LG VX8550 Chocolate Review
There are 3 Menu Themes to choose from: Classic, Rhythm & Blues, and Rock & Roll. The Classic theme is the standard black & green, where the Rhythm & Blues and Rock & Roll are new FlashUI themes, and are different than the themes used on the VX8500. We are pleased that the new FlashUI themes have a cleaner looks and are faster and more responsive. The menus are still categorized into the same sections: My Music, Get it Now, Messaging, Contacts, Recent Calls, and Settings & Tools.
Located in the Settings & Tools menu, there are a few new options to choose from. Under the Touch Keypad submenu, you can change the sensor level, turn the clicking sound on and off, and turn the new Vibration feature on and off. With the Vibration turned on, any time you press the touch-sensitive keys (left & right soft key, speakerphone, clear), the phone will give a slight vibration feedback. After using this for a few minutes, the vibration feedback started to become annoying, so we turned it off.
Under the Navigational Wheel submenu there are options for Speed (High, Medium, Low), Sound (On, Off), and Light (Trace Motion, Power On/Off, Incoming Calls). We tried all three Wheel Speed settings, but it did not change the fact the metal wheel itself is difficult to move. This is because the metal does not grip well to your skin, so you have move your thumb in a circular motion several times before it starts to work. We believe this Navigational Wheel was a good idea, but it is functionally useless. It is much easier to just press and click the top, bottom, left, and right areas of the wheel to make your selections. The Light options allow you to change how the LED lights around the wheel function. For incoming calls, it can alternate between red and blue (classic), turn blue in a circular motion (jazz), flash red and blue at the same time (rock), or be turned off.
Contacts feature is identical to the one of the VX8500, except it now allows up to 1000 contacts to be saved instead of only 500, but is still limited to 99 Speed Dial Locations.
Tools include Voice Commands, Calculator, Calendar, Alarm Clock, Stopwatch, Notepad, and Ez Tip Calculator.
The Internal Memory on the VX8550 is divided into two sections. The first section is capable of holding up to 82MB, but 17MB is use by the phones programming. This section is used to save and store V Cast information, Videos, Pictures, My Ringtones, My Sounds, Text & Picture Messages, and Applications. The second section of Internal Memory is 66MB and is dedicated to only storing music (such as downloaded from V Cast Music store, or uploaded from your computer to the phone).
Text and Picture Message will allow more messages to be stored in the Inbox and Outbox, but still lacks the ability of speech-to-text dictation, so you have to use T9 input.
Bluetooth remains unchanged expect for the addition of Auto Pair Handsfree option. This will allow the phone to automatically pair with a Bluetooth headset when turned on. The following Bluetooth Profiles are supported: Headset, Handsfree, DUN, Stereo A2DP, AVRC, Phonebook, Basic Printing, Object Push, File Transfer, and Basic Imaging.
Mobile Web still uses the same WAP 2.0 browser, and applications are downloaded using Get it Now. VZ Navigator now comes preinstalled, but still requires a $9.99 monthly access fee.
MP3 playback on the VX8550 operates in similar fashion as the previous VX8500, but the quality of the music playback has been improved. First, you must copy your MP3 files from your computer to the My_Music directory on the MicroSD card. After the card is inserted into the phone, you can press the Music button located on the right side, or go into the Main Menu and select My Music. The music is categorized by Songs, Playlists, Artists, Genres, and Albums. You can also select two music playback visual themes (Blue and Magenta). Once the music begins playback, the screen will display the current song information (CD name, Artists, Track Name and Number, and Playback Time). You can use the navigational pad to Play/Pause, Rewind/Skip-Back, and Fast-Forward/Skip-Ahead. The VX8550 also includes 12 Sound Effect equalizer settings (Flat, Concert Hall, Rock, Jazz, POP, Classical, Acoustic, Dance, Piano, R&B, Hip-Hop, and Electronic). Each sound effect will alter the music playback in different way. For example, the Concert Hall setting will add a slight echo (reverb) to the music. Between all the sound effect choices, we found that the Hip-Hop setting worked best with a wide variety of music. When we first started the music playback (Flat was selected by default) we noticed that the music was not that loud, even though the volume was turned up to High (Level 15). But after selecting the Hip-Hop sound effect, the volume was louder and the sound quality was improved. Overall, we feel that the music playback on the VX8550 is better than the original Chocolate. The speaker is larger, which eliminates the distortion at high volumes, and the sound quality is improved. You can also playback music while using other features of the phone (web, text message, etc). Unfortunately, the speaker is still located on the back, which means you must flip the phone over for the music not to sound muffled. The best option would be to use a Stereo Bluetooth A2DP device.
