Samsung is set to launch its second Google Android phone. Check out hands-on photos of the Samsung Behold II for T-Mobile.
Samsung Behold II for T-Mobile
The Samsung Behold II is Samsung's second Google Android device of the United States, the first being the Samsung Moment for Sprint.
The Behold II will be available for T-Mobile and offers 3G support, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS. Unlike the Motorola Droid, the smartphone is running Android 1.5 so you're not going to get some of the enhancements of the newer OS, such as a unified in-box or Google Maps Navigation beta. It'll be up to T-Mobile as to when it will release an OS update for the Behold II as well as some of its other Android devices.
For now, you still get access to the standard Android offerings, like Android Marketplace, Web browser, Amazon MP3 Store, and Google services. The Behold II also has Exchange ActiveSync support.
Aside from the Moment, one of the things that makes the Behold II different from the other Android devices, such as the HTC Droid Eris picture here, is its 3.2-inch AMOLED capacitive touch screen. The advantages of AMOLED displays over standard LCDs are they're sharper, brighter, and also consume less power.
In a comparison with the Droid Eris (we had the brightness levels of both phones set to high), we did find the Behold II's screen to be brighter and colors were richer.
The Samsung Behold II measures 4.57 inches tall by 2.2 inches wide by 0.48 inch thick and weighs 4.2 ounces. It shares a similar candy bar design as a number of other Android devices like the HTC Droid Eris and the T-Mobile MyTouch 3G.
While not quite as sleek as the Droid Eris, the Behold II is still an attractive phone. It feels light in the hand but just a bit slick with its plastic back cover (though there is a nice little world map on back).
Another way Samsung is trying to differentiate the Behold II from other devices is with its TouchWiz interface. While elements of the Android OS is still there, you can now access all your apps from an expandable tray on the left and then drag any of them to one of three home screen panes. To remove them, simply do a long press on the shortcut and drag it back to the tray. An alternative way to add shortcuts and widgets is to do a long press on the home screen, which will bring up options to add shortcuts, widgets, folders, and wallpaper.
Another aspect of TouchWiz is the toolbar along the bottom of the screen, which gives you quick access to the phone app, contacts, Web browser, and a quick list menu. Overall, the TouchWiz interface is easy to use and certainly gives you the ability to customize, but so does the regular Android UI and we didn't find any particular advantage to TouchWiz.
One other unique thing that Samsung has added is a 3D cube navigation menu. By pressing the dedicated key below the screen, it'll bring up this cube where you can launch a bunch of multimedia apps, including the Amazon MP3 Store, dedicated YouTube app, photos, videos, music, and the Web browser. You can even shake the phone to move the cube.
Unfortunately, you can't customize this cube with the programs you want; it's something that's programmed by T-Mobile. While certainly cool, it feels more gimmicky than useful but it'll certainly grab the attention of onlookers.
The smartphone features a built-in accelerometer with portrait and landscape keyboards. The screen provides haptic feedback so you feel a little buzz when you touch the screen. The keyboard on the Behold II is the standard Android keyboard, which we found pretty easy to use on this, particularly in landscape mode.
Below the display, you get the standard set of navigation controls, including Talk and End keys, a back button, a Menu shortcut, directional keypad, and the cube navigation button we mentioned earlier. All are easy to use and the layout of the controls are roomy enough to prevent mispresses.
On top of the device, you'll find a 3.5mm headphone jack and Micro-USB port/power connector. It's nice to see that Samsung is going with more standard ports these days instead of using its own proprietary connectors.
T-Mobile packages the smartphone with an AC adapter, a USB cable, a 2GB microSD card, hands-free headset, a carrying case, and reference material. Not bad.
The Samsung Behold II is equipped with a 5-megapixel camera with flash, autofocus, 8x zoom, and video-recording capabilities. As you'll see in the next slide, the picture quality is quite good.
Other multimedia features include a dedicated YouTube app, access to the Amazon MP3 Store, and Samsung's own music player. The sound quality was quite good, as we listened to various genres of music. Video playback was also great--smooth and brilliant-looking on the AMOLED screen.
As you can see, the Behold II's 5-megapixel camera did a nice job of capturing our standard shot. A number of camera phones we've tested have a problem with the harsh fluorescent lighting in our photo studio, but here the image is clear and coloring is pretty accurate.