We've been using the LG Chocolate phone for the last month and it's unquestionably an attractive handset, possibly the best-looking phone ever -- from the glowing red touchpad to the glossy casing, this handset oozes class and style. However, as with many style icons there are problems below the surface, and although we are big fans of the Chocolate phone, it's definitely not a perfect device.
It's currently available at O2, T-Mobile, Carphone Warehouse and phones4u on monthly tariffs.Design
Unusually for a mobile phone review, the first thing worth mentioning for the LG Chocolate phone is the packaging. It is, without reservation, the best-looking box that has ever graced a mobile phone reviewer's table. Like a Japanese paint box, this black rectangular packaging looks like it was made to hold fine badger-hair brushes, not a mobile phone. Fortunately this phone is particularly attractive too, and doesn't seem out of place when you unclasp the magnetic clip on the front of the box and open it up.
When you take the phone out, aside from its minimalist design, you'll notice how thin it is. Measuring only 15mm, it's not quite as slender as the diminutive Samsung P300, but it's still very pocket friendly. It's also light, weighing only 83g, which is 16g less than a Sony Ericsson W810i and about the same weight as the Nokia 7280.
The front of the LG Chocolate is black and looks almost seamless when the screen is turned off, apart from a silver border around the OK button and a small silver LG icon at the top. There's also a silver strip that separates the top section of the phone from the bottom. The rest of the handset is completely black.
The screen on the front measures 33 by 40mm and displays 262,000 colours. It's set behind the black border of the casing so when it's switched off it blends with the rest of the phone. Underneath the screen is a touchpad that only glows red when it is activated, and features five navigation keys, two soft keys, a call key and a cancel key. The touchpad is heat and touch sensitive, so it only works when you touch it with your hand and won't activate when it's loose in your bag or pocket. After using the touchpad for a couple of weeks we found it responsive, but not as easy to use as a clickable button, because you can't feel whether you've pressed the key correctly.
Unlike other mobile phones the end call key is on the right side rather than the front, which takes some getting used to. If you want to end a call you can slide the phone shut or use the end key, but if you press the cancel button on the bottom right corner of the front, nothing happens. We can't think of another phone that has the end key on the side, and it's hard to see why LG has gone against convention.
Next to the end call key is a dedicated media button that gives you access to the camera, video camera and MP3 player. On the top right side of the phone is the covered charging port that doubles up as the headphone port and a USB port. The included headset comes with a built-in remote that lets you control the MP3 player and answer calls. It also has a 3.5mm adaptor, so you can plug in your own headphones if you don't like the proprietary ones. On the left side of the phone are two volume buttons.
The back of the phone is completely black and minimalist apart from another small LG logo. Once you slide the phone out, you reveal the hidden keypad and a 1.3-megapixel camera with flash and portrait mirror. The slide is spring mounted so it opens easily, and it feels very smooth and solid. An advantage of having the phone behind the slide is that it protects the camera lens from any scratches.
The keypad features black keys with white alphanumeric symbols and each key is either matte or glossy, creating a chequered effect. The keys are large and easy to press but, as with all slide phones, there isn't a lot of space to manoeuvre at the top of the keypad, due to the top section of the phone getting in the way.