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Telephone for the elderly SPC Apolo

General image of SPC Apollo
Overall rating:
  • 3/5
Technology:
Smartphone and Tablet
Related reviews:
  • Image showing the box of the SPC Apollo
  • Image showing box contents: Phone, power adapter, micro USB cable, charging cradle, earphones, battery, quick guide, caution booklet, and stickers
  • Image showing the front of the phone
  • Image showing the back of the phone
  • Image showing the start menu in senior mode
  • Image showing the boot menu in normal mode
  • Image showing FM radio
  • Image showing guide open
  • Image showing an overview of the charging base
  • Image showing the phone charging on the charging base
  • Image showing the phone open

What does it consist of:

The SPC Apollo is a smartphone with a touch screen that includes a version of Android (Go edition) with menus adapted to facilitate its use by the elderly, which is the main audience this device is aimed at. It includes the typical features that characterize a phone for the elderly, such as the SOS button, simplified menus or the charging base. In addition, unlike its competitors with keys, because it has an Android system, it benefits from numerous accessibility options such as the use of the Google TalkBack text reader.

Weight and measurements

151,5 68,6 x x 11mm

152g

Image showing the front of the phone

The technical sheet of the product can be downloaded by accessing the following link:

https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0506/9678/1998/files/FT_Apolo_2350116N.pdf?v=1621942567

 

Forms of Acquisition:

Forms of acquisition

This device is available in a considerable number of stores, both physical and online. Here is a link to a price comparison between different establishments:

https://www.idealo.es/precios/201071148/spc-apolo.html

The price of this Smartphone, at least during the analysis (March 2022), is approximately between €77 and €95.

In addition, the phone is available to buy on the manufacturer's own page:

https://www.spc.es/products/spc-apolo

Support and warranty

For phones that are purchased after 01/01/2022, the warranty will be 3 years from the time of purchase. For more details, you can refer to the following link:

https://www.spc.es/pages/garantia

You can contact the support center through the following link:

https://support.spc.es/hc/es/requests/new

To see the different authorized technical service centers that are available, you can consult the following link:

https://www.spc.es/a/storelocator

The support contact telephone number is as follows: 944 580 178

It is also worth mentioning that, on the phone's website, you can find an operating guide with an explanatory video:

https://support.spc.es/hc/es/sections/360004523938-SPC-APOLO

Technical verification:

Author Daniel William Alonso 

Date: March 2022 

As soon as we open the box we find the SPC Apolo with a charging base, its battery, a USB cable, a power adapter, headphones, a quick guide, a precautions booklet and several stickers.

Buttons and physical appearance

The SPC Apolo model includes a 5'' touch screen, in addition to different keys that allow you to perform some tasks more easily. The location of the keys is as follows:

  • In the lower front part, from left to right, there are the answer keys (label 1 in the image), SOS (label 2 in the image) and hang up (label 3 in the image).

Image of the front buttons which are, from left to right, the pick-up key, the SOS key and the hang-up key

  • On the sides are the on/off buttons (label 1), the volume button (label 2 in the image) and the flashlight on/off button (label 3 in the image).

Image showing the right side of the phone where the power button and volume buttons are located from bottom to topImage showing the left side of the phone, where the flashlight on/off button is located

  • On the top of the phone, from left to right, are the flashlight (label 1 in the image), the micro USB connection for the charger (label 2 in the image) and the headphone jack (label 3 in the image ).

Image showing the top of the phone, where the flashlight, micro USB connection, and headphone jack are located from left to right

It should be mentioned that the alphanumeric keyboard shown on the screen has a font size that is not very large and does not allow it to be enlarged.

Image showing the keyboard

Menu and texts

As soon as you turn on the mobile you can choose between 2 themes:

  • Normal mode, which is similar to that of a smartphone conventional with Android.

Image showing the menu in normal mode

  • Senior mode, which has the same functionalities, but presents the menu icons in a simpler format and with a larger size.

If the user gets lost in the menus, he can easily return to the initial state by pressing the circular icon that appears at the bottom of the screen. It would have been interesting if, having keys such as the on and off, one of these could be used to perform this function in a more comfortable way.

To enter text, the Google Gboard keyboard is included by default, which is a fairly complete keyboard that includes most Android devices. The only noticeable problem with this keyboard is that the size of the keys may not be big enough for some people.

The size of the texts can be changed, offering a fairly high maximum size for those who need it (The screenshots made during the analysis show the texts at their maximum size).

Finally, despite presenting a simplified initial menu, the use of each application is not very different from that of a smartphone normal, so to use this phone it is recommended to have a minimum of skill.

SOS button

The SPC Apolo includes an SOS button on its front, which is quite easy to identify both visually and by touch. It can be configured with up to 5 contacts ordered by call priority so that if the first contact does not take the call, the next one will be called.

By pressing this button, the terminal will emit an alarm sound before starting the call, so that people who are nearby can attend to the emergency.

Making the call will also send a distress message that can be modified. An interesting feature of this message is that it can be configured to send the location data of the person.

A negative point that exists is that, if the answering machine jumps on any of the calls, it will be taken as if the call had been taken and the call loop of the list of 5 contacts will not continue.

Calls and SMS

After carrying out different call tests, it has been verified that the listening quality and the volume level are good. It has a hands-free option, which can be activated by pressing the dedicated speaker icon for it during the call.

