Paras Chadha

Review: LG Ally

The LG Ally is a relatively affordable Android phone that seems pretty mediocre. However, it does have some redeeming qualities about it.

First things first, in terms of how it looks and feels the Ally phones are remarkably unremarkable, with a mostly matte black appearance. There are two muted chrome strips on the sides of the screen, and the volume rocker and camera toggle are chrome as well. The addition of the chrome seems rather pointless to me, but it’s functional and works. The phone feels heavy for its size, but it isn’t dense, it just feels like it belongs there.

The screen itself is a rather nice 800×480 unit in a 3.2-inch diagonal form, which makes looking at it a real pleasure. You can read text very clearly on it and things just render flawlessly on it. The display itself also doesn’t put much strain on the battery life of the phone, which depending on usage (an average day sees me browsing the web and maybe using the GPS for 10-15 minutes max), will last all day. Also the charging kit that comes with the phone is the standard mini-USB cable that can plug into a charging outlet or into your pc/laptop/(or in my case, an Xbox 360)

The standout feature for this phone however, and the reason I chose it over the Droid and newly released Droid X and Incredible is the keyboard. It’s truly a joy to use, with very well angled and spaced out keys, a nice directional pad, and nice feedback.

The phone is not without its weaknesses however. The processor seems woefully underpowered for the Android 2.1 operating system, and while it’s not really hanging up on anything (for the most part) the phone just seems surprised, for lack of a better word, anytime it’s tasked with something that requires a ton of processing.

The camera could also use a little work. It meters light fairly quickly and produces a shot that is usable the majority of the time (any picture I didn’t like I could usually just change the flash on and have a decent one afterwards).

On to the OS, this is a near vanilla build of Android 2.1. It’s fully capable of running all the apps in the app store. Whether it’s updated to 2.2 and Froyo remains to be seen, but I personally see no reason why it wouldn’t be. Speaking of the app store, I like it a lot. There are a bunch of quality free applications out there for just about anything you would need and/or want. I personally have a bunch of social media apps there so that way I can keep updated on how certain things in the media are unfolding.

When it all comes down to it though, I’d give this phone a grade of B. It’s got a gorgeous display, and an excellent keyboard. Unfortunately it could stand to look a little nicer, and the hardware itself just doesn’t do the OS any justice. If you’re looking to choose between this and a Droid, I’d probably choose the Droid because of the hardware, but having used both I prefer the Ally.