and works well. I'm using this to stream to my car via the A2DP Bluetooth profile (high quality audio) and it works great.
I'm using MediaMonkey to sync my music to the device. This worked quite well and was easy to do.
I am very happy with my purchase and recommend this device. If you are considering purchasing an iPod touch, this device is worth serious consideration as a fully functional and economical alternative.
JUNE 21, 2012 UPDATE
The Samsung player has basically replaced my iPod Touch. My son uses the iPod now to play Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja, etc. Also, I found a more user-frienly player that works great on this device: PlayerPro. It supports gapless playback and has a real slick UI. PowerAmp is a little more flexible, but PlayerPro is more easy to use - especially when you are out and about with it. Winamp (the current version) seems to really suck up battery. I'm much more impressed with PlayerPro.
I continue to be amazed at the sound quality. Even using my Shure 315 IEMs, I do not hear any hiss. These IEMs are very sensitive and make any hiss very noticable.
My daughter just got an iPod Touch and I realize there is one huge advantage to the iPod for young kids: restrictions. On the iPod, I can prevent her from accessing YouTube, purchasing apps, making in-app purchases, installing/removing apps, etc. It has a good level of granularity so I can customize the restrictions. This does not exist on Android, hence the Galaxy Player. There may be a 3rd party app out there to do something similar, but with the iPod it is part of the base system, so it's pretty bullet proof.
on January 21, 2013
Quite a lot has been written about this well-rated, highly versatile handheld computer. I got it after reading several such Amazon reviews and have been quite pleased with its price-performance ratio and ease of use. I primarily wanted to replace my Zen MP3 player with a more modern, capable player, but of course this is a smartphone without the phone, so it offers functionality that far exceeds that characteristic of a dedicated player. The Samsung Galaxy Player (SGP) has no service plan, of course, and that's key to keeping the ongoing costs down to nil.
For those who want a brief description, its communications with the outside world consist of:
Wifi, 5GHz 802.11b/g/n (haven't tested b/g... only n, and that works fine)
USB 2.0 via cable (medium speed)
Bluetooth, surprisingly slow
Its built-in interface is primarily the touchscreen, as one would expect, with optional Bluetooth keyboards and other Bluetooth devices. It offers a dedicated Home button (with a long press offering a fully functional task manager), an on/off button, and a volume up/dn toggle. The physical buttons all work when the screen is blanked, and the softkeys are disabled. It has tinny-sounding speakers, a low-resolution (2mpx) rear-facing camera, a really tiny front-facing camera, and a microphone input.
It has a 3.5mm (1/8") stereo jack and a micro (not mini) USB 2.0 port. The stereo jack permits all conventional headphones to work quite well, and when the volume is cranked up high, it can also provide aux voltage suitable for plugging in to a car stereo's aux jack via a male-male cable. It may also be compatible with more modern car stereo Bluetooth connections, but I haven't tested this.
The built-in software permits easy playing of music in a dozen formats, displaying common image formats, FM Radio, videos and apparently sources such as TV, though I haven't ventured into the TV and FM realms.
The device can be safely and easily rooted. I don't know the status of this unit's inclusion or disinclusion in recent legislation aimed at prohibiting jailbreaking, but I'm suspecting that since it has no service plan, it is on the fringes of this, or possibly exempt... but do not take this as solid.
Speed (all I have to compare to is a DroidX) is pretty good. It's not going to replace the capabilities of a desktop or laptop, but it is quite able to multitask at the tasks I ask of it (see below). It is approximately half the speed (per some standardized tests I've seen) of the most expensive Android phones, which given that they cost upwards of 8x as much as this one does, that's saying pretty good things about this player.
Among my goals for this device (all met), I wanted to:
Store and display ~12GB of map tiles for offline navigation
Store, edit, arrange and play ~10GB of MP3 and other encoded music files
Read and perform minor edits on office/productivity files (spreadsheets, textfiles, etc.)
