We’ve always said the Android world is in need of better slider phones (aka phones with QWERTY keyboards), and, even though we’re yet to see a quad-core device in this niche, we’re slowly, but steadily getting there.

The latest high-end-ish QWERTY phone to get a release is Verizon’s Samsung Galaxy Stratosphere 2. This has been making the rumor rounds for a while, but has actually started selling very quietly today.

As a matter of fact, we would have probably not even noticed the Stratosphere 2 is up for grabs if one of our readers wouldn’t have taken the time to send us an e-mail. In his own words, “I stopped by my local Radio Shack yesterday on my way home from work to check and see if they had any info on the Stratosphere 2. To my surprise it was on display, free with upgrade.”

Sadly, Verizon is not as generous as RS, so if you go through Big Red’s online store you’ll be asked to pay a whopping $129.99 with a two-year contract, no matter if you’re a new client or looking for an upgrade.

Meanwhile, a search for Samsung Stratosphere 2 on RadioShack.com comes up with zero results, so you might or might not be as lucky as our tipster if you go down to your local store. In any case, we’re expecting a bunch of other retailers to have the phone in stock soon, including Best Buy, so it might be wise to give it some time and study the market before making a decision.

As you can notice from the pics sent by probably Stratosphere 2’s first ever buyer, this is not a featherweight device, weighing in at a hefty 154 grams. That’s not to say the phone is ugly while also packing a decent amount of heat under the hood.

There’s a dual-core 1.2 GHz Snapdragon S4 Plus, an Adreno 225 GPU and 1 GB of RAM to handle this big guy’s gaming, web browsing and multimedia playing, while the 4-inch Super AMOLED screen comes with an 800 x 480 pixels resolution.

Other features include 8 GB of on-board storage, microSD support, a 1,800 mAh battery, 5 MP/1.3 MP dual cameras, NFC and Android 4.0.4 ICS, so basically everything the Stratosphere 2 needs to be just below a top-tier device. Oh, okay, maybe not just below, but this is still a more than decent mid-ranger no matter how you look at it.

Thanks tipster