TmoNews Goes Hands On With Samsung Behold 2

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The list of phones these days that actually gets me into a frenzy remains remarkably short considering my nerd-like excitement over new devices.   That being said, the Samsung Behold 2 was on the short list of phones I was really looking forward to getting for a hands-on evaluation and, thanks to the fine folks at Samsung, TmoNews has its very first review device.

We’ve seen quite a few reviews of this device already, ranging from decent to just plain disgust and I’m falling somewhere in the middle.  The phone has some things to love and other features that will make you want to scream.  We can start with the Touchwiz UI, or the Cube as it’s properly called, and, frankly, I don’t like it.  I don’t out and out hate it as others have clearly expressed, but it’s certainly not my cup of tea.  On the opposite end of the spectrum though is the screen, AMOLED goodness that makes my heart warm.  It’s beautiful, clear and did I mention beautiful.

A description of the exterior of the device can be summarized in one word, solid.  Like its predecessor, it’s comfortable to hold, albeit a little larger in terms of both height and width.  Still, I had no complaints when holding it in my baby-sized hands as it was comfortable to talk and text without any difficulty.  The 3.2 inch AMOLED touchscreen is just gorgeous, nothing but brilliance here.  As an iPhone owner, I’m used to a clear and vibrant screen and, in my opinion; the iPhone doesn’t hold a candle to the Behold 2 in terms of how deep the colors are.  As for the map of the world on the back, it’s just oddly placed and its real purpose just eludes me.

While the screen itself is beautiful, the amount of buttons under the screen seems convoluted and unnecessary.  I would prefer either buttons that are touch based or simply less buttons. Aside from all this, the lock key mechanism on the side sucks.  It’s just not convenient to constantly have to lock/unlock the screen to use it and it’s frustrating also. Aside from the button bonanza, the exterior of the phone is not spectacular, but not anything that would make me hesitate recommending this to your grandmother.

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As for the software that makes the Samsung Behold 2 go round, it’s a smorgasbord of typical Android mixed together with Samsung’s TouchWiz.  The Wi-Fi, camera and Bluetooth controls are straight TouchWiz and it’s not bad at all.  In fact, the camera controls are actually quite pleasant and produce pictures that make this a mighty fine substitute if you ever see an alien spaceship land in front of you.

The 3D cube, however, makes me wonder how many meetings the people at Samsung had trying to decide if this should have been added in or not. Frankly, it’s pointless and I think the phone would have been better off without it. It serves no real purpose other than to try and beautify options that simply don’t need beautification of any kind.  I like simple; simple is good and this isn’t simple.  It’s downright messy.

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Aside from all this, the standard Android menu now pops up from the left side rather than the bottom which is hardly important, but it is frustrating at the same time. I am constantly looking to the bottom to pull up the menu and it’s never there—it’s turned my world upside down. I like it on the bottom, I want it on the bottom and I demand from this moment forward, all Android developers do so.  However, as much as I don’t care for some of the software features, everything looks damn better on this phone than it did on the Cliq.  The AMOLED screen makes everything that much more exciting to use because it just looks nicer.

I never bothered with the Multimedia functions since I am spoiled by those of other devices, including the iTunes integration of the iPhone, one of my primary reasons for owning the device.  The business support for this device is not something I could recommend since opening up documents proved to be a challenge as no editing software was included to view documents, nevermind editing them.  Calls were on par with the previous Behold, loud.  However, other T-Mobile devices including the Cliq have terrific voice quality as per Motorola standards.

This is a phone directed at consumers and, while business users can find solutions to missing elements in the Android market, it’s not a phone I would recommend. Those persons looking for a device that elevates them to smartphone status as well as jumping on the Android bandwagon would do well here but business users take heed.  A $229 price point for a phone that is decidedly average is a deal breaker though.  Drop this to $149 and it becomes that much more attractive.  For now, I’d say give it a really good run in the store before deciding to buy.

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  • ACatHas9Lives

    So basically the only good thing on this phone is that it has a nice screen? Awesome. Well worth $230 in my opinion.

  • Corey

    Well this is disappointing. My Tmo contract is up and I am looking to jump on the android bandwagon… I have been debating between the Behold 2 and the Droid. I have played with the Droid for a bit… and I wasn’t too impressed.

    I was really hoping for a grand slam for the Christmas season…

    • Bill48105

      What kind of phone you have currently? When I wanted to try Android I found a version on XDA that would run on my Diamond. :D It was pretty cool (buggy as expected and not speediest) but it gave me a taste & I decided to stick with Windows Mobile for now. Anyway, maybe a way for a free test to possibly satisfy that urge if you have a compatible phone to try it out if you have the time to play.

