I’ve owned only two smartphones. The first one was the Palm Treo 700W which I owned for 6 years. I purchased my second smartphone a few months ago – the LG Ally by Verizon with Android (software). Trying to compare these two phones is like comparing apples to oranges. At first glance, the LG Ally seems to be everything you need in a smartphone. Here’s my review and note: I mainly use this phone for light business operation.
In a distant galaxy far, far away, I bought my first smartphone, a Palm Treo and thought I was on top of the world. I needed an extension of my computer to go with me on the road. We had put a sponsorship promotion together with a major hotel chain and retail store, so I needed to be able to have all my contacts along with some presentation files and the Palm could do that … Oh, and be a phone too. This wonder of a handheld computer worked fine; although, the promotion was, well, another story for another time. BTW, I still have a Palm Tungsten from about 10 years ago. I couldn’t get rid of it because it had many old contacts in it that I couldn’t transfer out. It looks like it should be in a museum. See Wikipedia for more source info on Palm.
A year in technology is like a decade use to be. If you buy a consumer electronic device, no matter how advanced, it will be outdated shortly after the warranties have expired. Or next year, whichever comes first. On to the review.
I needed to replace my Palm (which BTW, is now owned by Hewlett Packard) for some time as the updates stopped being available and my handheld computer was no longer anything more than a cell phone. I had been paying attention to the obvious choices such as Blackberry’s many types and Apple’s iPhone. To say there are more than ample choices is putting it mildly. You can easily get lost trying to figure out what kind of phone is right for you. I’m not a follower so I don’t go for what’s hot – I research for my needs.
Verizon has a system whereby you plug in certain features and cost and it gives you a list of phones that fit the elements you’re looking for. This process helps a lot and is not prejudice, or at least you hope not. Simply, I had whittled the list down to a Droid X, all BlackBerry’s, Palm Pre and LG Ally. I originally wanted the Droid X but the LG Ally had about the same for a lot less. Although I knew next to nothing about the Ally, it had the most essential needs I was looking for: touchscreen, pull-out keyboard, speed, power, capacity along with the typical items like, camera, bluetooth, SD slots and Android – I really liked all that I heard of Android’s operating system (and its apps). I actually went into this thinking I’d probably end up with a RIM product but the BlackBerry’s were disappointing – you got this but not that, this is cool but not that. No thanks. Yes, I looked at Apple’s supposed wonder-phone but was scared off by the quality issues (plus, friends also had less than stellar things to say about the ballyhooed iPhone).
Check out here for multiple information on wireless phone devices.
I knew LG made TVs but didn’t know a thing about their smartphones; although, I did help my parents purchase LG cell phones a year earlier. I looked up several independent reviews of the LG Ally and was impressed. Cost was important and Verizon was almost giving them away so I bought the LG Ally.
I’ll not compare it to my old Treo because it’s not fair. The LG Ally won’t wow you with looks (which matters not at all to me) and it may not be as fancy as some other devices but its performance ranks with any other smartphone that I viewed. The feel is very solid which was a concern. Touchscreen works great and anytime you want to pop out the Qwerty keyboard, the ease of use is just right. And it has a D-Pad or joypad on the keyboard that’s nice – my Palm Treo had one too – although, like my Palm, I seldom use it. The keyboard is better than my Palm was and I like the buttons (keys) but it still is taking me some time to get use to them (that’s probably me).
The outward appearance is simple and the screen is easy to view, meaning very little problems in the sun. Size is average for smartphones at 4 1/2″ long by a little more than 2″ wide with the screen a tad less than 3″ X 2″. The weight is OK to me but if you’re looking for something light, this might not be in that ballpark.
Ever heard of voice search? It has it and is cool. You just hit a voice search button and tell it what you’re looking for and a Google search pops up with an answer. Social media apps are nice and duplicated in case you don’t like one style. The LG Ally has many built-in apps that are map or GPS-like; so you can find where you are or where to go or what to do and how to get there. It’s superb. Android offers a great selection of apps and I’ve yet to find anything wrong with their OS (operating system).
The camera is OK. It’s 3.2 mega-pixel and has a built-in flash, plus video-recorder. The camera has a lot of trick programs for sending images but the quality is unremarkable. It has zoom and several different settings so yes, there are many poorer cameras out there than this one but … eh, ’nuff said.
After 3 full months of use, I can’t really complain about anything the LG Ally offers … oh, except for one thing – the battery or more precisely, the battery life. Reviews told me that the battery life wasn’t anything to write home about but there were clues something was up. The offer to purchase came with an extra battery-charging device on top of the standard docking station. It’s a cool and handy charger you can use with any computer (that has a USB port). But then the salesperson suggested I get the car-charger, which was a good idea, but I didn’t want to pay extra. Of course I’ve been around the block a few times (be nice) and if you hold off long enough, most sales folk throw stuff in to make the deal. Voila! Free car-charging device with some extra screen protectors.
I have charging units up the ying yang. This is great. I never had much of a battery problem with my Palm Treo but now I was sitting pretty. Yeah, well there’s a reason for all these charging needs. The battery-life is bad. I have to mention that it isn’t all LG’s fault – the latest Android OS system is part of the problem as it’s known as a battery sapper. Go to forums for additional help. Phone usage isn’t a big drain but the browser and games suck this darling dry. You’ll need to charge it every day and if you use the device more than a few times, expect to put a charge on it before the days over.
Just might be …
Don’t get me wrong. I really like my LG Ally and for my regular but limited use, it fits the bill. But if you’re out and about a lot, you’d better have every charging capability offered and keep them with you at all times. I’ve not tried it yet, but I was told to use a Task Manager app to help reduce battery drain. So, if you want a better than average smartphone but don’t want to pay the big bucks (the unit sells for $99 but there’s deals for less), this is definitely the phone for you. It’s easy to use, easy to view and has good construction. Feels good and is affordable, yet powerful. The LG Ally just might be everything you need.
Sources – Amazon.com, Wikipedia, AmazonWireless, Android.com