Stratosphere Review

Discussion in 'Samsung Stratosphere' started by PapaCat, Oct 22, 2011.

  1. PapaCat
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    PapaCat New Member

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    Picked up a Samsung Stratosphere a couple days ago, been playing with this phone quite a bit. I've installed all my regular apps, run it to dead and back to full a number of times (conditioning the battery) and taken it around town to try it out.


    HQ YouTube and Netflix stream smoothly and look great. 720p video from mp4 plays flawlessly and looks absolutely gorgeous. However, it will not play 1080p files -- they lose sound and lag badly (tested with stock player, MoboPlayer, and RockPlayer Lite). 720 or less and you get vibrant colors, sharp resolution. This is pretty well an amazing screen by my standards. I know there are higher spec screens out there and some play 1080, but I can't imagine why I would need video to look any better than this on a 4" screen. (Note: there is *not* an hdmi out on this device, which would be the primary use for 1080 capability.) MoboPlayer's brightness slider is especially welcome as you can tweak the video brightness on the fly and get optimal performance from the screen.


    Camera is decently responsive. It takes about 2 seconds to load from the icon off the menu, and each snap is just under 2 seconds from pressing the button to ready for the next pic. If/when this gets the ICS update that should speed up.


    Wifi locks on quickly and works great. WPA2 no problem, fast, easy.


    Stock browser is quick, pages look great, render well, zoom, scroll, etc., are pretty swift and without trouble. Very little checkerboarding when loading most pages, essentially none once most pages load. However, highly graphics-intensive web pages take a second or two to fully load and have some checkerboarding when scrolling them and some lag as well. This is pretty minimal except if you have auto-fit turned on. With autofit on, it can get pretty bad on a more demanding page. Testing this with The Secret World | Funcom really accentuated the issues. That said, I don't forsee this being an issue for 99% of the browsing that 99% of the users do, and even when it is being rough and laggy, it is still usable.


    Opera works much better. So far this is my preferred browser for this device. Dolphin Browser HD and Skyfire are a little laggy and are not rendering all pages as completely or as well as Opera or stock.


    GPS lock is accurate and reasonably quick. Faster than my old Droid 1 and spot-on for navigation, etc.


    The battery is holding up pretty well, but this is definitely no BlackBerry. I am getting a day of standard use out of this between charges, especially after the first couple rounds of conditioning. Hotspot and GPS chew through battery, but even with 4g, I can do a pretty solid day's use before the 15% warning. Screen brightness controls will help in this regard, to be sure. I have no controlled tests to report, but I can say I unplugged it from the charger at 8am this morning, have been installing and uninstalling apps, playing videos, dowloading files (about 500MB worth today so far) and doing web browsing. I've also rebooted it three times to ensure the tests are off a clean boot without any residual programs running in the background. The system info says 7h 19m on battery and it is currently at 30%. 57% of the usage is screen.


    The physical keyboard took two days to get used to, coming from Droid1. It's nicely spaced, good tactile response to the keys, and other than getting accustomed to the fn key placement being different with 5 rows than 4, it's all smooth sailing. The biggest thing that takes some time getting used to is the placement of the shift key and the menu keys. The home key is where you might expect shift and that can be an irritating error. On day 3 of usage and I am finding the keyboard quite good. Give me another week and it will be great. I should mention here that for me the absolute best reason to have a physical keyboard is that I can scroll through the original text of an email while I am writing a response. The nice spread of the keyboard and the 4" screen make this a wonderful device for my uses.


    Build quality is good, feels reasonably solid, but I would say the Droid1 feels like a more solid and durable device. If I drop this, I fear it may not hold up as well.


    There is no doubt we could really use a custom rom for this device and root, if for no other reason than to get rid of the silly amount of bloatware installed. The useless golfing game and racing game demo pre-installed hog massive amounts of memory (240mb) and the system will not let you uninstall them (it acts like it will but they will still be there no matter what you do). Hopefully we will see CM come in for this in the near future.
  2. cdipier2
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    cdipier2 New Member

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    I too upgraded to the stratusphere on thursday. Its a pretty solid phone and i like it alot. The screen is really nice and everything is very vibrant and clear. Possibly my favorite part about it is that i can now watch netflix on it which i did last night and didnt experience any lag even with just 3G. The only thing i hate about this phone is that it does not have a status light, which i was definitely used to on my d2.
  3. jbmilman
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    jbmilman New Member

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    great review!

    i just wanted to give a heads up on the extended battery.

    i came from a tbolt so i am very used to having terrible battery life (actually carrying two spares at a time).

    the extended bat came with a new cover about double the size of the stock cover. its a little thicker, but i think it adds that little bit of weight that i thought was missing.

