First Impressions: LG Chocolate Touch (Verizon)Aaron Baker - Director, Content and Partnerships
What I like: Touchscreen is responsive; 3.2-megapixel camera works well.
What I don't like: Somewhat boring; not the BL40 that many were expecting; some browser frustrations.
The LG Chocolate brand has become somewhat of an evolutionary phone line in the United States, morphing a bit as each year goes on. From a slider phone, the device migrated to a clamshell form factor last year, and has finally rested in the touchscreen arena. As a phone nerd, it was challenging to get past the fact that the Chocolate Touch could have been the BL40, but thanks to a focus group (or so the rumor goes), we have the VX8575 instead. Is the Verizon version a worthy contender to the carrier's lineup?
Keypad and Interface
As the name implies, the Chocolate Touch is Verizon's first touchscreen Chocolate device. With the exception of the three buttons (send, clear, and end) on the front of the device and a few shortcut keys on the side, the device is touch-only. It's either a love or hate thing. If you're used to a keypad or QWERTY keyboard, the Chocolate Touch may not be the device for you. The phone ships with Verizon's stock user interface (with a few tweaks), and while it's somewhat long in the tooth, Verizon has customized it enough over the years where it's usable. You can drag widgets to the main screen for quick access.
Honestly, the experience with wireless devices is completely relative. If the Chocolate Touch is your first touchscreen phone, you'll have no problem adjusting to the display. If you're migrating back to it from advanced smartphones like the Droid, iPhone, or Pre, you're going to notice a difference. At times, reviewing these devices can be challenging, as it requires me to open up my thoughts into three mindsets: (1) The user that is getting a touchscreen device for the first time; (2) the individual that is familiar with these types of devices and is simply migrating to a new phone; and (3) the person who is migrating back to a device like the Chocolate Touch after using a smartphone. Depending on what type of user you are, you're going to have a different experience.
The Chocolate Touch offers a 3.2-megapixel camera, and in my testing, image quality was very good. Given the phone's target market and media-centric nature, it does a good job when it comes to pictures and videos. The standard photo options are included in the camera: five resolutions, white balance presets, color effects, focusing modes, a self-timer, and special shot modes. Video recording was decent. While videos intended for transmission via MMS are limited in regards to time, you can shoot longer in standard mode (with a microSD card).
Reception and Data Connectivity
I've tested the Chocolate Touch in the Charlotte area, and call quality is very good. In a known Verizon fringe area, calls were mostly clear despite the phone having no bars of service. As with most LG devices I've tested, speakerphone was quite loud as well. When testing in a busy department store, my callers could hear me well, though they reported some background noise. I connected my Plantronics Voyager Pro Bluetooth headset to the Chocolate Touch without any problems, and Bluetooth calling worked well.
The Chocolate Touch is an EVDO Rev. A device, and data speeds were very good. The PhoneDog page loaded in about 37 seconds, and other data-intensive tasks (VZ Navigator, My Verizon, and Bing search) loaded quickly. On most internet tasks, the Chocolate Touch performs admirably. The only thing I was less than impressed with was the method of entering URL's. Instead of a built-in option, the phone requires you to go back to a URL-entry page each time you want to input a website. After browsing for more than five minutes, it gets a bit frustrating.
Much like the enV Touch, the Chocolate Touch made it through about a day of use before it powered down. I'm still going through detailed battery tests, but based on numbers as they stand, I'm shooting for about 2 1/2 - 3 days with light usage. Not bad at all for a media-centric phone.
Check out some pictures below, stop by YouTube and view Sydney's unboxing video, and stay tuned for my full written review!