We liked the Samsung Android Galaxy Portal and were looking forward to seeing the updated Android 2.1 Apollo. Newer operating system aside, the Apollo struck us as a step backwards it has a lower resolution screen - 240x400 as opposed to 320x480 on the Portal - and it's a normal LCD instead of a superior AMOLED display. The reduced resolution makes text slightly blurry.
Unlike most Android phones, the Portal’s home screen is on the left rather than in the centre, and the application tray scrolls sideways rather than vertically. The combination of this and Samsung's custom TouchWiz icons made the phone hard to navigate initially.
There are some software improvements over the Portal. Social networking account integration is far better. You can import contacts from Facebook, Twitter, Windows Live, Google, Yahoo! and MySpace into a single Contacts app. Your Inbox can aggregate messages from multiple services, and the Calendar integrates with Google and Facebook.
Snaps from the 3-megapixel camera were average for a phone, but the lack of a flash dooms low-light shots. Video can only be captured at 320x240, which is barely good enough for posting to YouTube. Battery life was good, although it's highly dependent on your use of WiFi, 3G data and GPS.
Build quality is inferior to the Portal. The Apollo's rear casing is made of a cheap-looking black plastic, and the ridged design looks tacky. The front has a mirror finish around the screen which highlights greasy fingerprints. Worst of all, there's only a single, central Home button which replaces the four-way navigation rocker on the Portal. Instead of physical buttons for Back, Search, Menu, Answer and End Call, you just get touch-sensitive Menu and Back buttons.
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