The Samsung Galaxy Apollo GT-I5801 is the latest phone to join Samung’s Galaxy range of Android phones. Read on to find out how the Apollo measures up against the Galaxy S and Galaxy Portal.
What we like
The Samsung Galaxy Apollo comes with a 3.2-inch capacitive touchscreen that supports multi-touch. The screen is very responsive, it’s easy to text on and scroll through maps and web pages using pinch to zoom gestures. Swype, the gesture-based text input method comes pre-installed on the Galaxy Apollo and is something that works particularly well on the capacitive screen.
We liked the reflective metallic finish on the front of the Galaxy Apollo – it compliments the smoothness of the touchscreen well. Little things like the Samsung logo being done over in an iridescent rainbow finish also appealed to our inner magpie. Admittedly it’s a bit of a fingerprint magnet but a quick wipe down with a bit of cloth (or sleeve) will have it looking good as new.
The 3.2-megapixel camera has a decent focus, resulting in nice sharp pictures. It also has a range of basic effects (sepia, negative, black and white) and contrast/brightness options. It’s easy to post pictures to Facebook and Twitter and share them via Bluetooth or email from the gallery.
The music player app is the standard Android one, which is rather basic but it does the job. We’re glad to see that the Galaxy Apollo comes with a 3.5mm audio jack allowing you to use your own headphones. The headphones which come bundled with the Apollo are actually pretty good. They’re comfortable inner ear types with rubber coverings and provide good sound quality.
Thankfully the Galaxy Apollo runs Android 2.1, so you get the benefits of fast web search, multi-touch and access to some of the higher-end apps on the Android Market. There aren’t any Facebook or Twitter apps pre-installed on the Apollo but you can download lots of them from the Market. We tested out the official Facebook and Twitter apps for Android on the Apollo; both of them loaded feeds quickly and displayed messages, updates and tweets legibly – i.e. did what you wanted them to.
The screen resolution of the Galaxy Apollo isn’t the highest we’ve seen (it’s nowhere near as vibrant and sharp as that of the Samsung Galaxy S) but it’s by no means terrible.
What we don’t like
Texting on the Samsung Galaxy Apollo is slick and easy thanks to the responsiveness of the capacitive touchscreen, but we found that correcting typos was a bit problematic; getting the cursor in the right place isn’t impossible but we felt it would have been much easier if there was a trackpad or trackball.
We found that when browsing the web or scrolling through settings menus, the Apollo would sometimes switch to and from landscape mode when we didn’t want it to, and we’d have to shake and tilt the phone more than a few times in order to get it back to portrait mode. Eventually we headed into the Apollo’s settings and disabled the auto-rotating option.
As much as we love the shiny metal finish of the front of the Galaxy Apollo, we wish it had been extended across the rest of the phone. While the matte plastic back of the Apollo isn’t by any means unpleasant or unergonomic, it’s a bit incongruous compared to the dazzling metallic shine of the front. It almost feels like two parts of two separate phones have been accidentally stuck together in the factory.
While the camera is good, it’s not the best camera out there and it’s let down in a couple of areas, most notably in the flash department. The absence of flash is going to limit where and when you can take pictures with the Galaxy Apollo. Also, there’s not a dedicated shutter button, meaning you have to use the on-screen control. This could be a problem if you’ve a particularly shaky hand, but the Galaxy Apollo’s capacitive screen is pretty responsive so unless you happen to have the shakiest hands on the planet you should be ok.
Transferring music from our computer to the Galaxy Apollo was easy enough we found that album art only made it across with the MP3’s – the art of WMA’s and AAC’s obviously got lost on the way.
The Samsung Galaxy Apollo is a good mid-range touchscreen phone. It’s slick, very easy to use and gives you access to thousands of apps on the Android Market. Available free on £20 contracts its certainly much cheaper than its bigger, more powerful brother the Samsung Galaxy S and as such it’s a good budget alternative to that phone. However the lack of the flash on the camera and the troublesome accelerometer are things to consider. It’s also currently only available on Orange, meaning you won’t be able to look elsewhere for any other deals.