LG Ally (Verizon Wireless)

Friday, 4 June 2010 Leave a Comment
Though LG has made Android phones for a while, they were always for the European and Asian markets. The LG Ally, however, marks the first LG Android phone to hit U.S. shores. There's nothing too new with the Ally, but we think LG did a great job here. The display is very nice, we love the slide-out keyboard, and the performance is great. We also really appreciate that it comes with the latest Android OS build, Android 2.1, right out of the gate. The LG Ally has a very impressive price tag of $99.99 as long as you sign up for a new two-year agreement with

 LG Ally (Verizon Wireless)
 LG Ally (Verizon Wireless)
 LG Ally (Verizon Wireless)
 LG Ally (Verizon Wireless)
Verizon Wireless. DesignAt first glance, the LG Ally's design reminds us a lot of LG feature phones like the LG EnV Touch. Like the EnV Touch, the Ally is blocky and rectangular and is wrapped in a black and silver casing. It measures 4.56 inches long by 2.22 inches wide by 0.62 inch thick, and has ergonomic curves and angles along its sides, so it feels comfortable in the hand. At 5.57 ounces, the Ally is no lightweight, but it's still lighter than both the Motorola Devour and the Motorola Droid. The weight also contributes to the Ally's sturdy feel.

This is the LG Ally next to the Motorola Droid.

We have no complaints about the Ally's stunning 3.2-inch touch-screen display. Made out of tempered glass, the TFT display has 262,000 colors plus an 800x480-pixel resolution, resulting in really crisp and vibrant images. It looks great under bright sunlight as well.
We found the capacitive display to be very responsive. You have the option of adding haptic feedback as well, which makes the phone vibrate as confirmation that your touch has registered. Other options include a backlight timer, brightness, and the wallpaper. You can even have "live" animated wallpaper if you wish. There's also an accelerometer and a proximity sensor.
The interface on the LG Ally is that of the standard Android UI; there's no custom interface here like you would expect from HTC or Samsung. Like with the Nexus One, it's pretty easy and intuitive; you get up to five home screens that you can customize with widgets and shortcuts, and the main menu is laid out in a simple cascading grid. The phone dialer is easy to use, and if you don't want to use the physical keyboard, you are free to use the Android virtual keyboard, too.
Underneath the display are two touch-sensor keys for the Back and the Search functions. Below those are four physical keys--the Call, Home, menu pop-up, and End/Power keys--laid out in a slight curve. The volume rocker and charger jack are on the left spine, and the right is home to the microSD card slot and dedicated camera button. A 3.5mm headset jack sits on the top with the camera lens and LED flash on the back.

The LG Ally has a full QWERTY keyboard.

When you slide the display to the right, you'll reveal a four-row QWERTY keyboard. The screen automatically adjusts from portrait to landscape mode when that happens. We're really big fans of the keyboard, much more so than the keyboard on the Droid. It's roomy, there's a dedicated number row, and the keys are a good size. They're raised above the surface and are separate and distinct from each other, resulting in a super tactile feel that allowed us to type with speed. Also on the right of keyboard is a square navigation toggle, which is a nice alternative to just using the touch screen. Features
If you've used other Android 2.1 devices before, you'll be very familiar with what the LG Ally offers. Of course you get seamless integration with Google applications like Gmail, Google Talk, Google Search, Google Maps with Google Maps Navigation, and YouTube. Other features include text and multimedia messaging, visual voice mail, speech-to-text recognition, voice commands, Wi-Fi, A-GPS, and stereo Bluetooth. You also get the standard Android browser, which we love. You can double tap to zoom in and out, but there's no pinch to zoom like on the iPhone. Of course, as this is an Android phone, we would be remiss if we didn't mention the Android Marketplace, where you can download many more apps and games.If you're a fan of social networking, the LG Ally also comes with the LG Socialite app. It essentially syncs your Twitter and Facebook contacts with your Google contacts, and provides easy access to both services via a custom user interface that lets you easily check the latest updates and messages from either service. Business users will be happy with the LG Ally. We were able to set up a variety of e-mail accounts on here, including a Gmail, one of course, and we could sync to our corporate Exchange server, which allows us to sync our Outlook calendar and contacts as well. For document editing and reading, Microsoft QuickOffice comes standard with the Ally.
If you want a bit of fun with your phone, the Ally won't disappoint you there either. It comes with a music player that's similar to the one on other Android phones. You can create and edit playlists, plus there are the usual repeat and shuffle modes. You can easily purchase and download new songs via the Amazon MP3 Store. The Ally has 512MB of internal memory, but it accepts up to 16GB of removable storage via a microSD card. Even though the LG Ally is a Verizon device, we didn't see any apps for V Cast streaming video or V Cast Music with Rhapsody. To be honest, we didn't really miss them since we can use the browser for simple Flash Lite videos and we can get music from the Amazon MP3 Store anyway. Still, it would've been nice to have.

The LG Ally has a 3.2-megapixel camera and flash LED on the back.
We were quite pleased with the LG Ally's 3.2-megapixel camera. It can take pictures in five resolutions and three quality settings. Other options include five scene modes, five white-balance presets, eight color effects, a self-timer, four shutter sounds plus a silent option, and five special shot modes that include Panorama Shot and Smile Shot, which automatically detects smiles. There's also zoom, flash, and a macro focus mode.

The LG Ally takes OK but not great pictures.

With all this customization, we wished the photo quality would be better. Image quality was decent, but not great. Colors looked good but images just didn't look as crisp as we would like. After taking photos, you can geotag them and upload them to a variety of photo-sharing sites like Facebook, Picasa, Flickr, and more. There's also a built-in video recorder that can record in three resolutions (640x480 pixels, 320x240 pixels, and 176x144 pixels) with similar settings to the still camera. MMS storage is capped at a minute long, whereas the normal mode lets you shoot for as much as available memory holds.
We tested the dual-band (CDMA 800/1900 Mhz) LG Ally in San Francisco using Verizon Wireless. Call quality was good for the most part, though we did have a few minor issues. On our end, we heard our callers loud and clear without any static or distortion. We enjoyed good signal strength, too. However, their voice quality was rather hollow, as if they were calling from inside a tunnel.
Callers reported the same thing from their end. They said we sounded perfectly fine with good volume, but it was as if we were talking from inside a tin can. When we turned on the speakerphone, callers reported a bit more echo and the voice quality was more muffled as well. On our end, the speakerphone quality was fine, but the tinny quality persisted.
Music quality was average. The external speaker provided tinny yet loud audio quality. We would definitely recommend a headset for better quality, especially since the Ally has a 3.5mm headset jack so you can use your own headset.
The LG Ally has a 600Mhz processor, and we found it to be good enough for our needs. There was very little lag time even when we were running multiple applications. The EV-DO Rev A. speed was impressive as well. The CNET home page loaded in around 20 seconds; we downloaded a song from Amazon in just 40 seconds. Though some of the Flash video we watched looked rather choppy, there was little to no buffering time. The Ally has a rated battery life of 7.5 hours talk time and 20.8 days standby time. According to the FCC, it has a digital SAR of 1.36 watts per kilogram.


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