LG KE800 Platinum review: Chocolate sequel
Well, the story continues with the next exciting Chocolate mobile phone from the Black Label series of LG. The new contender has received a serious hardware upgrade and strives for making up for the main criticism to the original Chocolate - it aims to prove that style doesn't need come on the expense of functionality. With a 2 megapixel autofocus camera, a QVGA TFT display, a microSD memory card slot and FM radio, the LG Chocolate Platinum seems to have it all to win the hears of even the most pretentious ones. So bear with us as we review the device in detail.
- Fashionable design
- High-quality finish
- 2 megapixel camera with auto focus
- 55 MB shared internal memory
- USB 1.2 mass storage support
- Touchpad navigation
- microSD memory card slot
- FM radio
- Problematic touchpad response (the test unit was a beta version)
- Slow and inconvenient camera interface
- Slow image browsing
Building on the success of the original KG800 Chocolate the KE800 Chocolate Platinum uses the same touch sensitive navigation keypad and follows the exquisite design line making the handset more of a refined accessory than just a regular mobile phone. The updated music player and camera really open the device to a wider market niche and would provide a sure market success.
The LG KE800 Chocolate Platinum derives its name from the combination of black or white with a platinum color metal stripe across the front panel. There is yet another version - the LG Chocolate Gold which of course is offered with gold trimming, but alas it is a CDMA mobile and will be targeted at the Korean market.
As for the retail package, the contents of the box remain yet unknown and would probably be market and country dependant.
As fashionable as ever
The LG KE800 Chocolate Platinum has pretty much the same measures as the original one - it's only 2 mm thicker and weighs 95 g which makes it 10 g heavier. The front panel design is pretty much the same - same glossy mirror-like surface. Design wise, the KE800 is styled in a much manlier fashion that its predecessor which seemed to us as a more feminine model.
The touchpad of the LG KE800 Platinum is much like the one on the original model - the concept is pretty much the same. You slide it open and it activates waiting for your commands. This time though it's made much more precise - you have to touch straight onto the red markings in order for the mobile to accept your command. A couple of millimeters away and touching brings no effect at all. What is more, the backlighting strength is a far less intensive.
The left side of the handset incorporates only a volume swing key and the external antenna jack. It should have come with a cap but the unit we got to test had been through a lot of hands and it took some damage along the way. The end result is that our test sample has all the traces of some heavy usage - but we won't let that ruin our impressions.
The right side has more to show. There we see a dedicated camera key, mp3 player shortcut key and the ON/OFF key. The ON/OFF key in fact serves the additional role of ending or rejecting a call. The mp3 player shortcut button has also a dual function. When the slider is closed, it only activates the touchpad which is off by default. When the slider is opened, it turns on the music player. The left side of the panel also accommodates the multi-purpose USB/earphones/charger port which is hidden under a protective cap.
The back part has a rather clean design. When the phone is opened you could see the camera lens, the LED flash and a self-portrait mirror.
The battery cover is situated in the lower back part and is part of the 800 mAh Lithium-Ion Polymer LGLP-G8DM battery itself. According to the manufacturer the battery should offer up to 270h of standby time and up to 6h of talk time which speaks of an updated performance in comparison to the original LG Chocolate. Of course those numbers are for general information only. Unfortunately, we couldn't test the KE800 battery life since we used the phone heavily during our tests and thus the battery life we experienced was not indicative for the real-life performance of the phone.
The bottom and the top parts of the slider are pretty identical and don't feature any control keys. They have some cheap-looking metallic paint finish, which as seen on our test unit would end up scratched after some time.
Feels like butter
The slider mechanism opens with an ease but it won't open incidentally by itself in your pockets or bag since the retaining/opening spring is stiff enough to prevent that. In fact the opening of the phone feels very pleasant and its smooth surface definitely adds up to that feeling. It must be noted that the original Chocolate's spring is much tighter though. What is more, unlike the Samsung sliders for example, there is no thumb rest to help you thumb push up or pull down the upper part of the body. With the original LG Chocolate that was just fine, since the only down side to that were the fingerprints left after opening or closing it. This time there is one new downside - if you happen to accidentally touch the touchpad during closing, you might trigger an unwanted action. For example you can open the New Text Message form or the Phonebook list and they would stay open even after you close the mobile. That problem was not present in the original Chocolate because sliding down the upper panel terminated all open interface menus, thus if you accidentally start an action during slide down, it would end automatically when you close the slider all the way down.