Samsung Galaxy Player 4.2 review: Samsung Galaxy Player 4.2

Other notable apps include Quickoffice, AllShare (DLNA), Kies Air, Samsung's Smart View TV remote app, and an app called ChatOn you can use to send and receive text messages over Wi-Fi. On the gaming front, you get Angry Birds, EA FIFA 12, and EA Need For Speed Hot Pursuit included. Both of the EA titles do require some additional download time (and storage) to play out of the box, however.

The back of the Samsung Galaxy Player 4.2
The back of the Galaxy Player 4.2 features a 2-megapixel camera that can record standard-definition video. Josh Miller

Audio performance
To my ears, the Galaxy Player 4.2 gives the best sound of Samsung's Player series. During playback I heard none of the hiss and interference that was present when I listened to music on the Player 4.0 and 5.0. The default sound quality is a little narrow with a midfocused nasal quality, but once you kick in Samsung's SoundAlive audio enhancement settings, it's hard to put down. Of course, you can go overboard with the included 3D audio options or virtual concert hall reverbs, but if you exercise some restraint it's easy to dial in great sound.

Video performance
The Galaxy Player's bright 4.2-inch screen offers excellent viewing angles and responds well to touch. Its resolution maxes out at 800x480 pixels, which is close to the more tightly packed 960x640-pixel resolution of an iPod Touch, but not quite there. On the plus side, the Galaxy Player handles a dizzying selection of video formats, including DivX, XVID, MPEG4, and WMV. Streaming video from Netflix and YouTube works well.

The rear camera is capable of capturing video footage at a standard-definition 640x480-pixel resolution. Still-photo resolution goes up to 2,048x1,536 pixels, or 3.2 megapixels. In either case, the results won't blow you away. Not to beat a dead horse, but the 720p camcorder on the iPod Touch runs rings around the Galaxy Player's video camera. Photos are also disappointing, as the 2-megapixel camera doesn't have touch-to-focus, macro focus, or a flash.

Battery and system performance
Samsung rates the Galaxy Player 4.2 at 6 hours of video playback and 40 hours of audio playback. We'll update this review with results from CNET Labs once testing is complete.

In terms of system performance, Samsung is using a single-core 1GHz processor to get the job done, which isn't quite up to the standards Samsung has set with its dual-core smartphones. It works, though, and makes the Player 4.2 feel very much like a shrunken version of 2010's Galaxy Tab 7.

Onboard storage is listed as 8GB, but the storage available to the user is closer to 5GB. Expect to invest in a microSD card if you want to load up a substantial music and video collection.

Final thoughts
So far, the Galaxy Player 4.2 is my favorite of the entire Galaxy Player line. Its street price is sure to drop below that of the iPod Touch (which is as it should be). Its audio quality and hardware features will please those looking for a surefooted media player. The Android experience isn't hobbled or twisted, even if it is a little dated. If you can look beyond the disappointing camera and camcorder quality, I believe that this is the iPod Touch alternative that Android fans have been waiting for. It probably won't make iPod fans envious, but this Galaxy Player can finally hold its own.

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