Samsung’s been moving PMP’s in one guise or another for some time. With the Galaxy Player line they claim to have the OS that can bring their media players to the next level, serving a user's media, gaming, internet and communications needs in one device. So what are these iPod Touch competitors like? Each is driven by 1GHz Hummingbird processors (single-core ARM Cortex A8, of course) and include 8 GB of on board NAND, expandable by microSD. Both models have 3.2 MP rear-facing and VGA front-facing cameras. The Galaxy Player sports Android 2.3 and the usual assortment of DLNA and Google Apps. If it sounds like these are Galaxy S phones without the phone part, it’s because they are. 

They’re distinguished by their screen size, however users accustomed to Samsung’s brilliant Super AMOLED displays might want to hold off from these particular models. The 5.0 comes with a 5” TFT-LCD at just WVGA (800x480). Contrast is less than stellar and the black notification bar was a murky grey. The 4.0 receives a 4” Super Clear LCD, analogous to S-LCD, which drastically improves viewing angles, and contrast. As a test for how the WVGA resolution works on larger screens, the 5.0 doesn’t bode well. If nothing else, when you open a website on such a larger device, you really expect to see more content than on a 4” screen.
Form factor is vanilla slate; more vanilla than chocolate certainly, with the only case color an attractive white. The edges are slightly rounded, but the thickness of the devices lend a very blocky character to them. These are not thin, sleek devices like the iPod Touch. Why so thick? Batteries. The 4.0 packs in a 1200 mAh battery while the 5.0 uses a rather large 2500 mAh battery. The software is only lightly infused with TouchWiz, these ROMs sporting less than the full gamut of recent TouchWiz updates. 
Samsung 2011 Galaxy Player Lineup
  Samsung Galaxy Player 4.0 Samsung Galaxy Player 5.0
Network 802.11 b/g/n 802.11 b/g/n
OS Android 2.3.5 (Gingerbread) Android 2.3.5 (Gingerbread)
Display 4-inch S-LCD WVGA (800 x 480) 5-inch LCD WVGA (800 x 480)
Connectivity Bluetooth 3.0, Mini USB Bluetooth 3.0, Mini USB
NAND 8GB, microSD slot (up to 32GB) 8GB, microSD slot (up to 32GB)
Battery 1200 mAh 2500 mAh
Dimensions 2.53 x 4.87 x 0.39" 3.07 x 5.56 x 0.46"
Weight 4.27 6.42 oz
Price $229 $269
Pricing places these in direct competition with the iPod Touch; the 4.0 matches Apple’s wares at $229, while the 5.0 merits a $40 premium for its extra inch of screen real estate. Availability starts October 16th.
Galaxy Tab 8.9
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  • cjb110 - Tuesday, September 27, 2011 - link

    Of course the big looser in the thinness race is ports, everything is going through a propietry connector and 'expensive' converters, and there's no SD card slot either.
  • NCM - Tuesday, September 27, 2011 - link

    True. On the other hand the question becomes one of what the tablet is mostly used for. Tablets, while not pocketable like a smartphone, are still very much mobile devices.

    How much time would/does your tablet spend physically connected to other devices?

    At least in my case the answer is almost never, so I'm plenty willing to use an adapter dongle should it become necessary, and similarly unwilling to give up anything in size/thickness/etc. to have a greater variety of built-in ports that won't be in use most of the time.

    (I feel the same way about the optical drive in my laptop. It's handily there for the tiny number of occasions that I do need it, but it occupies maybe 20% of this 13" laptop's footprint and has to be hauled around 100% of the time.)

    But your needs may well differ from mine.
  • JasonInofuentes - Tuesday, September 27, 2011 - link

    With DLNA, Bluetooth, wireless file transfers and plentiful streaming options, all tablet manufacturer's are moving away from ports for connectivity. Samsung has a wide variety of accessories for the 10.1 and the 8.9, including docks that provide USB ports, video output and power. They also have a number of cases with integrated Bluetooth keyboards.

    I've had tablets with USB, microSD and SD in house, and I have yet to put them to any practical purpose. I wouldn't be surprised if the norm becomes a lack of ports. My only wish, is that charging still be done through microUSB.
  • Rick83 - Tuesday, September 27, 2011 - link

    You hook up the tablet to the TV with HDMI to play HD content without having a dedicated HTPC, you hook up a USB key to exchange some bigger files on the go, or without opening bluetooth, you use a microSD card to transfer images from your camera to show them on a bigger screen.

    Plenty of scenarios where wireless is less than ideal (and that's before I take into account the extra battery expenditure).

    With these huge tablets, docks shouldn't be mandatory to get that kind of stuff. Even on my 5" tablet I am not really convinced that the dock is necessary - and at least I get a micro-SD slot out of the box.
  • borys991 - Tuesday, September 27, 2011 - link

    what if I'd like to view pictures from my nikon D90 (SD card) on this device? Is there any way to do it? Of course without using external computer.

    What do you think?
  • Cali3350 - Tuesday, September 27, 2011 - link

    The 5" sounds like a real dud in comparison to the 4". Especially considering 5" is starting to get too big anyway.
  • Shadowmaster625 - Tuesday, September 27, 2011 - link

    Not enough battery life. Make it 9 mm and give it a bigger battery.

    The ipod touch competitor has pretty crappy resolution. A 5" display would be interesting if it was better than 800x480.
  • Gondalf - Tuesday, September 27, 2011 - link

    A bad season of money for nothing is truncated. Galaxy S2, Galaxy Tab and Galaxy Player are the answer of the big industry to a coercitive Apple :).
    Very good, very good :), i can see prices down in near future :)
  • mcquade181 - Tuesday, September 27, 2011 - link

    Do these three (4", 5" & 8") have a built-in GPS? They could make useful car/boat/4WD computers if they do.
  • jtd871 - Tuesday, September 27, 2011 - link

    Apparently no built-in GPS. I know the GPS will absolutely kill the battery life, but come on Sammy! I've been waiting for a small format and (relatively) low-cost tablet with Wifi, SD/microSD expandability, GPS and Android (for media apps and offline Google Maps) to use as a travel device/PMP for car or pedestrian use. Others have successfully used BT GPS receivers with phones, but it limits the ability to use maps while you are walking around, and adds 1 more device to keep powered.

    The iBex Flytouch3 would nominally seem to fit my wishlist, but I would prefer a device backed by a more top-shelf manufacturer for support. Here's hoping the Lenovo A1 gets some love from reviewers and ships this year...

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