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Samsung Stratosphere for Verizon Wireless hands-on [REVIEW]

The original Samsung I9000 Galaxy S is almost two years old and, yet, its incarnations keep coming. Today, we have the latest one to visit our office – the slide-out QWERTY equipped, LTE enabled Samsung Stratosphere, exclusive to Verizon Wireless in the US.

The Samsung Stratosphere is powered by the familiar 1GHz Cortex A8 Hummingbird Processor and has 512MB of RAM on board. There is 2GB of built-in memory which is further expandable via microSD card slot (a 4GB card is included in the retail package). The screen is a 4″ Super AMOLED unit with WVGA resolution. A 5MP camera with LED flash is the main snapper on the back of the device, while a 1.3MP front unit will help you with the video calls.

Hardware

In terms of build quality, the Samsung Stratosphere fares like the rest of its Galaxy S siblings. Plastic is the predominant material used on the device, blended with just the right amount of metal to give it a premium feel. The smartphone’s measures come at 126 x 65 x 14 mm, and the weight is 164 grams. Visually, the phone is an almost identical copy to the Samsung Epic 4G, offered by Sprint Wireless.


Samsung Stratosphere hardware shots

The slide-out QWERTY keyboard of the Samsung Stratosphere offers 5 rows of keys, arrow buttons, as well as the standard four buttons which you will find under the screen. All in all, it is quite busy. The keys don’t have much space in between, so typing certainly involves a learning curve.


The hardware QWERTY is not the most comfortable out there

The device packs a beefy 1800mAh battery. In our experience with the device on Verizon’s flawless LTE network in the New York City area, it easily made it through a day of heavy use. This is pretty much as good as most Android devices are these days.

Software

The software department of the Samsung Stratosphere is business as usual – there is TouchWiz-ed Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread on board. We have prepared a short video of the device in action. See it below:

It is important to note that, along with the typical Android goodies, the Samsung Stratosphere packs serious business capabilities, which are more typical for the products of a certain Canadian manufacturer. They include support for Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync; Cisco AnyConnect 2.1 SSL VPN; encryption services, as well as support for Sybase Afaria mobile device management. Coupled with the zippy LTE network which Verizon Wireless has to offer, the aforementioned services turn the Samsung Stratosphere into a serious road warrior.

The 5MP camera of the smartphone offers decent performance for the device’s price range. We have put together several camera samples which you can see below.


Sadly, the video recording capability of the device tops out at D1 (720 x 480) resolution. We have prepared an untouched video clip for you. You can download it here.

Final Words

Currently, Samsung’s offering has the luxury of being the only QWERTY packing LTE smartphone on sale in the United States. It is priced at $149.99 with a two year contract. If you dig around, you will find plenty of dual-core Android devices for the same kind of money. None of them however, will offer you the business credentials of the Stratosphere or its LTE connectivity. And, believe us, if you are looking for a no nonsense business device, the aforementioned matter a lot.

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