      Btw there are a few who’ll say if you were not that impressed with Droid there is no way a Tmo one will but I’d sooner say your reluctance to be impressed might be saying you’re destined for disappointment whichever one you try. Guess it’s good you have a grace period to try it out if you pull the trigger. ;)

      • Corey

        I should clarify… I wasn’t impressed with the keyboard, which would have been a huge selling point. I like the keyboard on the TP2, because the spacing helps me type without staring at the keyboard.

        Also, the droid doesn’t have designated call/end buttons. This means I have to rely solely on the touch screen to answer/end my calls. Probably not a big deal… but it’s still something I would need to get used to.

        Back to the Behold 2…
        I thought the whole point to android is that anyone can download the apps to make the UI completely customizable. If that is the case, can’t I just donwload something that will hide/change the touchwiz UI?

    • timmyjoe42

      The Cliq is pretty awesome. I love it.

  • 30014

    Not really interested in the behold 2, but congratulations on getting your 1st review device. Hopefully this is a sign that tmonews is finally getting the respect that it deserves.

  • http://joshuascape.com Joshua

    I use an iPhone too, but with the new Even More Plus plans, it’s nice to know I can jump back with android whenever I see fit for just a few bucks more a month.

    I hafta say though – I’d be much more interested in the Behold II if it had a better processor. That qualcomm just isn’t enough.

  • Taylor

    ive had my eye on this phone for some time now, (is stuck wit the lame mytouch)but have only seen few vids that i really didnt much like, phonedog is always awesome but didnt do the job good, cnet..nehz, i just really need to go to a tmo store.

    Very nice. :)

  • mike

    I have this phone , and this phone is awesome,does everything on a phone have to have a purpose??NNOOO the cube is awesome.the screen is amazing ,and to me this phone is way better than the mytouch or any other phone that ive had.. i recommend to people that have never played with this phone dont listen to anybody until u have ur own opinion..i absolutely love this phone…NICE JOB SAMSUNG.

  • FILA

    eh, its a sammy, and just wait for the G1v2, these phones have all the same guts, we need processing power damnit!

  • http://tmonews.com BenNYC

    I’m going to wait and wait and wait. I’m looking for a highend smart phone with a ton a features and some sex apeal from TMobile. Like the HTC HD2 or a better android phone in the near future. Unfortunately this phone is not it espically with that old android 1.6 OS!

  • heh

    Gosh, what in in-depth “review”, heh
    my girlfriend is now an ex-iPhone junkie thanks to this handset
    try aHome on it and life will be better.

    There are books that teach you how to create a piece of journalism.
    They are pretty cheap too, I would suggest one.

    • David

      Where did I say I was going in-depth??

    • http://iNet2.Tv ernieJohnston

      heh says: try aHome on it
      Now that it is out, can anyone confirm that this phone supports UMA (Unlicensed Mobile Access) for voice known as T-Mobile’s HotSpot@Home technology? It and Android are a MUST HAVE for my next phone. Add AMOLED as well. Thanks.

  • heh

    Oh, and PS
    Just wait to see how it works @ 7.2

    dayum!

  • dboy

    today i play with it at a tmobile store and i liked it! it feels good and looks good!! but for that price all i got to say is HEEEELL NOOOO!!!

  • CradleOfChaos

    Right on David, thanks for the review. Nice job!

  • MichMan

    It’s the half speed HSDPA that turned me off. I’m typing this on my cliq and I LOVE it.

  • drag4k

    Well, I actually do like the cube thing. I dont have to go to the drawer, scroll to the gallery, etc. I just launch the cube, and im a tap away from the pics. Also the same applies to youtube and the other apps. The only one that i dont use is amazon mp3.. I also like the screen transitions and the a wallpaper for each screen. I feel that i can really customize each screen to my likes.

  • MAXIMUS

    Wondering how this phone works on HSPA 7.2 is like wondering what it would be like to drive a Hyundai Accent on the Autobahn.

  • branon

    Congratulations. Much deserved. Keep up the good work.

  • DudeDu

    Happy with the phone. Bought it off eBay for a good price (EM+ plan) b/c i liked the specs better than the MT3G, and the videos/reviews from people that liked it were more encouraging than the barrage of people that hated the phone.

    Honest review above. Home screen replacement goes a long way. I might upgrade the keyboard.

    Had some issues with the exchange support, though. Touchdown seems to be a good alternative, as I was worried I’d have to go back to my BB for work purposes.

    Overall, very happy. Still looking forward to the next gen TMO android phones, but this seems to be a good jumping on point (as long as you can stomach the price. By far the $$ is the major downer on this phone, even more so than the “cube” – which they’ll hopefully let us convert the button to something else in a future release…if not, oh well)

  • David

    I’m happy with the phone myself, though a few things. Locale runs into a bug that causes the phone to reboot. And there are some options missing from the phone settings that are visible in stock android. Other then that, I’m very happy with the phone.

