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LG Chocolate phone

Last week LG sent me one of their new “Chocolate” (KG800) mobile phones on loan.

I’m a bit late blogging about it, but rather than immediately blogging “ooh shiny”, I wanted to give it a real trial before reporting back…

For a start, it’s worth pointing out that I tend to hate mobile phones and the mobile phone industry. In particular I’ve discussed before my lack of interest in the “secondary mobile phone company” products, namely the non Nokia/Sony Ericsson phones from companies such as Samsung, Motorola and LG.

The KG800 packaging is practically Apple-like. It resembles a chocolate box (same shape, look/feel, etc) and opens up to reveal different compartments for the charger, USB cable, hands free, etc.

Personally, I’m not fussed either way about packaging, but I’m minded of Joel Spolsky’s Etech05 presentation on the importance of aesthetics and emotion being an important part of people’s perception of a product.

So, look, I’ll admit it – the phone itself is a much prettier and classier designed phone then I expected from a non-European manufacturer. My experience of Asian-manufacturer mobile phones is that they are usually not quite as visually stunning as their European counterparts. In other words, they tend to focus on functionality, or size, instead of the Joel Spoolsky-observed aesthetics/emotion concept.

Some of the things I like about the phone include:

  • Overall design – the all-black shiny body with low-profile screen is v nicely designed
  • Build quality – the slider on the phone feels really solid
  • The touch-sensitive buttons are great
  • The dimensions of the phone, its less than a cm thick
  • The menu system, generally speaking, is as intuitive as a Sony Ericsson T610/K750

However there are a list of things that I was slightly disapointed with:

  • The phone scratches easily (it comes with a little draw-string bag, but it’s quite impractical to keep the phone in there and answer it in time before it diverts to voicemail)
  • The port on the phone to plug in the charger, USB cable and hands-free is really tricky to pull out and I keep thinking I’m going to rip it from the thin bit of plastic it hangs from. Considering the phone needs charging every couple of days, it would have been nice to have had a stand for the KG800 to sit in (and charge from a port in the base of the phone).

The biggest disappointment – or tease at least – has been the hands-free mic which doubles as an mp3-player remote. When I saw it, I thought the phone was going to be an amazing mp3 player. The remote has all the buttons you need in addition to doubling up as a microphone for the hands-free system – it’s pretty cool.

However the KG800 only has 128MB of memory to store MP3’s on – which is practically nothing (maybe 1 or 2 albums max). Sadly there are no slots on the phone to upgrade via external memory cards.

I’m not quite sure why LG released a phone with a really nifty mp3 remote that only contains 128MB of RAM because clearly you aren’t going to have many tracks to warrant a remote control… oh well.

So don’t get me wrong, I do like the phone. But clearly it’s been designed for a particular style-conscious market such as those who currently own Motorola V3 RAZR and SLIVR phones. It’s not for people who want strong personal information management applications, etc.

Even without the sweet little remote the phone stands up as a nicely designed, easy to use, uber-cool mobile.

Of course, if you’re looking to trade in your Crackberry, then this phone is not for you. But if you’re in the market for a style-phone then I’d certainly recommend the LG Chocolate Phone to you.

I give the LG KG800 8/10.

Published in Gadgets Thoughts and Rants


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