On my 4th piece of this junk under warranty. November 25, 2012
Reviewer: Issabeau (Colorado) -
If you decide you absolutely must get it, get the warranty. 7 months, on my 4th (going in tomorrow for my 5th). First, there are only 2 nice things when they are working, the screen and the camera. This phone is S L O W. The physical keyboard fails a lot. None of the 4 of these I've had will maintain a wireless internet connection of any kind, so forget that it says 4G. Every phone I've had before this lasted at least 2 years, even my previous Samsung. This phone is junk.
On my third one November 20, 2012
Reviewer: Hookette (Alexandria VA USA) -
bought this in Feb. 2012...15 days later, the screen died. Because it was over the 14 days I had to get a 'refurb' one. I just had to take that one back because it was overheating, wouldn't connect to internet unless I was on 4G (wifi worked on all but browsing the internet). New 'refurb' one seemed to work ok, but the 4G stays on at the same time as the wifi and drains the battery. I would not recommend this phone to anyone.
Great potential but very dissappointing September 15, 2012
Reviewer: Peter D. (Mahtomedi, MN United States) -
Lots of issues. I just hope after sending my third back in they will pay for me to get a different phone altogether. If not, I'll most likely pay for a different phone and have fun taking a hammer to this thing. Whether it's the occassional dropped calls (could be Verizon, could be the phone), my going mute without pressing mute, the very frequent keyboard issues or the somewhat less frequent touch screen issues, I have never owned such a frustrating device.
Slow, short battery life. July 22, 2012
Reviewer: George A. Fritsma "gfritsma" (35173) -
The Stratosphere is my first smart phone, purchased on a Verizon contract. I like its keyboard and bright screen. With no experience to compare, I'm surprised at how slowly it populates web sites, either via WIFI or 4G. Often it times out before the site downloads. Battery life is too short to be practical, only about 10 hours with minimal usage (2-3 calls, a few texts). Verizon support is inadequate, the manual is superficial, store clerks can't answer simple questions. The GPS typically requires several minutes to lock and then drops off at random moments. Oddly, the phone overheats while on GPS. My next phone will be an iPhone, maybe I'll learn that all phones perform this poorly.
Lots of issues July 16, 2012
Reviewer: S. B. (Houston, TX) -
I Have had this phone for about 7 months and loved it right out of the box. Fast connection, slide-out keyboard, large display. Camera, video & recorder are OK quality, but this is a phone and I didn't expect more than OK quality. There are several cons, though, some minor, others not. Most of these I did not discover until I had the phone too long to exchange for a different model.
1. Volume button on side is easily accidentally activated while simply picking up phone, resulting in volume turned so low that I cannot hear phone ringing.
2. Space button on keyboard is long and must be hit in exactly the right spot to work.
3. Screen difficult/impossible to see in sunlight.
4. Touch screen doesn't work if out on a hot day, such as at a swim meet, even in the shade! Saw a creepy guy at a recent swim meet but was unable to call the constable because I was unable to pull up my contacts, and no one else had the constable's number!
5. Square-up and Intuit credit card swipers don't work on this phone, which is disappointing because this is primarily why I bought a smart phone! According to Intuit's website, their swiper should work on this model, so it may just be my phone. And yes, I did try multiple swipers and talked to tech support.
6. At first I was able to charge the phone while it was on, but now I have to turn it off to charge it. As this phone is used for business this is NOT a good thing! Also sometimes the phone doesn't charge when it is plugged in, so I have to monkey around with it until I see a battery image pop up to make sure that it is actually charging.
I would like to exchange this phone for a replacement but they will only send me a re-conditioned one, and after reading other reviews, I am afraid that I will get one that is even worse than what I have now!
Bottom line,there are better phones out there, get one of those instead!
