LG Ally review: A budget-friendly Android smartphone

The LG Ally from Verizon Wireless is smaller and much less expensive than other Android devices, such as the Droid X and the HTC Incredible. So is it a viable option for an Android power user?

With the LG Ally, Verizon Wireless opted to go with an Android-based phone that is smaller and much less expensive than some of its other Android devices, such as the Droid X and the HTC Incredible. So the big question is: Does the Android OS suffer in this smaller package? Let's take a look and see.


  • Carrier: Verizon Wireless
  • OS: Android 2.1
  • Dimensions: 4.56(h) x 2.22(w) x 0.62(d) inches
  • Weight: 5.57 ounces
  • Display: 3.2" touch screen at 800x400 pixels and 262K color
  • Keyboard: Slide out QWERTY
  • Networks: 800/1900 MHz CDMA, EVDO Rev A
  • CPU: 600 MHz MSM7627 chipset
  • Storage: 4 GB microSD
  • ROM/RAM: 512 MB ROM, 256 MB RAM
  • Battery life: 450 OR battery life/500 hours standby
  • Camera: 3.2 Megapixel camera with autofocus and flash (with a 3.5mm headset jack)
  • GPS: S-GPS and aGPS
  • Cost: $49.99 with a new 2-year contract
  • Photos of the LG Ally

Who is the target market?

The LG Ally is a phone for anyone who wants to experience the Android OS but cannot afford the pricier and more powerful smartphones. Being budget conscious, however, does come with a price -- and by price I mean the frustration of dealing with underpowered hardware trying to push the Android OS.

Standout features

  • Slide out QWERTY keyboard
  • Push Gmail/Exchange and Google Calendar
  • Bilingual interface (English and Spanish)
  • S-GPS and aGPS

What I like

Hardware: The LG Ally's hardware is a great size and shape, making it easy to handle and transport, although it is a bit on the heavy side for such a small device. The handset, especially the QWERTY keyboard, feels like it's built to last; with that in mind, the LG Ally might be ideal for someone who can be a bit rough on their phone. The keyboard keys have outstanding space for even medium size fingers (sausage fingers need not apply). Android OS: The LG Ally ships with a rock solid build of Android. When you combine the OS with the speed of the Verizon network, the combination can trick the user into thinking they are working with a more powerful system.

What I don't like

Lack of power: I spent about a year with an underpowered Android phone (HTC Hero from Sprint), and it was a nightmare -- simply placing a call was frustrating event due to the lack of horsepower. Push the dial button and maybe 30 seconds later the call would be placed. With smartphones shooting for big and beefy, it was an odd tact going smaller and less powerful. I understand wanting to appeal to consumers who cannot afford the big guns of the Android market, but a 600 Mhz processor running recent builds of the OS is sure to lead to agitated users.

Bottom line

It all boils down to this: If you don't want to drop the cash for the more powerful Android offerings, or you tend to be fairly rough on your phones, then go ahead and pull the trigger on the LG Ally. If, however, you can afford to go big with the Droid X or the HTC Incredible, you should go that route. And don't even bother looking at the LG Ally if you get frustrated waiting or prefer to have the most powerful toy on the block.

User rating and recommendation

By Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic, The New Stack, and Linux New Media. He's covered a variety of topics for over twenty years and is an avid promoter of open source. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen....