Samsung Galaxy Player 3.6 Review Roundup

My regular readers might recall that late last year and early this year I was in search of a $99 Android media player. The new Galaxy Player 3.6 costs $149, but it comes close to what I wanted.At least, it does on paper. Most of the reviews thought this device came up short against the $199 iPod Touch.

And I'm not so thrilled with the specs. In order to drop the price Samsung went with a weaker camera (with out a flash) and lower resolution and lower quality screen. This makes it seem awfully weak when lined up with its larger siblings, the Galaxy Player 4 and Galaxy Player 5. (I know it's not fair but I cannot help but pine for a larger and higher res screen.)

Specs

  • Android 2.3 Gingerbread
  • 1GHz Samsung Hummingbird CPU
  • 3.6" (480x320) screen
  • capacitive touchscreen
  • 8GB Flash storage
  • microSD card slot
  • Ports microUSB, headphone
  • Cameras: 2MP (rear), VGA (front)
  • Wifi, Bluetooth
  • 1.5Ah battery (30 hrs music, 5 hrs video)
  • Size 2.5 x 4.5 x 0.38 inches
  • Weight 4 ounces

 

So far, the Galaxy Player 3.6 is my favorite of the entire Galaxy Player line. Its price shows an appropriate amount of humility in the face of the iPod Touch. Its audio quality and hardware features are just what they should be. The Android experience isn't hobbled or twisted. If it weren't for the mediocre screen and camera quality, I would hold this up as the iPod Touch alternative that Android fans have been waiting for. But it's not quite there yet.

The Galaxy Player 3.6 is a great music machine. Samsung’s versatile little device offers owners a range of choices for music discovery, purchase, and playback through the Google Play Store. Though the company could have done a better job of pre-loading apps on the Player for less savvy users.

It’s not the best choice for consumers who want an all-around media device. However, the Player 3.6 offers more screen space and flexibility than the $129 iPod nano and is less expensive and more pocketable than the $199 iPod touch. For $149, the Galaxy Player is a good choice for consumers looking for an MP3 player with benefits.

  • SlashGear

This device is not an iPod touch competitor. Instead it’s Samsung’s effort to bring their user interface and media-controlling prowess to the non-mobile smart device world. You’ve got no mobile data, but the rest of the Android fun is all here – and at $149.99 (in stores now) you might not be able to resist such a relatively inexpensive fun machine. Should you also have a smartphone on hand – especially if it’s one so gigantic as the Galaxy Note, for example, this device will act as your everyday connection if you plan on leaving that beast in your backpack – connect it!

It bests the iPod touch in expandability (thanks to the microSD) and file support, but we wouldn't recommend playing any sort of video on it. The hardware is subpar, and with new iPod touches just $50 more (and used models priced even lower), it's hard to consider this a competitive device. Its raison d'etre becomes even hazier when you compare it to off-contract Android phones from prepaid carriers like Virgin or Boost Mobile, which come at an equal or lesser cost. And of course, if you need a smartphone anyway, you could put that $149.99 toward a pretty high-quality handset on contract.

Samsung's Galaxy brand spans a large spectrum of quality, and the Player 3.6 represents the low bar. Corners were obviously cut, particularly in the display, to hit that sub-$150 mark. It may not be fair to compare this to the iPod touch, because I don't think that was Samsung's intended competitor. I'm just not sure what is.

I only spent one day with the Player 3.6, and this is by no means Gadget Lab’s final review, but I think the device will be a tough sell to consumers. When I’m out and about, I want to carry as few devices as possible, so listening to music directly off my phone makes most sense. I’m not ready to carry a dedicated media player, and I suspect others have the exact same trepidation.

 

That said, I can see the Player 3.6 appealing to people who want to conserve their phone’s battery life, while still having the option to listen to music or watch movies on the run. To this end, I can see iPhone users particularly interested in the device — it provides a window into the world of Android without high entry fees.

 

 

 

 

About Nate Hoffelder (11590 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader:"I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

4 Comments on Samsung Galaxy Player 3.6 Review Roundup

  1. I just got the Galaxy Player 4.0 that came out last fall. I bet it will be turning up for 100-150 online when the new 4.2 model comes out.

    I like it very much and don’t regret shelling out 200 for it. Very nice screen for reading (worlds above my iPad 1). I don’t have a smartphone (or any plans to get one), so this is a very nice pocketable tablet that lets me read books, watch videos, do crosswords with shortyz, play timekiller games, etc.

    I actually ordered this 3.6 when it first showed up on Amazon, but cancelled when I discovered that the resolution they initially listed (480×800) was an error.

  2. Wow? Who really did the work?

    >>> The Verge: It bests the iPod touch in expandability (thanks to the microSD) and file support, but we wouldn’t recommend playing any sort of video on it.

    >>> ZDNet: That said, I can see the Player 3.6 appealing to people who want to conserve their phone’s battery life, while still having the option to listen to music or watch movies on the run.

    One says don’t play video. another says do. This is precisely why I generally hate the tech press.

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