By October 4, 2010

Samsung i5801 Galaxy Apollo Review


To be honest with you I was not very excited about the prospect of doing the Samsung Apollo review. Within five minutes of playing with it though I was pleasantly surprised. I thought that a cheap Android phone that as far as I am aware is exclusive to Orange may have been given an Orange overlay and spoilt. Although Orange have added some of their own customisation to the Apollo you don’t have to use it which is a god send.

Read on to see what I mean and to get my views on this Android 2.1 device which costs under £150.00.


What’s in the box?

  • Device
  • Battery
  • Charger
  • USB Cable
  • 1GB MicroSD
  • Headphones
  • User Manual



The ten second review:

Device: Samsung I5801 Galaxy Apollo

Price: £149.99 PAYG and free with a contract

Summary: A budget Android 2.1 device with some great features and Samsung customisation.

Best of: Widgets, Android OS, Web Browser

Worst of: No camera flash, No dedicated hardware camera button

Buy it now from: Orange


Click here to see Matt’s Samsung Apollo unboxing


Samsung Galaxy Apollo i5801 Specification:

  • 3-megapixel camera
  • 3.2-inch touch screen
  • Android operating system
  • autofocus
  • 4x digital zoom
  • FM radio
  • MP3 player
  • Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth®
  • 3G
  • USB compatible
  • quad band
  • Video Messaging
  • touch control
  • camera
  • touch screen
  • music player
  • MMS
  • multimedia
  • Contacts Backup





On the left side of the device you will find the up/down volume controls.


Samsung I5801 Galaxy Apollo left side


On the right there is nothing apart from smooth plastic.

The top is a busy place with the 3.5mm headset jack, MicroUSB port and the power switch.


Samsung I5801 Galaxy Apollo Top


The bottom is bare apart from the microphone hole.

Over on the back we just get the camera lens. No flash I am afraid.


Samsung I5801 Galaxy Apollo Back


The obvious bits on the front are the call send and end keys and the centre button.


Samsung I5801 Galaxy Apollo Front





The Samsung Apollo is an attractive looking device with its silver chrome face and jet black back. The build quality feels pretty solid and better than I expected. No creaky bits at all.

With its rounded edges it feels great both in the hand and slung into a pocket.

Switching on is done by giving the power button a press. Once done you will need to unlock the screen. This is achieved by pressing on the bar that contains the time and date and giving it a swipe upwards.



Now we are onto the home screens. The Samsung Apollo has two options for home screens. Firstly an Orange version and then a more traditional Android/Samsung one. The Orange one is set up by default but by pressing the button under the screen you have the option to switch and it is a smooth quick process.

homeselector1 homeselector2


Lets have a look at the Orange version first. This is made up of five screens which are accessed by swiping the screen left and right. As expected with an Orange overlay you get four Orange colored icons at the bottom of the screen which are shortcuts to the menu, messaging, phone and contacts. I couldn’t find a way to change these. On each of the home screens are widgets and shortcuts. These too are all Orange and it just makes the UI look a bit boring and unexciting so that is why I was so happy that I had the option to use a different UI.

Home 1 2 Home1 3   Home 1 11 Home1 4Home1 5


These screens can have all the widgets/shortcuts changed to the ones you want but if I am honest you may as well just forget it and used the next option:

So the User interface I much preferred looks more like we are used to with Android. This again is made up of five home screens but the icons at the bottom of the screen are Samsungs own and much more attractive than the Orange ones. As well as the Android widgets you also get the bonus of adding Samsungs ones, most of which we have seen before on earlier devices.


Home Home2 Home3 Home5



The menu on the Apollo is again typical Samsung and the icons spread over three pages instead of the standard Android way where they are on one and you just scroll down. I prefer it the Samsung way as I find it quicker to find what I want. The capacitive screen reacts instantly and scrolling between the three pages is as smooth as a super smooth thing.



Lets now take a look at the main features and apps on the device starting with the web browser.

I was quite surprised at how nice the browser is on the Apollo. It will never be the best as the screen is not as big as on some of the top end Android phones but still I was happy.

