Samsung Galaxy Player 4.2 review

A capable media player saddled by aging Android software that may have trouble justifying its price

Samsung Galaxy Player 4.2
Samsung's Galaxy Player 4.2 makes sense as a cellular-free alternative

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Weight and girth aren't the only areas where Apple has Samsung beat: With an LCD WVGA screen at 800 x 480 pixels, the Galaxy Player is no match for the iPod touch and its 960 x 640 Retina Display. However, Samsung gets the nod when it comes to display size, with 4.2 inches of screen real estate compared to 3.5 inches of its rival.

That's not to say that the Galaxy Player 4.2 has a bad display. Pixel density enthusiasts may scoff at the lack of detail when viewed up close, but for the majority of users, the screen is plenty bright, colorful and pixel rich.

Samsung Galaxy Player 4.2

In keeping with the current trend of Android devices without physical keyboards, the Galaxy Player is entirely a multi-touch affair. Unfortunately, users are stuck with Android 2.3.6: Gingerbread here, enhanced by Samsung's TouchWiz UI.

Given that this particular Galaxy Player model only just came to the U.S. within the last few months, it's a bit of a head scratcher as to why Samsung didn't go with Android 4.0: Ice Cream Sandwich. With the carriers out of the way, there's just no excuse for this.

Criticisms aside, Samsung makes the most of what they do have, and the Galaxy Player 4.2 is as faithful and complete an Android device as Gingerbread allows, complete with a TouchWiz soft keyboard that rivals the one Google baked into Android 4.0.

Internet and connectivity

The Galaxy Player 4.2 may be merely a Galaxy S II gutted of its cellular radios, but users won't have to go far to get connected. The media player features Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n wireless, and we had no problems getting connected even via the Mobile Hotspot feature on our iPhone 4S and new iPad.

A pair of decent earbuds are included, but we found them lacking in bass and midrange. Thankfully the Galaxy Player 4.2 also features Bluetooth 3.0, so the media player is willing and able to wirelessly connect to most any accessory you can imagine, including wireless headsets.

Samsung Galaxy Player 4.2

That also includes DLNA compliant devices, which can use the preinstalled AllShare app to beam videos, photos and music without wires. The app picked up the signal from other media devices in our office and allowed us to play content to a DLNA-connected HDTV.

Unfortunately, as is usually the case with these apps, the results were less than stellar. Those expecting a fluid experience like Apple's AirPlay are likely to be disappointed, but for occasional use it works just fine.