Mostly Love It - Mine has an odd quirk... June 14, 2012
Reviewer: Victoria L. Reichenberg (Baltimore, MD USA) -
Had my Stratosphere since November, and generally very happy with it. 1st SmartPhone - though I'm too dumb to use it for all it can do yet! Came from a Blackberry Curve - WHICH I hated from day 1... apparently I'm not one of those "Blackberry People"!
Love the screen, but need to get myself a screen protector & case, etc. b/c it gets hazy for us gals from makeup & such. Scratched fairly easily. Great choice of apps & thx for the tip on the LED app - that has been an annoyance & could be louder for me. I don't have too many apps loaded, but gonna add some from other reviewers, so thanks for the info all!
WHY DO PPL KEEP SAYING THERE IS NO FRONT FACING CAMERA? HIT THE CAMERA ICON ON THE SCREEN & IT TURNS AROUND!!!! AND IT ZOOMS!
My main complaints are that I have terrible reception in some places - like my bedroom which is a problem when job seeking & then dropping calls while setting up interviews! OUCH! Also, tired of it asking for WiFi too often. Sometimes mine says there is no connection available for anything including texts not being able to send. Hellll-oooooo? Don't I pay for a data package so I have constant access????!!!! Notifications fr calendar are poor, I agree. Miss most all of them, so not sure why I bother adding things. Seldom touch screen freezes & have to reboot. Weirdest problem is when I turn it back on it makes a constant, very loud beeping noise & the only way it will stop is if I receive a text. Usually results in me texting myself. Anyone ever had something like that happen on theirs, and if so, what the *bleep* is it?
Overall, happy & the cons are not enough to discourage me too much! Now I'm off to download LED indicator & other recommended apps from your reviews - thanks again!!
Awesome phone February 2, 2012
I got this phone at the end of December 2011. I previously had a Blackberry Curve and was a little skeptical about jumping on the Android bandwagon. After my husband got his Samsung Continuum in early 2011 I kinda fell in love with the Android OS but was put off by the touch screen. But when I saw this phone I just had to have it. I will admit that I do miss my Blackberry at times but I really LOVE this phone. I love that it has a slide out keyboard, although I'm getting better at the on-screen typing. The AMOLED screen is just brilliant. I have Netflix and tried it out on the phone as soon as I got it and the picture was just amazing. My one and only complaint about this phone is that there is no "sound profiles" like on Blackberry. However, there's an app for that, though it's still not as good as the Blackberry sound profile customization, it will do. The 2nd thing that sold me on this was that Gmail integrates so well with this phone (considering the OS is made by Google). Blackberry didn't handle Gmail very well to me. Overall I do not regret getting this phone and highly recommend it to anyone who is on the fence.
Great Samsung. January 14, 2012
Reviewer: ac hughes
My 1st smartphone. Im so happy with the 4G LTE. Downloads are amazing. Love having a physical qwerty keyboard with good key space. Display is really nice too. Only complaint is that the volumn is not very loud for music and video player even at max. level.
Bad Keyboard, Good for 4G LTE and Unlimited Data Plan (for now) June 5, 2012
Reviewer: C. LIN "C. Lin" (New York, NY) -
I got this in order to renew Verizon's Unlimited Data plan before they make their pricing/plan changes this summer. Before this, I had an LG Ally, which was similar in size physically and has a slide-out keyboard, but has a smaller screen and no 4G capabilities.
The keyboard on the Stratosphere is VERY disappointing compared with the Ally's. Though the real estate for the physical keyboard is only a tad larger on the Stratosphere, the keyboard layout on the Ally is much closer to a standard QWERTY keyboard. The FATAL FLAW on the Samsung's keyboard is the placement of the Shift key, which is under the A key and moves the bottom row of letters over by one. Having the key layout in a GRID may appear elegant, but it is far from being functional.
Something tells me the designers have never typed on a standard keyboard - when you want type a symbol that shares a button with a number, either a SHIFT or ALT (or FN) should generate the symbol. On the Stratosphere, you MUST use an FN for the symbol. This is especially annoying when I'm trying to type an @ and SHIFT-2 generates a 2. Have you had to type an @ lately? The Home key is located where a SHIFT key is expected, which makes it too easy to cancel a message by accident.
