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Samsung Behold SGH-T919 review: Samsung Behold SGH-T919

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The Behold's camera offers a flash and a self-portrait mirror.

The 5-megapixel camera is one of the Behold's strong points. It takes pictures in four resolutions, from 2,560x1,920 down to 640x480. You also can choose from two "wide" resolutions that use the full expanse of the Behold's display. Other editing options include four quality settings, exposure metering, an adjustable ISO, a self-timer, an auto-focus, six "scene" settings (night, landscape, action, etc.), brightness and white balance, four color effects, three shutter sounds (there's no silent option), an antishake feature, and a setting for shooting backlit subjects. You also can use three shooting modes (continuous, panorama, and mosaic), and the "smile shot" mode promises to detect when a subject is smiling. Similar to the Samsung Innov8, it will take another shot again if it "sees" a frown. The flash has three options--always on, auto, and off--but its effect on photos is pretty minimal.

The camcorder shoots clips with sound in two resolutions (320x240 and 176x144). Camcorder options are fewer than on the still camera, but it's a decent assortment. Clips meant for multimedia messages are capped at about 4 minutes, but you can shoot for much longer in the standard mode. The camcorder has 180MB of internal memory, but the microSD-card slot will accommodate cards up to 16GB. The camera menus are easy to use and we like the explanatory text that helps you identify the camera functions.


The Behold takes quality photos.

Photo quality was very good, with sharp colors. There was some image noise around the edges of our shots, and photos suffered in low light conditions because of the weak flash, but on the whole, we were quite pleased with our pictures. Once finished with our shots we could move them off the phone easily using Bluetooth, a multimedia message, or a USB cable. When selecting mass storage mode and using a USB cable, our PC recognized the phone instantly. Alternatively, you can compose an audio postcard with sound and a photo. Video quality wasn't as great, unfortunately. Though admittedly our clips were better than many other camera phones, they were still grainy.

The music player has a straightforward interface that supports album art. Features aren't plentiful, but you get playlists, shuffle and repeat modes and six equalizer settings. Using a USB cable, we dropped music onto the phone without a hitch. You can send the player to the background while using other functions and select an airplane mode for listening to your tunes while aloft.

The Behold offers a full HTML browser that was somewhat hit or miss. Aside from the occasional jerky movement, the display is relatively responsive when scrolling through a Web page using your finger. Yet, we wish there was an easier way to zoom in on a page. Though it's no different from other Samsung phones (like the Instinct), pressing a button to zoom isn't quite the same as the iPhone's multitouch interface. We admit that we've been spoiled, but like it or not, the iPhone set the bar for a phone with a full Web browser. Also, it's important to note that the Behold will default to a WAP version of a Web site when one is available (which is almost always the case). There should be an easier way to switch to the full HTML version. But back on the upside, it was a snap to save bookmarks and enter URLs using the virtual keyboard.

You can personalize the Behold with a variety of wallpaper and a greeting. You can download more options and additional ringtones from T-Mobile's t-zones service. The handset comes with demo versions of two games--Bejewled and Sims 2--and you can purchase the full versions and additional titles. You also get a PhotoPuzzle game for fun with your pictures.

Performance
We tested the quad-band (GSM 850/900/1800/1900) Samsung Behold SGH-T919 world phone in San Francisco using T-Mobile service. Call quality was quite admirable; we enjoyed a clear signal, with loud volume. Voices sounded relatively natural, though some callers sounded a bit breathy. The phone also picked up a small amount of wind noise, but it wasn't a big problem. The handset is compliant with M3 hearing aids.

On their end, callers said we sounded fine. They reported some background noise, as well, but most of our callers were satisfied with the quality. We also never had a dropped call or encountered static or interference.

Speakerphone calls weren't quite as good. Though the clarity was fine, we had to turn up the volume to the highest levels if we wanted to hear. And at those levels, voices sounded a bit distorted. Callers could hear us when were using a speakerphone, but we had to speak close to the handset. Bluetooth headset calls were satisfactory.

The Behold supports T-Mobile growing 3G network (UMTS 17002100). As we noticed on the T-Mobile G1, the 3G speed is lightning fast. We connected to Web pages within seconds and were pleased by the browsing experience. So far, T-Mobile has impressed us with its 3G network and we see it as an improvement over AT&T.

Music quality was decent, but not great. The external speaker doesn't have the best output and the audio was rather tinny. We advise using a headset for the best experience.

The Samsung behold has a rated battery life of 5 hours talk time and 12.5 days standby time. Our tests revealed a talk time of 4 hours and 37 minutes. According to FCC radiation tests, the Behold has a digital digital SAR rating of 0.985 watts per kilogram.

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