The MP3 player used to be one of the most popular gadgets in town. Brandishing an iPod on the bus was an invitation to a mugging, and phones were rarely used to play much more than a Crazy Frog ringtone. Oh, how times have changed.
Devices like the Samsung Galaxy S WiFi 4.2 are now a rarity. It's a smartphone without the phone bit, making it a media and music player, with games jammed in for good luck. It's an Android take on the iPod touch, and while it doesn't entirely make sense any more, it's a lot of fun.
This is the second-generation of Samsung's non-smartphone Galaxy S slabs. The first had a 5in screen, but this one drops back closer to the mainstream with a 4.2in display.
It's something of a half-way house between the Samsung Galaxy S2 and the new Galaxy S3. More rectangular than the S3, but with a smaller select button than the S2, you can bet ninety-seven per cent of onlookers will assume you're palming a new Samsung smartphone.
Also consistent with Samsung's smartphone design, there's a whole lot of glossy plastic going on here. Its back is mostly covered by a thin plastic battery cover, and the silver strip that runs around its edges is also plastic. This helps to keep the phone trim, at a light 118g, but doesn't give the device a super high-end feel - although the same is true of the much-more-expensive Samsung Galaxy S3.
There is no such compromise with the screen covering, though. It is glass, where many budget media players use hard plastic, which scratches more easily and doesn't feel quite as nice.
The Samsung Galaxy S WiFi 4.2 is a mite thicker than the iPod touch, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. As a device of media and gaming, the extra screen space and having a bit more body to grip onto is a big plus. Held horizontally - a likely scenario when gaming or watching video - it feels great between your fingers, with just enough bezel to let your thumbs rest without obstructing the screen.
Connections and speakers
Just a pair of connections sit on the Samsung Galaxy S WiFi 4.2's body. These live down on the bottom edge - a microUSB to charge the device and give access to its internal memory and the obligatory 3.5mm headphone jack.
Remove the thin plastic battery cover and you'll find the microSD memory cad slot. The Galaxy would be sunk without it, because there's only 8GB of internal memory - around half of which is taken up by pre-installed software and the OS. 8GB may be enough for a phone, but for a music and video player, it just doesn't cut it. Cards up to 32GB are compatible, which are available for under £20.
One way the Samsung Galaxy S WiFi 4.2 trumps most smartphones is its use of stereo speakers. Dinky silver grills at the top and bottom of the player hide a pair of speakers, which give you a genuine stereo image if you hold the device fairly close to your face.
Maximum volume is higher than the smarpthone average too, although there is some slight distortion at top volume and - predictably - sound quality is pretty lo-fi and bass non-existent.