I had a chance to briefly preview the Samsung t929 Behold II yesterday, as it is soon coming to T-Mobile. I was fairly impressed, though I had very little time (about 10 minutes) to fiddle with the phone.

The Behold II is very sleek and svelte. It is more slender and palm-friendly than even the HTC Magic (a.k.a T-Mobile MyTouch 3g). For some people the light weight may be off-putting; the phone does not at all look of feel cheaply made, but such low weight may make it feel more like a toy than a smartphone.

From the front, the Behold II is very simple in design. It has the standard set of Android device native hardware keys (Send, End, Menu, Back, Home) as well as a 4-direction navigational pad with a center button. There is also a Cube button, which brings up Samsung's Cube interface (so far only on the Behold II and Jet). The keys are decently sized and fairly well placed. Perhaps oddly, the Cube button is on the right side of the phone, making it a little uncomfortable for right-handers to reach. The large touch-screen dominates the phone's front view even before you turn on the device; once on you will be looking at little else. Though using the standard 320 * 480 resolution for T-Mobile's Android phones, the Behold 2's AMOLED screen shows very impressive sharpness and color clarity. This is no doubt to get maximum mileage out of the 5-megapixel camera with flash. Images are very crisp and colors leap out of the screen.

Turning the phone over, the back shows an etching of the world's continents, perhaps implying that this is world-roaming capable phone. The 5-MP camera lens and flash are prosaically positioned near the top of the device. Removing the back cover shows the 1500-mAh battery and SIM card slot. Forgive me but I can't recall if the memory card slot could be accessed without removing the back cover and battery. I want to say yes, but am not sure. The high-mAh battery, combined with the low-drain AMOLED screen, implies that the Behold II will have very impressive battery life for a 3G device.

I had only a very little time to assemble the phone and put it through its electronic paces, and I had no SIM card to insert (so I couldn't use most services). My general impression of navigating through the Behold 2's screens was that it is at least as fast and responsive as the Magic/MyTouch 3G, and perhaps just a tiny bit slower than the Motorola CLIQ (I would like to test this with a SIM in the phone though, as response times might improve.) I can't comment on call quality, web browsing speed or other network-intensive applications as I could not test the phone on these areas. The Behold 2's software keyboard is standard for Android, which is to say it's acceptable but could use improvement. (Users will likely be downloading one of the several alternatives available on Android Marketplace, as the Behold II has no physical keyboard.) Again similar to the HTC Dream (T-Mobile Google G1) and Magic (MyTouch 3G), the Behold II has a 3-section homepage which can be user-customized with widgets and apps. Samsung's Cube menu could be considered a 4th panel to the homepage, though it is not as user-configurable. The interface is just as its name implies, a cube floating in the center of the screen. Each side of the cube corresponds to an application (there is a pre-loaded set including music, media and YouTube, but the user can change these at will to whatever they want). The cube can be manipulated by flipping it around with touch commands, or the user can simply press one of the 6 icons shown at the bottom of the screen which correspond with the sides of the cube. The interface is cute and sort of neat, but - sorry Samsung, much love - feels sort of unnecessary. With only 6 configurable applications, it feels more limited than a full homepage panel, and the cube itself leaves a lot of empty space on the screen which could have been used for other things. The advantage of the Cube menu is that it can be pulled up with a key-touch at any time while doing other things, so theoretically the phone's user could use this sort of like T-Mobile's MyFaves interface. Think of it as a MyFaves screen for your favorite apps. On balance though, I think I would just as soon have had a 5-panel homepage.

My general impression of the Behold II was quite positive. It strikes me as a very pocket and palm friendly Android smartphone that will have a lot to offer users who don't require a physical keyboard. That may be a deal-killer for some folks, but those who won't be doing a huge amount of texting and e-mailing from the phone may be very happy with this device. I'll post more about the response times and browsing speeds as soon as I can experience those things firsthand.

See More: Samsung Behold II (t939) brief hands-on