T-Mobile launched the Behold yesterday and after one day of having fun, playing and messing around, KidEgo, a user for our forums, made this interesting review.
The Samsung Behold, in my most humble opinion, is one of the best looking phone T-Mobile has come out with in a long time. I’ve been a fan of the design of the Blackberry Curve, and it’s little sister, the Pearl, for quite some time. I find their design to be sleek and stylish, while maintaining the cool looks of a classy phone. Another one of my favorite phones is the T-Mobile G1. No, it’s not a chick magnet. It will probably never win any awards for phone design, but it is a good, solid phone that does what it does well. Then there is the Samsung T919, or the Behold. Sleek, thin, shinny, and may I dare say, sexy.
The phone sitting in your hand is a comfortable experience that feels natural to use one handed, or at least it was for myself. It has a nice solid feel to it, and does not feel at all like a cheap plastic toy. The weight, while surprisingly light, does feel a bit uneven. The top end of the phone, where the camera sits, actually feels heavier than the bottom half, where the battery rests, making it feel a little unbalanced. Speaking of which, the battery cover is a very appealing tin-type metal, available in Espresso or Rose. I purchased the former, and I find the color to be very pleasant to look at, although finger smudge protectionists out there will notice finger prints building up on it quite easy. The same can be said for the screen, which I’ll talk about soon.
The phone has 5 dedicated buttons on the phone: Answer/send, hang-up/end, a back button located between the send and end keys, a camera button, and the lock button, which to me, feels flawed. It’s located on the right side of the phone, more than halfway down the the side of the phone, just above the camera key. It’s an unnatural place for it, and would of been better placed on top of the phone. Of course, that’s just personal opinion, and others may not agree with that.
Samsung, using the TouchWiz(TM) interface, has specifically designed widgets to use in order to customize it’s look, unique to each user. It uses a simple drag and drop placement system, taken from the pop-out menu tray from the left hand side of the screen. Simply open the tray by touching it, scroll up or down to find the widget of choice, and drag it out to your desired location, and release it. Although it does have a better drag-and-drop-anywhere feel to it, it is not 100% anywhere-you-please placement. It is, however, better than the G1, which when you drag an icon for placement and release, it goes to the round about location you want it to go to,rahter than the exact location you wanted. The included widgets are My Faves, Web, Photos, Message Inbox, IM, Tips, Search, My Account (Tzones account management screen), Telenav (free trial, $9.99 a month access fee), Voice Recognition, Calendar, Photos, Bluetooth, Today, Message Composer, Games and Apps, Voice Mail, Digital Clock, Analog Clock, Dual Clock, and Birthday.
TouchWiz(TM) works very well, if not a little too sensitive for my own tastes. Try as I might, I was unable to find a way to decrease the sensitivity of the screen so that the lightest of touches wouldn’t accidentally open an application that wasn’t intended. Many times I tried to scroll through the widget menu, looking for the app I wanted, and ended up either opening it, or dragging it out to the “desktop” for shortcut access.
The Bluetooth functionality to me was very questionable. While using the device, talking to a T-Mo CC rep due to their online address book not working properly (yes, it is supported on this phone), I was using my headset, a Jabra bt125. Not the best of headsets, but I’ve never encountered any problems with it before. Throughout the entire time, on multiple calls, I dealt with some migraine inducing static, even though the phone was only a mere two feet from the device. I hope this was an isolated incident with my unit, and others don’t experience what I have.
The onscreen keyboard, before I forget, is a simple joy to use. The phones I’ve bought inb the past were of the T9 variety for texting, and I found the experience to be fluid and simple. I easily pounded out texts on T9 like it was second nature for me, with only the smallest of mistakes. Most of those, however, were because I either didn’t have my vocabulary updated into the phones memory yet, or my big thumbs were hitting the wrong key on a rare occasion. The space key was a little harder to push for some reason, but it’s not a deal breaker. When the screen is tilted sideways, the QWERTY keyboard loads up, and typing can begin, albeit on smaller letters, which are more prone to wrong key strokes. IMO, the T9 was the best way of using it, especially while driving a car (not that I would ever do such a thing, or condone it for that use…
The screen, ah, what a nice thing to look at. It’s very clean and crisp, and displays a very vivid picture worth showing off to envious friends and coworkers. However, as I said earlier, it is a finger print magnet, and those that freak out over such things, will find themselves constantly wiping the screen off. True that is an inherent problem with a touch screen device, but nonetheless, it is still very noticeable. I had no trouble seeing the screen on a bright day, and with multiple screen brightness levels available to the user, most will probably not have any issues either.
