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LG Rhythm puts music first

Now that we've handled the Rhythm personally, we actually think it is the music phone the LG Chocolate 3 should've been.

LG Rhythm
LG Rhythm Nicole Lee/CNET

Both Alltel and U.S. Cellular announced the LG Rhythm in October of last year (with a November release), but we weren't able to get our hands on it until Thursday at CES 2009.

The Rhythm, if you'll recall, is a music-focused phone with 3D sound capabilities, plus it boasts a graphic equalizer designed by none other than Mark Levinson, a company known for high-end digital audio processors. We're surprised that Alltel and U.S. Cellular managed to pull off a coup like this, because now that we've handled the Rhythm personally, we actually think the LG Rhythm is the music phone the LG Chocolate 3 should've been.

The LG Rhythm has a similar design to the LG Chocolate VX8550, with the slider form factor and a light-up mechanical scroll wheel. However, the Rhythm takes it one step further with the button in the middle of the scroll wheel--it's actually a circular mini touch screen called the "Touch Music Hot Key." The screen changes whenever you scroll though different applications, and it tells you which application you're currently running. Though we're not usually fans of touch-sensitive controls like this, we have to say this looks very cool.

We also had a brief look at the music player on the Rhythm, and with a name like that, we're not surprised it has a fully decked-out music player interface, complete with the usual playlist controls and the aforementioned graphic equalizer. It also boasts 3D sound, digital signal processing, and pretty decent stereo speakers--even when we placed the Rhythm speaker-side down, we're able to hear the music clearly (LG claims this is due to the unique curve of the handset). Other music player features include an FM transmitter, a 3.5mm headset jack, and stereo Bluetooth.

Other features on the Rhythm include a 1.3-megapixel camera, voice dialing, GPS, and a microSD card slot. It has a really sharp display, and the keypad is not too shabby either. The Rhythm is currently selling for around $120 with a contract from either Alltel or U.S. Cellular. Bear in mind that the pink version is only available from U.S. Cellular. We'll get a review unit next week, so we'll give you the full rundown once we can.