Another nice area of improvement is the Camera quality, yet it is still limited to 1.3MP resolution and lacks a flash. The camera on the original VX8500 has problems with the Automatic White Balance, which would cause images taken outside to have a blue tint to them. Images were lacking in color and detail, and there was significant purple fringing. We are glad to see that most of these issues have been resolved with the VX8550. However, the image quality is still behind that of the enV, Maxx Ve, and A990. We would seriously encourage LG to incorporate a higher Mega-Pixel AutoFocus Camera with Flash in the next version on the Chocolate…if there is one.
- Resolution: 1280x960, 640x480, 320x240
- Self Timer: Off, 3 sec, 5 sec, 10 sec
- White Balance: Auto, Sunny, Cloudy, Fluorescent, Glow
- Shutter Sound: Shutter, No Sound, Say Cheese, Ready 123
- Color Effects: Normal, Negative, Solari, Sepia, B&W
- Night Mode: On, Off
- Save Option: Internal, External
- Photometry: Average, Spot
- Preview: Actual View, Full Screen
Video capturing on the phone remains the same. The resolution is limited to 176x144, and the maximum recordable time it 1 Hour, yet we doubt anyone will use this phone to record 1 hour of video.
The RF Reception remains about the same, yet we did find the Call Quality in the earpiece speaker to be better than from the previous model. There was also noticeably less noise and distortion when the volume was raised to the highest setting. To activated the Speakerphone, you must first press and hold the SPK button for 3 seconds. This will display message saying, “Speakerphone will turn off after 1 minute of inactivity.” After the speakerphone is turned on, you can then dial the number, but after the phone call is ended, the speakerphone is automatically disabled. We would rather have the speakerphone remain active until it is manually turned off. This way, you don’t have to constantly turn it on for each call. The quality of the speakerphone is greatly improved over the vx8500 and thankfully lacks the distorted sound.
LG rates the VX8550 to be capable of 4Hr of Talk time, where the VX8500 has 3.5Hr of Talk time. However, we were only able to achieve 3Hr on the VX8550 and 2.5Hr on the VX8500. So it appears that LG is inflating the published times by one hour.
We are overall pleased with most of the changes that have been incorporated into the new VX8550. The phone has a more stylish look to it and weighs slightly less. The Touch-Sensitive Navigational Pad has been replaced by a Navigational Wheel, but moving the wheel for accessing menu selections can be troublesome. Because of this, we recommend pressing the wheel in the up, down, left, and right direction. The main keypad now has the Send, End, and Camera buttons located at the top, and the Numeric buttons are now larger and easier to use. Music playback and Speakerphone quality have been improved by using a larger speaker that causes less distortion to be heard. Call Quality in the earpiece is clearer and also lacks any noticeable distortion. The Camera now produces better looking images, but still is limited to 1.3MP resolution and lacks a flash or autofocus.
The VX8550 is a definite upgrade from the original VX8500 Chocolate. If you liked the original, you will love this even more, but if you didn’t like the Chocolate, you should give the new version a try. You will be pleasantly surprised.
