Samsung Galaxy 3 and Galaxy Apollo review: Galactic twins

GSMArena team, 12 August 2010.

User interface: TouchWiz takes Android to a new level

The Samsung I5800 Galaxy 3 uses the TouchWiz 3.0 UI, which is one of our favorite Android UI mods. It adds handy new functionality without taking away anything or moving things around too much.

The Samsung I5801 Galaxy Apollo on the other hand uses an Orange-customized UI by default but you have the option to switch to TouchWiz as well. So, for now we’re sticking with TouchWiz , we’ll cover the Orange UI later.

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The TouchWiz 3.0 user interface comes preinstalled on top of the Android OS

The customizations start on the homescreen where you have up to seven panes to populate with widgets. You can remove ones you’re not using and rearrange the rest easily. Since both the I5800 and I5801 miss the option to pick a default home screen, the home key just brings you back to the first (leftmost) screen.

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You can add up to seven panes on the homescreen

Samsung have also added 7 widgets of their own, available under “Samsung widgets” when adding content to your homescreen. Those include four different clocks (Calendar, Weather, Dual and Yahoo Finance).

There’s also the Feeds & Update widget (shows social network status updates), and Buddies now, which is similar to Photo contacts. The final Samsung widget is Daily Briefing, giving you an aggregated view of weather forecasts from AccuWeather, stock rates from Yahoo Finance, news feeds from Associated press and your upcoming appointments.

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Some of the 7 custom widgets

Next, the Galaxy 3 has four buttons docked at the bottom of its homescreen, which stay there even when you open the menu. The rightmost button is the Applications/home button, which alternates the main menu and the home screen, and the other three you can swap with whatever icon you like.

The main menu consists of side-scrollable panes - much like the homescreen - instead of the vertical scrollable grid you get in vanilla Android. You can add new pages manually by dragging an app to a new screen in edit mode. A list view is also available, just as on the HTC alternative, Sense UI.

When the launcher is in edit mode, you can uninstall applications (only the user-installed ones though) just by tapping them. Unfortunately, the I5800 Galaxy 3 comes without live wallpapers.

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The main menu in edit mode

The task switcher has been untouched by the TouchWiz changes, but the notification area has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and sound toggles on top.

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The updated notification area

The lock screen has been TouchWizified as well – you now need to swipe sideways to remove the virtual lock screen covering your phone.

Now a few words about the Samsung I5801 Galaxy Apollo and its interface. It isn’t too different from the TouchWiz of its twin, but it lacks some goodies. You get 5 homescreens, which you cannot remove or rearrange. The Samsung Widgets have been replaced by Orange ones.

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The homescreen and widgets on the Samsung I5801 Galaxy Apollo • The notification area

There are four docked buttons on the homescreen (menu, messaging, dial pad and phonebook), but you can’t change those and they’re not visible in the main menu. The main menu is a single vertically scrollable page and you can’t rearrange icons.

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The main menu is flat • You can use TouchWiz too • the lockscreen

Other than that, things are the same – including the toggles in the notification area and even the homescreen. As we already mentioned, you can switch the Orange UI for TouchWiz if you prefer it.