Pros Very fast set up
Good solid physical slider keyboard
Excellent processing speed, very fast network
Good to very good but not excellent screen
Camera, it's okay to good
Cons Batter life needs to be better
Took a little while to learn some of functions
Summary I've had the Stratosphere II for a number of days and have spent quite a bit of time getting to know my new phone. Overall I think this is a good phone with many good features, with some that are even excellent. In my opinion it is its overall solid performance in many features that makes this a very good phone to use.
Here are my observations:
1. Very fast set up (if you are a prior smart phone user). This is my second Android smart phone after owning (and loving) an LG Ally for over 3 years. It seems very similar in its features and set up in regard to my Ally. Plus, the pop up set up guides made transferring my data and setting up my app's quick and easy. One potential flaw or caveat, not all my app's seem to be finding the data installed on my memory card which I transferred from my old phone....the Stratosphere recognized the card without reformatting, and the card works, but as of yet I can't seem to get the re-installed app's to recognize their data on the old card....it may have to do with the fact that newer upgrades of the apps were installed in the downloads on the new phone? ...I've not given up hope, it simply will take some web research to figure out how to get a re-installed (and upgraded) app to find data on a transferred card. Those app's that were cloud based connected and downloaded my old data flawlessly. Be sure to have a good backup of your data on your PC (if you can) in case your card data doesn't transfer well.
2. Good solid physical slider keyboard...I know the industry is going to virtual keyboards, but I can never seem to get them to type well for me, especially in portrait mode, as I am always hitting the wrong key and having to backspace and retype. I am a touch typist and answer considerable amount of email from my phone, so I find landscape mode a necessity and a physical slider the best answer for me. Of the limited choices of phones with landscape response and physical sliders (at my carrier Verizon), the Stratosphere seemed the best answer over the Droid 4 (very comparable phone with an EXCELLENT key board but alas NO replaceable battery...WHEN the battery goes on the Droid 4, you have to buy a new phone) and the Pantech Marauder (very stiff keyboard, poorer camera, slower phone, less reliable record).
The Stratosphere II's keyboard is a good solid keyboard and the keys are well spaced but not too large even for my small hands. I can type quickly without making a lot of mistakes. I did find that the keys were somewhat stiff at first and some of them require a slightly off center push to engage, however I am getting more at ease with it and the keys are limbering up considerably with use, so I consider it a good physical keyboard...just not excellent like my Ally's was or the Droid 4's is.
3. Excellent processing speed. Very fast network. I went from Gingerbread to Ice Cream OS, and more than doubled my processor and quadrupled my RAM from my old slow Ally, so of course the Statosphere II is going to seem like lightening compared to my Ally. Even so, I notice it is fast and quick as compared to friends's modern phones. I can multi-task with ease, browse the web, hook up WiFi, play Netflix, Facebook, email, and video chat with ease.
4. Good to very good but not excellent screen. I do like how the super AMOLED screen holds up in bright daylight and does not fade out on angles, and it is a clear screen with good colors. When I tried my Netflix account on it (for fun...who would really want to watch on a 4 inch screen?), I actually could watch the show with good clarity. However I do notice some graininess in some situations especially in the icons and the photo I set as wall paper (from a photo I took with the camera). However, overall for my general uses, the screen is very good and will suit me fine.
5. Camera. Meh--it's okay to good. The day they make a reasonably priced phone that has a really good point and shoot camera is the day I will rejoice (and lay down my dollars). I must admit that I am picky about photos, and nothing replaces a really good camera with high quality glass lenses, and proper photo light and meter....however, who wants to lug that everywhere? I never seem to have my camera kit when I want it, so it's the camera on my phone that saves the day. The Stratosphere is typical of camera phones and approaches a lower end "point and shoot." Most "point and shoots" do well enough in daylight outside (unless its fast action), however, it is inside shots that are most troublesome. The Stratosphere seems to suffer the usual peripheral graininess in low light, flash tends to make the photo unevenly exposed, and there is some minor color warping on edges...but amazingly it was clear in the focused object...my favorite test subject is my Sheltie dog's inside night portrait on dark green carpet that gets set as my wallpaper. On my pc screen, the Stratosphere's doggie portrait was pretty comparable to the portrait I took with my husband's i-phone 4...ie the iphone was not tremendously better. The Stratosphere held its own on this shot. I think the camera will be good enough to capture moments I don't want to forget and upload to Facebook for family and friends without grimacing about the horrible quality. I have not shot a lot of photos nor printed a photo out from the camera, but I think with good lighting the result will be reasonably acceptable to even amazingly good. I've not tried the video camera as yet, but I am glad it is there.