Verizon's bloatware goes without saying.
On the bright side, it is MUCH faster than the Ally and it has more built-in storage, so I can actually download and use apps.
And it was "free" via Amazon Wireless, though I now wonder if I should have spent the extra money on the Droid 4 if only for a proper QWERTY keyboard.
On the other hand, 4G LTE plus a HotSpot app (not the official one, of course) makes it work well for connecting a laptop via WiFi so some REAL work can get done - the slider keyboard is only there as a LAST RESORT.
Given that having a slider keyboard is why someone would choose this phone over another, I'll have to ding it MAJORLY for the keyboard's awful design. GOOD DESIGN IS NOT HARD!!!!
Please read before considering purchase. July 6, 2012
Reviewer: jian "www.jianbastille.com" (New Orleans) -
I've had FOUR of these, all broken OUT OF THE BOX.
You can find tons of specific, negative reviews about this product.
(1) Rarely connects to WiFi, even feet away from a router.
(2) Several ramdom reboots a day.
(3) Often 'disconnects' SD card.
(4) Fails to recharge, and often indicated 'recharging' when not connected to anything.
(5) Choppy sound (audio & phone calls)
The one I bought (and latter three exchanges) all had four out of five of these problems OUT OF THE BOX.
Verizon (when I bought it) Tech Support knows about this issue, but nothing's been done about it.
Samsung support is ridiculous, their scripts and software do not fully navigate flow charts of problem-solving. I found temporary solutions on the internet, that Samsung did not have in their resources.
This is not a software, adware, malware, virus, OS, or firmware issue. It's more than one fatal design flaw.
The average success rate with this model is 1 out of 3, going by reviews from several websites where people returned their phone for a replacement.
I've done a LOT of research about this make and model, and I strongly discourage anyone from getting the Samsung Stratosphere.
Please, DO NOT BUY.
A Solid Choice If You Want A Physical Keyboard March 3, 2013
Reviewer: Robert I. Hedges
I recently started having reliability problems with my iPhone 4 and examined upgrade options. I had had a very early Droid and I liked its flexibility and ability to be configured more easily than the iPhone. I also never liked my iPhone's virtual keyboard for texting. With those things in mind I looked into recommendations of consumer magazines and bought the Samsung Stratosphere, which came from Verizon with a 14 day trial period.
The phone has good and bad points like almost every electronic device. The interface is generally good, though it is now harder to tailor than earlier Androids in my opinion (some things are seemingly impossible to get rid of; a trait of iPhones too.) The display is gorgeous, and I found the camera and video to be good. I thought the Internet interface worked great, and call quality and clarity were both good. I also like the flexibility that the SD card provides. The physical keyboard is a very nice feature (and was the primary driver of my selection of the Stratosphere,) and though it's not as comfortable to use as an older LG I had, it's satisfactory. The balance of the phone with the keyboard extended is awkward however, and the physical requirements of the keyboard make the phone notably thicker and heavier than the competition (especially when compared to the new iPhone 5.) The battery life is nothing to write home about; you might want to pack a spare battery if you travel and are a heavy cellphone user. For me the biggest single negative was the contour of the phone itself: it is very curved and has highly profiled edges making it easy (very easy) to drop, though some cases may help this. I dropped my Stratosphere more times in the first week I had it than I dropped my iPhone in over two years.
Ultimately after using the Stratosphere for ten days I reevaluated it and decided I wasn't going to be happy with it for a two year contract duration and did something I didn't think I would do: I returned the Stratosphere, paid the restocking fee, and got a new iPhone 5. Though I don't love the iPhone 5 (though I like it better than the 4,) I do prefer it to the Stratosphere overall (though call clarity is worse on the iPhone) due to it being so much thinner and lighter. I miss the physical keyboard, but I don't regret making the swap.
