LG Chocolate Platinum KE800 review: LG Chocolate Platinum KE800

CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Seamless design; glossy feel; red backlight on the touchpad; chequered keypad; expandable microSD slot; headset.

The Bad Casing attracts fingerprints and is easy to scratch; occasionally unresponsive touchpad.

The Bottom Line The Chocolate Platinum features some cool upgrades to its predecessor -- 2-megapixel camera with auto-focus, an MP3 player and an expandable microSD slot. Our only issues with the Platinum are it doesn't have the same overall seamless quality that the original Chocolate phone had -- and the touch pad is still fiddly to use

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Having stormed the mobile charts with the Chocolate phone , it's no surprise that LG has done a Motorola and made another phone that looks mightily similar to its predecessor. Fortunately, it's not just a name change and you do get extra features, including a 2-megapixel camera, an expandable memory card slot and an FM radio.

The LG Chocolate Platinum KE800 is currently available at the Carphone Warehouse for free on a monthly contract, or for £170 on pay as you go.

Design
The first thing worth mentioning is the packaging. Like a Japanese paint box, the Platinum's 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 pocket-friendly it is at 15mm thick. It's also relatively light, at 100g.

The front of the LG Chocolate Platinum is black and looks seamless when the screen is turned off, except for a silver strip on the front that separates the navigation pad from the screen.

The screen on the front measures 31mm wide by 41mm tall 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's activated, and features five navigation keys, two soft keys, a call key and a cancel key.


The LG Chocolate Platinum has the same touch-sensitive keys as the original Chocolate phone. They can be fiddly to use at times

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.

Like the original Chocolate, 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. It's hard to see why LG hasn't changed this on this updated version.

Next to the end-call key is a dedicated camera and buttons that control the 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 2-megapixel camera with flash and portrait mirror. The slide is spring-mounted so it opens easily, and it feels smooth and solid. An advantage of having the phone behind the slide is that it protects the camera lens from any scratches.

The keys are large and easy to press but, as with all slider phones, there isn't much space to manoeuvre at the top of the keypad, due to the top section of the phone getting in the way.

Our main design niggle with the Chocolate Platinum is that the glossy casing can scratch very easily. There's also the issue of fingerprints and sweat easily accumulating on the surface of the phone, making it look dirty. A carrying pouch is provided in the box, but unless you want to take it in and out of the pouch each time you make a call, it's not the perfect solution.

Features
We weren't totally convinced by the feature set on the original Chocolate, but the Platinum KE800 has some improvements.

There's now a 2-megapixel camera with auto-focus and an LED photo light, which is great for MMS messages and wallpaper photos, but flounders against the quality of the Sony Ericsson K800i 's 3.2-megapixel camera. The camera lets you change the white balance, use a timer, add effects, choose size and resolution and it lets you turn the flash on and off.



The MP3 player performs very well and features equaliser settings, a shuffle mode and even animations. It works particularly well with the included headset, which also lets you plug in your own headphones, control the MP3 player and answer calls, without needing to take the phone out of your pocket. You also get an FM radio, which is a nice addition and means that you don't always need to upload MP3s on to the Platinum if you fancy listening to some music.

If you want to take photos and store MP3s on the Chocolate Platinum phone you're going to need plenty of space. Fortunately, it has a microSD slot to expand on the phone's miserly 7MB of onboard memory.

If you connect the phone to the PC via USB, the phone is automatically recognised by Windows as a mass-storage device and you can simply drag and drop files into or out of the phone with ease.  

We were also disappointed by the included PC software, which didn't seem to work on any machine we loaded it on to, and didn't recognise the phone when we plugged it in. This meant that we couldn't take advantage of the synchronising capabilities that the software claims it provides, though this may have been a specific problem with our software or computers.

Aside from that, everything else worked fine and there were small details that made using it straightforward. For example, we particularly liked the ability to search recent recipients of texts when sending messages. This meant that rather than searching through a list of contacts every time we sent a message, we could simply search the 'recent' list.


The LG Chocolate Platinum looks very similar to the Chocolate phone

Other features include a speakerphone mode for making hands-free calls, a WAP browser, MMS and SMS messaging, stereo Bluetooth for listening to music wirelessly, an email client, video recorder, photo album, video album, voice recorder, calendar, memo, calculator, unit converter, world time and games -- Sudoku and racing.

Performance
The audio on calls was clear and we didn't have any problems with background noise or sound distortion.

The Platinum's camera took decent-quality photos and video for MMS messaging and viewing on the phone, but they were rather distorted and pixellated when we printed them out.

Battery life was acceptable -- it's quoted at 200 hours on standby and we found that with moderate use the battery lasted for about two days before we needed to recharge it.

Conclusion
LG's Chocolate Platinum KE800 retains some of the Chocolate phone's stylish looks but comes with a better camera and an expandable microSD slot. If you really liked the Chocolate phone but wanted a few more features, this might take your fancy.

If, however, you're looking for a less sweet and more savoury experience, you might be better off with Nokia's new E65 slider phone, which packs Wi-Fi connectivity. If it's style you're after, why not take a peek at the new LG Prada ? It comes with a touchscreen interface and Prada accessories.

Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Nick Hide

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Where to Buy

LG Chocolate Platinum KE800

Part Number: CNETLG Chocolate Platinum KE800

Typical Price: £170.00

See manufacturer website for availability.