Some folks love their hardware keyboards, and who can blame them? Pecking away at glass isn't the most inspiring experience if you spend your days and nights sending emails and texts. Until now, if you wanted the glorious speeds of Verizon Wireless' 4G LTE and a hardware QWERTY keyboard, you were out of luck. Enter the Samsung Stratosphere, with faint echoes of Sprint's Samsung Epic 4G. This time it has LTE and Android OS 2.3.5 Gingerbread. It's $149 with contract and available now, and for that price you don't get high end Drioid Bionic or Galaxy Nexus specs.
The Stratosphere has a single 1GHz Hummingbird CPU, a front video chat camera, a rear 5 megapixel camera and a 4", 800 x 480 Super AMOLED display. The usual WiFi, Bluetooth and GPS are on board, as is Samsung's TouchWiz software and Media Hub. Though the specs won't send geeks into lust-ville, the phone is actually quite responsive and it handles HD video and 3D gaming just fine. LTE speeds are good at 8 megs down and 2 megs up with a mediocre signal, but it is bested by the Bionic which manages 11-12 megs down in the same location. The phone can act as a mobile hotspot too.
Here's our Samsung Stratosphere video review. Our full review will follow in the coming week.