The LG Ally is a inexpensive slider-style phone with a physical QWERTY keyboard, a 3.2 megapixel camera with flash, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless networking.
It runs Google's Android OS 2.1, and costs just $100 with a new two-year contract with Verizon Wireless, or just $50 if purchased on the carrier's website.
BUILD & DESIGN:
The basic design aesthetic for the Ally is modern and functional. It's black, and it is very solidly built. It's about the same size as the HTC Droid Incredible and other premium phones, but somewhat thicker due to the QWERTY keyboard under the display. There is absolutely no "wiggle" whatsoever when you slide out the keyboard, and it locks firmly open when you slide up the display.
Even though it's a bit thick compared to other phones, it still feels good in the hand and is definitely pocketable. However, if you're a lady who dresses professionally for work, you may prefer to keep the Ally in your purse or briefcase to avoid the bulge in your dress slacks; folks in more casual attire won't mind keeping the device in their pocket.
The display looks nice, though perhaps not quite as sharp and blow-you-away gorgeous of other recent devices like the Incredible. Photos look good, though YouTube video was slightly disappointing and grainy.
The screen isn't terribly bright either, which means that it will work fine indoors, or in low light conditions, but is almost completely unusable outside in normal to bright sunlight.
The Ally has one of the best physical keyboards of any of the phones I've reviewed. It usually takes some practice for me to become proficient, because every mobile keyboard is different, and they all have their quirks. But the keys on the LG Ally are large, well-spaced, and have good feedback so you're not constantly checking the screen to see if you're hitting the right key. They're illuminated for use in low light conditions as well.
I like the fact that this is a four-row keyboard, with a separate number row. My only small complaint about the keyboard is that the text for the alternative keys like punctuation isn't quite as easy to read as it is on other keyboards I've tried. I'm sure that some more time with the device will give me the opportunity to learn where everything is so that I won't have to look anymore. though I have to be honest -- I'm not too worried about punctuation when I'm texting or emailing.
Other Buttons & Controls
There are four physical buttons underneath the display: call, home, menu, and disconnect, plus pressure-sensitive back and search buttons.
There's a four-way navigation panel on the lower right side of the keyboard that I really like -- it makes navigation a breeze.
The headphone jack is on the top, the volume buttons and charging port are on the left, and the (fully accessible) microSD slot and camera button are on the right side.
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