When the Motorola DROID and HTC DROID ERIS were released last year, most users flocked to the Motorola DROID because it had more features, including a sliding QWERTY keyboard...even though the keyboard felt a bit cramped. This was followed by the Motorola DEVOUR earlier this year, which came with MotoBLUR and a better designed QWERTY keyboard. Then came the HTC Droid Incredible just two weeks ago, with some high-end features, such as a 3.7" AMOLED display and 8MP camera, but it also with a high-end price of $199 with a 2 year contract (the same as the Motorola DROID). So what's missing? A more budget friendly Android phone with a QWERTY keyboard. Enter the LG Ally VS740.
The LG Ally looks like it could be an "enV Touch 2", though it is a true smartphone running stock Android 2.1 and is almost identical to the Nexus One in that respect, as there are 5 Homescreens, 3D Scrolling App Menu, and the 3D Gallery (by cool iris). The Ally is constructed out of plastic and fits well in the hand, though it feels a bit thicker than the Motorola DROID. The 3.2" capacitive touchscreen is the same size as the display found on the HTC DROID ERIS, but instead has 800x480 WVGA resolution so images and text look better. At the bottom are touch-sensitive buttons for Back and Search, but there are physical buttons for Send, Home, Menu, and End/Lock/Power. There is a microUSB port, 3.5mm headset jack, and microSDHC memory card slot with a pre-installed 4GB card. On the back of the device there is a 3.2MP autofocus camera with LED flash, which is operated by the 2-stop camera shutter button on the side (similar to the Motorola DROID). The Included battery is 1500mAh.
The sliding 4-row QWERTY keyboard is a pleasant surprise, as it is larger than the keyboard on the Motorola DROID. The individual keys are better sized and are raised from the surrounding plastic, but also have some space between them. After using the keyboard on the Ally for a few minutes, we became easily accustomed to it as it's more comfortable to use. We like the dedicated number keys at the top that do not share with the letters, and the d-pad on the side, but the space key at the bottom is smaller than we would of liked.
Overall, the LG Ally VS740 appears to be a nice entry-level Android smartphone and is intended for people who are on a budget, but still desire some nice features and a QWERTY keyboard. Because of its feature-set, we believe the LG Ally to be in more direct competition with the HTC DROID ERIS, Motorola DEVOUR and Microsoft KIN TWO; not so much with the Motorola DROID and HTC Droid Incredible.