I've had this phone for about 5 years now. I may well be the last person in the US who is still using one. It's got some quirks, but as one of the last QWERTY sliders produced it's actually pretty good. A lot of people confuse the Strat-I and Strat-II, and the first was a buggy, slow piece of junk but looks almost identical to the Strat-II. Inside they're vastly different and the Strat-II has some major improvements over its predecessor.
The VRBMF1 4.1.2 JB firmware is the preferred one to use as it is the only one that works with FoxFi for WiFi hotspot. The later MJ2 firmware will not run FoxFi or let you install the earlier MF1 software, but it can still be rooted. Once you root it, you can run TitaniumBackup and remove all the stock bloatware. No custom ROMs exist for this phone so there's not much point in installing a custom recovery like TWRP, which I don't think one exists anyway. But if you strip out all the games, Verizon apps and disable unused services with Titanium, like the native email app and browser (use K9 and AdBlocker instead) it runs lean and mean. The display, though not that large, is a gorgeous Super-AMOLED that has an amazing contrast ratio with deep, dark blacks and rich colors unlike other TFTs of the era (LG, Moto, etc). With native FlipFont support you can add custom fonts with more available on the Play store, and custom themes are also supported. Its 5MP rear camera takes decent photos and the 720p video produces surprisingly good results as well. Its front camera at 1.3MP matches the best of its class, though neither is as good as the Droid 4's. However, its graphics performance is very good with the Adreno 225 chipset, whose benchmarks demonstrate its clear superiority over others in its class like the PowerVR SGX540 in the Droid 4.
I've killed two of these so far - one I dropped from about 4 feet onto pebbled concrete and cracked the screen, another I fell off my jetski with it in my pocket - but I was able to save them both by transplanting the motherboard into a new body. It's actually really easy to do, just a few screws in the back, lift the cover and it comes right out. Now I carry it in a Ziploc baggie on the water.
If you break one you can still use it to charge a spare battery.
Its glossy finish looks nice but can be slippery. You'll definitely drop it a few times and it slides off of anything you set it on. Covers exist but they actually scratch it up worse than you ever will.
This will support a much larger MicroSD card than originally advertised. I have run a 128GB card with no problem, and I bet it would recognize 256GB as well. I keep apps that I don't run regularly archived out with TitaniumBackup, and just restore them on the occasion that they're needed. Never have a problem with internal storage space that way. I move larger apps off to the SD card, and Titanium will facilitate doing this where Android often won't.
Battery life with the stock 1800 battery typically runs about 17-18 hours. If it's less than that you've got a rogue app draining in the background. There is also an OEM Samsung "fat" battery available with a larger cover that is 3000 mAh and will last several days. I always have one in the "charger" (a busted Strat-II) that's ready to swap.
There's a cool integrated task manager next to the Home button that lets you flip between recent apps. I didn't use this for a long time but started a couple years ago, and now I find it indispensable. Just swipe off apps you want to kill or tap one to switch to it.
This phone is unlocked and with its SIM slot is perfect for MVNO usage. PagePlus and Boom! Mobile are the two best in this arena to use with Verizon in the US.
In terms of wireless capability this one does have a feature no other QWERTY sliders of this era have, and that's 5GHz wifi. We didn't think it was a big deal in 2013, but in 2018 it's essential for fast video streaming. The 2.4GHz range is also where Bluetooth resides, and the two frequently conflict with each other - so streaming audio over 2.4GHz to a Bluetooth receiver tends to produce skips and dropouts that 5GHz doesn't. Video calling also works much better over 5GHz, and only works with a Bluetooth headset there.
This phone was also equipped with NFC, another 2013 feature that could've been overlooked but in 2018 provides authentication and mobile payment possibilities that most other QWERTY sliders don't have.
It also came with WiFi Direct, another feature that's nice to have for exchanging large files between systems wirelessly.
Now, the big one: its keyboard. It's a little quirky, but once you get the hang of it, it works okay. The shortcut keys aren't particularly useful, and you sometimes bump the wrong one and get more than you bargained for. Function keys sometimes "stick" in mode in unpredictable ways. Like it will sometimes think it's in Fn key mode, and gives you a symbol instead of the letter you wanted. If you happen to hit the backspace key it will erase the whole line. There's no clear indicator for either Fn-lock or Shift-lock, just an undistinguishable change to the cursor that isn't consistent. Sometimes you want a capital letter and you either can't get the shift key to give it to you at the beginning of a line, or it gives you two capital letters instead of one. Or it highlights something for cut & paste, which if you then hit another letter or space key it deletes it instead. If you're sophisticated enough to have one of these in 2018 you should probably just turn off the keyboard assists, though it won't completely alleviate these problems. And it seems to afflict every version of the firmware ever released for it, so upgrading won't fix it either. This is the one really sore spot with this phone, that could've been fixed in software but never was. You just have to deal with it.
This phone doesn't have an active online community anymore either, so there's not much help. But you probably won't need it because not much goes wrong with the software, and if something goes wrong in hardware just buy another one for $40-50 and swap motherboards - your apps and data will come right along with it.
Some newer apps no longer support the API level in Android 4.1.2. I've got other devices (like tablets) that have a newer version of Android to install them, so I'll occasionally have to use something else for that - like the TrackR app. You won't be playing Pokémon Go on this phone either.
In general, if an app is working, don't update it. You must immediately disable auto-app update in Play settings. And if you insist on trying to update something, make sure you have backed up its current version with Titanium before installing anything new from the Play Store, so you can go back if it doesn't work. The stock Google Now app works best, and the new one (2017+) doesn't work at all.
QWERTY slider phones haven't been made for five years and probably never will be again. If you insist on having a physical keyboard as I do, the Strat-II is one of your only choices left, and it's all about trade-offs. This phone has some special features that others do not, and it is definitely worth considering.
