Product Type: Samsung Smartphone
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A phone to make you smarter.... on a budget
Samsung GT i5800 Galaxy Apollo
Member Name: KLockwood75
Samsung GT i5800 Galaxy Apollo
Advantages: Lots of features, simple to use, cheap for a smart phone
Disadvantages: Some call-dropping issues, can be sluggish, bit too chunky
The Samsung Galaxy Apollo is basically the budget version of Samsung's higher-spec Smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy S, and offers many of the same features as that phone at a much lower price. I upgraded to the Samsung Galaxy Apollo last September and have been using it on a daily basis ever since. It runs on the Android operating system and has all the basic features (phone, text, internet, camera, ability to download apps) that you would expect from a smartphone. It also has 3GS and WiFi capabilities.
* Phone Basics *
The front of phone is a silver mirrored finish with a large touchscreen panel and three buttons at the bottom (a central button for turning the screen on, a menu button and a back button). The back is made from black plastic which does make it feel a bit less high quality than some of the other touchscreen phones on the market. The dimensions of the phone are 114mm by 55mm by 12.9mm, meaning that it is slightly on the chunky side. However, it still fits in the phone pouch on my bag so I'm not too put off by the size and weight of it. There is an on / off switch at the top of the phone.
Once activated, you can select your choice of home screen from the standard phone options on set up, or you can take / upload your own photo to use. The homescreen also has a clock, the usual battery life / signal indicators at the top. There are four icons at the bottom which link to the phone function, the text message function, your contacts file and the main Android menu. You can add any additional apps to the bottom of your home screen, although I've taken all mine off again as I feel that it makes it look a bit cluttered.
* Features *
Phone - Pressing the Phone icon brings up a keypad with four additional buttons across the top. These are 'Keypad' (so you can return to it if necessary), the 'Call Log', 'Favourites' and 'Contacts'. It is easy to make a call by just dialling the number but I find the 'Favourites' list invaluable for providing me with quick access to the friends and family numbers that I use most. I tend to add people that I call regularly to the favourites list as, since I synched the phone with my Facebook account, my Contacts list has got a bit out of control!
Text Messaging - This is my favourite element of this phone. I'm a bit of a text addict as it is and I really like the way that your text messages are viewed as a conversation with speech bubbles so you can keep track of the whole thread of a conversation just by scrolling up and down. When you start a text, the keyboard appears and you can swivel the phone to make it come up in landscape format if you need slightly wider keys. Typing on a touchscreen with a Qwerty keyboard did take a bit of getting used to at first but I am proficient in it now and wouldn't want to go back to the old-style of texting.
Contacts - The Contacts file is arranged in alphabetical order and is easy to scroll through. There is also an A-Z list at the side which you can use to find people more easily. As I've said previously, my Contacts are synched with my Facebook so I can see everyone's pictures next to their names - and the photos come up when the phone rings. Clicking on their name will bring up their phone numbers and any other information you have - email addresses, birthdays etc.
Camera - For me, this is one of the phone's weaknesses. I find it very difficult to take a good photo on this phone as it seems to wobble and lose focus at the crucial moment. It is fine if your subjects stay still, but when you are trying to take photos of two under 5s that are like a blur of perpetual motion, it just isn't good enough. However, there are a lot of camera features / modes and you can set it up for different types of shots (including continuous action shots and panoramas) so maybe I just haven't managed to find the mode that works for me. There is no flash on this phone and you do need relatively good light to take a shot without it.
Internet - Accessing the internet through this phone is easy as long as your connection is good enough. Through the WiFi I find that it is always relatively quick to load sites, but it is a bit hit and miss through the 3G connection. It is nowhere near as quick as the internet on my iPod Touch though so if there is a wifi connection available I tend to use that instead of my phone. You can also use this phone for email via a Googlemail account - this is set up on my phone but I have never actually used it.
Apps - You can download as many apps as you want to through the Android Market. I haven't got a huge quantity of apps on my phone - Facebook, a few games, a few restaurant apps for voucher codes etc, but they have all been easy to download and install. It also comes with a variety of inbuilt applications including a map application with GPS.
* Performance *
Call Quality - Unfortunately, I have had a lot of issues with call quality on my phone - when it connects and you are in an area with good signal strength the call clarity is fine, but it does seem to drop calls a lot and sometimes I will make a call and be able to hear the person on the other end but they can't hear me.
Processing Speed - This is completely dependent on how many apps that you have running. If you have too many apps open, then the phone can feel really sluggish. Running on a minimal number of apps it is much quicker and the whole process feels so much smoother.
Battery Life - The battery life on this phone is about 2 days if you don't use it much, although making a couple of calls, sending a few texts, playing a game for 10 minutes on the tube and checking my Facebook several times a day means that I have to charge it every night or it will run out of battery midway through the next day. The most annoying thing about the battery is that it will go from showing a half-full battery on the screen to being completely dead in about 5 minutes which drives me mad.
* Cost *
I got this as a free upgrade with Orange on a relatively cheap monthly contract but you would probably have to pay for it as a Pay As You Go phone. It is significantly cheaper than a lot of the other smart phones on the market though.
* Conclusion *
I would probably recommend this phone if you want a smart phone and only have a limited budget to spend on it. Personally, I do wish I'd held out for the iPhone which is what I really wanted (and what I'm planning to get as soon as this 24 month contract is over), but it isn't a bad phone overall. Reading other reviews makes me think that I have just been unlucky with the call quality issues and the sound quality when it does connect is much better than on my previous Samsung phone. I will give it four stars as basically it does everything I would want my phone to do - I just wish it would do it slightly faster, more smoothly and with a little bit more consistency.
Summary: A good basic smart phone for those on a budget