Samsung Behold II T939 Review

Introduction and Design

Not too often do we see successor devices gaining much more attention than their original predecessors, but the Samsung Behold II T939 has a larger following thanks to its connection with Android. The original handset debuted less than a year ago with little fanfare behind it except for being T-Mobile's first TouchWiz-powered handset with a higher than normal 5-megapixel camera. Shortly afterwards, much of the Samsung Behold's fire was extinguished after the release of the camera-focused Samsung Memoir. Now we have the Behold II setting its sights on the rapid popularity of the Android platform while offering a new interface perspective to really set it apart from all the others out there. With so many Android handsets saturating the market in recent months, the Samsung Behold II may need to really stand out in order to capture the rising audience interested in the open platform – especially T-Mobile customers who already have their choice of robust pickings.

The package contains:
•    Samsung Behold II T939
•    Charger
•    USB Cable
•    Carrying Case
•    Stereo Headset
•    2GB microSD card with adapter
•    User Manual
•    Service Guide


The Samsung Behold II doesn't scream anything spectacular from a design perspective – you've got the usual slate form-factor to accommodate its touchscreen. Comparing it to the original handset, it's a bit longer (4.57”) while the rest of the dimensions remain relatively the same. The slick plastic exterior feels good in the hand, but doesn't exude the premium materials seen on the Motorola DROID or HTC Hero. Luckily the construction seems solid enough all around to make us believe that it can withstand a good deal of normal wear and tear. Thanks to the plastic housing, it is lightweight (4.2 oz) enough to hold in the hand effortlessly and fits snug into a pocket.

You can compare the Samsung Behold II T939 with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

Even before turning on the phone, we know the level of radiance we were expecting with the Behold II's 3.2” AMOLED capacitive touchscreen. To that avail, we weren't disappointed with its resolution of 320 x 480 with support for 16 million colors. The AMOLED display truly emits wonderful rich colors that's sure to keep your eyes fixed on it while black levels are nearly dead on – you may have a difficult time knowing if the screen is on or off because of it. At every angle you place the device, you'll still be able to view the screen without a hitch. The same cannot be said when using it outdoors in direct sunlight where it'll make it almost unreadable unless you use your hand to shield it. Near the top right portion of the screen, you'll locate both the light and proximity sensors which aid in the conservation of power. The Behold II continues Samsung's tradition of being a key player in offering one of the newer screen technologies for its handsets.

There's plenty of front facing hardware buttons on the Behold II that execute a variety functions. We like the plastic buttons surrounding the circular directional pad that emulate the milled metallic look – all well sized and have a solid tactile feel. These buttons include the home, send, end, menu, back, and cube – the latter being the one heavily featured. The sole thing to be found on the left edge is the adequate sized volume rocker while the right side houses the lock and shutter keys. All have a solid button feel with the shutter key having two levels of press. Fortunately, Samsung has decided to go with a standard microUSB port and 3.5mm headset jack that are both found on the top edge of the phone. Flipping it over to its back will reveal a map of the world design, giving it somewhat of an appeal for some, but still not as nice looking as the one we witnessed with the Samsung Jet.  Also tucked away in the rear is the 5-megapixel camera with LED flash and speaker phone. Sliding off the back panel will give you access to the battery, SIM card slot, and microSD slot – we would've preferred a spring loading microSD slot located elsewhere on the phone to make it more convenient.

Samsung Behold II T939 360 Degrees View:


You'd think that one of the latest Android handsets to hit the market would be packing the latest incarnation of the platform right? With high hopes set on high, we were brought back to realization that the Samsung Behold II is running verion 1.5 of Android – that's especially frustrating when you see handsets like the T-Mobile G1 and HTC Magic getting treated to 1.6 already. Fortunately Samsung has decided to integrate a new version of its very own TouchWiz interface on top of the usual Android UI. You can see remnants of TouchWiz in the bottom row of icons on the home screen – these include the dialer, contacts, web, and quick list. The latter opens up a grid menu of unchangeable icons that TouchWiz users may seem familiar to using on other phone. Throughout the phone, there are dashes of TouchWiz being integrated into the operating system – so seasoned users will be able to take notice quickly.

