LG‘s much talked about Chocolate phone made its UK debut on Wednesday to the popping of champagne corks and a flurry of excited LG execs. Tech Digest was invited along to the launch and what do you know? – we only managed to squirrel away our own handset to play with!
If you haven’t heard the hype already, the Chocolate (aka the KG800 if you prefer codenames) is being sold as the next fashion sensation in the mobile phone world. LG has every right be optimistic having already sold 300,000 Chocolate handsets in Korea, receiving general all-round approval for its slim, black, sliding design complemented by extremely slick, glowing red buttons.
Read the rest of the review on the turn.
It boasts a generally pretty standard set of features: a 2″, 256k colour display, 1.3 megapixel camera and 128MB memory. The pleasant surprises come in the form of its smaller than expected dimensions (9.5 x 4.8 x 1.5cm) and particularly light weight (approximately 85g). You may also have read about the “hidden LCD” screen which had us confused for a while. It turns out that the red buttons on the front aren’t buttons at all but in fact a touch-keypad section which lights up when you slide it open.
The looks you can pretty much judge yourselves from the pictures, but it is most distinctive for the very subtle and minimalist style – interesting touches like the universal power/USB/headphone socket shows off the effort made to give it that cool, elegant design. As an LG spokesman observed, it is unusual in that it appeals to both men and women alike, however all the rest of the packaging suggests an expensive bottle of perfume or similar – a perfect present for the ladies.
But no phone is perfect and so we must get on to the handset’s admittedly few failings. One annoyance is that you end up getting greasy paw prints all over the front screen; this polished surface also looks like it has the potential to scratch easily, although we haven’t managed to do so yet.
The internal memory seems a little bit limited at 128MB; normally manufacturers tend to stick MP3 support on as an afterthought but the Chocolate is actually better than most. The sound quality is pretty impressive but what really appeals the most to us is the 3.5mm headphone socket attached to smart, matching remote. Digital audio support (MP3, WMA, AAC) and playback quality is surprisingly good but we can’t help but wish for a little more capacity, maybe even a card slot.
The phone’s interface retains a hint of LG’s tendency to overcomplicate things slightly, but it is more simple to use than previous handsets like the U880. As you’re still getting used to using it you may find that you’ll bring the handset up to your ear too quickly and thus set off all manner of weird functions as your face presses all of the touch-keypad at once. Once you’ve got to grips with it things do get a lot easier though.
The verdict: We like this phone a lot and LG has good reason to expect the Chocolate to fly off the shelves. While it might not appeal to those who want their handsets to come brimming with technical goodies, there is no arguing that it looks fantastic and is sure to succeed on that factor alone.
More LG Chocolate
LG’s KG800 "chocolate" phone goes on sale
LG’s Chocolate phone goes on sale