Included in the Behold are a music player (with different EQ type settings, though I thought were not too good) and a video player (which I have not tried out), as well as built-in A-GPS, which can only be used with Telenav. Stereo bluetooth is also included (though not tested by me), along with a hands free dialing system. Does it work? Well, I can’t comment, because no matter what phone I use, I never get them to work right. Guess I need to work on my enunciation. Also included is a Memo app, Calculator, World Clock, Converter, Timer, Stopwatch, Alarm, Games (a Bejeweled demo, a Sims 2 demo, and Photopuzzle), and a Tasks application.
Any attempts to load and install applications such as Operamin were unsuccessfull. It seems as though T-Mobile has locked down all paths, including Java apps.
“Experience the freedom of the web truly at your fingertips. The full touch screen of the beautifully designed Samsung Behold gives you seamless access to your mobile life”….This is a recording…This is a recording…This is a….yeah, whatever. That’s placed right there on the front of the box the phone comes in, along with the picture of the phone with it’s web browser open. Is it an accurate statement? No. Far from it in my opinion. After using various browsers, on various phones, I find it to be well below the experience of some phones, but better than others. It functions, it gets on the web, but it just doesn’t render web pages the proper way. Even entering in Google to do a search, most phones would more than likely re-direct you to the mobile version for optimized viewing/use. Not so, or at least for my experiences. It rendered each page in long, awkward columns, and left the pages looking distorted and in a jumbled mess. My conclusion on the browser? Don’t buy the phone expecting to use the browser on a consistent basis. Rather, go into it with the notion that if you needed access to the net, you have access to do so, but not easily. It is sub par, and is the least enjoyable experience on the phone.
Ah, how sweet it is to now have 5 mp camera phones available for purchase for budding photogs everywhere. Finally a camera phone that matches my 2 year old Canon PowerShot A610. At least on paper it does. Or should I say I thought it could be possible. Okay, not so much, but you get the idea. While it does take decent pictures, it’s just that…decent. Pictures consistently turned out with a yellow tinge to them, and had to be touched up in the photo editor before I was satisfied with what I had. not good for people that want to fire a snap shot off and forget about it.
It offers the ability to record video (not tried), and multiple features found in most stand alone cameras:
- Shot Mode (Single, Continuous, Panorama, Smile Shot, or Mosaic)
- Timer (off, 2 sec, 5 sec, or 10 sec)
- Flash (on, off, auto)
- Brightness levels (up and down 3 values)
- Scene Mode (none, Portrait, Landscape, Night, Sports, Sunset, and Dawn)
- Resolution Changer (2560×1920, 2048×1536, 1600×1200, 640×480, 2560×1536, 400×240)
- White Balance (auto, Daylight, Incandescent, Fluorescent, and Cloudy)
- Effects (none, Black and White, Sepia, Negative, and Water Color)
- Auto Focus, ISO (auto, 100,200,400)
- Image Quality (Economy, Normal, Fine, and Superfine)
- Exposure Meter (Spot, Center-weighted, and Matrix)
Three different shutter sounds, storage options: phone or memory card, review options, and a guidelines option.
While these are nice features packed in, I still feel as though the camera has too much lost potential. Setting options for preferences in the camera never seemed to stick. I constantly had to go back and setup the shot every time I wanted to take a picture, or risk taking a bad picture that I was gonna end up deleting because it didn’t turn out right. Even after taking the shot, with the settings I preferred, I found I still had to go back in and edit the picture on the phone and tweak it to my liking before I fired it off to Flikr or my T-Mobile photo album. Not a fun process, especially if your on the go, and don’t have much time on your hands.
I’m enjoying the phone for what it is: a phone. I have my work horse (the Blackberry Curve), I have my internet/play thing (the T-Mobile/Google G1), and I have a solid phone (the Behold). It functions just as I thought it would, though I had hoped for a better performance from the browser. Still, I found the overall experience to be a good one, and worth recommending if you aren’t interested in the aforementioned phones. Don’t expect an email machine (this isn’t one by any means), or an internet experience for web junkies like myself (also not the one), and you may find yourself a happy camper if you find yourself in the market for a touch screen phone.
Overall Score: 7/10 (not an average)