Occasionally browse the internet and optionally download files
All of these functions are available via the built-in apps or are inexpensive or free via the Google Play site. In terms of specifics about the player itself:
* Screen is high-quality, bright and attractive, typical of Samsung's AMOLED screens of late
* Good ergonomics -- slim and easily handled (it makes the DroidX feel a bit clunky)
* No lockups and inexplicable waits (possibly assisted by the Class 10 microSD card I am using)
* No major changes to the familiar Android OS appearance
* Surprisingly good battery life (well over 20 hours for playing music with the screen blanked, wifi disabled, GPS disabled; around 5 hours for full GPS navigation with map software)
* Easily reads and displays images sufficient to handle full satellite map navigation at highest magnification at highway speed
* As with probably every device of this sort, it is preloaded with several apps which (with normal user permissions) cannot be removed, but which are not essential for the functioning of the player
* Finding accessories specific to this unit (the 4.2) is difficult
* The GPS takes up to 30 seconds to lock, and may temporarily disconnect if the player screen blanks
* USB OTG (on the go) also seen as USB Host or Host Kernel, is not enabled on this device. This is sad news since that means the device cannot, for instance, connect to a dSLR or access a USB memory stick
* Battery life is significantly shortened when GPS navigating with the screen bright enough to be seen in daylight; this is to be expected, but still it belongs in the con list
* Screen cannot be fully darkened down to a true RGB value under 10/10/10 without third-party apps (translation: 0% as indicated is still quite bright for nighttime use, and dimming it to truly low settings is not supported except with downloadable apps)
* Bluetooth for file transfer is disappointingly slow; this could be due to my choice of apps, my adapter, or other factors. I was seeing speeds in the ~15KB/sec range, which falls far short of the standard's theoretical capabilities, something like 20 times faster than this
* Enforces a full media scan (not just music or videos, but all files on your microSD card) on each startup, even if you do not use the music player. This becomes tedious because I have ~500,000 files on my microSD card
* Doesn't necessarily support 64GB microSD cards (printed limit is 32GB, though I have read that 64GB cards formatted FAT32 rather than ExFAT are usable)
Despite the list of cons (they are seriously the only things I can come up with), I'm quite pleased with this player. Though I have invested many hours to get it set up to my liking, that's primarily due to time spent tweaking, testing, and such that I do to all of my computing platforms. The SGP is a capable, flexible machine right out of the box. It offers excellent stability with no lockups, a pleasant UI, and seems to multitask better than previous Android handhelds. I am especially jazzed by its ability to easily handle offline navigation, which frees me up from necessarily bringing a laptop to do so. I'm happy with this device, and (call me a geek) I look forward to using it each time I power it on or un-sleep it. I do not have this same good feeling about the somewhat doggy DroidX. I am confident in recommending this player to friends who have similar needs.
For those who are curious which apps I'm using to create this experience:
PowerAmp (excellent music player)
CPU Tuner (CPU throttling when full isn't needed)
Maverick (GPS and offline mapping / navigation)
GO Launcher (superb homescreen replacement)
SystemApk Manager (freeze and deinstall unwanted apps)
ES File Explorer (excellent local file browser with broad Cloud support)
Toggle Brightness (app to easily step down the screen brightness)
Screen Filter (app that further dims the screen; works well in combination with Toggle Brightness)
on May 22, 2012
The market for PMPs and MP3 players is shrinking as convergence lumps their functions into smartphones. Luckily, there are still companies such as Samsung, Cowon, Apple, Sandisk and Sony (among a few others) that are still releasing new dedicated media devices for those of us who still prefer them.
I purchased the Galaxy Player 4.2 because I needed an Android device to replace my HTC Evo. My phone contract just ended and because I rarely used data (I'm almost always in range of Wi-Fi) it made sense for me to switch to prepaid dumphone and save around $70 each month. I wanted to keep an Android device around because I do use many apps daily. I considered just continuing to use my HTC Evo with Wi-Fi, but it just doesn't quite sound nice enough or last long enough on a charge for my needs. I almost considered buying an iPod Touch but I'm already invested in the Android ecosystem, and the mass-storage transfer and expandable memory tipped the scales in favor of the Galaxy Player. I've already got a 64GB Cowon J3 (32GB+32GB MicroSD), but having a player with a better interface (Poweramp) that could also stream Spotify and directly download podcasts was a very tempting prospect. I've already got a 64GB MicroSDXC card in the mail, which should work fine after a reformat.
