Review: LG Chocolate
The Chocolate's screen is hidden behind the dark tinted plastic that makes up the front of the phone. While this looks pretty cool, it makes the phone difficult to use in direct sunlight. It is difficult to see any color on the screen when viewed in sunlight with the backlight on. Once the backlight goes off, it is impossible to see the display at all. Viewing the screen with the backlight off indoors works slightly better. Once you are inside and the display is lit up, you can see how sharp the screen really is. It's actually quite good, which makes browsing pleasant.
The Chocolate has separate indicators for 1x and EV-DO signal. This not only indicates whether EV-DO is available in an area, but also whether it's better to hop online or stick with voice calls. Despite Verizon's rather thorough coverage of San Francisco, our Chocolate rarely showed a full four bars of 1x or EV-DO. While this probably is not an accurate reflection of Verizon coverage, it was an accurate reflection of the Chocolate's reception. This phone had a difficult time holding on to a signal. When signal strength was good, calls were still choppy. When it was bad, the phone dropped calls quite consistently. Although the phone initially showed a signal in our bank vault test, it could not make a call and when attempting to do anything else the indicator bars quickly disappeared.
The ringer volume of the Chocolate is rather soft. We had to keep the volume at medium-high just to hear it in our pocket, and even then it only sounded like a ring coming from somewhere near us. At full volume the ringer was loud enough. In order to get the phone to vibrate all the time, you must use the ringtone customization menu. Otherwise it is only available when the phone is set to silent. We strongly recommend adding vibration to your ringtone regimen if you'd like to use a softer volume.
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The speaker used for calls is, conversely, quite loud. Even in loud outdoor settings we rarely needed the volume over about the halfway mark. And often times any volume setting higher than that was too loud. In a way the loud call volume was a good thing because the Chocolate does not have a speakerphone, so turning the volume way up can be used to emulate one.
Even with a fair amount of use, the Chocolate lasts 3-4 days per charge. Leaving Bluetooth on does not seem to impact battery life much unless it's constantly connected to a headset. Although browsing or taking pictures does not drain the battery too much, music playback does. Once you start regularly using the Chocolate as a music player, battery life decreases by at least one day - more if you use Bluetooth headphones to listen to your tunes.