Let's be real here: the Samsung Galaxy Player is the first real competition for the iPod Touch since its inception, and although smartphones have far surpassed the specifications of either device, they're here to battle one another, not anything else. What you've got here is a device, on the Samsung side, that's not quite as large as the Galaxy Note, a device that's still got a data connection, and isn't nearly as small as the iPod Touch, which only comes in one size - that being a 3.5-inch display. So what will we compare? Sound quality? Pixel density? How about the ability to put the device in your pocket?
What you've got is two devices aiming at doing the same thing for you, the consumer. Both devices can be considered what was once a popular term before smartphones arrived, PDA or Personal Digital Assistant, I'd argue that the Galaxy Player, at least the 5.0 version, is much closer to that description than either the 4.0 version or the iPod Touch. In that you can successfully tap away at the digital keyboard on the Galaxy Player 5.0 without worrying about how large your fingertips are no matter HOW close your fingers might be to sausages, the 5.0 gets the first point.
Both devices are marketed at media players. That means they're meant to play music and videos and games. In that the iPod Touch and the Galaxy Player 4.0 are both small enough to fit in anyone's pocket whereas the 5.0 is too large to fit in anyone's pocket without consideration for emptying out of all the contents including your billfold, the smaller devices have the upper hand. A music player, better known still as an MP3 player today, should always be able to fit in your pocket easily.
For video and games, on the other hand, here the TFT LCD on the 5.0 player really shines the brightest. Not literally, mind you, as the pixels are much more densely packed on the iPod Touch at 640 x 960 pixels on a 3.5-inch display, but even at 480 x 800 pixels on a 5-inch display there is much to be said about the extra space. The space of course comes in handy when you want to actually see the detail in your Transformers movie rather than a highly-packed jumble of intensely colored tiny, tiny bits. It also comes in rather handy when you want to use on-screen controls for games - on the iPod Touch and the 4.0 Galaxy Player, you'll be blocking quite a bit with your thumbs.
Of course then there's the different markets you have access to. The iTunes app store and iTunes as a media store are much more diversely packed with high-quality applications, movies, TV shows, and music in one place than the Android Marketplace. Google's offering is growing every day, of course, and might be a contender someday if a reliable music purchasing component can be rustled up, but for now there's no better one-stop for everything than iTunes. Note though, that even if the iTunes market has it all, you don't necessarily need it all, especially depending on what you plan on using the device for. If you already have all the music you need and otherwise import music from CDs, both devices are pretty good for that, though you'll find the iTunes app on your desktop computer the best for that again.
If you plan on using the device for its ability to store notes for you and/or display images that you'd otherwise carry around in a wallet or a small portfolio, the Galaxy Player 5.0 is the clear choice. The size is currently unique at 5-inches and the color and detail is certainly more than good enough for both taking and displaying notes as well as any photos you've got and/or visual works you want to show off to colleagues - especially if its video-based.
The speakers and headphone output on both devices are essentially equal, as far as my ears can hear. The one difference that can be instantly seen (and heard) on the Galaxy Player 5.0 is the two speakers on the back, one speaker grille for each. Not many smart devices these days have two speakers, much less one good one, and although the iPod Touch does have a decent speaker in it, it's still just one, and it still has to play through either metal or glass to get out from under the casing.
The camera on the Galaxy Player 5.0 is much nicer than the one on the iPod Touch, both in practice and in number: 0.7 megapixels compared to 3.2 megapixels, while their front-facing cameras are equally terrible when it comes to anything outside basic video chat.
If I was only allowed to carry one device around for the rest of my life, which one would I choose? The Galaxy Player 5.0, simply because I can use the larger display for more than just controlling my music and watching the tiny, tiny videos that the iPod Touch is able to show on its tiny, tiny screen, and the speakers are the best. That said, there's one reason that makes me think the iPod Touch (4th generation only) is the better choice: the fact that it works with the Apple HDMI converter cord that allows you to play things like Netflix through an HDMI cord to your television. I already do that with my iPad 2, and I can tell you right now: it's pretty boss.
Check our the rest of the review series of the Galaxy Player 5.0 we've got going here on SlashGear inside the Galaxy Player portal!