As with any other Android handset, there's a lot of personalization one can do with the platform. The three home screens remain intact, but it has a cube-like look to it when you swipe your finger to switch between the different wallpapered homescreens – the animation looks a bit choppy though. Accessing your full list of applications can be done by either pressing or sliding the left bar on the homescreen. One really annoying thing that happens constantly when you're swiping from left to right to navigate between the home screens is the accidental press of the menu bar – causing it to come up instead of moving to another homescreen. Another issue that plagues the Behold II is its overall sluggish performance in whatever you're trying to do. Even when all applications are halted, there is an occasional lag the phone goes through – it's augmented when multiple apps are running.

One of the neatest things about the phone is the 3D cube navigation that offers an alternative option to navigating – you can simply press the dedicated button to launch it. The snazzy looking 3D effects are in full swing and provide some eye candy – making it move smoothly with a flick of a finger. Shaking the phone abruptly will cause it to randomly come to a halt on one of six available options – these include YouTube, Amazon MP3 Store, web browser, photos, videos, and music. You'll be greeted to a cover flow-esque type of interface that will allow you to browse specific media. Sure it's a great looking interface filled with smooth animations, but the novelty of it soon runs out and we found ourselves rarely using it. There are just way too many options on accessing certain apps or media on the phone – from widgets, the cube navigation, quick list, and full menu list. Of all the available options, we found using the full menu list to be used most widely.

Organizer and Messaging:

There's really nothing to say about the usual list of organizer functions that's packed on the Behold II. The calendar will sync wirelessly with your Gmail account so there will never be a discrepancy about your whereabouts. Other organizer tools like the memo pad task lists are on board to keep your busy life in check.

Being a physical keyboard-less handset, the Behold II makes you rely on its on-screen QWERTY keyboards for all input methods. Sending text messages is a rather simple process, but the lack of responsiveness of the on-screen QWERTY frustrated us to no end. If you're the kind of person to take it slow typing on the QWERTY, then you'll find the experience to be decent. For all the rest of us that speed types, it will become apparent to you at how slow the phone tries to keep up with your finger movements – even when using the landscape QWERTY.  If it were a bit more responsive, the experience would have been better overall.

If there's anything that every Android handset does right, it has to be email; specifically Gmail. We didn't have any problems setting up our Gmail, Yahoo, or Hotmail account on the Behold II. All that was required was the email address and password – the rest was taken care of by Android.

Right out of the box, you'll have the ability to instant message using the IM client. As with most devices, you can choose from either AIM, Windows Live Messenger, or Yahoo Messenger. Google Talk has its own dedicated application that’s separate from the IM application on the handset.

Multimedia and Camera:

One area that we've seen look a bit dated in terms of visual appeal was Android's music player – but the Behold II received a visual makeover. At first glance the player looks like any other ordinary stock player when held in portrait, but turning it sideways to landscape treated us to a cover flow-esque interface. The album covers come up and you can flick through them at ease. Sound quality from the speaker for the most part was clear, but lacked any power to really pump out heavy tunes.

Not as fortunate as the music player, playing videos on the Behold II is pretty much the same experience you get out of other Android handsets. There was no slowdown witnessed while playing a music video in MP4 format. It ran really smooth and the vivid AMOLED screen showcased one of its strongest features – colors had such rich tones making it pleasurable to view.

Aside from the 3D Cube Navigation allowing you to browse through photos, you can accomplish the same task by using the photo gallery. Nothing really jumps out as the grid style view of photos pops up at first sight, but navigating between photos is a simple procedure that lacks the intricate finger movements that other phones use. You can zoom into a photo by holding down a spot on the image and move it upwards to zoom in. Conversely you can zoom out by performing the opposite movement.