The coverage has been good and has not caused problems during the tests, although it has only been tested in urban areas.

Although there is no speed dial, if you press the pick up key, you will access the contact book directly.

Sending messages is easy, with a dedicated category.

Camera

This device includes a 5 MP rear camera with flash and a 2 MP front camera, which offer quite acceptable photo quality for a phone with these characteristics.

It also has the option to crop photos.

Its access is simple, pressing the category corresponding to the camera in the main menu. Once inside, you can configure the flash and choose between taking photos or videos.

Manual

A quick guide is included in the box, which is a small brochure that, by means of images, very briefly explains the main functionalities.

Image showing the quick guide open

This guide is very concise and a complete manual is missing.

Additionally, on the support website you can consult some small tutorials and an explanatory video:

https://support.spc.es/hc/es/sections/360004523938-SPC-APOLO

FM radio and audio playback

The phone includes FM radio, which is quite convenient to use, giving the possibility to pause it from the notification bar, without having to enter the application. The only inconvenience that exists is that, unlike some of its competitors, in order to use the radio it is necessary to connect headphones that will act as an antenna.

It should be noted that, once the headphones are connected, there is the option of being able to use the mobile speaker to listen to the radio.

Image showing FM radio appImage showing the option to stop the radio by displaying the notification bar if you are outside the application

The terminal allows you to play audio and includes a recorder.

charging station

To make it easier to charge the phone, a charging base is included in the box to connect it to the charger (which is also included in the box), which has a good fit and a single possible position. To be sure that the base is connected, a green light will turn on, which, once the phone is placed, will change to red. Also, the phone will vibrate when charging starts.

Image showing the charging base

Image showing the phone charging on the charging base

Battery

The device includes a 2200 mAh battery, which does not produce a very high autonomy.

Additional storage

The SPC Apolo has an internal memory of 16 GB (12 GB available for the user) and it allows to expand the memory by means of a micro SD card up to 64 GB.

Flashlight, alarm, calculator, calendar and other applications

The flashlight can be activated with the dedicated button on the side of the phone. The lighting it provides is quite good and can be activated even if the terminal is turned off.

Several Google applications are installed from the factory, such as the calendar, the clock, the calculator, the voice assistant, Chrome, Gmail, Google Maps, Google Go or YouTube.

It also has access to the Google stores, so a wide variety of applications can be downloaded.

Another application that is downloaded is the SPC App, which allows you to have direct contact with technical support and obtain information of interest about the device through the help center.

Connectivity

The terminal has the following connectivity:

  • 3G connection.
  • Wi-Fi 4
  • Bluetooth 4.0.
  • Support A-GPS navigation.
  • Radio FM.
  • The phone is dual SIM, with slots to place 2 different SIM cards.

 

Affordability

The fact that it is an Android device means that it has many more accessibility options than its key competitors, with a menu within settings dedicated to managing these features. Among the accessibility options, the following stand out:

  • TalkBack screen reader, which can be very useful for people with low or no vision.
  • Possibility of using switches.
  • Option to speak selection, which speaks the elements that are touched on the screen.
  • Accessibility menu that allows, through the use of a large menu, to control different functionalities of the phone.
  • Display options, such as zooming the screen, increasing font size, or changing colors.
  • Interaction controls, such as action time or making the power button hang up calls.
  • Audio options, such as putting it in mono or rocking the audio left or right.

 

Conclusions

The SPC Apollo is a smartphone low-end dedicated to the elderly, which includes an adapted main menu, as well as some typical buttons on mobile phones designed for this group, such as the SOS button and interesting accessibility options.

It has some flaws, such as unexpected failures in applications and that the battery does not have much autonomy.

In addition, the adaptation of menus does not go beyond the appearance of the main menu, so the compelling reasons to consider buying this phone should be the presence of buttons that do not have the smartphones conventional or the charging base, since to simplify the menus there are already launchers that can be used in most phones.

 

Highlights

  • The design of the phone, with large and well-identified buttons and a fairly high screen brightness.
  • The possibility of considerably increasing the size of the texts.
  • The charging base, with a single possible position and good fit.
  • The SOS button, which is easily identifiable and configurable, with the possibility of sending the coordinates from which the emergency call is made.
  • The flashlight, which is well lit and can be turned on even when the phone is turned off.
  • It has dual SIM.
  • The numerous accessibility options that it incorporates.

Improvement points

  • The radio, which requires the connection of headphones for its operation.
  • The size of the keyboard, which is small.
  • The battery, which does not have a very high autonomy.
  • Reliability, since sometimes unexpected errors occur while an application is being used or even when pressing the SOS button.
  • The quick start guide, which is quite brief and could have included a complete manual.
  • The possibility that, if the answering machine of any of the telephones that are being called with the SOS button jumps, the loop of calls from the contact list will end.

 

  • Design and manufacturing: 4 5 on.
    4
    This section refers to the physical aspects and details of the manufacturing of the technological product
  • User experience: 3 5 on.
    3
    This criterion is linked to the user's assessment when relating to the technical product or application.
  • Technical benefits: 3 5 on.
    3
    Description of the quality of the technical specifications of the technological solution
  • Accessibility: 4 5 on.
    4
    It is the degree to which people can use or access a product, technological solution or service, regardless of their technical, cognitive or physical abilities

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