- Improved look and style, compared to VX8500
- Buttons are designed and laid out better
- Better camera and more memory
- 2.5mm stereo jack
- Menus are more responsive
- Moving the navigational wheel in a circle by your thumb doesn’t always work well
- No Camera Flash or AutoFocus
- Glossy Fingerprint Magnet Exterior
1. Danny (unregistered) posted on 20 Oct 2010, 01:55 0 0
Just wanted to let everyone know that come July 9th the 8550 will be capable of using the GIN program Mobile Email which is a POP/IMAP E-mail App.
2. Kevin (unregistered) posted on 10 Jul 2007, 15:22 0 0
Just as a follow up to the comment above, the 8550 will have email capabilities and can track up to 10 different email inboxes and with the new premium plans there will be no charge for doing so. The mentioned 1 for corporate use should be adjusted with the correct statistic.
3. Rocky (unregistered) posted on 12 Jul 2007, 22:54 0 0
Does anyone know if you use music from the SD Card as a ringtone?
10. Roc (unregistered) posted on 28 May 2008, 23:05 0 0
No, You Can't
4. Wes (unregistered) posted on 19 Jul 2007, 09:06 0 0
I would also like to know if you can use your MP3's as a ringtone.
5. ... (unregistered) posted on 01 Aug 2007, 02:30 0 0
i have the old chocolate. and i hate it. on the old one you cant but music from yur SD card as a ringtone. you have to buy them. how has lg upgraded this phone other than the looks? i mean. on the ond chocolate the battery life is absolutely horible! is the battery on this one any better?? and what are the other changes made to improve the phone
6. Kim (unregistered) posted on 12 Aug 2007, 11:19 0 0
Yes. Create a pix message, attach the MP3 and send it to yourself. Then open the SAVED message and save it from there. It worked when I bought this phone and other phones through my past. I returned this phone however. LG still has terrible reception and it's WAYYYYYYYYYYY too touch senstive. I'm a female with my slim fingers, it was difficult to even take a picture because of the touch pad. Good luck.
7. Eric (unregistered) posted on 17 Aug 2007, 12:18 0 0
The new chocolate is way better than the old one. The scroll wheel replaces the old touch sensitive buttons, and is more accurate and less of a hastle. The send and end keys moved to the key pad and the music player is also upgraded for a better look and easier navigation. I work for Verizon have had both chocolates. I myself hated the previous version, it felt cheap and always broke. I replaced it three times before I got one that held battery life and got good reception. I got the new chocolate the day they came out and havent had one bit of trouble. Bettery and reception are flawless.
8. Kayla (unregistered) posted on 10 Sep 2007, 16:18 0 0
I definitely like this phone... I've had it about a month and it gives me zero problems and great service....I still sometimes have a gbit of trouble with the vibrating key pads but it is a cool phone with a lot of pretty cool settings.... you can set up your clock/calendar different and choose how the navigation wheel lights up around the outside when you get a phone call....pretty decent camera as far as camera phones go....not so great in darkened rooms....fingerprints really easy but you can just wipe it off...i like it it's a decent choice
9. Brittany!! (unregistered) posted on 07 Apr 2008, 14:38 0 0
my new lg chocolate is a piece of crap!!!...when i turn it on and then open it it just restarts. every once in a while i will get lucky and get it to work when i open it. i really don't see how people can like it...i guess besides it being a piece of crap the overall body is pretty cool.....but i would highly NOT recommend people to buy it...=]]..i'm getting ready to go get a new phone so..bye!
11. Nick1214792 (unregistered) posted on 02 Jun 2008, 19:27 0 0
The New Chocolate is an awesome upgrade to the old one, but it isn't the best phone.The upgrade to a spin wheel is way less touchy because you click to use the buttons instead of tons of touchy buttons. It also has different display themes and different types of calenders, but no screen savers like the MotoRZR. It takes great pictures in well-lighted areas, and you can also rotate and resize the image, but you cannot use the Fun Stuff like on the MotoRZR. But on the other hand, it has very quick response to commands. On the MotoRZR, once it is about 1 1/2 years old it will slow to a halt. I have had my chocolate for 1 year and it is still as fast as when I first got it, even with lots of memory used up. But the reception isn't to great. You need to be in close range to [your carrier] store or tower. If you live in the woods this isn't the best phone for you. Mobile Web is very fast if you have good signal. Also, if you're a game lover, this phone has 3D game capabilities. I would rate this phone 7 1/2 out of 10. Hope this review helped!