The 4.2 is almost identical in size to the Evo it replaced, but it is substantially thinner and lighter and doesn't feel as obtrusive in the pocket. It's all plastic and doesn't feel quite as solid but it has a much more elegant style. The glossy back does make me worried about it slipping out of my hand, and I may look for a case for more grip.
The screen is nice and bright, has good viewing angles and crisp colors. The resolution isn't going to compete with a top-of-the-line smartphone these days, but it's absolutely fine for a screen this size, especially at this price. I'm not sure if this is common on touchscreen devices these days, but the 4.2 has so far done an amazing job of resisting fingerprints compared to my Evo, Cowon J3 and Asus TF101.
I haven't done a full battery run-down yet, but so far it has held up pretty well under regular use. It won't play for more than two days straight like the Cowon J3, but you won't have to charge it every night either. I've heard that the battery is pretty easy to find online (probably used for a lot of different devices) so I might pick one up to have a spare for long road trips. The 4.2 boots pretty fast so swapping them wouldn't be a huge inconvenience.
As far as performance, it seems about equal or just slightly faster than my HTC Evo. It's definitely hardware from a few generations past. It does exactly what I want it to (Play music and surf Reddit) with no problems, but you might have trouble running some graphics-intensive games.
The camera is a piece of crap. I don't care about it at all, but if you want to take even halfway decent shots with your PMP my advice would be to get an unlocked smartphone instead.
This is my first device with TouchWiz. I don't have any huge complaints about the interface, but I've had to get used to having less customization options than with my rooted Evo. I installed a custom launcher (GO Launcher EX) so I could change the shortcuts at the bottom of the home screen and I'm pretty happy with it now. I wish I could change brightness from the notification bar; hopefully someone will come up with a method to gain root so we can have more options. One other annoyance with the 4.2 is the lack of a dedicated search key. You can long-press Menu to search, but there are some applications I used to use a long-press search to activate and that's no longer a possibility.
As far as the sound quality, through casual listening with Poweramp it sounds just as good as my Cowon J3 and Rockbox'd Sansa Clip Zip. While I consider myself an audiophile, I don't think that I could pick out one of the three as the source in a blind test, at least with most music. I haven't noticed any hiss with a variety of headphones.
When I first started using the 4.2 there was some noise while navigating the interface; even with system volume turned all the way down noise would still present itself almost every time I clicked an icon (when a "pop" would play if you had the system volume audible). I turned off Audible Selection sound and turned on Silent Mode in the sound settings and the noise stopped, although I haven't been able to go back and reproduce it again anyway (maybe it was some other variable).
For $200, this is a great media device. It makes a few sacrifices compared to higher-end Android devices, but it's cheaper than the Cowon and Sony Android players and bests them in some areas. Compared to the iPod Touch it's application selection isn't as rich (especially for games), it's larger (some people may prefer the size of the 4.2; I wanted to get the more portable 3.6 but the awful screen ended that plan), but the 4.2 also is features drag-and-drop capability, a removable battery, better format support, and thanks to the expandable memory you can put together a 64GB Galaxy Player for about $100 less than the equivalent iPod Touch.
on April 15, 2013
My daughter really wanted an iPod Touch like many of her friends and schoolmates. My wife and I felt she was mature enough, and doing well with family and school responsibilities, that she deserved such a sophisticated Christmas gift. However, I am not a fan of having to join the cult of Apple to enjoy consumer electronics. This was chosen because it's the only viable alternative in terms of functionality and quality. it has surpassed expectations. Like the iPod, it's a smartphone without the phone part, and it's slim and beautiful. Unlike the Apple product, we have direct control over which media it plays, without having to create an ID, place a credit card on file, or go through a mandatory software portal like iTunes. The screen is big and beautiful. Storage memory can be expanded without having to buy a whole new unit. Granted, it does run an older Android OS. But, it's very stable, and doesn't seem to be lacking. My daughter loves it, and 4 months later is still using it all the time . Plus, all her friends with the iPods are now saying they like hers better because of how easily it plays so many different types of media files.