LG BL40 New Chocolate review: Chef’s best
Full featured multimedia
The LG BL40 New Chocolate comes with 1GB of onboard storage, expandable via the microSD memory card slot. The LG BL40 file manager appears as the My Stuff item in the menu. It includes separate factory-preset folders, but you can store whatever content you like in them.
File browsing is generally fast, even when the memory card has loads of images on (800+ in our case).
A nice gallery
The LG BL40 New Chocolate offers two gallery modes depending on the handset's orientation. In portrait mode images and videos are displayed in a grid sorted by date, type or name, while in landscape mode you get a nice spatial view.
The landscape 3D gallery has been changed as opposed to the LG Arena. While in the original S-class interface you only had three images visible at a time here they are a lot more with options to change the viewing angle and zoom level. While we really appreciate the UI designers effort, we somehow find the new layout messy and really not practical. Performance-wise it's really ok - it's as fluid as it gets.
Thanks to the multi-touch enabled capacitive touchscreen, you can zoom in on images with the pinching gesture that you may have seen on the iPhone or the HTC Hero.
The opened images also rotate automatically thanks to the built-in accelerometer.
Apart from the standard options in the standard gallery such as rename, delete, print, send and info, there is also a slideshow mode. You can choose the time interval and the display order (shuffle or not). The nice transition effects are random, we couldn't find a dedicated option for choosing a specific one.
The LG New Chocolate music player is accessible from the main menu or through the dedicated key on the side of the phone. You can sort tracks by artist, album, genre and rating. The current track's album art, name, album and artist are expandable in the actual track list, the next and previous tracks still visible at the top and bottom.
There is a huge Shuffle button on the top of the playlist, which is quite comfortable.
Thanks to the built-in accelerometer, the music player automatically switches its orientation from/to landscape mode when you rotate the phone. As you may suspect there is a new look here too: small virtual vinyls are lined up on a rotating dial to display the available albums.
There are tons of equalizer presets (all non-customizable, though) and among them one managed to impress us. It's the highly promoted Dolby for Mobile sound enhancement making the sound richer and more spacious. With all the presets available we're sure you'll find one to suit your needs.
Ready for widescreen action
While the music player hasn't changed much since the Arena or the Crystal, the video player has had a complete overhaul.
When it comes to codec support, we came across an apparent inconsistency. The pre-release unit with very early firmware that we previewed managed to play all the DivX movies we threw at it (including 720p HD video), while XviD video was more of a hit-and-miss affair.
This retail unit in turn refused to handle any HD video or anything higher than D1 resolution. Also, there seem to be an additional software limitation imposed regarding the video bitrate. So having the right resolution is not a guarantee for success. Videos of higher bitrates don't play at all - and we're talking clips that ran just fine on the earlier sample.
Nevertheless, most of the DivX/XviD movies at or below D1 resolution were played just fine, no drops and lags. We particularly liked the 21:9 ones that matched the screen ratio and looked awesome. We definitely recommend you find a few and try them.
There is a quick shortcut to the TV-out settings if you want to play the videos on a bigger screen using the TV-out functionality.
Another interesting feature is the chapter selection. If your video has been divided into chapters, they will appear as small thumbs at the bottom of the player screen.
Dolby Mobile is available on the video player but it's turned off by default. And just so you know, its effect is best appreciated on the headphones.
The video player also has an option to capture frames from the currently playing video or even edit the whole movie. The editor has some features like trimming or video merge, live or custom audio dubbing, add text or image overlay or add a dimming effect. We guess most of those will be best used on videos captured by the LG BL40 itself than on actual movies.