    i have definitely feel reminiscent of my blackberrys battery with this one.
    took it off the charger at 5am today have had everything on all day long, gps, wifi etc and i am now sitting at 71% at 830 pm. I did have to recalibrate it when i got it, but well worth it!
  4. Demolition Man
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    Demolition Man New Member

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    Hate to sound like a newb but what are you using/doing to recalibrate the battery?
  5. jbmilman
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    jbmilman New Member

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    charge the phone until it is 100%

    take it off the charger and power off the phone.

    put back on the charger until it is 100% (use the volume keys to check the status as there is no LED)

    pull off charger and power on

    works like a champ
  6. Demolition Man
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    Demolition Man New Member

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    Thank you very much. :biggrin:
  7. N4UPD
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    N4UPD New Member

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    how is the audio on the stratosphere?
  8. CadBane
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    CadBane New Member

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    I also purchased this phone on Black Friday. But needless to say, I don't have the positive things to say that others do. Mainly because my phone has shown an annoying habit of losing its data connection. After making a phone call, deleting and re-adding the accuweather widget (which doesn't work by the way), this happened twice tonight. Even though I switched from LTE/CDMA to CDMA because I'm not anywhere near a 4G area.

    Very dissappointed, considering getting an HTC Rezound.
  9. willcaff
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    willcaff New Member

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    me too!!!!

    i too have experienced this same issue but when i called verizon they said thier entire 3g network was having issues

    (just a note this was 2 weeks ago)
  10. CadBane
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    CadBane New Member

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    My issues have been more recent

    Thanks for your reply. Mine actually began the night I got the phone, but tried to overlook it. Made calls to tech support Saturday night and Sunday (this past weekend) no reports of any network issues. Even after switching to CDMA, it'll still lose data/network signal for minutes at a time. Even though they're not long periods, the fact that it's happened each day in different places makes me not trust the phone.

    When I really WANT to like it. But it's not letting me. :angry:
  11. Demolition Man
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    Demolition Man New Member

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    When I first got the Stratosphere I rarely lost 4G. Lately it seems to pop in and out at very random times. I suspect this has to do with the upgrading work Verizon is doing in my area. Its not horribly bad however so I think I'll manage for now. :icon_ lala:
  12. CadBane
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    CadBane New Member

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    Like I said, I don't even have 4G. Haven't heard of any work in my area either. Verizon techs have been stumped as to why it happens. Just know I don't like it.
  13. PhDCow
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    PhDCow New Member

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    I've had mine since Wednesday and I'm very happy. I just came off of a defective Razr and, believe it or not, I like the Stratosphere more. It's weight and thickness remind me of my old EnV Touch, which I loved. It feels secure and substantial.

    I'm done conditioning the battery and I got 13 hours yesterday with moderate use of phone, texting, e-mail, camera, and games. The speakers are great and Pandora sounds almost as good on it as when I use my home speakers.

    I made the investment yesterday and got the Zagg screen protector for it. Other than that, I'm going naked. I may get a case because I'm very protective of my phones, but I like that the back has texture to it to keep slipping to a minimum.

    Overall, I'm glad I made the switch.
  14. CadBane
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    CadBane New Member

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    I'm on my second one, so far, so decent I guess

    Though Friday evening, I had to reboot the phone because it got to a point to where I literally could not make phone calls. Every time I tried to call someone, would get an earful of static. A reboot cleared it, still don't like it happened. Oh, also, had to do a hard reset the day I got the replacement. Was getting an error on my AOL email claiming my login credentials were wrong, but it wouldn't let me remove and readd the account. Wouldn't let me remove any of my email accounts.

    Not exactly about having to do a hard reset that fast. And that phone still won't sync email between my phone and computer at all. Haven't had all the network dropping issues. Got a zag cover from the begining. I like it a lot. But if I keep the phone, am getting a case anyway. My phone fell out of my pocket last night. If it hadn't been for the Zag, would've gotten scratched up. So I feel like I need a case if I'm gonna keep it.
  15. PhDCow
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    PhDCow New Member

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    I tried one of VZW cases and it made it, um, weird. The power button was hard to reach and the whole phone just felt off as if the keyboard kept sliding out on its own.

    I'm going to go through my box of change purses and other small pouches and put it in there. I carry a ton of crap in my purse and I want it protected even then.
  16. frozty
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    frozty New Member

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    I've had this phone for a week right now.
    I'm a bit disappointed in this phone right about now. :( I can't play GTA III or Deads Space. I ran benchmarks and its only a tad bit faster than my OG droid rooted at 1ghz :[
    Any one using their stratosphere for gaming?

    You guys think this phone may be able to be tweaked a bit?
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