LG Chocolate 3 Review
For the past two years, summer has meant a new Chocolate phone coming out for Verizon Wireless. This year is no exception, with the introduction of the Chocolate 3 (VX8560). Unlike the previous two versions which were sliders (VX8500, VX8550), the new model is a clamshell style, but is still is targeted as a music-centric device. It is currently available in both Black and Light Blue color versions, with more choices expected in the upcoming months. Its main competition is the Samsung Juke and LG Dare, as both have dedicated music players and are capable of multitasking.
The retail package includes the Chocolate 3 phone, 800mAh standard battery with cover, user manual, and a 2-piece wall charger / microUSB data cable.
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Since the Chocolate 3 is a clamshell phone, it looks more like an update to the VX8600 than to the VX8550 slider. On the Black model, the front has a reflective coating similar to the Decoy, but is not as mirror-like, a soft-touch coating on the back, with the internal keypad also being black. The Light Blue model does not have the reflective coating on the front (making it less of a fingerprint magnet), with standard smooth plastic on the back, and a shiny chrome finish on the internal keypad. Other than the color differences, both versions offer the same features.
pixel TFT display with 262k color support. It is larger than most external displays that we’ve seen, and is capable of viewing the music player, my pictures, camera, calendar, and the inbox. While this is a step in the right direction, we would like to be able to access more items on the front screen, such as Bluetooth. Directly below the display is a scroll wheel (similar to the one used on the VX8550) and is used to access and navigate through the different menu options while the phone closed. Pressing the center button takes you to the menu, where you can then move the wheel around clockwise or counter-clockwise to make different selections. It can also act as a d-pad, pressing on it up/down/left/right, depending on the program. The external navigation wheel works rather well, since it is easy to rotate and provides an audible sound when moved. However, sometimes it can be over-sensitive, as we would attempt to press the center button, but it would think we moved the wheel instead. Unfortunately, the phone lacks a sensitivity adjustment in the menu, which could help resolve this minor issue.
Located on the left side are the volume rocker, voice command button, microUSB port, and 3.5mm headset jack, with the lock, music button, and microSDHC card slot on the right. The overall feel of the device is “plasticy”, yet durable and solid, unlike the VX8350. Even though it’s not at thin as the V9m, it’s still easy enough to place in your pant’s pocket without it drawing too much attention. We had no problems opening and closing the phone, with the hinge working smoothly and without any creaking sounds.
The internal display is 2.20” diagonal 240x320 pixel TFT with 262k color support. Nowadays it is commonplace to see this type of display used on most mid-to-high-end phones, but this one comes with an integrated light sensor (similar to the Dare) to automatically adjust its brightness based on surrounding light levels. When used outside, the backlight will become brighter, but still can be difficult to see while in direct sunlight. While in a dark room, the backlight will dim down, but is a little too dim for our liking. Unfortunately, there are no user settings for manually adjusting the display’s brightness. Located on the bottom shell is the d-pad and numeric keypad with white backlighting. The d-pad is smaller than most other phones, but we didn’t encounter any problems using it. In contrast, the numeric keys are quite large and provide a good “click” sound and feedback when pressed. We able to use it for dialing and text messaging without issue.