Samsung Galaxy Player 4.2

4 years ago

It`s always baffled me that the huge Android ecosystem has never created a successful iPod Touch ($199, 5 stars) competitor. As Apple has proven, there`s a huge market?in the tens of millions of units?for a "phone without a phone," able to run all the apps that people love without the burden of a monthly data contract.

Archos has tried to crack this nut with no avail for years. Last year, I celebrated Samsung`s Galaxy Player 4.0 ($229.99, 4 stars), which looked to be a top-notch phone-without-a-phone, but Samsung didn`t push it in the market and it didn`t sell well.
Samsung is back this year with the Galaxy Player 3.6 and 4.2, which lower their prices?and their specs?in an attempt to match or undercut the default Apple product. The Galaxy Player 4.2 ($199.99 list) is the more powerful one of the bunch, and the one most able to run the 400,000 apps available for Android, thanks to its 800-by-480, 4.2-inch LCD screen. (The smaller 3.6, while similar overall, goes with a lower-resolution 480-by-320 screen.)

Just like the Galaxy Player 4.0, this is essentially a 2009-era Galaxy S phone with the phone taken out of it. You`ll find a single-core 1GHz processor, a rather insipid 2-megapixel camera on the back, a VGA camera on the front for video chat, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and an FM radio. There`s 8GB of storage on board and a memory card slot which supports cards up to 32GB. At 2.6 by 4.89 by .35 inches and 4 ounces, this little handheld will fit easily into a pocket.

The Galaxy Player 4.2 runs Android 2.3 "Gingerbread," with no current plans for an upgrade. That`s okay for now, though, as almost all phone apps run on Gingerbread (and, for that matter, most Android phones still run Gingerbread.)

Samsung showed off a few new tricks the Player 4.2 can do. Most notably, it can act as a Bluetooth headset for a simpler phone. Hook up a flip phone or another dumb-phone to the Player 4.2, and you`ll be able to receive and make calls through the Player?just as if the Player was a smartphone. It`s a neat way to get the app capabilities of a smartphone without having to go for a data plan or an extremely expensive unlocked phone.

Ultimately though, this has the same selling point as the earlier Galaxy Player did. If you`re familiar with the Android OS, you like Android apps, or you prefer Google to Apple, this is a handheld you can use without having to go all-in on an expensive carrier data plan.

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