Samsung Galaxy Apollo i5800 review

Galaxy S style on an entry-level budget

Samsung Galaxy Apollo
The definitive Samsung Galaxy Apollo Review

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As well as headline-grabbing mobile apps like Layar and Google Maps, the Galaxy Apollo i5801 features a rather odd collection of software stuck on by its exclusive network friend Orange.

So you get Orange Maps on here, plus Orange also provides its own custom App Shop for browsing apps, although the latter has been spectacularly hobbled by only working when the phone's connected via a mobile network – it refuses to let you give Orange money when connected via Wi-Fi. That's just madness.

Samsung galaxy apollo

Work-based "productivity" is taken care of via the ThinkFree Office suite, which is compatible with Microsoft Office documents if you need to pretend you're going to be using this phone for work in order to swing the deal and monthly expenditure.

Orange and Samsung also provide a crushingly boring weather and news widget called Daily Briefing, plus there's a custom photo display widget simply called Photography.

It's a handy way to share and leaf through your pics from the Home screen, but its rather ugly styling is hardly the sort of aspirational feature that should be beaming out of a new Android phone in 2010.

Your first 30 minutes with this phone will be spent binning the uninspiring Orange apps and installing some smarter alternatives from the Android Market.

Samsung galaxy apollo

As for the physical act of writing your tweets and texts, the Galaxy Apollo is another handset to benefit from third-party keyboard Swype – the odd, line-drawing typing tool that speeds up text input. As long as you're prepared to put in the groundwork to learn how to use it.

The Apollo also features Samsung's own keyboards, enabling users to select a numeric keypad or handwriting recognition tool, but Swype's by far the best and quickest option – even if you only use it in standard pressing-the-letters mode.

Samsung galaxy apollo

Google Maps is here and in its usual fine form, with the Galaxy Apollo having more than enough processing power to whizz maps around with ease.

Elsewhere you get Voice Recorder, which outputs yours memos-to-self as AMR files which are sharable through email or apps using the regular Android social menu.

Orange has also grafted in a simple file manager tool it calls My Files, the Orange Wednesdays film promotion app, a few game demos and that's about it.

Basically, the Orange apps are rather rubbish – but you're not forced to use any, since the splendid Google alternatives are all on here as well.