Review: LG Ally
The Ally is weighty. It has a thick profile, and is by no means sexy. It looks like any another touch-based messaging phone from LG. In fact, it strongly resembles the LG enV Touch. Nothing sets it apart as an Android phone. The weight lends itself to a feel of quality, though. It didn't feel cheap or plasticky at all. The materials are colored matte black and feel as though they are coated in a soft-touch material. The solid construction showed no signs of weakness. You're going to know it when this phone is in your jeans pocket due to both size and weight.
On the front are four hardware keys at the bottom — send/end, and home/menu. Above these keys are two capacitive buttons similar to those found on the Droid Incredible or Motorola Droid for search and back. All the buttons had good travel and feedback, and even the capacitive buttons were responsive.
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The top half of the Ally glides smoothly and snaps open with a satisfying "thunk." The spring assistance is just right, and it is easy to open and close with minimal pressure from a single finger.
The keyboard underneath is one of the biggest I've ever seen. It has four rows and each row stretches from end-to-end. It's massive. The individual keys feel fantastic under the thumb. Each key is sculpted similar to those found on the BlackBerry Bold 9700. They are easy to find, easy to use, and the keys have perfect travel and feedback. I am not a fan of huge sideways-slider keyboards, but this is one of the better ones that I have used. It's sheer size means BlackBerry users, for example, will need some time to adjust to it.
The volume toggle is on the left side of the Ally. It protrudes from the side of the phone just enough. Travel and feedback were good. The hatch covering the microUSB port is below it. The microSD slot is found on the right side under a hatch that peels off easily. The two-stage camera key is lodged into the standard camera key spot on the right side of the Ally. The two stages are poorly defined. The difference is so subtle, it will be easy to fire off a picture without giving the autofocus a chance to do its job.
There is a 3.5mm headset jack on the top of the phone, meaning it can be used with any standard pair of stereo headphones.
To my eyes, the hardware screams "feature phone" and not Android phone. But you may not care about that.
LG is prepared to debut its first Android handset for the U.S. with Verizon Wireless.
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