LG New Chocolate review: LG New Chocolate

CNET Editors' Rating

2.5 stars OK
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Beautifully designed. Media looks great on the stunning widescreen display. 1GB storage. MicroSD slot and 3.5mm headphone jack.

The Bad Sluggish performance will test your patience. Slow network response when web browsing. Not a smartphone. Expensive for what you get.

The Bottom Line The New Chocolate is a major disappointment. So much care has been given to designing this sexy and unique phone, but the clunky software and unresponsive touchscreen make it impossible to recommend.

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As a brand, the LG Chocolate is one of former glory, living fondly in our memories alongside the Motorola Razr and the Sony Ericsson Walkman series. The New Chocolate is a vastly different product in terms of how it looks and what it does, but we're not convinced LG has shaken off the ghosts of the past and embraced the concept of the mobile phone as we know it at the end of 2009.

Design

This is bound to be a contentious value judgement, but in our opinion the New Chocolate is one of this year's best looking mobile phones. LG has taken an unorthodox approach, designing a phone significantly longer than it is wide, but we love it. It feels great to hold, slides easily into the pockets of tight jeans, and the 4-inch display does open it up to some interesting and innovative applications — like a dual-screen mode which we'll explore in detail later.

The screen sports an impressive (if unusual) 345x800 resolution, and the image displayed is as good, if not better than phones featuring AMOLED displays, like the Samsung HD Icon . At the launch of the New Chocolate a representative from LG explained that this is achieved by having the LCD immediately below the glass, unlike most phones which have a small recess between glass and panel. You can see this up close when holding the handset at an angle, and the LCD seems close enough to touch. Strangely this doesn't translate into an excellent touchscreen; in fact, the New Chocolate is surprisingly unresponsive. Though it is a capacitive display, you have to touch the screen very deliberately to get the response you want.

This gorgeous looking screen is complemented by a sleek design around the handset as well. A stainless steel trim runs around the edge of the New Chocolate, with external controls, like the camera and volume buttons, being raised dimples in this trimming. On the back, only the 5-megapixel camera and flash break up the glossy black plastic finish. The New Chocolate also has a 3.5mm headphone socket for plugging in third-party headsets located on the top of the phone and a microSD card slot under the battery cover.

Features

Though its price suggests otherwise, the New Chocolate isn't in fact a smartphone like the iPhone or HTC Hero. It's what we call a "feature phone", meaning that it has features beyond basic phone functionality, but it doesn't run on a smartphone operating system — in other words, no apps store. While the truly tech savvy will shy away from a phone that they can't install apps to, most phone users will be looking for features which are included in the New Chocolate, like web browsing, the camera and media playback.

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Where to Buy

LG New Chocolate

Part Number: CNETLG New Chocolate

Typical Price: $999.00

See manufacturer website for availability.