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LG Chocolate 3

>> Thursday, January 22, 2009

As the first flip phone in the Chocolate line of handsets, the design of the Chocolate 3 is markedly different from its predecessors the only remaining similarity appears to be the iPod like scroll wheel on the front of the device. Measuring 3.87 inches high by 1.94 inches wide by 0.64 inch thick, it is also the least "chocolate bar" looking of the lot, with a wide yet slim rectangular body.

While we appreciate LG going in a different design direction for the Chocolate 3, this new design makes the Chocolate 3 look and feel like just any other slim flip phone on the market, and it doesn't seem as special and iconic as its predecessors. Like the LG Decoy, the Chocolate 3 has a reflective mirror like finish on the entire front surface of the phone. It's so reflective that it almost obscures the 1.76 inch 262.000 colors external screen located right above the scroll wheel.

The external screen displays the typical caller ID, date, time, and battery and signal strength information when in standby mode. You can adjust the backlight time and clock format, but not much else. From the external screen, you can then access a limited menu. The menu options are presented in rotating pattern, so it's easy to navigate just by using the scroll wheel. Menu options include the camera, the calendar, the messaging inbox, the My Music folder, and the My Pictures folder.

This way, you can take a quick glance at things like your recent messages or the day's events without having to open the phone. Also, since there's no dedicated camera button, this is the only way to access the camera feature when the phone is closed. Of course, you can also access the music player interface either via the My Music folder or simply by hitting the dedicated Music button on the right spine.

The display shows the album art of the song, plus you can play, pause, rewind, or fast forward the music by clicking on the scroll wheel (more on the music player in the Features section). The LG Chocolate 3 has a mechanical scroll wheel on the front. Underneath the display is the aforementioned mechanical scroll wheel. It feels reminiscent of the one on the VX8550 Chocolate, and that's a good thing.

The spun metal surface of the wheel makes it feel tactile, and the wheel spins freely without a lot of resistance. We could press the wheel in four different quadrants (up, down, left, right) and the middle button quite easily, as well. Almost too easily, in fact this is why the Chocolate 3 has a Keylock or Hold button on the right spine to prevent accidental presses. Unlike that of the two other Chocolate phones, the Chocolate 3 does not have any touch sensitive navigation keys, which is just fine by us.

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