My take on Samsung's Behold (T-Mobile)

John Walton
Cell Phone Editor
Published: January 5, 2009

Pros: nice look, friendly camera interface, 3G, 5MP, good touchscreen, functions as USB mass storage device.

Cons: poor web browsing, GPS is limited to bad bundled app or freebie downloads; no Google Maps.

I wanted to get my wife a new phone for Christmas. We are T-Mobile customers, so I called in and said I was looking for a good camera phone that had a full QWERTY; soft or physical. The agent immediately recommended the Behold, and pointed out that it comes in a rose color (pink). My wife likes pink when used tastefully, and this flavor of the phone does look feminine and classy.

I had seen a few reviews and forum posts saying that the "full HTML" browser was a disappointment, and that the 5MP cam spec was a bit misleading. With this in mind, I ordered the Behold. And this is where the difference between a happy and cheated customer lies. From what I've heard, T-Mo made a huge mistake in the way they marketed this device.

I never saw a Behold television commercial until after I had the phone. I don't see anything in the ad I watched online that misrepresents the handset. But apparently, the combination of terminology and image portrayed in various media came together to give people an inaccurate impression of the Behold. And full web browsing is not an appropriate term.

My wife loves the phone. So do I, really. She can get around just fine with her finger, but can use a stylus to play Bejeweled. The web browsing sucks, but she doesn't use it anyway. The question is, would she use it if it were available? Well, the server hack didn't work for me, but I'll keep tinkering. She does use IM and email, so I don't want to cut her data plan. $24.95 is a ridiculous fee for just those services, though. The $9.99 Web-2-Go has a data cap with an overage limit of $15. I would switch to that, but T-Mo says, "No-go." It's one of the two Behold data plans or no data at all, I'm sorry to say. The GPS isn't very good either. But again, she's just not interested in it.

As a media player, my wife loves the Behold. It sounds great with or without phones, and the screen looks darn nice. The camera is actually very cool. It may not be top-of-the-line in terms of image quality, but the photos look good to me - good enough for 4 X 6 prints. The interface is great, and I love browsing the photo gallery by tilting the phone and feeling a satisfying click each time a shot slides by. I think the panorama mode works well and is a nice touch.

Taking pictures is a true pleasure after using my G1. One feature that makes Behold a great camera phone is the smile mode. With this enabled, you get everyone together and press the shutter once. The cam takes care of focus and lighting adjustments. Then, you tell everyone to smile, hit the button again, and the picture is snapped almost instantly. This eliminates my number one complaint regarding camera phones. Most pics I take with a phone end up with everyone holding a fake half-smile; sick of waiting for my cam to snap.

In the end, I think the most important factor in purchasing a Behold is knowing its limitations. If you want a solid phone with a strong cam, good touchscreen, fun interface, and sleek look, you may love the Behold. If you want an Internet powerhouse, you'll hate it.

My verdict: Big thumbs up if matched to the right user.

Products mentioned