The bottom line is this: if you want a Droid and you want a physical keyboard, this is a very good choice, just realize it's noticeably heavier and clumsier to handle than some of the competition.
Not-so-hot January 18, 2013
Reviewer: Patrick Brett (North miami Beach, FL USA) -
I had a good experience with this phone initially for the first year. However after a year, things are not working properly. The issues I experience are: the WiFi stops working 15 minutes after rebooting the phone. The WiFi "connects" but the browser stops responding. The phone randomly restarts, even in the middle of a conversation. The Visual Voicemail requires frequent refresh. I am hunting around for a replacement phone, but still locked into the Verizon agreement for one more year.
Very disappointing January 16, 2013
My previous experiences with Samsung cells and Smartphones have been excellent. This one is amazingly glitchy. I returned the first, thinking it was defective but the second displayed the same problems within weeks. I've now dealt with three Strats. All three are given to forgetting English in favor of Spanish when speaking text. Settings say they are in English, but they make a hash of "Where is the bathroom" and get "¿Dónde está el baño" tilde perfect. Switch settings to Spanish then back to English and it's fine til the next time.
Browser shuts down or restarts frequently. The cell itself shut down frequently in the first 9 months I had it, not so much now. Perhaps an OS update fixed it?
Phone-to-ear sound quality is poor. I've fussed with them, brought them into Verizon for fussing. All have inferior sound to my last Samsung Smartphone.
On the plus side, speaker mode is excellent; Pandora comes through beautifully in my hip holster. Better sound than my laptop.
LOVE IT. December 3, 2012
Its fast 4g LTE, it depends where you live to have good internet because i HAD At&T and where i live specifically, my smartphone sucked,always slow. BUT this is super nice the screen is very nice, not too big and not too wide. I like the QWERTY keys that slide up, i don't like the part where when i try to slide it up and you have to push in some strength. Overall the phone is really good, nice and stable.
frustrating phone November 25, 2012
My wife and I switched from Tmobile. Instant upgrade to verizon. I wanted a phone with a real keyboard. Thats about the only thing I like about this phone. Its remarkably slow moving. Avid users will notice the delay when trying to navigate through the call menus. Its sloooow between screens. Also, good luck opening text picture or opening apps like facebook, thats hit or miss. Text pics will need to be downloaded, and that wont work. Turning this phone and off will be your daily task. Im sitting 5 feet from my highspeed internet, and the phone doesnt work. Perhaps just this phone? No. Im on my second one. My wifes is just as bad. Battery life is below average, but if you turn off the 4g, you have a chance.
It sounds like the upgrades make this phone worse. Ive read numerous reviews,and it seems to be the norm.
I wouldnt buy this phone again. Its makes me angry. My expectations were higher then they should have been, but its still very slow. It will also randomly open menus when you unlock it!
Horrible battery life. August 23, 2012
Reviewer: Mark Fellows "Gadget Guy" (Baltimore, MD) -
This is my first smart phone, so I am finding all the free apps, along with being able to get email from my various accountes useful.
I am dissatisfied with the dreadful battery life.The battery doesn't even last a full 24 hours. I take the phone off of the charger around 8am, and by 9pm, it often gives me a warning that I need to plug it in.
I have been downloading some apps, but even on days I don't download apps, it still eats up the battery charge.
I have noticed the phone get really warm, even when It is just sitting idle in my pants pocket, which lets me know it is doing some power intenisive procedure automatically that eats up battery life.
The phone should not get warm, when I am not talking on it, charging it, or using it for heavy downloads, or GPS.
It could be all the apps upgrading. I have probably 17 extra apps on it. INRX(Then Beat the Traffic), Angry Birds, Text Plus, Pandora, Weather bug, barcode scanner(used once), youtube(don't use), Netflix(haven't used) Recipes(haven't used yet), Droid Machine(not yet) Webroot Secure Anywhere(always running), BBC News, Zillow(used once) Timerriffic(setup to turn off notification while I sleep) CNN(used once), MSNBC(used once), Fox news(never used)
I purchased this phone because it was the only one with a slide out full keyboard, and it was 49.00 with a 2 year contract upgrade.
