Not only does the I5801’s screen give up size to the Orange San Francisco but it’s also lower resolution. At 240 x 400 pixels the LCD panel has a noticeably grainy look that’s a far cry from the sharpness exhibited by those panels on the best phones. It’s not the brightest or most colourful either so makes videos and pictures look a bit washed out. Nonetheless, by normal budget phone standard, it is actually quite good and more than adequate for general use.
What really helps in this regard is the responsiveness of the touch-sensing, and the fact it has multi-touch. This makes it easy to type on the onscreen keyboard (in fact typing is excellent) and gives you access to multi-touch gestures like pinch-to-zoom in the web browser and image viewer.
Internally you get a 667MHz processor, so it’s got one up on the San Francisco that only has a 600MHz CPU. However, with just 256MB, it has half the amount of RAM. Also present are all the latest wireless technologies you’d expect of a modern phone, so Bluetooth, 3G and Wi-Fi are all present and correct. While on the software side of things you’ve got Android 2.1 running under the hood.
Ultimately, the result is a phone that feels ostensibly as capable as any other smartphone. You can browse the web, check your email, download apps and play games with few hiccups. It doesn’t feel quite as snappy as the latest and greatest but it more than gets the job done.
That said, as with the San Francisco, on the Orange version of this handset that we’re reviewing a number of unwelcome changes have been made.
In addition to the standard Google app store, there’s an Orange app store and Music Store, both of which can only be accessed over Orange’s data network – the apps refuse to run with Wi-Fi turned on. There’s also an Orange email app that suffers the same fate. We really cannot fathom the inclusion of this guff. Sure, there’s a commercial reason to force users into paying for the company’s data connection, rather than using free Wi-Fi, but it’s also a sure fire way of annoy many customers.