LG - Chocolate

Guy Howard emailed me on Tuesday asking me whether or not I wanted a free LG Chocolate phone to test out. So off I went to see what this promotion was all about.

From the site itself:
They realise that consumer-to-consumer recommendations carry a higher trust factor than virtually all other forms of advertising, and that word of mouth is a frequent factor for purchase. They also recognise that bloggers are the most important initiators of online conversation right now. Hence this programme. The premise is simple:
  1. Connect with the key online design/style/fashion ‘thinkers’
  2. Send them a pre-release version of the phone
  3. Let them use it
  4. Find out what they think

I can sum it up very simply. I’m a complete whore. Free shit? Hell I’ll take 2.

Now bare in mind that I recently went through a pretty painful experience to try and find the phone and package of choice for me. I will say that I’ve pretty much got it wrong on the package that I chose and I’ll be changing that very very shortly. The phone I have though in my mind was the best on the market. Sony seemed to have got it right this time. So how has does the LG Chocolate compare to what I considered a pretty damn solid phone, in fact the most solid phone IMHO to date?

The packaging
The first thing I noticed of course was the AMAZING packaging. LG have seriously given this some thought and it really shows. Traditionally mobile phone boxes come in these ugly square things plastered with stickers. The box is more like a showcase rather than anything else. It’s a slender black rectangle that closes with a magnetic flap. Opening it up reveals a red back with just the LG logo on it and then the phone sits nicely in the middle with two compartments on either side where all the accessories are housed. If you’re reading this going why the hell is he telling us about the box; I’m telling you about the box because it’s bloody important (and yes I was the kid that used to throw away the toy and go mental with the actual box…I still do that). I opened this at work and was ranting and raving at how cool this box looked, Tim on the other side of the partition asked me if it’s a better box than the ipod, which it really is.

A friend of mine works for Vodaphone and he was showing me the later model after the K750i and it seems like Sony addressed the serious design flaw with the middle scroll button (yeah if you’re reading this and have a Sony K750i or the other walkman phone, don’t worry, the central scroller will fuck up at some point, it’s not your fault).

The Innovation
It’s one of those phones that does provide a glimse of the future and provides some innovative steps in mobile phone design. I’m specifically talking about the touch sensetive pad at the bottom of the phone. When it’s closed you don’t see anything but a smooth shiney surface. Once you’ve opened it however you get the buttons glowing red from behind and they’re not actually buttons. So the problems seen on the Sony any many other phones is gone. Give if a few years and most phones will have this technology employed as standard.

The good
Apart from the elements above I’ll say that I was very impressed with the earphone system they’ve decided to employ. While Sony have decided to have a special sony input for the earphones, with a completely seperate accessory to enable you to use a normal earphone jack, LG have enabled this feature from the start which is just good forethought in my eyes. And the remote controller is also very cool as well.

The bad
It’s about the details for me. For some strange reason in an attempt to make everything slick and seamless many electronics manufacturers seem to skimp on a very basic element of product design. I’m specifically talking about flaps. Flaps are notoriously badly designed it makes me wonder how all these different manufacturers get it wrong across the board. The most specific example that comes to my mind is my recent purchase of my Kodak digi camera (yeah I haven’t really talked about this because I’ve not really used it extensively but my trip to America should remedy that situation). The flap that opens up for the memory card is this flimsy piece of metal that gets pulled back and is held onto the phone by two very thin bits of plastic. It’s basically asking to be broken in the future.

The second thing that’s not all that hot is the phone. It’s only 1.3 megapixels, so it’s back to the grainy photos of old. See I was getting used to my 2 megapixel camera on the Sony and so I don’t expect to go back in this department. But as Tracey rightly pointed out, you never do anything with the photos on your phone, this is very true of the average user…I’m a bit weird and different like that. I tend to take loads of snappy snaps of things that inspire me that I can draw or more importantly I can use in my drawings, so the reduction in definition of the camera is a bit annoying. Guess I’m going to have to start carrying my normal camera some more from now on.

It’s pretty obvious based on this promotion and other things that LG are pretty proud of the phone they’ve come up with here. They’ve definitely taken a page from Apple and tried to simplify things as much as possible and get clever product designers on board.


  1. “I can sum it up very simply. I’m a complete whore. Free shit? Hell I’ll take 2.”


    1 Phu
    Quote | 7/5/2006
  2. I cannot help but say your disigning suprised me a lot!
    From China
    by StephenZhai

    2 StephenZhai
    Quote | 8/5/2006
  3. Hmmmm, sounds interesting. Will need to check the specs though, take a bit for me to ditch my smartphone..

    3 Gordon
    Quote | 10/5/2006
  4. sure lg isn’t very good but you’ve gotta admit the design in the chocolate is beautiful, this is one of the main reasons why i wan’t this phone!

    4 Martyn
    Quote | 31/5/2006
  5. I got my hands on this phone 2 days ago and I am VERY impressed. The last phone I had was an LG clone (BenQ) and I swore I would never use them again…then I saw the Chocolate.

    The overall look and feel of this phone is great. I try to only use clamshell type phones since I don’t like seeing or blocking th e keypad. This being my first slider, I was a bit worried about how easily it would be for me to accidentaly hang up on people by closing the phone. So far that hasn’t been an issue.

    The front panel is very useful even when “closed” by bringing it to life with two taps of the volume keys. It feels a lot like an ipod navigating using the glowing red keys. Pretty cool.

    So far the only things I haven’t been able to figure are how to use a midi file for my ring tone (I’m partial to the old phone.mid) and how to keep the picture size setting larger. By default it’s set at 640×480 but capable of 1280×960.

    Oh, and for those worried about scratching the face (which happens to me since I wear earrings) my phone came with 2 ultra thin clear plastic “stickers” to protect the face. Excellent idea if you ask me.

    Overall this phone so far is everything and more of what I wanted.

    5 C-Bass
    Quote | 2/6/2006
  6. i just got my phone and two of my friends were looking at it and they had on tips and they kept lke tapping on it really hard and its ruined and i just got it and wen i got it the flaps things were all messed up and it didnt close right do u think they’ll give me a new one

    6 hi
    Quote | 9/12/2006
  7. sounds good so does the phone have a place for a memory card for extra memory? it doesnt seem to have loads of memory!

    7 anna
    Quote | 11/12/2006
  8. I heard some horror stories about the touch sensitive buttons of the Chocolate, but after having tried it myself, I’d say the people having problems are probably those trying to mash the ‘key’ because they don’t have any tactile feedback. I found myself doing it a couple times and when you start leaving your finger pressed on a key or dragging your finger, funky things start to happen.

    I do have to say, there was some major weirdness with the key timeouts and stuff though. It’s pretty annoying to press the side keys after like 10 seconds to get the keys functioning again.

    Yeah, it’s pretty obvious the 1.3mp camera isn’t going to compare too nicely to the camera in the K750i. I recently got a K790a (North America version of the K800 you guys have over in Europe, but without 3G) and I’m really impressed with Sony Ericsson. I never really considered them until I got a chance to play with some of their newer phones.

    8 charlie
    Quote | 20/12/2006

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