Editors’ note: The majority of this review is repurposed from CNET’s review of the Samsung Galaxy Player 4.0, which offers a slightly smaller, 4-inch screen and many of the same features as the Galaxy Player 4.2.
The logic behind Samsung’s Galaxy Player 4.2 seems fairly straightforward. You take Samsung’s tailored version of the Android 2.3 smartphone software and put it on a pocket-size device with a 4-inch screen, and you should have an appealing alternative to Apple’s popular iPod Touch.
Now, we’ve already seen Samsung ruin this recipe a few times, in its overpriced, underperforming Galaxy Player 4.0 and Galaxy Player 5.0. Where the Galaxy Player 4.2 has an advantage is its $199 retail price, which matches the iPod Touch’s.
Does Samsung offer some killer feature or an eye-catching design to help the Galaxy Player 4.2 stand out from the growing crowd of sub-$300 Android devices? After having reviewed the three other Galaxy Player products Samsung has pumped out over the past six months, I can say that Samsung finally got the design right. The fact that the company didn’t spoil this one with a low-resolution screen also helps.
This is by far the prettiest Galaxy Player device I’ve seen yet. I know I said the same thing about the Galaxy Player 3.6, but the 4.2 is newer, prettier, and thinner. The lightweight, black (or white if you have that model) plastic casing feels good in your hand, though it does smudge easily.
It measures a slender 0.35 inch thick, again putting it in the ballpark of the 0.28-inch iPod Touch. When you account for the fact that the Player’s removable back plate conceals a replaceable battery and a microSD memory card slot, the extra girth seems excusable.
You get a standard volume rocker and power button on the right edge of the Player 4.2, along with a headphone jack and Micro-USB port on the bottom. Samsung throws in a pair of decent in-ear headphones (with in-line mic), a USB cable, and a power outlet adapter.
The Galaxy Player offers most of the features you’d expect in a modern smartphone, minus the phone or cellular data connection. You’ll find front and rear cameras (maxing out at 2 megapixels), GPS, Bluetooth 3.0, and support for Google’s suite of official mobile applications, including Gmail, Google Talk, and the Android Market (now Google Play). If you’re someone who’s already invested heavily in Android Market apps, it makes sense that you’d want a device that can run them.
One unique feature worth mentioning is the inclusion of an FM radio tuner. People are still nuts for radio, and it also comes in handy for tuning into TV audio at the gym.