We haven’t reviewed an MP3 / video player in a while so today we are going to have a closer look at the Samsung Galaxy Player 3.6. Carrying a price tag of about $149.99 for the 8GB, this would have to be an affordable basic MP3 and video player that can run most of the applications available in Google Play. This is designed for those of you who are fans of Google’s operating system but do not want to deal with a smartphone contract. Compared to the 8GB of the iPod Touch, the Galaxy Player is $50 cheaper but the downside is that the screen resolution is lower in comparison to Apple’s player.
Design-wise, when you look for the first time at the Samsung Galaxy Player 3.6 you will probably say that it has the design of a budget smartphone. The player is made entirely from black & chrome plastic. The back adopts a matte finish while on the bottom panel you will have access to the usual headphone jacks and the microUSB port.
As far as the front is concerned, this is mostly occupied by a 3.6-inch LCD display that has a resolution of 480 x 320 pixels, while below it are three Android touch-sensitive buttons. The player measures 4.6 x 2.6 x 0.4 inches (H x W x D) and weighs 4.2 ounces, meaning that it will fit nicely in your hand and the pocket of your pants.
Although the resolution is on par with most of the budget smartphones available on the market today, let’s not forget that this Galaxy Player competes with the 4G iPod Touch. What’s even worse is that the screen is grainier and dimmer in comparison to Apple’s iPod Touch. For this reason, you might want to have a look at the bigger Galaxy Player 4.2 which sports a 4.2-inch display that has a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels.
Thanks to the Bluetooth connection, the player is able to act like a Bluetooth handset for a phone that you have. When this is connected to the phone you will have the possibility of answering phone calls on the Samsung Galaxy Player 3.6, just like if you were using a regular smartphone. Another thing that you can do is dial from the contact book of the Galaxy Player, but you won’t find a regular dialer or voice dialing. We have to warn you that the Galaxy Player is not able to share the Internet connection of your phone via Bluetooth so in order to access the Internet you will have to use a Wi-Fi connection. The player supports 802.11n Wi-Fi.
Since the player lacks phone capabilities and the screen is somewhat dim, it’s no wonder that the battery life is quite good as the player can last for a little over eight hours during a video playback test, which is approximately three hours more than what the iPod Touch (full brightness) can provide. With the brightness settings turned down to 50%, the iPod Touch can survive in this test for eight and a half hours.
We should mention that the bundled earphones feature a microphone as well as clear rubber flanges which are able to form a seal within the ear so that the sound quality is improved while at the same time providing a bit of passive noise cancellation. Compared to the standard earbuds that you get with the iPod Touch, the ones that the Galaxy Player 3.6 has are better but you still might consider upgrading.
The Samsung Galaxy Player 3.6 is powered by a Cortex-A8 single core processor running at 1.0 GHz and it runs on Android 2.3. Most likely, the player won’t receive an upgrade to Google’s latest and greatest operating system – version 4.0, also known as Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS). Even though the CPU is not impressive, it manages to do quite a good job given the low resolution of the display. Draw Something and Angry Birds will work just fine on the Galaxy Player, but we have to warn you that the web browsing experience feels a bit cramped given the smaller screen.
Aside from the usual Google Play market, this player comes bundled with the Samsung Apps store, which consists of a bunch of free applications curated by Samsung. The player can be used as a remote viewfinder for those Wi-Fi-enabled Samsung cameras or you can use it as a remote control for the company’s Wi-Fi-enabled HDTVs via proprietary Samsung applications that work as advertized.
You get 8GB of onboard memory which you are able to expand via the microSD card slot that can be accessed after you take off the battery. Samsung says that 64GB microSD cards should work on the Galaxy Player 3.6 so you get more than enough storage space. The device is able to handle various formats, such as MP3, WMA, AAC, OGG, WMV, H.264 and MPEG4. It has been fitted with a single speaker that gets moderately loud which does a decent job.
While the low resolution screen is not as impressive as the one on the iPod Touch, you can still use the Samsung Galaxy Player 3.6 for TV shows as apps like Netflix or TV.com work great. As you would expect, the FM radio will only work if you plug into the 3.5mm jack the headphones. The player can automatically scan for radio stations and can lock into them fast and easy.
The quality of the 2 mpx rear-facing camera and the VGA camera on the front is nothing to write home about. The one at the back takes some contrasty and hazy photos that suffer from a bit of blurriness. As for the front-facing camera, this is only good at taking self-portraits. With the rear camera you are able to record videos up to a maximum resolution of 640 x 480 pixels, but we remind you that there is no LED flash on board so avoid recording clips in a dark environment.
All things considered, this Samsung Galaxy Player 3.6 has been designed mostly for those of you that would like to avoid a smartphone but still want to have a touchscreen gadget which can play most of the apps designed for smartphones.