The LG Ally is a weird hodgepodge of excellent features, good enough to give the Droid a run for its money, combined with surprisingly subpar specs that wouldn't be out of place on a budget handset.
We're not sure who the target audience is supposed to be for the Ally, but it's hard to complain about too much, because for every mediocre aspect there's a superlative one. We imagine LG is aiming for someone who wants a top notch keyboard and screen but won't care about the camera or processing speeds.
They also won't care about unique design, because it's spectacularly bland. At 4.6-inches tall, 2.3-inches wide and 0.6-inches thick, it's neither too big nor too small, and the curved sides make it easy to hold. The plastic material looks fine, but the all black look creates a dignified but boring appearance, and attracts smudges. The soft finish back cover helps the look, but the mix of hardware and capacitive buttons on the front of the phone make it clear the design is confused.
So the design is muddled, but the 3.2-inch touch screen makes up for it with a beautiful display, the 800-by-480 resolution producing crisp, clear images further enhanced by a premium tempered glass screen. It's fantastic for reading detailed webpages and small font, and it puts the Droid's screen to shame, which is impressive.
The winning streak doesn't stop there. It also comes with a slide-out four-row keyboard. Again, like the screen, the Ally bests the Droid in this department. The board isn't huge, but your hands won't feel cramped, and the raised keys are responsive and efficiently positioned.
Sadly, the 3.2-megapixel camera is less impressive, taking dull photos despite a fairly impressive array of settings and editing options. When a camera comes equipped with a panoramic mode and eight color effects, we assume it will take halfway decent photos. In this case, LG wasted its budget on extras and neglected the basic lens quality, because the pictures are grainy and the lighting is almost always off.
Now, we're officially in the "bad news" section. The Ally runs on Android 2.1, which would be good, except it put a troublesome overlay on top that causes major delays and doesn't add anything besides a social media aggregator called the "Socialite" that's inferior to other apps. There are some upsides: all of the Android Market apps work, so you'll still have access to a wide array of different games and tools. And the Ally runs Android's standard Web browser and a solid music player, so you can plug in your 3.5-millimeter headphones and listen to a customized playlist while you're browsing your favorite websites without a hitch.
LG's skin messes up the phone and causes delays, but the biggest frustration stems from its slow 600-megahertz processor. It isn't powerful enough and slows everything down.
Overall, the strengths and weaknesses are both considerable, so you'll either enjoy using it or hate it depending on what you look for in a smartphone. If you love super detailed screens, the Ally great, but if you like zippy phones and top tier cameras, you'll think it is garbage. ♦
Write a review and share you thoughts.