Samsung Mobile has a booth at AppNation SF and yesterday I had the chance to stop by and get my hands on the Galaxy 5, one of the Wi-Fi only media players in the Galaxy S lineup. Like the Galaxy 4 (so named for its 4-inch display), Galaxy 5 runs Android with Samsung’s TouchWiz user experience layer, and features front and rear facing cameras, a thin and light design, and support for a pretty wide variety of audio and video codecs for playback from either internal or microSD card memory.
Jon got some hands-on time with the 4-inch model back at CES, and big brother’s spec sheet is fairly similar, though the 5-inch model uses LCD – not Super LCD – display. Also, for some reason it looks like only the 4-inch version will ship with Skype preinstalled, though both versions will also feature Qik’s two-way video calling app. And while the PR materials all say “Android OS 2.2 (Froyo) upgradable to 2.3 (Gingerbread),” a Samsung rep told me both Galaxy 4 and 5 inch are Gingerbread.” Maybe he just meant they’ll support 2.3 eventually? Whatever the case, if you’re looking for an Android portable that’s bigger than a phone, smaller than a tablet, and wants nothing to do with cellular providers, Galaxy 4 and 5 should be shipping “imminently.”
In my brief time handling the 5, I found it to be responsive, smooth, and very pleasant to look at. The 5-inch WVGA display was crisp, bright, and vivid, and while the device felt oddly large to me after having gotten used to smartphones with 3.5-4.3-inch screens, I could see the Galaxy 5 being a nice tablet alternative for someone who wants video on the go without the added size and expense of something like the Galaxy Tab 8.9 or 10.1. Of course the big question is whether or not Samsung can compete with Apple in a portable media player market that’s long been dominated by the iPod line. Lawsuits or not, Galaxy 4/5 do look an awful lot like iPod Touches – would you consider a Sammy instead of an Apple?