Aside from these additions there are actually some nice changes. Contact management is excellent with easy social networking integration available for adding Facebook and Twitter friends to your Gmail and SIM ones – it’s thankfully nice and easy to link friends.
The Swype keyboard app has also been added so you can use this ingenious single-finger typing method. Sticking to the standard onscreen keyboard layout, though, and it still provides a very good typing experience with few mistakes cropping up and speed being plentiful.
Changes have also been made to the notification drop down where you’ll now find buttons for quickly turning on and off, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Silent Mode, and Vibrate. When you’ve music playing in the background this will also house a mini music player so you can quickly pause or skip tracks whatever else you’re doing. The music player is also available on the lock screen; tap the middle button when the screen is locked and drag down the CD icon to reveal the mini player. Sadly this easy access to your music doesn’t extended to being able to quickly access the player when no music is yet playing, as you can on the iPhone where a double tap of the central button will bring up the player, but it’s a step in the right direction.
Returning to the camera, there shouldn’t be any shocked faces as we reveal it’s not all that good with the sky completely blown out in our outdoor shot. The lack of flash also seriously hurts the quality of dimly lit indoor shots, though with a steady hand you can still get something usable. As for video, the severely limited 320 x 240 resolution and 15 fps frame rate means it’s only something to be used as a last ditch effort. While this obviously isn’t a great performance, it’s no worse than we’d expect for the price.
Making a few calls on the Apollo threw up few major causes for concern, though neither did it particularly excel in either volume or clarity. On the other hand the loud speaker is surprisingly powerful, though rather tinny.
As for how long you’ll get to use this phone before needing to top it up, the 1500mAh battery easily gave us two days of use and three shouldn’t be a push. When left on standby over a weekend, it used hardly a drop, suggesting you should seldom be left short unless away from a plug socket for a significant period.
The Samsung Galaxy Apolo I5801 is a rather nice handset in many ways. It’s well built, has all the essential features and is easy to use. However, thanks to a certain Orange San Francisco, its value has been eroded, leaving it as something of an also ran. It’s not a bad phone, it’s just that there are better options for the money, now.