When the LG Chocolate first came into the scene with the VX8500 model back in 2006, it was preceded by a ton of hype. And such is the case with its fourth and most recent incarnation, the LG Chocolate Touch. As the name indicates, it is a touch-screen phone with the famous Chocolate branding, and so we were expecting to see a brand new design and upgraded features.
As it turned out, LG actually introduced two Chocolate models with touch screens. The first is the LG Chocolate BL40, which features a cinematic 21:9 aspect ratio, multitouch capabilities, a 5-megapixel camera, and a bevy of impressive features. Unfortunately, it's available only in European and Asian markets (you can read our review of the LG Chocolate BL40 at CNET UK), so we had to settle for the LG Chocolate Touch VX8575, which is far less impressive.
Even so, Verizon Wireless's Chocolate Touch remains a decent phone. It's slim and lightweight, with a beautiful touch display that's surprisingly responsive. Like all the other Chocolate handsets, the Touch is a music-centric phone, with features like Dolby Mobile equalizer settings, an FM radio, and even a virtual drum kit. Combined with a 3.2-megapixel camera, EV-DO, and a full HTML browser, the Chocolate Touch VX8575 is a great music phone for Verizon Wireless customers. Just don't expect anything new in terms of design. The LG Chocolate Touch VX8575 is $79.99 with a two-year service agreement from Verizon Wireless.
On the face of it, the LG Chocolate Touch VX8575 is similar to other LG touch-screen phones that we've reviewed, like the LG Vu and the LG Dare. Measuring 4.3 inches long by 2.2 inches wide by 0.47 inch thick, the Chocolate Touch is rectangular with slightly rounded edges. It is encased in a very reflective shell, save for four geometric shapes on its back side that are covered in a soft touch material. You get two changeable back plates with the phone: one with black shapes, and the other with purple. The reflective part of the phone is so shiny that you can use it as a mirror.
The 3.0-inch display is vibrant and colorful, thanks to 262,000-color support and 400x240 pixel resolution. It really shows off the drop shadows and color gradients of the graphics. You can adjust the backlight time, the charging screen (what shows on the display when the phone is charging), the clock format on the home screen, the menu font style, and the dial font size.
On the right side of the Touch's home screen are two shortcut icons, which you can choose to hide if you wish. They correspond to a shortcut bin, and the music player shortcut. When you tap the arrow for the shortcut bin, you'll see a pullout menu of application and media file shortcuts, which you can drag and drop to the home screen. Some shortcuts are also full-on widgets, like those for the clock, the calendar, and the memo pad. You can add and remove shortcuts easily from the pullout menu as well. Along the bottom row of the home screen are shortcuts to the messaging in-box, the phone dialer, the main menu, the contacts list, and the favorite contacts screen.
On the whole, the touch screen is quite responsive. We like the haptics vibration feedback, though you also can add a sound effect to let you know your touch has registered. You can adjust the length and intensity of the vibration, and there's also a touch calibration wizard to help ensure accuracy. It does take a bit to get used to the touch screen, though; sometimes we activated something when we just wanted to scroll down a list.
The Touch VX8575 has an internal accelerometer that will rotate the screen from portrait to landscape mode as you turn the phone in your hand. Keep in mind that it works only in certain applications, like the Web browser. What's more, when you rotate the phone to landscape mode while in the text messaging app, you'll see a full QWERTY keyboard. The virtual keyboard is quite easy to use. The keys magnify as you tap them, and there's a dedicated @ key that double as a ".com" key when you hit shift. You also can enter text in portrait mode via a nine-key alphanumeric keypad or via handwriting recognition, but we much prefer the full QWERTY keyboard.
Underneath the display are three physical keys: Send, Clear, and End/Power. The Clear key doubles as the voice record with a long press. The keys are shaped like amorphous blobs, which complement the geometric shapes on the back of the phone. On the left side of the phone are the charger jack, the volume control, and the speakerphone key. A 3.5mm headset jack is on the top and the camera key, the music player key, and the screen lock key are on the right side. On the back is the camera lens. The microSD card slot is located behind the battery cover.
The LG Chocolate Touch VX8575 has a generous 1,000-entry phone book with room in each entry for five numbers, two e-mail addresses, an instant-messaging user name, and a street address. You can also organize your contacts into groups, and pair them with a photo and any of 21 polyphonic ringtones. Other basics include a vibrate mode, a speakerphone (which you can activate prior to a call), threaded text and multimedia messaging, voice messaging, a calendar, an alarm clock, a world clock, a stopwatch, a notepad, a calculator, a tip calculator, and a drawing pad, which you can use to make sketches for multimedia messages.
The Touch VX8575 also boasts a "Social Network Shortcut Key," which opens a menu that you can populate with shortcuts for updating your status or photo on a variety of social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace. These aren't real applications; they're just a way for you to quickly update your social network via SMS or MMS.