Editors' note: Some of this review is taken from CNET's review of the Samsung Galaxy Player 5.0, which has a larger, 5-inch screen and many of the same features as the Galaxy Player 3.6.
The logic behind Samsung's Galaxy Player 3.6 seems fairly straightforward. You take Samsung's tailored version of the Android 2.3 smartphone software, put it in a pocket-size device with a 3.6-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 with its overpriced, underperforming Galaxy Player 4.0 and Galaxy Player 5.0. Where the Galaxy Player 3.6 has an advantage is its $149 retail price, which sits $50 below the iPod Touch's.
Does Samsung offer some killer feature or an eye-catching design to help the Galaxy Player 3.6 stand out in the growing crowd of sub-$300 Android devices? The answer, unfortunately, is still no. It's not a bad product, though, and if you still suspect that it might be the perfect match for your particular needs, please read on.
This is by far the prettiest Galaxy Player device I've seen yet, which is surprising, given that it's also the least expensive. The lightweight, gunmetal-gray casing feels good in your hand and does an admirable job of concealing fingerprints.
It measures a slender 0.4 inch thick, 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 3.6, 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) along with a USB cable and power outlet adapter.
The Galaxy Player offers most of the features you'd find 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 compatible 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 in TV audio at the gym.