12. alex_corm (unregistered) posted on 06 Jun 2008, 17:48 0 0
hey, i have bought the new LG Vx 8550 through telus the other day..love the phone but i'm having issues when puting ringtones on my phone...i use Bitpim and it does go on the phone and will play but as soon as i try and set it as a ringtone it tell me that it's a "non-DRM protected file" i get what this means but is there a way around it? i used Audicity to crop the file as well as other programs thinking it was the the program. Is there a way to crop a downloaded file and have it work as a ringtone on the LG chcolate spin VX8550.
13. (unregistered) posted on 23 Jul 2008, 18:50 0 0
how is the service on this phone???
14. (unregistered) posted on 10 Sep 2008, 17:34 0 0
i just bought the new chocolate spin it is AWESOME.. i love it is the greatest phone
15. (unregistered) posted on 19 Sep 2008, 16:26 0 0
Hi, I have had this phone for about a year and even though my upgrade isn't due yet, ready to get rid of it. I want to get the Juke. To answer everyone's questions: You can use MP3's as ringtones, buying them from VZW Store, or going towww.funformobile.com, and you cannot anymore record a voice recording and use it as a ringtone, this rule applies for all 2007-on VZW phones. In response to one of the recent comments, the phone's scroll wheel is irritating and a hassle. So are the touch buttons. Plus, after about 30 seconds, the number keys lockup, so the phone is not ideal if you're going to be calling automated payment systems on it. And, lastly, the new Chocolate is a Piece of Crap phone. I hate it, and would never get another Chocolate.
16. (unregistered) posted on 20 Nov 2008, 10:32 0 0
i love the new chocolate i have had mine for over a year and its been through college spring break, a toliet and my many accidents and it still hasnt given me any trouble!
17. melanovaaa (unregistered) posted on 26 Nov 2008, 19:59 0 0
i got this phone about a month ago from verizon unwillingly because qwest no longer will have wireless services. i only got this phone because it was a slider like my old phone and it was free. well first, i had the samsung m520 from qwest a slider music phone like the chocolate. the only pro here from the samsung phone is that you can listen to music whil using other apps such as text. second, i get horrible service along with battery life with the chocolate; something i've never really had to deal with when i had qwest. for me, i live in a basement with many windows and go to school in a building near many other businesses and many windows. i still struggle to get service in these places and maybe it's just the phone but who knows. third, the touch buttons are really inconvenient. while i enjoy using the scroll wheel, the touch buttons often get in the way when i barely even touch them - this is while the sensitivty setting on low! it also can be a little slow to respond when using the touch keys which isn't that big of a deal but still a con. it also scratches easily even when dropped from a couple feet from the ground and is a fingerprint magnet! some pros that i do like about the phone is the accent lights on the keys and click wheel that light up when people call and the speaker is loud and clear when listening to music. if i was to grade ths phone on a scale of 1-10, i would place it somewhere between 6-7. definitley not he best phone for me, hopefully this will help you!
18. (unregistered) posted on 28 Nov 2008, 21:06 0 0
terrible. do not buy. im on my 7th one. i had the first generation and recently got the new addition. they all break really easily and have alot of flaws. they fixed alot of the problems of the origional generation but it still has problems. its just not worth it
19. martii_X posted on 24 Feb 2009, 20:14 0 0
i have had the original version of this phone for almost 2 years and have broken it 22 times(: joy right? the non full keyboard sucks and it is sooooooooooooooooo slow. it takes forever for it to load. it has a really bad battery that always runs out of battery and i hate it. :b