Hot on the heels of Motorola’s Droid debut, Verizon is adding another sweet treat to its lineup: the LG Chocolate Touch VX8575. The latest in the Chocolate line offers a yummy, slick touchscreen, as well as FM radio, Dolby’s Mobile equalizer and a “Join the Band” feature for all of your music needs. Still, it’s a phone first and foremost — right?
Features and Design
Sadly, this is not the Chocolate we expected to unwrap. Shots of LG’s Chocolate Touch BL40 have been floating around the web for months. However, the company decided to make that a European exclusive (for now). Instead, we get the VX8575. That’s not to say it’s not pretty. It’s just not all that unique, especially when compared to the LG Vu or the Dare.
The unit itself is shiny and pretty thin, at just under a half an inch. On the back, underneath the camera, there are four funky shapes carved out and covered with a soft material. It looks like something that might keep the phone from sliding off the dashboard (yeah, don’t try that). If you don’t like the look of the black shapes, there’s an extra back plate with purple shapes.
However, it’s not the back that’s the prettiest part. The 3-inch display is where things get most interesting, thanks to 262,000 colors and a 400 x 240 resolution. All of that nice imagery will help when flipping through the phone’s many functions. As with most touchscreen products, there will be a learning curve. Even the daintiest digits will be all thumbs until a certain comfort level is achieved. That said, the touchscreen does respond very well, with optional vibrating and audible feedback to boot.
Ports & Connectors
The top of the Chocolate Touch features a 3.5mm headphone jack. The micro USB jack is on left. When swapping out that back plate, you’ll see the microSD card slot right underneath, which can add an extra 16GB of memory to the internal 1GB.
The LG Chocolate Touch is the multimedia master, combining everything one could possibly want in one handheld. Aside from one-touch access to Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, the unit includes an FM radio with 12 presets, audio and video content from Verizon’s VCAST, and even a “Join the Band” feature, which allows users to tap along to music on a virtual piano or drum kit. Our unit also came with demos for Rock Band and The Sims 3. For those many features, the unit has a built-in accelerometer, which automatically flips from portrait to landscape views when the phone is turned. This especially made video a lot more watchable.
LG has included Dolby’s Mobile equalizer, so that music geeks can tweak music manually or with five presets (Flat, Bass Boost, Treble Boost, Vocal Boost or Classical). During audio and video playback, the phone’s teeny speaker sounded surprisingly awesome. Connect a speaker or slap on some headphones, and this unit would surely take over as your main choice for mobile music.
Who knew? This unit has phone features too. The phone book stores multiple numbers and email addresses for 1,000 of your closest friends. Typing on the on-screen keyboard is very easy. During dialing, the numbers are large and easy to poke. Typing in info is a bit more tedious, but the keyboard magnifies every key you touch. When it came to actual calls, we did receive a few complaints about the sound quality on the receiving end. Some said it sounded like we were calling from a tunnel, others said it was obvious that we were on a cell phone, and in one case, we were told that the call was completely unintelligible. However, our end sounded excellent, with absolutely no drops or distortion.
Internet and Online Connectivity
Verizon’s VZW Today service offers easy access to headline news, weather, sports and entertainment. Anything else requires Microsoft’s Bing search engine as a middleman. If you decide to ditch SI.com for ESPN, it doesn’t just happen; it has to go through Bing. However, we were pretty pleased with load times, as well as graphics.
Digital Camera Features
The Chocolate Touch has a 3.2-megapixel camera. Whether inside or out, it takes some very nice photos, with options for five different resolutions. There are also plenty of on-screen effects and editing tools to play around with. Indoor video didn’t have as bright of an image. If you want to send it, you’ll only get 30 seconds’ worth. If it’s a keeper, the recording time goes up to an hour.
Verizon rates the Chocolate Touch with 306 minutes of battery life; that jumps up to 470 hours in standby. For more than 24 hours, we shot photos and video, made calls, played music, video and games, and just let the unit sit on a countertop. Even after that workout, the battery life had barely moved.
LG’s Chocolate Touch isn’t as tasty as the company makes it out to be, but does provide some fun. If music is a must-have feature for your phone, you can’t do much better than this model. Those willing to lock in for two years will get $50 back from Verizon, making the price $79.99 — and a lot more enticing.
• Responsive touchscreen with vibrating feedback
• Excellent sound quality for music and video
• Decent camera features
• One-touch social networking
• Touchscreen has a learning curve
• Callers complain about reception
• Not the best web browser
• Bizarre design on battery cover