Thursday, November 1, 2012

Galaxy Stellar, a Poor Man's Smartphone

It has all the major virtues of the flagship Galaxy S III, but cost much less. This is the cheapest unlocked smartphone for PagePlus etc., and currently the best choice. Listed at $345, but can be found on craigslist or ebay for as low as $85 brand new, because Verizon is giving this phone for free with a 2-year contract. The following photo compares it to the Fascinate (the former best choice).

What's missing?
  • Large OLED screen. The Stellar has a small 4" LCD screen instead. Too me this is actually good. The screen looks very good, even under direct sunlight. Very gentle to my eyes when I use it as bed time story.
  • 1080p camera w/ flash. The Stellar has a 3MB camera that can do 640x480x30p video only, no flash. Good enough for me for what I need a phone camera for. I have my GF-2 for serious photos and video.
  • 1500MHz CPU. The Stellar still has a dual-core CPU clocked at 1200MHz. Again, well good enough for me and actually a good thing (drain less battery).
What's still included?
  • Dual-core CPU, just slightly slower, 1200 vs. 1500 MHz.
  • The same 2100mAh large battery. Most smartphones comes with a 1500mAh.
  • The same Android OS 4.0.4. The software is very similar to G3's, e.g., tools for rooting and voice/data configuration are almost the same.
  • Multiple color notification LED. Glad to see Samsung is no longer copying the bad things from Apple. Notification works while plugged into wall, a feature missing in Moto and HTC phones.
  • Front camera for video calling or self portrait.
  • SIM slot (for LTE). But so far I have not been able to use it on T-Mobile and AT&T (some people have success with G3).
Above is not a full list, just what I think worthy of mentioning. Here is a full comparison between these two phones:

The following photo shows its large battery compared to the one in Fascinate. The Stellar is slightly heavier, 4.7 vs. 4.2, and thicker but shorter as you can see.

What's especially good?
  • The best VO3G phone so far! No echo, no delay, loud and clear! I don't have a G3, so I don't know how it compares to that one.
  • Can be activated on PagePlus. However, you have to manually configure the phone to make voice and 3g data to work. You don't have to have a Verizon LTE SIM card, but it is good to insert any SIM card you have, even a deactivated one, otherwise the 3g icon never appear even though it is connected and working fine. FoxFi works fine.
  • Several language input methods included, such as Chinese PinYin!
  • Text look bold and dark, very easy to my eyes.
The bottom line: cannot find a better phone at this price for PagePlus, not even close, especially if you want a brand new one.

Two photos taken by this phone (more in the Phlips SHE3580 article), love the colors - something Samsung had never done right:


  1. Great help!
    Can you share how to use Verizon 4g LG resolution VS910 on Page Plus, thanks a lot!

    1. Sorry don't know about that phone. LG and Moto phones should be avoided - they are difficult to configure for other carries.

    2. Thank you a lot for your quick response.

  2. Thanks for the recommendation. But how to manually configure Stellar to make voice and 3g data work. Any tutorial or reference? would appreciate!

    1. There is a youtube shows how to bypass the activation by touching the empty square space on the screen in this order: left, right, right, left. There's also one shows how to enable diag mode: *#22745927, *#7284#. The rest is similar to S3 and other such LTE phones, lots of info out there just goolge something like "flash galaxy s3 to cricket".

    2. Thanks! I will try. Have flashed LG Optimus to PPC before. Is it similar? Besides it would be great if you can write a tutorial on how to flash. Haven't seen any yet. It would definitely make Stellar a real "star" in PPC handset family.

  3. Hello,
    I called Pageplus customer service and they said they can not activate the phone because this is 4G phone. I have pageplus account and just need to switch the phone. Can you do it? I will pay the necessary fee. thanks.

    1. You don't need to tell what phone it is, just give them the MEID or IMEI without the last digit. Note: as I said it clearly in my article, once the phone is activated on PP, you still need to manually program the phone.

    2. thanks. I tell them the whole MEID with the last digit so they know it's a 4G phone immediately. I ordered this phone and try to activate with PagePlus before reading your article. returned after PP tell me can not activate. Still need a new phone to replace old one. How about HTC incredtiable 2? Do you recommend Galaxy Stellar or HTC Increditiable 2? Thank you so much for your time and response.

    3. Next time I can activate it for you. Inc2 is a global phone with a better camera (but somehow now I prefer the photos from the Stellar - more clear, colors are not over saturated, smoother video, 640x480 only though). The main advantage of Stellar is very good for 3G calling and, thanking to the large battery and underclocked dual CPU, cool for music.

    4. Hi Sean,
      Do you have this phone for sale? If you do, we would like to order one from you. We just need a new phone for PagePlus and this one looks nice from reading your article. We are not technical people and don't know how to activiate and manaully prgram it. Thank you very much.

      Kevin Chen

  4. hi Sean,

    could you send me a link to your article how to put the stellar manually on page plus.

    thank you

  5. Hi Sean;
    I found this post, then went out and purchased an unlocked Verizon Samsung Galaxy Stellar. Now I can't find instructions, nor anyone who will flash it for me to PagePlus. Has this actually been done? Your post certainly indicates yes. Thank you for your reply.

    Regards, Art King

    1. Yes, It's been done. The procedure is very similar to that of Galaxy S3. As I said in this article, Stellar is very similar to GS3 in every way, with some limits added to give an excuse for the low price tag.