The WVGA display on the Samsung Stratosphere is certainly bright and colorful, but there's no denying that this PenTile screen is old school by today's standards, especially with the proliferation of 720p HD devices. Given the potential midrange buyer for this device it's not much of a hardship, but the display was a tad on the soft side for our tastes.
Don't get your hopes up for Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich: The Stratosphere comes with Android 2.3 Gingerbread (version 2.3.5 to be exact), and this particular handset is (sadly) not on Samsung's current list of devices to be upgraded.
Once you've made peace with that reality, users can find comfort in the loving arms of an unidentified flavor of TouchWiz, which very capably runs on the Stratosphere's 1GHz processor. We prefer Samsung's lighter touch when it comes to skinning Android compared to the likes of HTC's Sense.
When waking the handset from sleep, a cutesy lock screen shows a puzzle with a missing piece – slide it into place and you're in. A large clock widget is perched atop an AccuWeather.com-powered weather widget, with space for two rows of icons below.
By default, the bottom row features icons for Voice Mail, Email, Browser and Android Market, which quickly switched over to the new Play Store after being launched the first time. Pinned below is a dock with icons for Phone, Contacts, Messaging and Applications.
A tap in the upper left corner of the home screen allows quick access to choosing a different home screen from four other pages, accessed by swiping left or right. All in all, a fairly fluid UI that's not overly cluttered with options.