Considering that the 5-megapixel camera on the Samsung Behold II is above average when compared to other US phones, it surprised us with decent detail and color reproduction in brightly lit settings. When taking shots in low lit conditions, we noticed the lack of fine detail. The interface is no different from other TouchWiz handsets we've seen in the past – there's plenty of options to really get the best looking shots. It's a usable camera for any photo enthusiast or novice user to capture images with.

Now the video recording experience takes a bit of a dive with choppy results that lacked focus. There are only two capture resolutions available: 352 x 288 and 176 x 166. One is for normal use while the other is strictly reserved for MMS use. Unfortunately, there were just too much choppy movements in both resolutions. Sounds captured had a mute tone to it – making it difficult to listen during playback. It definitely does not compare to the quality produced by the Motorola DROID, but it's still usable to an extent for MMS.

Thankfully there's a 2GB microSD card packed with the phone for all your media saving needs. Sure it isn't the 16GB monster that the Motorola DROID jails inside of it, but it'll suffice for now in the mean time.

Connectivity and Software:

Voice phone calls won't be an issue almost anywhere on the globe thanks it its quad-band (850/900/1800/1900 MHz) GSM capability while being able to connect to T-Mobile's 3G network with dual-band UMTS (1700/2100 MHz) support. If EDGE speeds are too draining for you, then you can always connect to a wireless network via Wi-Fi on the Behold II.

The performance of the web browser on the Behold II doesn't compare to the ones on the speedy Motorola DROID or multi-touch friendly HTC Hero. Pages had a tendency to load painstakingly slow on both 3G and Wi-Fi connections – it took a little bit over minute and thirty seconds to load our site completely. Scrolling can be a smooth experience at certain times, but every now and then there would be an occasional laggy performance. You can press a button on the bottom right to enable a full page view that displays a small window that you can move around to zoom into a specific spot. It works pretty well for the most part on some web pages, but we found it to be a nightmare to use with extremely long sites because it would be sensitive to the slightest movements. It could've been a good experience on the Behold II, but the sluggish load times dampened our liking to the web browser's performance.


We were able to get a tolerable experience with the Behold II's phone call quality – voices on both ends sounded audible and clear. The only thing that prevented us from having a great experience was the constant background noise on our end. When switching over to the speaker phone however, we noticed the lack of power it provided in being able to hear our callers. At the same time, voices out of the speaker phone sounded muffled.  On our caller's end, they said they were able to hear us just fine without any loss in clarity.

The Samsung Behold II managed to do a good job in retaining a connection to the network in the greater Philadelphia area. When comparing it to RIM's BlackBerry Bold 9700, the Behold II was able to capture more 3G connections in the same locations.

Using the automatic brightness controls, the Samsung Behold II was able to get a solid day of normal use. Thanks to the 1500 mAh battery, this should be more than adequate for the heavy data user that requires constant email check ups and web surfing. We'd probably place it along the line of what the Motorola DROID was able to get, but still easily beating out the T-Mobile G1. Samsung has it rated for 6 hours off talk and 400 hours of standby time.

If you had to list the impressive features on the Samsung Behold II T939 on a piece of paper, many would drool over the AMOLED display and eye catching 3D cube interface. Yes, the screen technology is worth bragging about with its rich color tones and luminance. The same could be said about TouchWiz and the implementation of the navigation cube at first, but the novelty soon wears off because the same task can be accomplished by running the associated apps from the main menu. After all that's said and done, we're left with a bland Android handset that we've seen over a year ago. Throw in the fact that the phone lags so much whenever it wants that it dampens the overall experience. One of Samsung's first Android phones for the US market really does a good job of capturing the eyes of customers, but they will soon grow tired and find the experience almost heart breaking. With pricing playing a key factor, it's really difficult convincing someone to go with the Behold II over the others that are available right now.

Samsung Behold II T939 Video Review:


  • AMOLED screen
  • 3D Navigation Cube
  • Better media browsing
  • Decent camera quality


  • Sluggish performance
  • Too many options for navigation

PhoneArena Rating:


User Rating:

4 Reviews

Recommended Stories

Loading Comments...
FCC OKs Cingular\'s purchase of AT&T Wireless