Samsung Galaxy Stratosphere II
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Update: I've had the phone now for 9 months and changed my review from "somewhat disappointing" (3 stars) to "Very disappointed" (1.5 stars.)
This phone is just plain buggy.
For example, type part of a word, press the menu to auto complete the word, then press 2 digits. The first digit gets erased. eg press: "M e e meeting 2 3 0" and you get "Meeting 30"
The auto complete is inconsistent. Sometimes it puts a space in after your word sometimes it does not.
Menu placement is inconsistent. When viewing your messages the menu to delete one is in the upper right. Select the message and the menu moves. Read it and the menu moves again to the bottom.
The phone rings for no reason. Every now and then, often in the middle of the night, the phone ring tone for incoming SMS message plays. But check and there are no messages. Nor are there any missed calls, new email, or calendar reminders. It just rang for no reason.
The LED to indicate waiting messages is worthless. It does not come on reliably when a message arrives. It's usually just constantly on, with some random color, wasting battery life.
After only a few months battery life dropped badly. I can no longer go a full day without a recharge. And that's from checking email once or twice, 20 minutes of internet, and 1 or 2 short calls. Even with WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth turned off in 4 hours battery will be 20% or less.
The phone comes on randomly. Every now and then I look at it and the screen is fully lit up asking for my passcode.
The passcode can be bypassed. If the phone was used to send SMS messages, left in the message app, then allowed to go to sleep, then you can plug in the charger and the phone will be on, open, unlocked, ready for anything without having to type in the passcode.
I could go on. There are lots of bugs like this.
Never again will I buy a Samsung Android phone.
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I picked this phone mainly because I wanted a slide out keyboard and Android 4. The keyboard is a disappointment. The keys are just too tiny unless I use my fingernails. Thumb typing will fat finger adjacent keys constantly. There is also a bug with the shift key. Press it and it will capitalize the next 2 letters, like THis. And it seems to get stuck in CAPS LOCK sometimes.
I tried pairing it with an Apple bluetooth keyboard. It worked. But there are still finicky problems with the shift key.
Verizon data network seems good. I've had good reception streaming video even in areas where my iPhone would drop calls routinely.
I'm liking Android for its sync with Gmail, contacts, calendars. Much better than firing up iTunes.
Battery life. Watch 2 videos of 15 minutes, surf the web for 30 minutes, check a few emails, send 4 text messages, answer 1 call for 3 minutes and the phone is down to 50% battery life. This with WiFI and GPS off. My iPhone would easily go 2 days. This phone I have to charge at home, again when I'm at work, and I'm going to buy a car charger. Might even buy a second battery.
It's hard to open the keyboard. The first time I tried it I dropped the phone. Often I accidentally hit a button on screen while trying to open the keyboard. It's taken a bit of practice.
A lot of my other gripes come from learning Android. It does not seem as intuitive. I could not even figure out how to answer a call and dropped the first 2 calls I received. (You have to push the answer button AND slide your finger across the screen.)
It's not very loud, even at its highest volume. Outside in the city, with some traffic and construction noise I could not hear anyone. The speakerphone isn't loud enough. And the alarm I fear isn't loud enough to wake me. And the annoying warning keeps popping up saying playing at high volume will damage your hearing.
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Overall, not a bad smartphone. I got mine about a year ago so I've had time to see how this one does in the real world.
I picked this model largely because I was used to using a slide out keyboard -- but I find that I have gotten used to the on-screen keyboard and rarely use the slide out except for the arrow keys when editing text online.
The speaker phone function works pretty well, which I use a lot because the earpiece volume isn't quite loud enough for my rather senior ears.
Mostly I rely on Wi-Fi but the Verizon 4G network is reliable and fast enough when I need it.
Battery life is probably about average for a smart phone which means that I have switched to the extended battery which provides much better service.
I use this phone as my ebook reader using readmill software, so it sometimes runs with max backlight for an hour or two at a time without running down the battery.
Camera is outrageously slow. You frame the shot, tap the button, it waits about a second, then focuses and measures the light, then waits about another second before it takes a picture. MUCH too slow to be useful.
And, of course, the memory is loaded with all the Verizon junkware - most of which Verizon has already stopped supporting or even having it work, but you still can't remove any of it (not even the stuff that Verizon has disabled at their end). Verizon the phone company everyone loves to hate.