Ten, 21 Apr 2015Hi guys,
I have 3 important questions for now.
1) Does this phone can be unlocked? Even if... moreStratosphere II is unlocked. Watch for band support though -- US banding uses 850/1900 (and AWS 1700/2100 which this phone doesn't support) and European bands use 900/1800 and 2100. South America uses some of both. The phone supports GSM on 850/900/1800/1900 but HSPA+ on just 850/1900/2100, so if your carrier uses 900 or 1800 3G it won't pick it up.
I have 3 important questions for now.
1) Does this phone can be unlocked? Even if it's the Verizon version? I plan to use it in SouthAmerica, and yes GSM works good here. Or anybody has done that before with the Verizon version?
2)Which phone is better? Samsung Galaxy Stratosphere II 1415 vs Samsung Galaxy Relay 4G?
3) Where i can buy this phone new or the Samsung Galaxy Relay 4G?
I found 2 places, but i need more.
Galaxy Stratosphere: http://www.bestbuy.com/site/samsung-galaxy-stratosphere-ii-4g-mobile-phone-black-verizon-wireless/6581121.p?id=1218759757441&skuId=6581121&st=Samsung%20Galaxy%20Stratosphere%20II%20Verizon&cp=1&lp=1&contract_desc=&ref=199&loc=jo/pTdthTuc&acampID=1&siteID=jo_pTdthTuc-NmKAGDKeaFl1qOOPegnwZg
Galaxy Relay: https://www.consumercellular.com/Info/PhoneDetails/559
Thank you in adv.
This is a very disappointing phone in many ways and the few positive things about are by far and few overshadowed by the negatives... My girlfriend and I both agree and have had this phone continuously for 2 years.. The phone is clumsy to hold and use and having to replace mine 3 times due to broken screens makes it fragile as well One of the broken screens occurred when it was dropped on a desk from a resting position on the desk itself only fell maybe 5 inches from drop to impact...Ridiculous to have a qwerty keyboard that if you are trying to open that in trying to do so causes one to inadvertently touching the screen which then can cause a host of issues with whatever you are doing.... The battery life wt first appeared to be decent but that quickly changed after every update as there was obvious changes that caused greater power consumption..Also the battery for whatever reason was charging quickly in the beginning and now sometimes tkes hours where it was minutes before to charge...I used to get 3-4 days on a charge now its 4 hours and I have replaced the battery with very little change so that is why i think that the updaters are causing this...The next theing is the lousy touch screen which has registration issues as well as when I try and answer the phone by swipe I have it set so I can see my swipe which registers and by like the 10th swipe it might answer which is totally unacceptable... To sum it up I have only touched the surface with this as I have come to refer to it as a total POS and that is what it is...Dont waste your time with this call dropping and constantly locking up nightmare which maybe the earlier reviewers had not had the time to see just what came over time...in the beginning other that the clumsy and difficult to hold phone was cool but I have grown to so hate this phone that every day I use it I don't know what holds me from taking a hammer to it other than the price of getting another phone right now....
asbyvoet, 12 Oct 2013Does it have a front camera?Check where it says Secondary then check if it says yes or any number.
sam, 28 Oct 2013hi everyone. does this phone has a tv out or a way to watch everything in the big screen? and ... moreYes, but you'll need a cable for that. You can use with any sim card in the world. But you have to see if the carrier you want to use has the same 3g/4g frequency of the phone. If they don't match you won't ever get 3g/4g just 2G (edge).
Annalisa, 24 Feb 2014This phone is amazing, Ive had it for about a year and it's very durable, the features are pre... moreYou actually can take a screenshot.
Just hold the home button and the turn on/off/lock button at the same time for 5 secs. I have that phone and I do that when I want to take a screenshot. ;)
Actually, like someone else said, this phone can be used with other carriers. One of my Co workers got this brand new for 180 USD and took it to Mexico. He didn't need to unlock it, he inserted his SIM card and that's it. Some notifications from Verizon (not Verizon's SIM card detected) may appear but he can make calls and SMS trouble free. His phone came with Jelly Bean 4.1.2
This phone is amazing, Ive had it for about a year and it's very durable, the features are pretty cool, except i wasn't able to screen shot,and the screen is a bit small, besides that, its a great phone to have!
Hi sam this phone is unlockable it uses a micro sim card and it has DLNA so you can wireless broadcast to your tv and such. I haven't tried using the MHL wired hookup yet but you can get those cables at Radioshack ;)
YANE, 30 Dec 2013hi. i want to buy this phone so i have several questions 1.when the keyboard is opened can yo... moreI can only help a little, it could navigate through the menu by using the arrow key.
hi. i want to buy this phone so i have several questions
1.when the keyboard is opened can you select or move the selection with the arrow keys(can you navigate frough the menu with keys) ??
2.how much the battery will stand with mixed using?
3.i saw batteries more than 1800 mAh that it has the mobile what will happen if you use other battery?
There's a possibility that. The stratosphere 11 will be upgradeable to kitkat next year. Two.questions. will this upgrade the camera and.can you get adobe flash on it? Thanks for your time. Regards nijinski
jesus christ. people are selfish. no wonder why the world is a mess. no one has been able to answer my 2 simple questions,not even the moderators who suppose to be experts. thanks for nothing.
come on guys is my question so hard to answer? i did my own research and did not find the answers. please don't be selfish and help. after all is almost christmas. thanks.
hi everyone. does this phone has a tv out or a way to watch everything in the big screen? and what about the sim card slot that it has,means that can be used with any other gsm us carrier? i read in ENGADGET i think, that verizon is leaving that option open in their newest phones,you know, the sim card or gsm part.please sombody answer this as soon as possible. thanks.