After two months and four different cell phones, I have finally found one that makes me happy. It is the new LG Chocolate 3 – a bluetooth music phone.
While I like phones that provide some level of entertainment, this is first and foremost an excellent phone. The call quality is great, the speakers and volume controls are nice and loud, and battery life is exceptional.
The form factor has changed from the second generation Chocolate (VX8550), transforming from a slider into a clamshell. I’ve been rather partial to slider phones, but the transition to my first flip-phone has been quite painless. I love the large screen on the outside that displays important phone information and is customizable with full-color backgrounds. I chose the black version of the phone and although it is so shiny that it attracts fingerprints, I like the way the outside screen practically disappears when inactive. I also was glad to see that the back of the phone is made of a soft touch material that feels great in the hand and should resist scratches.
The inside screen is beautiful, bright, and easy to read. The menus have been greatly improved over the last Chocolate, and I found the directional pad much easier to use than the navigation wheel on the previous generation. Those who are partial to the older Chocolate’s navigation wheel will be pleased to find a similar wheel placed prominently under the outside screen which allows the user to scroll through options while the phone is closed.
The keypad on this phone is one of the most spacious that I have seen. It should be extremely easy for anyone with large fingers to use the phone for dialing or texting.
This phone has been designed to render your digital music player completely unnecessary. Not only does it have a whopping 1GB of memory built right in, it also supports adding microSD cards up to 8GB. Popular music formats are supported, including mp3, wma, and unprotected AAC and AAC+. The music player works flawlessly and can even be used while texting or browsing the web. Sound quality is excellent and many will appreciate the inclusion of a standard size headphone jack.
The phone includes a 2.0 megapixel camera and camcorder that supports photos up to 1600×1200 and videos up to 320×240. A basic photo editor is included for zooming, rotating, and cropping pictures.
This device seems less restricted by Verizon’s firmware than previous phones, as I was able to send an mp3 directly to the phone from an AT&T device – something that was impossible on the VX8550. A USB cable that doubles as a charger is included with the phone and allows syncing of music or access to the microSD card from your computer. While Verizon still restricts using stored mp3s as ringtones, I have been able to easily drag-and-drop files directly into my ringtones folder using BitPim.
The coolest feature on the phone has got to be the FM transmitter. You can tune to any unused FM station on your car stereo, set the phone to the same station, and listen to the music that you’ve stored on the phone through your car stereo speakers.
I adore this phone. It’s a delicious-looking number that does exactly what it’s supposed to. Even though the last several weeks of trying to find a suitable phone and wireless provider have been rather stressful, I am glad that I stumbled across this little gem.