With the recent arrival of the Orange San Francisco, our view of all other budget, and even premium, smartphones has shifted. No longer is budget merely sub-£250 and no longer can it mean a compromised screen resolution or reduced feature set. So with that in mind, the Samsung Galaxy Apollo I5801 has some seriously high goals to reach.
Available for around £180 SIM free or for free on 18month £20pm contracts, it's certainly what we'd conventionally call budget but given this shift in perspective, it's perhaps best to consider this a low to mid range smartphone.
What's most obvious about this phone is it's slightly smaller than your average all-touchscreen smartphone. The screen itself is 3.2in rather than the more common 3.5 – 4.0in while the body of the phone is only 55mm wide, some 3-5mm narrower than most. While all these differences may sound small, they all add up to a device that feels noticeably smaller, though at 12.6mm thick it's hardly the slimmest.
Design wise, it's elegant enough with a glass front and matt black plastic back and it feels well put together with no extraneous flexing or creaking when squeezed. An unintentional drop onto our carpeted floor didn't even dislodge the battery either, which is always a reassurance. However, the silvery design of the front doesn't quite work, to our minds. It catches the light more than black finishes and shows off fingerprints to an even greater extent, giving the whole front a distracting look.
Handling of the phone is okay with the curved back sitting nicely in the hand and the three standard Android buttons falling nicely within reach. The volume rocker on the left edge is likewise easy to access and has a nice positive response, unlike some of the mushy ones we tend to find on cheap phones.
All is not well, though, as the screen lock button that sits on the top edge is rather difficult to operate, thanks to it being flush with the body of the phone. Thankfully you don't need to press it to unlock the screen (just to lock it) but can press the central button on the front instead. The back surface is also a tad slippery.
There's no shutter button for the 3.15-megapixel camera, nor is there a flash, but otherwise the I5801 is reasonably well kitted out with the top edge home to a headphone jack and microUSB socket and there's a miscroSD slot under the battery cover for adding extra storage – a 1GB card comes in the box. Sound quality from the headphone jack is fine and while the included headset certainly isn't amazing it blocks out a modicum of external noise and includes volume controls.