All my friends have smart phones(all but one on Verizon) so I have compared my phone to thiers.
Some notable comparisons:
Droid Razer(much better than this phone)
Much more sleek, with a smoother, faster loading interface, with better 4G reception. He did pay at least 200 dollars for his phone though.
My other friends Samsung Proclaim(Using Straight Talk on the Verizon Network)
This is a nice phone that is more sleek than my phone, which from the feedback of my friend, has better battery life, with similar funcionality. Of course this phone is 3G only, which is considerably slower than 4G.
My other Friends Casio Gz's One Commando
This is a more rugged 3G phone using the Verizon Network. From the feedback from my friend, this phone seems to have decent battery life. I have checked the specs with this phone, and it doesn't seem to have the functionality of the Stratospher, although it is much more rugged.
Overall, I am finding this a usefull, although sometimes dissapointing tool. I used it once while I was in the field at work to look up a electronic chip pinout in order to build a circuit. Check traffic every day, check my email, and monitor the weather.
If you don't expect much, go ahead and get it for the price. If you are really particular, maybe spend more on a phone. However, at the time of this writing, I think this is the only smart phone, with a Quirwty(sp) keyboard..
Bluetooth problems, terrible battery life January 31, 2012
Reviewer: Peter "Pete" (Madison, AL USA) -
We tried 2 of these. Neither would stay connected to our Honda Odyssey. It pairs just fine, but then disconnects and reconnects continuously every 10-20 seconds. You're speaking through the car, then you have to grab the phone, then it goes back to the car. It happens so often it was almost impossible to even set the speed dials in the car because it would disconnect in the middle of selecting them.
Even if that worked, we found this phone to have maybe 8 hours of battery life if we left it sitting unused on the counter and with all push data functions turned off. I have a droid Pro and a Mytouch slide and both do OK. This was completely unacceptable. We returned both and are still looking.
Soooo disappointed! December 13, 2012
I got my stratosphere in oct. 2012 and this is my 3RD replacement! Still nothing has changed, it kicks me out of everything, my phone freezes, the microphone keeps going out, and the keyboard only works when it wants. I would not recommend this phone to anyone! I've always loved Samsung but this phone was a mistake. Its a good thing I have insurance or else id be screwed. I'm calling in today to see if I can get another phone, I'm not happy at all with the turn out of this phone. DO NOT GET THIS PHONE!
My First Smartphone :) December 31, 2011
Reviewer: Christina Penicaro (USA) -
This is my first smartphone and Im glad it is... I got it for Christmas and I have loved it!!! I cant believe all the features it has and how fast everything downloads... It is easy to use and I like the option of the qwery board even though it has a one on the screen also...this was an upgrade phone for me so I didnt pay for it but renewed my contract with Verizon for another 2 yrs but I love Verizon so I dont mind...I know some of the reviews had some negative comments but I have no other smartphone to compare this one to because it being my first one soo I think I made a great choice and I am very, very happy!
Above average - but not quite perfect December 13, 2011
What I like:
- Fantastic screen
- Very fast and responsive
- Better than average camera
- Slide out keyboard (although using the touch screen and Swype is usually faster and easier)
- 4g is incredible
- Battery life is above average (I used Google maps w/ GPS, took many photos, made a few calls, and checked my facebook for pretty much the entire day while walking around DC)
What I don't like:
- too many preinstalled apps that I will never use and can't delete (but I suggest giving the golf game a try, its fun!)
- no indication of message, voicemails, etc while the phone is off (on standby)
- default timeout for the screen is way too short, should be the first thing you adjust
- you can not set different ring tones (or send-to-voicemail) for different contact
- no zoom on camera when using the best resolution