  • kershon

    Great unbiased review. And informative for me since I have never owned an android device. I hope this is just the first of many to come. I like the looks of this phone and I think the cube could be kinda a fun thing, if not a novelty. If and when I get a second device (already use and enjoy the bb 9700) I will certainly give this a look. Even though it is not as good business or email-wise it appears to me that it would be a fun device to browse the interwebs with and just be cool. Keep those reviews coming David. I really enjoyed the read. Thanks

  • NiiDiddy

    Everything David mentioned in his article are true! Earlier this week, I was a the T-Mobile store and played extensively with this phone. I wasnt impressed in the least bit. I hated everything about the TouchWiz, together with it’s ‘haptic’ feedbakc [which I am sure can be turned off]; Cube is useless; Keyboard sucks…original Android keyboard is way better; certainly not great for business; Heck I hated the screen…very coloful, but touch feedback is groggy and not smooth at all to operate.

    The only thing good, for me – Camera!! If I was selling this phone, I’d be selling it for $129.99!!! But that’s just me :)

  • watbetch

    TouchWiz and that cube is just retarded. Otherwise this is one of the best Android devices they have, but the price is just a touch too high. 199 should be the highest..

  • Aston

    it was either this or the 9700. thank god i went with the 9700! i dont like the web browser.

    • 30014

      You’re kidding right? You’re actually comparing androids web browser to the one on a blackberry. The main reason I left blackberry for android is because the bb web browser is garbage. I had a bb curve 8320 for two years so I would know. I also have played with the bb 9700 and the improvements to its web browser compared to my curve are incrementally small.

  • 2FR35H

    whats wrong with the price? It just right the gorgeous touch screen that really no other phone can touch, the 5 megapixel camera with flash very nice, The Android OS? great but will more than likely to get 2.0…. The phone that doesn’t seem worth is cliq for 229 thats a rip. But this screen is simply gorgeous and pretty as long as it gots that and android its all good.

  • WinMoAlso

    Congratulations TMo News. I guess you have “made it” in the online blog world. Your first review device! Ya know not everybody gets one of them things. Even T-Mobile is advertising on your site. Your value is obvious to all.

  • TrueCoug

    Have this phone – I have two issues with it: the screen lock/unlock button on the side is annoying, as this review stated. Second, and even MORE annoying, is the lack of an LED indicator light that lets you know if there’s a missed call, text message, or voicemail. ARGH! You have to light up your screen if you want to check. And it even looks like there IS an LED light next to the earpiece, but it just ain’t lighting up. Maybe there will be a software upgrade, or an app or something.

  • Steven

    I have the MyTouch and I know someone at work with the Samsung Behold II. She knows nothing about phones and, I have to say, gave the most damning review of it I’ve heard. She said, “It’s just not easy to use. It’s slow and the cube thing is pointless.” I tend to agree from my experience with her phone. It’s very laggy and, although the screen is beautiful, I don’t see it any great improvement over the current Android devices. I swear, I see new devices all the time and I don’t see any that make me want to give up my MyTouch and buy a new phone. Except maybe the Droid, but that’s not on T-Mo.

    • NiiDiddy

      @ Steven – I am 100% with you! I have tried them all [I would go for the Droid if it was on T-Mobile.]

      To add to that, I also enjoy better, a device that has plain old Android on it…that is why I still have and enjoy the MyTouch until something bigger/better comes to T-Mobile…Everything else that is Android in the T-Mobile line up is garbage to me!

      That’s my opinion people…don’t want no “hate comments”…Thx ;)

  • bigg

    Phone seem decent but the price, not so much. Posting this reply from my N900, way better than the sammy behold 2

  • SEFan

    Well, this is more complimentary than some of the reviews I’ve read, but still a bit of a miss on Samsung’s part. I was waiting so long for the Galaxy, which from the hardware specs this is. Then they had to wreck it by putting all this Touchwiz overlay on it. And the price! Have they even looked at the competition’s pricing??

    Maybe when it drops to $149 I’ll consider, and finally learn to work with a rooted phone….

  • MAXIMUS

    I’ve heard from my own friends working at T-Mobile what a design disaster this phone is. They all shake their heads on what was T-Mobile/Samsung was thinking. The buttons are the first fatal flaw they all ranted about and after that it was TouchWiz. I’m going to my friend’s store later today to have a look at the phone myself. I’ll try to be a bit more unbiased about the BH2 unlike the Droid haters encountered here.

