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Review: LG Chocolate 3

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For a music phone, the Chocolate 3 does a darned poor job of it. Rather than offer a new player or any real new functionality, the Chocolate 3 is hampered by Verizon's infuriating menu system and file structure requirements.

But first, a few positive comments.

With the phone closed, you can easily jump into your music library and start playing songs or playlists. You can access nearly all of the player's functions from the exterior screen. This is good.

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You can also use the phone's main menu with the phone open, though the fastest way is always to use the dedicated music key on the phone's right side. Pressing it brings up the main music menu. From here, you get the usual choices: Artists, Songs, Genres, Playlists, and so on. You can also choose to shop. One nice addition is the FM transmitter. Even in the crowded NYC radio market, we were able to find a free frequency and listen to the tunes on our phone in the car. You can fine tune in the 88, 96 and 106 MHz channels with a digital controller. Not too shabby.

You can choose from a few equalizer presets, though none of them really did anything for me. The treble and bass boosters made the music sound lopsided. The concert hall setting added too much reverb, and the vocal booster just messed up the sound completely.

Using the main menu, you can set up your tunes, and then exit to the home screen and perform other tasks. Not all Verizon Wireless phones allow you to do this. Incoming calls pause the music, which resumes once the call is completed. Jumping around does, however, interrupt the music from time to time, so listening and multitasking is not going to be perfectly seamless.

Here's one hitch. If you set up your music with the phone open, and then close the phone, you get a nice graphic in the exterior display that will light up when the lock key is pressed. If you need to silence the phone quickly, however, you're pretty screwed. From this screen, you have to unlock the phone, then select the music player, then and only then will you be able to pause the music. That's torture. It's far easier to just open the darn thing and hit the "end" key until it shuts up. Of course, if you do that, you lose your place in the song.

Now, about syncing. Verizon phones that use this platform demand that your music be placed into a folder on a microSD card labeled "my_music". If you want to sideload music directly into that folder, make sure the song files are loaded separately, and not in another folder. If you drag and drop an entire album into that folder, the phone won't see the songs. If you drag and drop each song by itself, the phone can find them. This makes transferring music a real pain, because you can't simply grab entire albums and transfer them at once.


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