Samsung Behold II

Samsung Behold II

The Samsung Behold II is a pretty smart device -- if you are connected and get a lot of value from Google's online service offerings. I'm only semi-connected into Google, and so the value of the Behold II was difficult to see at first, but it became very apparent as time with the device increased.

Obviously, this is the second iteration of the Samsung Behold handset. I wouldn't have known it unless I asked, but apparently, the Behold proved to be a popular mobile for T-Mobile's customers. The Behold II looks to build on that popularity, and add Google integration to the mix.

It is selling for $230 with a two-year service agreement, making it one of the more expensive models running Google's mobile operating system. It's AM-OLED display probably accounts for this.


The Behold II has a pocket-friendly and hand-friendly design. It reminds me of the HP h1900 Series of a few years ago -- it has a similarly curved bottom,

The 320x480, AM-OLED screen is very easily one of the best I've seen on a mobile device. The colors "pop" and, aside from an attraction to fingerprints and oil, the display holds up pretty well to use.

My normal device, the Nokia N97, uses a resistive touchscreen, while the Behold II uses a capacitive one. It took me a few days until I was used to the difference in touching and interacting with the Behold II in that respect. After getting used to it, I can say that with the exception of web browsing, there's really no advantage of one screen type over the other.

This device offers haptic feedback, which is pretty intelligent in that it doesn't buzz on everything -- just selections such as applications and links.

Below the screen is the usual accompaniment of buttons, which I feel are a bit overdone. For example, while I see the point for a Home button, the Call/End button does the same.

The only button that doesn't fit my finger neatly -- though it works well -- is the camera button. It requires a bit more force than the other buttons around the Behold II. The other buttons are well placed and easy to use.

The camera is well placed on the rear of the device, though I wish that it had something to cover the lens when it's not in use.

The Behold II uses a micro-USB port as its sole connector. This facilitates connecting the device to PCs as well as charging it. The port sits just offset the top center of the device, making it ideal for a workplace music device -- the 3.5 mm headset jack sits next to the micro-USB port.

Overall, the Behold II is a pretty nice package from the hardware side. If it were not the fingerprint/oil magnet, I'd probably rate it higher still. Nevertheless, its solid, and garners just enough attention when sitting on a desk/table to spark a conversation or two about using it.


Thanks to its foundation on the Google Android OS, the Samsung Behold II starts with a solid base to work from.

On top of this is 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.

How intuitive you find Android, even with TouchWiz and the excellent notifications feature, will vary depending on your previous mobile experience.

The Behold II has three homescreens you can flip through, and then there's a pull-out menu with a scrollable list of apps. You can move the icon for any app onto a homescreen to make it easier to use, or put a variety of widgets on these screens, too.

Voice Quality

The Behold II is fairly standard when it comes to voice and messaging features. From the homescreen, clicking on the Dialer or Contacts links will initiate the respective calling feature. Clicking on the Call button (not colored green as with other mobiles), will bring up the call log.

Either approach works well. The Contacts application lets you easily see a contact, while hitting a single button initiates a SMS/MMS message or voice call. If you've synced the Behold II to your Google Profile, then you gain the ability to email a contact also from that screen. Unfortunately, its only in the Contacts application where you can search for a contact -- the Dialer app does not use any kind of smart-dialing logic.

Once on a call, things are standard fare. Calls are generally clear. Even jumping between 2G (EDGE) and 3G (HSPA on T-Mobile) zones during a call, the Behold II performs well.

The speaker phone contains my only grip about the calling features. Finding the speakerphone icon during a call is not obvious, and the quality of the speakerphone varies with how much power remains in the battery. When under 40%, calls were notably more choppy throughout volume ranges. In any case, this was just the experience on my end, callers on the other end always reported that I sounded clear and there was little background noise.

E-Mail, Browser, and More
On the side of application support, the Behold II is no slouch. Aside from the commendable support for downloading software from the Android Market, this smartphone actually comes with plenty of applications.

Add to this the integration with your Google Profile (GMail, Talk, Maps, Latitude, and Voice Search) and you get a very capable device.

Setting up other email accounts besides GMail is doable from a separate application. Same for instant messaging services -- served with an IM application.

The WebKit-based web browser, while decent, took me a bit to getting used to. I blame most of that one just the Touchscreen itself. Overall, I had no issues with the browser, whether using Wi-Fi or 3G for it. I'm happy to say that 3G moved quite a bit faster than I expected.

The Voice Dialer is simple, but usable with many of my contacts; it's also able to launch other applications like Calendar and GMail.

On the multimedia side, there a Music Player, photo and video Gallery, Camcorder/Camera, and YouTube Player. These can be displayed on the rotating cube that hallmark of the TouchWiz UI.

I like the integration of the Behold II with the Amazon MP3 store -- previewing and purchasing right from the device.

Essentially, multimedia is quite covered, which isn't surprising, given its target audience.

This Samsung model is focused on consumers, not business users. So while it has some software to make you more productive -- like Memo, Task, and a World Clock -- it doesn't come with much in the way of business-related apps. This is where

This is where you can turn to the Android Market. If you want to connect to your company's Microsoft Exchange server, there's an app for that. The same goes for working with Microsoft Office files.

GPS applications like Google Maps and TeleNav performed admirably. The Behold II seems to grab near-locks within seconds whether moving or not. A few seconds later the satellites will kick in for a very accurate fix.

It was neat to see the Latitude integration on Google Maps and Voice Search. I can see both getting lots of use for entertainment-like activities. For me, I used it to find places in Charlotte, NC I had not been.

With the exception of a few holes in coverage areas, these services worked quite well. TeleNav even had an OTA upgrade available -- yet my device was not able to download this (firmware issue possible).

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.

Battery Life
This Samsung model does very well when it comes to battery life. On average, I charged it every other day. And this is with the device constantly connected to my Google account for email and IM, taking about 20 minutes to 1 hour of calls per day.

Heavier users will resort to charging each night, but even that won't take long, as the 1350 mAh battery needs only 2 hours to charge from empty. if topping off, expect to be off the charger within the hour.


I feel comfortable enough with Android to say that it's presented in a solid package on the Samsung Behold II. And while many might like the fact that there are loads of third-party apps available, it really doesn't need that many. You could could spend more time enjoying the beautiful screen and battery life rocking out to a nicely connected life.

If the iPhone was the introduction of smartphones into a more mainstream mindset, the Behold II signals that this class of device is here to stay.

Features such as on-device carrier/account management, Google services integration, and device design will appeal to many who see smartphones as a life-enabler. The music and video abilities likewise will appeal to those who aren't attached to the iTunes ecosystem.

The real question for the Behold II comes down to how plugged into Google you are. If Google is a large part of how you connect and manage information, then you are great here. If not, this smartphone may feel a bit disconnected for you.

At $230 with a 2-year contract, this device is more expensive than T-Mobile's similar myTouch 3G, probably because of its cutting-edge display. Yet, the many surprises about this device, even beyond its screen, may make the Behold II a device worth taking hold of.


* Outstanding AM-OLED Screen
* Long Battery life
* Solid suite of built-in features


* Patched-together, inconsistent UI
* Weak on business apps
* Screen is a fingerprint magnet