More advanced features include USB mass storage, voice command dialing, and a variety of Bluetooth profiles like hands-free, dial-up networking, A2DP or stereo, file transfer, and more. And if you're willing to cough up $3 a month for it, you'll also get Verizon's Visual Voice Mail.
The Touch offers three e-mail options: mobile e-mail, corporate e-mail--and calendar syncing--through RemoSync, and mobile Web email, which just gives you quick browser access to popular Web e-mail sites like Hotmail and Yahoo Mail. The phone also has GPS with VZ Navigator support, and the EV-DO support brings streaming.
The star feature of the phone, however, is the music player. We're happy to see that it has its own interface and doesn't just copy the look of the V Cast Music store. It organizes songs into artists, albums, and genres, and you can create and edit your own playlists. The player interface has the album art in the middle and the player controls along the bottom. You can set songs on repeat or shuffle as well. To load songs on the Touch, you can either purchase tunes directly from the V Cast Music store or sync with the PC using the V Cast Music with Rhapsody software. If you have a Rhapsody account, you can sync subscribed tracks as well. You don't need the software to load the songs though; you can just drag and drop them to the microSD card.
The main attraction of the music player on the Touch VX8575 is the Dolby Mobile equalizer. There are five equalizer presets (Flat, Bass Boost, Treble Boost, Vocal Boost, and Classical), plus a manual equalizer if you really want it customized. A few extra player features include a visualizer effect, plus a "rhythmical beat" option that makes the phone vibrate along to the song. Our favorite, however, is the "Join the Band" option that brings up a full drum kit or a scrolling 88-key keyboard for you to play along to the music. It's not very useful perhaps, but it's a lot of fun to play. Other music player options include an FM radio with 12 presets (it only works when you plug in a wired headset) and integrated song ID.
The Chocolate Touch also has a 3.2-megapixel camera, which can take pictures in five resolutions (2,048x1,536, 1,600x1,200, 1,280x960, 800x480, 640x480), five white balance presets, and five color effects. It has three focusing modes, a self-timer, and special shot modes like Panorama and Intelligent shot. Photo quality is quite good overall. We didn't like the low-light shots due to the lack of flash, but images do look sharp and colorful for the most part.
There's also a full HTML browser, which isn't as full featured as we would like. It lets us surf and browse full Web pages, and we like that you can view them in full-screen mode, add bookmarks, search through a page, and zoom in and out with the volume rocker or an onscreen magnifying glass. But the Web search function on the browser only uses the Microsoft Bing service, and whenever you want to enter a URL, you have to keep going back to a URL-entry page.
You can personalize the Chocolate Touch with graphics and ringtones. If you're not satisfied with the options on the phone, you can download more from the Verizon Wireless store. The Touch comes with two games--Rock Band and Sims 3--and you can get more games and applications via the mobile Web browser as well.
We tested the LG Chocolate Touch in San Francisco using Verizon Wireless. Call quality was impressive on the whole. Callers could hear us loudly and clearly for the most part. They did hear a slight fuzziness in the background and they said our voice quality was a bit harsh, but those were not deal breakers.
On our end, we could hear them clearly without any interference. Their voice sounded quite natural as well. Speakerphone calls fared similarly; they said they could hear us with plenty of volume and with a slight echo effect, but nothing terribly distracting. On our end, the speakerphone had plenty of volume, and though the callers' voices didn't sound as natural, we could still carry on a conversation just fine.
We really liked the audio quality of the Chocolate Touch. Of course, the speakers didn't really do justice to the music, but even without a headset, you could hear the difference of each equalizer setting quite clearly. You do really need a headset to fully enjoy the bass boost setting though.
We were pleased with the EV-DO Rev. 0 speeds too. It's not quite as fast as EV-DO Rev. A, but we still managed to download a 2.08MB song in around 40 seconds, and we loaded the CNET front page in about 25 seconds. We also managed to stream videos from V Cast with little to no buffering. The streaming video quality was mediocre at best, with a lot of pixelation and blurriness.
The LG Chocolate Touch has a rated battery life of 5.1 hours talk time and 19.6 days standby time. It has a slightly longer talk time in our tests with 6 hours and 52 minutes. According to FCC radiation tests, the Chocolate Touch has a digital SAR of 1.47 watts per kilogram.