6. Okay Tactile Feel without accessory. I have small hands, so the Stratosphere is a bit bulky, and in its original state, cold and hard to touch. I don't really care for the hard shellac shell casing and beveled metal edge. Together they are often hard to hold on to. I found myself almost dropping the phone several times, and other times it was hard to push the keyboard out if my hands were overly dry. The slipperiness of the phone made it difficult to almost impossible if I didn't wet my fingers. This was becoming almost a deal breaker because my phone is a daily tool for my calendar, emails, phone calls, music...it needs to feel like an extension of my hand as I take it almost everywhere. I knew I would sacrifice some size and weight due to the slider keyboard and larger screen, but the hard case and beveled metal edge made the act of holding onto the phone a constant mental effort and sometimes even fatiguing to my hand. Fortunately in talking with the dealer about my concerns I tried a snap-on case accessory and that worked! Even with the additional snap on case weight and slight bulk, it made it MUCH easier to handle and hang onto the phone. I found I could actually let the phone rest in my hand in a relaxed position without having to feel like I had to constantly grip it. The snap case also made finding the power up button and ports easier to find.
Even with the extra bulk, less than stellar camera, good but not excellent screen and keyboard, I am pleased with the Stratosphere. Its "power under the hood" and solid provision of the many features I most desire make it a very good phone.
PS: before you buy, I suggest check for great deal at: Androidphonespicking.blogspot.com/p/samsung-galaxy-stratosphere-ii.html
Thank for reading and I hope it helpful.
Pros I got it mainly because of the QWERTY, but there is enough space between the touch screen keys that I almost don't even need it. Setting data usage alerts is helpful, as is the auto interface with my home wi-fi to limit data usage.
Cons Occasionally deactivates Navigation app if you switch from vertical to horizontal view after you've input an address but before it has loaded.
Summary This is definitely the phone to have if someone is more comfortable with a QWERTY. The screen size is just right. Since I wear my cell phone on my belt, I can't imagine having one much bigger than this. Facial recognition is a nice feature for unlocking the phone even though it is not as secure as the PIN back-up option. It quickly transitions to different apps. The data usage also shows how much different data apps use. Since I'm no longer on an unlimited data plan, keeping tabs on data usage has been a concern. Between being able to automatically switching on the wi-fi when I'm home, to setting an alarm when I reach a certain level of data usage, I'm not that concerned that I will go over on my data. At the same time, I try to download new apps when I'm connected to my home wi-fi since this usually takes up more data. The memory storage is also a concern. I maxed out the storage on my old Droid very quickly. I constantly had to uninstall apps in order to download new ones. The Strat II has a display that shows how much data each app takes up compared to how much memory is left. Overall, this is a solid phone that I will definitely recommend to others.
"Good Phone"on by footballplayer63
Pros big screen huge keyboard fast when roaming the internet fast in apps
Cons small freeze here and there tells me i have no mobile network when it says i do
Pros big screen, attractive, fast on the internet etc.
Cons screen text keys too narrow, constantly hitting the other keys to the side. Slide-out keys too short, you're constantly doing typos with the keys above and below intended key. Can't get on the wireless @ work. Ringtones and notifications ALL suck.
Summary This just seems like a cheesy, entry-level phone... Which I guess it is if it's free with your renewal, but with the prices we're paying, shouldn't we get a decent phone? We have been with Verizon for like 8 years and paying ridiculous prices the entire way through, and yet they're handing out trash like this as the upgrade phone with a renewal. Yikes. In addition to everything mentioned in the cons section, it even freezes up occasionally like my 3 yr old phone did, and it's 10 days old. I'm exchanging this POS.I gave it 2 stars instead of 1 only because if you've got smaller fingers then my primary, and most annoying dislike of the phone might not be a big deal. This is NOT a phone for anyone with even moderately large fingers (like any guy).
Updated on Feb 26, 2013
Pros Great QWERTY keyboard, decent battery life, a lot of improvements since the first stratosphere
Cons Sluggish at times. Some of the default settings (like how the shift button works) are just not thought out.
Summary I used to use the slow as dirt Stratosphere 2. Those phones break very easily. I bought a used 2, and it is great! I wish it where a bit faster, but other than that it's great. As for battery life: I text all day, email a lot, surf as needed, and stream Pandora in the car. Battery typically needs to be charged by 11pm. MUCH better than most of my friends' iCraps.