With the growing demand of smartphones in the mobile phone market, affordable devices have been slowly coming to the public. One of the latest lower-priced smartphones is the LG Ally, with a price tag of 49.99 on a two-year contract with Verizon. Though featured by the Iron Man 2 movie, this is surely not a super hero phone. This phone is no comparison to the higher end devices such as the newly arrived Motorola Droid 2, or even the HTC Droid Incredible, but it is a good device for a non-heavy user. Though it still holds the power of Android in the palm of your hand, the specifications and hardware leave much out of the box for an Android fan.
Though it does not hold the powerful Snapdragon 1GHz processor, the Ally’s 600MHz processor allows it to run with just a bit of lag from time to time, and a somewhat slower response. Also, if you consider yourself the King of multitasking, the 256 megabytes of RAM would probably not be enough to suit your needs. This device is definitely not meant for heavy use, but as an introduction to the smartphone world, for those who want the advantage of having the smartphone features without the need of paying from 150 to 200 dollars for a mobile device.
This device has a 3.2 TFT capacitive touch-screen with an 800 by 480 pixel resolution. Though it is not as vibrant and saturated as the new Super AMOLED displays, the device provides very good colors, and it is not hard at all to see it outdoors if you increase the brightness.
A definite plus is the slide-out full QWERTY keyboard. In a smaller screen like the Ally’s, it can sometimes be a hard task to use the on-screen keyboard, so this spec will definitely make this device a stronger texting machine, though as other phones with this feature, it has to be somewhat thicker in order to fit the sliding keyboard. The spacebar seems to create a little confusion, since it is more merged with the rest of the keys, as supposed to having a big space all for itself on the bottom, but it should only take some getting used to.
There is a 3.2 megapixel camera on the back, which should be enough to take average quality pictures of your family and friends. There is a status light on the top right side of the screen, a 3.5mm headphone jack on the top left side of the phone, a volume rocker and a micro usb dock on the left side, a micro SD card slot and a camera shutter button on the right side. Below the screen are to capacitive buttons, one is “search,” and the other is the “back” command. Below the capacitive buttons there are be 4 regular buttons; “call,” “home,” “menu,” and “end/sleep.” The device also has a speaker on the back for playing multimedia content, as well as being able to use speakerphone.
The 1500 mAh removable battery lets the Ally hold for longer than the higher end devices, something that gives this not so high-end device a plus, since the device requires less energy than, let’s say, the Droid Incredible, which gets many complains for its battery life. According to LG, the battery life of the device is 450 minutes of talk time, and up to 500 hours of standby time, of course these estimations may vary depending on how heavily you utilize your device.
We all need some space for our entertainment, this device comes with a 4 Gigabyte micro SD card included, in which you will be able to transfer files to, either through a usb or bluetooth connection, as well as storing your pictures and photos taken from the device itself.
The LG Ally sports everything that an Android can ask for when it comes to connectivity; it has wifi b/g/n, bluetooth 2.1, and GPS. You will sure be able to take advantage of Google maps and navigation on the go, and be able to connect to any bluetooth enabled device for transferring any files, or use your wifi connection to avoid going over your megabyte usage.
Android 2.1 has definitely marked its place in Android customers’ hearts, but with Android 2.2(Froyo) already out, and 2.3(Gingerbread) around the corner, LG’s first Android phone will definitely be a bit outdated. There are rumors of a coming update to 2.2 coming from Verizon, but there is no official announcement, so this is still solely a rumor. A 2.2 update would be a very good treat to Ally users though, as currently the LG Ally does not have Flash compatibility.
The Ally comes with 2 home themes available, the “Android Home,” and the “LG Home.” After testing both, it is evident that the first mentioned works smoother, and the device response is much faster. The separation of downloaded and preloaded applications in the “LG Home” launcher can also be a bit confusing, and very much unnecessary.
Out of the box, the LG Ally can fully synchronize with your Gmail account; you will have direct access to emails, Google calendar, as well as the contact list in the phone’s address book. You can also access other email accounts through a separate application, so your other accounts will definitely not be left out. The Verizon featured Skype Mobile App will also be preinstalled in the device, as well as other apps like Socialite for Social Networking, YouTube, etc. The Ally has access to the Android Market, so any application or game that you would like, will most likely be available whether it be free or paid. Of course the device will also come with the web browser, a music player, video player, picture gallery, and all of the usual apps that come with every smartphone.
The home screens have the ability to be customized with widgets and apps, as with any other Android powered mobile phone. Android OS is very well recognized for the ability to be customized to your preference, something that its big competitor IOS has always lacked, and the LG Ally is not the exception.
Indeed a good device, but the LG Ally does not have what it takes to give it an “Excellent.” It is of average quality compared to the other Android smartphones, as the phone lacks the brain power to be able to compete with the higher-end devices out there. It works very well considering the specs that it comes with, and also the price tag that comes attached to it. It will give you the versatility and power of Android, but your experience will simply not be as amazing as it would be with other options. The Ally also has many complaints in regards to the functionality of the product after a few months. Many complain about charging, and capacitive buttons not working, so it would be recommended to purchase the insurance if chosen. In the other hand it has very good battery life, and it is very user-friendly, due to its simplicity and the slide out physical keyboard.
San Diego Android Examiner