Samsung Galaxy Player 4.2 review

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

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The Galaxy Player 4.2 includes a pair of cameras, although Samsung remains mum on specs for the front-facing lens, which is intended for video chat.

Despite an initial warning that the Galaxy Player wasn't certified for the Skype app, we were able to sign into our account and initiate a video call without problem. The quality of the front-facing camera may not be the greatest, but it's sufficient for catching up with loved ones.

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Around the back, a 2MP rear-facing camera is ready for taking quick snapshots on the go when a point-and-shoot isn't available. While color reproduction was decent, images lacked contrast and appeared a bit soft overall, even at the highest 1600 x 1200 resolution.

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Video recordings do no better, exhibiting a fair amount of pixelization and noise; unfortunately, only 640 x 480 or 320 x 240 recording is allowed here. Strangely, contrast was better for videos, and maybe a bit too much overall.

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One feature we liked was the ability to pause a video being recorded and start it again with a second tap on the record button. Otherwise, the camera software is up to Samsung's usual standards, loaded with plenty of features such as panorama mode that make it a shame that the cameras themselves are so weak.

Battery life and storage

Long battery life is where the Galaxy Player 4.2 truly shines. Without an always-on cellular radio continually siphoning juice from its removable 1,500 mAh Li-ion battery, Samsung can promise a maximum audio playback time of 60 hours on a single charge, trumping the iPod touch by a whopping 20 hours.

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Samsung also boasts eight-hour battery life for video playback (versus Apple's seven hours), but we wound up closer to five hours and 18 minutes from a continual play test streaming over Wi-Fi. Looping Transformers: Dark of the Moon from Google's Play Movies & TV, we were able to play the 154-minute feature just over twice before the battery conked out.

Samsung includes 8GB of flash storage, but users can add up to an additional 32GB by supplying their own micro-SD card. With Google Play now so focused on streaming media content over a wireless internet connection, this should be plenty for all but the most hardcore users.

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We had no problem using DoubleTwist on the Mac to sync up a few iTunes playlists over USB. DRM'ed tracks and iTunes video purchases obviously don't work here, but Samsung features broader format support for AVI, FLV, MKV and MP4 on the video side, plus MP3, WMA, Ogg, FLAC and AAC for audio.