The Samsung Galaxy Player 50 is an iPod Touch competitor running Android. It is essentially a cute little Android phone, but without the phone functionality. This Galaxy WiFi portable media device (PMP) has most of Android’s killer features as well as its gigantic app store. So how does it stack up against an iPod Touch and even other Android Phones? Dive in…
What’s in the box
-Galaxy Player 50 with Standard Battery
-Noise Isolating Stereo Earphones
-Micro-USB Data Cable
-Quick Start Guide
Samsung’s Galaxy Player 50 is a very cute little device. It’s all white and plastic with a thin chrome border running around the sides. It very well could be a budget smartphone, as it’s sized very similarly. The screen is a 3.2” diagonal. The dimensions are 2.1” wide, 4.1” tall, and .4” thin. On the face is one physical button, the home button, with a soft-touch menu button to the left of it, and a soft-touch back button to the right of it. Both of the soft-touch buttons are backlit, but they bleed a lot of light onto the device’s face. There is no vibrating/haptic feedback. On the sides are volume buttons, a microphone, headphone jack, charging/syncing port, and an On/Off/Lock button. The charging/syncing port has a sliding door to keep lint and crud from getting in, a nice touch. On the back of the phone is a 2MP camera and a speaker. The entire back casing of the phone can be removed to replace the battery or access the Micro-SD card slot.
The Samsung Galaxy Player 50 sports a 3.2” WQVGA TFT LCD with a 432×240 resolution which is rather underwhelming. The colors and brightness are good, but the weak resolution and poor viewing angles make it an overall subpar display.
Galaxy Player 50 uses an on-screen Samsung QWERTY keypad by default. In portrait mode it’s rather tight, but in landscape mode it is more comfortable. The predictive text, autocorrect, and word completion features help. As alternatives to the portrait QWERTY keyboard, Samsung includes a 3×3 keypad to tap out letters one-by-one as you would on an old-school phone. One other keyboard alternative is a space for handwriting. Neither alternatives work exceptionally well.
The rear-facing camera is 2 megapixels with no flash. It can shoot stills normally, continuously, in panorama, or in smile-mode. 2 megapixel in this day and age is meager. The photos come out grainy and blurry, but they could be worse. The camera can also record video at 15 frames per second with a 320 x 240 resolution. The videos are smooth, but the meager resolution makes them blurry. There are scene modes and adjustments built into the camera app which can help fine tune the stills.
At times I found the Galaxy Player 50 to be surprisingly fluid and smooth, but more often I found it to be sluggish. Even with no applications running, the player can struggle to keep up with my typing. Sometimes scrolling through menus will completely freeze the phone for 10 seconds. Performance is definitely not one of its strengths, which is disappointing for a device uses the Galaxy name. The Galaxy Player 50also comes with a built in GPS, which would could make the device extremely useful, but I was not able to get it to work at all in New York City.
The Galaxy Player 50 can play most any popular format for audio and video. For video it will play 3GP, MP4, AVI, WMV, ASF files encoded in MPEG4, H.263, H.264, WMV(VC-1), DivX/XviD. For audio files it will play MP3, M4A, AAC, FLAC (Lossless), WMA, AMR, OGG, WAV. The 8GB model only comes with 6GB of usable storage space, so you will probably want to invest in a micro-SD card to make the most of it. The nice thing about Android devices is that you can drag and drop all of your music and videos onto the device. There’s no extensive sync process. The media player worked very well. My music sounded great and it was very easy to make quick sound adjustments. The Music app gives you a few options to tweak the audio, like adjusting treble, bass, clarity, instrumentals, vocals, or manually altering the EQ. These settings really work well.
The Android web browser in itself is great. Websites render perfectly on the Samsung Galaxy Player and also very quickly. Unfortunately, the Galaxy Player is limited by Android version 2.1 and cannot play flash. But maybe this is for the best, since this device would probably not be able to handle flash. Other then that, the browsing experience was good. However, the display’s weak screen resolution made it necessary to zoom in on most pages. Some of the web features include tabbed browsing, pinching and zooming, find on page, bookmarks, and adding RSS feeds.
The Samsung Galaxy Player 50 runs, the now dated, Android 2.1(Eclair) firmware with Samsung’s TouchWiz 3.0 skin. It comes with the basic android apps: Alarm/Clock, Browser, Media Player, Calendar, Camera, Market (app store), Email, ThinkFree Office Suite, Memo, Voice Recorder, Calculator, News, Task Manager, DLNA file sharing, FM radio, and the Google Mobile suite (Youtube, Google Talk, Gmail, Maps/Navigation, Latitude). The only Samsung Widgets included are Calendar/Clock, News, Dual Clock, and a Task Manager. Android has a few extra widgets like Universal Search, Picture Frame, and Power Toggles. Everything included is pretty standard for any Android device, and is nothing too special. DLNA file sharing worked perfectly (and wirelessly) for streaming photos, music and videos from my device to my Samsung TV.
Considering the Samsung Galaxy Player 50 is not a cell phone, you would think the battery would be a champion. This was not quite the case. With minimal usage the battery will last a day and a half to two days. This is not horrible, but it should be able to last longer. On the bright side, the 1000 mAh battery is easily replaceable. Samsung estimates the battery is good for 24 hours of music play or 5 hours of video play.
The Samsung Galaxy Player 50 is by all means an entry-level Android device that’s quite honestly unworthy of the Galaxy name. While it is a pretty good media device, and offers good expandability with Android’s marketplace, it has a lot of shortcomings. It can be painfully slow and buggy, and the hardware is subpar. With that said, it actually sports a nice little design, and is light but with a solid feel. There’s still no pricing or availability information for the US, although we came across one store that will ship it for $292. Overseas it’s available for €199 ($272 USD). If that’s what it’s going to sell for in the states, we don’t recommend it, especially when you can get a much more powerful iPod Touch with the incredible retina display, front and rear cameras, and an enormous app store. However, if they price the Galaxy 50 competitively at around $100 we would say that the Samsung Galaxy Player 50 would be a good buy. Either way we recommend holding off until the Android powered Samsung Galaxy Player YP-GB1 is released, which looks like it addresses all of our complaints about the Galaxy 50 – by including a much better display, and offering faster performance. That device looks like it has the chops to be a serious iPod Touch competitor.
The Good: Cute design, offers access to Android Marketplace, Great sound quality
The Bad: Way too pricey, low resolution display, sluggish performance