"A good device that offers some nice bells and whistles."4.5 starson by madmofo
Pros: GPS, Camera with flash, FM radio, size
Cons: Learning curve, lack of accessories
Summary: I have to disagree with the professional review here. I have an iPod touch 4th gen that I love, but purchased one of these on sale and have found that overall, I find it to be the more enjoyable device. I will attempt to address why and where I think the main review is off.
First of all the price can be an issue, but if you don't want to spend $269 you can also purchase a 4" model which offers all the same advantages over the iPod touch (the GPS, FM tuner, better camera, expandable memory), except with a slightly smaller screen. Personally I would have probably preferred the 4" as the 5" is small enough to pocket, but is still a bit bulky. The 5" was the only option I had for the price though, and I still enjoy it. The 4" model is available for $229, which is just $29 more then the equivalent iPod touch, and that is really the best comparison to make. Is it as cheap as a Kindle Fire? No, but I can't stick that in my pocket, and this is primarily a music player for me. The touch is the main competition on the market, and the galaxy player line is priced to be competitive vs those products.
The main selling point of the device is what you get in it that you don't in an iPod touch. The GPS and compass work fine, although I don't use them that much. With the proper app the device can be used as a stand alone GPS unit, although all maps must be downloaded to the device for that to work given the lack of 3G, but there is no monthly data charge to do so, which is a plus. The FM radio is somewhat basic, but it is functional and it is the main reason I wanted the device. I was tired of listening to a story on the radio in the car, then not being able to finish it while my girl friend would simply bust out her iPod nano and finish the story on that. I never understood why Apple would withhold that feature from the touch, and while I don't use it every day, it's very nice to have on occasion. The camera is far nicer then what I have on my iPod. While not perfect, it takes a reasonable shot, reasonably fast, and that's all I need it for. The flash is more helpful though, as it doubles as a nice little flashlight with the right app, and I've been surprised by how often it gets used. The larger screen though is a double edged sword. Yes, when I'm actually surfing the web or using an app, it's great, but for music playing, which is it's primary function, it doesn't add much, while it ensures that nothing else can fit in the same pocket as my player. Although this is really more design related. The inclusion of a micro-SD card slot is very important as these are only sold in an 8GB size, and without external storage this just wouldn't work for my purpose. The only real negative in features is the lack of a good iTunes alternative for Android. Yes I eventually got media monkey to work, but that was the 3rd package I tried, and even that lacked that certain seamless integration seen in Apples offerings. Oh, and the lack of parental controls just don't bother me. I always had to show my parents how to use a devises feature as a kid, and if I wanted to, I could always get around them.
This is the main problem area for the device. The simple fact of the matter is that the device is much thicker then the iPod touch, and is not exactly gorgeous to behold. I don't mind as I keep my iPod touch in a thick OtterBox case, having broke my first gen touch, but to some this will be a killer flaw. If you want a svelt sexy device, this probably isn't for you, but if you don't mind trading in svelt-ness for a couple nice features, then the device may be right up your ally.
Not perfect, but neither is my iPod touches. Sadly audio quality could be better, and the Sony Walkman Z series will likely be the champion in audio quality among this class of devices, if impressions are to be believed, but overall quality isn't bad, and some 3rd party apps can be used instead of the Galaxy music app to make things sound better. Still a turn off though for something that is primarily a music player, but it gets the job done, and at least it has that FM tuner I've been looking for.
Fine for what it is. I generally use a computer or television to watch most videos, but to show off a quick YouTube video the device works great. At my standard viewing distance it works just as well as my iPod touch, although closer up the iPod wins out, at least it does when I take it out of it's case.
Battery and Performance:
The battery of the Galaxy Player outlast my iPod touch in active use situations, but seems to have a shorter overall standby time. Performance is very comparable, and I haven't noticed much of a difference in internet surfing speeds, or app performance. Generally I find that I prefer the longer single sitting battery life of the galaxy player, as it means I can surf the web, play a game, or something else like that for longer away from an outlet. If you can't charge up often and are only using the device for low power activities like playing music, the iPods longer standby time would probably be the more important factor.
While I do enjoy the device a lot, it is not going to be for everyone. The android system does have a bit of a learning curve, although once mastered, can be slightly more efficient to use then iOS. (The WiFi and Bluetooth widgets are so much nicer then having to open the settings menu every-time you want to turn one on or off) The lack of accessories is annoying, especially the lack of a good durable case, which is why my iPod is still my primary player for some occasions. Overall though it's a nice device, and all things considered, if I has to choose one or the other, I'd stick with the galaxy player. Personally I'd like to see devices like these do well, not because of any hatred towards Apple, but simply because competition is good for the market. Apple rested on their laurels this year when they decided to not update the Touch at all except to add a new color, and having a couple good android alternatives is good for everyone. If Apple offered a touch with GPS, an iPhone 4 equivalent camera with a flash, and an FM radio, then I'd buy it right now and the galaxy player would rarely see the light of day, but until they do, there is a real niche to be filled by devices like the Galaxy player.