    Congrats to David for your review. Keep up the great work.

  • mikey

    This phone is way better than people are giving it credit for. The interface is much better. Plain android is ugly and boring….this phone spices things up!! The cube is a shortcut to your multi-media apps. It also gives you a much better looking interface to work with photos and music. There are about 5 different ways to do anything on this phone…..pick the one you like best and stick with it. The whole point to this phone is options!! You have a lot of different options on top of the boring old android ones. Oh and it does full corporate email that is push with contacts and calendar sync and has a document viewer (word, excel, power point and pdf) already built into the phone.

    • 30014

      Everything u said may be true, but the phone will be a failure because of its price point. A pretty screen and camera flash don’t make up for the phones other shortcomings. Tmo has had android for over a year, but it took verizon to put it on the map. Thanks tmo for giving me “the phones I crave”.

  • Rich

    So there is no way to turn off “the Cube”?

    Even the TP2 will let you turn of the TouchFlo contraption.

    Since it’s Android, I guess it could be rooted and enjoyed properly then. :-)

  • God

    Well i unfortunately purchased this phone one because my g1 had gotten old, and there isn’t any good HTC phones that run android on t-mobile. I use to refuse to buy Samsung phones because most of them were junk. The Samsung behold II had all the makings of a good phone but for every positive the phone has there is a negative to match. Positives the screen looks great, I love the camera and flash, built in file program,headlhone jack. Now for the bad take a seat for this one. Top of the list the retarded touchwiz/cube UI wthf this makes me hate the phone it like a cute girl with an std i just cant do anything with it That i want to. If Samsung came at with a way to run stock android (not 1.5 ) i would actually pay cash and while there at it i would like to re task the cube button also i keep hitting it by accident. Battery life sucks as soon as someone starts selling aftermarket batteries that’s something else ill have to buy. Not happy with the mini usb either, be able to access the sd card without taking off the back case would have been nice not to mention piece of junk they came up with to hold the card in place was a waste. Back to things Samsung could fix i need a way to disable the notifications from the default messaging app quite frankley it makes me sick i and would delete it for the space its wasting. Hey apps that waist space well hey just delete them right? Wrong who the fuck wants to play dinner dash raise your hand please, if you raised your hand just please save me th troube and go kill yourself. Well Im at work so lets rap this up ummmm needs a trackball, i miss the little blinking light that let me know i had a message. Oh i forgot a soothing the sound quality isn’t bad but…… The contacts and call log suck. If some one at Samsung reads this if you want to help keep your company afloat youshould do everything in your power to find the people that were responsible for destroying this phone and kill them and if your one of them go and blindfold yourself and play in traffic. I don’t think anyone really tested this phone before it came out most of this was fixable. Well it’s ok at least there’s always ebay. Don’t take anything i say to heart and please excuse any errors in grammar and spelling Im on my phone at work and and the nurse Im working with just got implants and i can do this and stare at the same time and hey this post wasn’t a total lost i just made $30+ doing nothing and staring at boobs. Have a happy holiday and god bless America.

    • Rich

      ummmm, nice review actually, sort of.

      Let me know if you need an assistant.

  • http://www.hagrin.com zeesix

    There are 2 MAJOR (but fixable) issues with this phone. 1) the user interface (cube or wtf you want to call it). It needs to go. 2) The price is just outrageous.

    Both of these problems can easily be fixed. Aside from that this phone would be the best android phone on tmobile (which unfortunately isn’t saying much). The ancient processor is really just pathetic. Nonetheless, it has a 5mp cam, LED flash, and 3.5mm jack.

  • TmoAsian

    Do you guys think the first behold is better?

    Because I have one, and it bascilly is the best phone, and value in tmos lineup. And it’s also pretty much the only thing good in tmos lineup.

  • http://www.dentonrealestate.com SaoDavi

    Worst phone I ever owned. Samsung took a beautiful piece of hardware and totally screwed it up. They should have just left it with the standard Android 2.0. I mean, if you’re going to tweak the default UI you should at least make it *better* (a la HTC SenseUI). Samsung made it WORSE. And what’s up with Android 1.5 when the Droid shipped sooner and had 2.0? TouchWiz ruined what was otherwise an impeccable phone. Shame on Samsung for this.

  • cassidy

    I just bought this behold 2and i must say i really hate the keyboard. Its too small to work with. And the phone is toolong. Everything else is impresive.

  • ryan

    i had the behold 2 for about 2 weeks and just sold it to my sister for 100$ because all the things i read about it lol. it was a awesome phone! i had a moto rokr before the behold 2 so you can see why i liked it so much but this site talked me into the htc hd2! im taking a day off work to get that phone! i dont know if i should thank this site or not lol!