The Samsung Stratosphere is definitely a device with a mix of old and new when it comes to specs. It’s 4G LTE phone and give with a physical QWERTY keyboard and access to Verizon’s high speed 4G LTE network. It’s specs are made to attract a 4G budget consumer. Does the Stratosphere accomplish this mission?
Hardware & Design
There is no denying it the Samsung Stratosphere shares many similarities to Samsung Epic 4G from a year ago. The almost all plastic build comes with a 4 inch Super AMOLED display which is always a great screen to look at on Samsung devices. The processor is a single-core at 1.0 GHz clock speed and it’s the Hummingbird processor which is the same one from the Galaxy S phones last year and keeps the phone just fast enough for smooth operation. There is a front facing 1.3 megapixel camera that’s decent enough for video chats and self portraits and on the back there is a 5 megapixel camera with LED flash. The camera is on the very average level in terms of quality and there isn’t an HD option for video recording which is a disappointment.
One of the big features is the physical slide out keyboard that is spacious between keys and had a bright enough backlight to see in low light. Each key feels good when pressed down and it shouldn’t take long to become fast at typing on it. For storage you have 2.2 GB of build in storage available with a 4 GB micro SD card pre-installed and the slot supports up to 32 GB of storage. For connections there is Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS and 4G LTE data speeds. This mix of high and low make for an overall good hardware package. Its design had a bit of a toy look to it and it feels thick even for the mid-range level this phone is at.
Software & Usability
The Stratosphere rungs Android 2.3 Gingerbread with Touch Wiz UI on top of it. It’s the same version from a year ago so if your familiar with Samsung devices then you’ve seen what this version of Touch Wiz had to offer. There isn’t much in terms of software to speak about other than your standard Android, Verizon VCast and Touch Wiz pre-installed apps which you can’t uninstall. The software performed for me as expected with the specs it has. It’s adequate for most people in the mid-range level for phones. It’s not a fast phone but it’s not slow by any means.
Call quality is good with solid connection and clear audio between both sides of the call. Battery life is pretty good with getting through the day on a single charge. If you’re using a lot of 4G data it will cut the time shorter and you’ll need to put it on a charge at least one more time during the day. Speaking of the 4G LTE data this phone performs excellent when using it as a hotspot. Connection is consistent with no drop offs. A lot of Verizon devices tend to drop the connect and need to reboot after using it for longer than 30 minutes. The Stratosphere stays good all the way through.
Samsung and Verizon did a good job here in making an affordable 4G LTE phone. For those that are not concerned about having the latest hardware specs it’s good option for them. You’ll get a phone with good battery life, good software performance and 4G LTE data. All things good to have at the budget price its at.