With pinch to zoon built in browsing is smooth and quick in both portrait and landscape. Tapping the address bar at the top will allow you to search for the site you want and as as you can see below you will be given the Google search results as you type. If you don’t feel like typing you don’t have to as voice search is present. Adding bookmarks and managing multiple windows is a piece of cake and overall I felt the browser was pretty decent for a cheap phone, certainly better than some other Android devices we have reviewed that were even cheaper.


browser2 browser1


browser3 browser4 browser5



As usual with Samsung phones we get a nice calendar interface. You can view the calendar by day, week or month and entering appointments/events takes seconds.  Using the calendar is a pretty nice experience. It’s simple and straight forward.

cal1 cal2 cal3 cal4




With all Android devices you get a couple of options when it comes to email. You have an email icon or if you are a Gmail user you get a separate icon for this. Emailing on the Apollo is much the same as with all other Android phones.


email1 email2


Being  an Android device the Apollo of course comes with Google maps. It works very well. You will see below that there are zoom buttons on the screen. I didn’t use them once as pinch to zoom works here and is very smooth. If you are using Google Maps to navigate in the car then the app works in landscape mode too.

If you find an address you wish to view in satellite mode you can give the map a wee press and the address pops up. Give the address another press and options appear including ‘what’s near’ and ‘street view’.


maps1 maps2 maps4


Want plenty of apps? Well you can get as many as you like from the Android Market. If you have not used this before it is similar to the Apple iTunes store which you must of heard of. There are over 100,000 apps in the Market consisting of both paid and free. Downloading them is only a click away.





Samsung always put a nice memo app on there phones now and  although it is nothing new or unique it is rather handy. It also looks good which is always a bonus. This may a good time for me to mention the on-screen keyboard on the Apollo. I found it surprisingly nice to use. There is a good amount of haptic feedback and i feel that the screen is just the right size to use the keyboard in portrait mode. Any smaller and typing one handed is a nightmare for me. Of course in landscape things are even easier and bashing away at the keyboard is fairly painless. Accessing the numbers and symbols is just one touch away and if you press the wheel type icon next to the space bar you have the option to switch to either handwriting recognition or a traditional phone keypad with three letters on each key.


memo memo2 memo3 memo4



There is a nice picture gallery on the Apollo which is Samsungs own design. Pictures and photos are shown in folders which can then be expanded. With the screen full of images you can scroll left and right to find the picture you want.

Gallery1 gallery2


The YouTube client is always good on Android and it is no different with the Apollo. It is nice to see voice search present in the app too.  The video quality is actually really good and much better than I was expecting. Bonus. 

youtube youtube2 

The onscreen keys are straight forward and disappear after few seconds to give you a full screen experience.




On to the camera. At 3.2mp I wasn’t expecting great images but they are not too bad in good lighting conditions. Far from perfect but this isn’t a top of the range phone remember. As with all Samsung phones there are loads of settings and scenes to give you the best results. Only critism here is the lack of flash. Oh well.


2010-09-24 11.39.06  2010-09-24 11.38.34 2010-09-24 11.37.56


I have no idea who this lady is! There were a load of photos already on the review device so I thought I would publish one just for fun. Do you know this woman?



Samsung phones are in my opinion notorious for producing good quality music playback as well as providing decent earphones. With a 3.5mm headset jack you can always use your own if you prefer. The Apollo rocked. Nuff said!



I mentioned earlier about the widgets so here are a few of my favorites.  Facebook and Twitter will more than likely be the most common ones used and you can choose the size of the widget. They both give show you up to date updates and you can access the full applications from here. I am not covering the Facebook and Twitter apps in this review as frankly they are the same as every other Android device and I have written about them so many times now.




Feeds and Updates incorporates Facebook, MySpace and Twitter into one widget presenting you with updates in just one place which will be loved by some. You have the option to auto refresh the app from every 30 minutes up to 8 hours. Replying to a status update is just a click away.

feeds feeds reply


Daily Briefing gives you up to date info on certain news/weather. Although you can view the info as a widget you can enter the full app by pressing the widget for more detailed information. It is made up of AccuWeather, Yahoo Finance, AP Mobile (news service) and a Schedule. Quite a handy little widget.





Hopefully I have covered all the important stuff. For the money the Samsung Apollo is a good little phone. Maybe suited to someone that is getting there first taste of the Android OS or just needs a reasonably specced smartphone in the under £200 category.

Another decent effort Samsung. Only problem is that we seem to get new Android phones every few weeks. Will there be a better specced and better value one around the corner? I suspect the answer is yes.


Posted by: James

Posted in: Reviews

About the Author:

Five year veteran of the site. BlackBerry specialist, but experienced in most operating systems. Enjoys flower arranging and cross stitch.
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