As much as a mobile is about good looks, what really counts is what is inside. Its here where the Samsung Behold II begins to show its character lines.
This device runs Google’s Android operating system (v1.5). It’s also accompanied by Samsung’s TouchWiz user interface, which brings widgets and a nifty interactive cube to the table. Samsung has done a solid job of making the two of these work well with each other, but I have to say there’s some room for improvement.
On the phone side, interactions are pretty simple. Clicking the Phone icon immediately sends you to the Call Log. Or you can use the Dialer app at the bottom of the homescreen to go to the dial pad. It’s all nice and simple, but it was in the dialer that I realized that the Behold II’s screen needed harder presses than I’m used to with resistive screens.
Because this is an Android-powered mobile, Google’s platform integration comes standard. While it was nice to sync my Google Contacts on the device, I quickly realized that its only really helpful to have contacts there when you have the voice-associated information for the contact saved. I don’t ,and so I’ve spent most of my time looking at my Nokia N97’s address book but dialing out on the Behold II.
Voice call quality is solid, though I do notice some distortion with the speaker phone. Having the speaker on the back of the device is OK for when you are holding the Behold II for a conference calling session — a bit less so when you have the mobile on a table and want to be sure of not getting feedback from the surface the device sits on.
Productivity and Multimedia
This smartphone has the usual accompaniment of PIM (Messaging, Gmail, Email, Calendar, Memo, Task, and World Clock) and multimedia (Camcorder, Camera, Google Maps, Google Talk, IM, YouTube, TeleNav GPS, and Photo Gallery) applications. And if you want more, the Android Market is also available as an option right from the device.
The camera features are simple and to-the-point. Being able to go between several modes such single, continuous, mosaic, and smile; or the 15 zoom levels are familiar and usable. You can’t tap-to-zoom, as that brings up the settings menus, but the camera does focus pretty well on objects in the 3-6 foot range. One knock on the camera app, though, that it is slow to open and to process pictures. In general, this slowness is throughout the device, it’s just not hidden as well with the camera functionality.
I’m a bit split when it comes to this side of using the Behold II. While it’s clearly well featured for its intended audiences, the let-down in device performance is not quite the beholding I expect. It would be nice if Android 2.0 comes along and fixes this end of things, but that’s neither here or there.
While I can remark negatively about the performance of the Samsung Behold II, I’m honestly impressed at what can be done with Android.
I wish that the screen were as nice to touch as it is to look at. I’m no stranger to touchscreen devices, but to have so many missed taps on the virtual keyboard made me long for my N97’s hardware keyboard.
The screen is a grippy one, which is good when it works, but bad for fingerprints — you must wipe this one often.
Battery life hasn’t been bad so far. I’ve gotten a full day out of it, which is in-line with other devices that get subjected to my criss-crossing of GSM, EDGE, and 3G areas throughout the day. I’m not sure, though, that I’ve broken the battery in fully yet, because of my charging habits.
If you are looking at an Android device on T-Mobile and aren’t as into the Sense UI on the myTouch 3G, or the clunkiness of the G1, the Behold II is a nice option. In a lot of respects, it’s a similar breath of fresh air with the platform as the HP h1900 was for PDAs — and this is good to behold no matter how into the Google ecosystem you are.
The Samsung Behold II is currently available for $230 with a two-year contract. In comparison to the Motorola Droid, its pricey, but depending on future updates, could be a solid proposition.
- Excellent screen
- Solid suite of apps
- Battery life
- Overall device performance
- Slow camera application and functionality
- Screen is a fingerprint magnet