LG BL40 is LG's new breed of chocolate, that comprises all the company's technologies. The phone is stuffed with every piece of technology that LG is capable to reproduce at the moment, and no rebate has been done to that. LG BL40 is a premium handset, it's one of those niche devices that has a specific target.
You will love it or hate it, as you can't stay indifferent the moment you lay eyes on it. The epitome of elegance, BL40 can be placed between those expensive Vertu phones and the latest HTC, Samsung or Motorola smartphones. Thanks to PureMobile
, we had the chance to test the HTC Pure and share our thoughts with you.
Announced in August 2009, LG BL40 New Chocolate
was released on the market one month later, in Spetember. The New Chocolate can be bought for around $300 free of contract, depending on the location. No other color except Black is available, but owners can buy themselves special cases, which have different colors. Design
At first glance, LG BL40 New Chocolate hardly looks like a standard mobile phone. As a matter fact it looks more like a remote control without buttons. Still, this is probably one of the few phones that will really attract other looks when you show it off. Even though it's big, I can't really say that is bigger or heavier than most of the high-end smartphones out there. Yes, it has an unusual form, but this is definitely not the biggest phone on the market. It barely measures 128 x 51 x 10.9 mm and weighs 129g (including battery). The only “scary” number might be related to its height, but this actually improves the grip of the user when talking on the phone. The handset indeed looks like a chocolate tablet that you want to get your teeth into.
The shiny plastic used for manufacture makes it look exquisite and rich. Even though I haven't really expected less, LG did a great job with the phone's design. Both top and down sides are red, which forms a very nice contrast with the black parts of the phone. The red parts are encased in a chromium stripe, while both left and right sides of the phone are also crossed in the middle by a chromium stripe. The lack of visible buttons adds to the “chocolate tablet” effect and makes the phone even more appealing. The few buttons placed either on the left or right side are well “hidden” into the chromium stripe that crosses them. They are noticeable like small elevations on the stripe.
The right side of the phone features two volume keys on the upper part and a dedicated camera key. The left side only includes a small key that opens the music player, as well as the microUSB port, hidden by a latch cover. On top side there's a 3.5mm jack port and the usual power on/off button, which can also be used to lock/unlock the screen. The bottom side only features the small mic hole. The entire front part of the phone is seized by the huge 4-inch touch screen. There are no hardware buttons below the screen, but there's a secondary camera and an ambient light sensor just above it. The 5-megapixel camera on the back of the phone features LED flash and is protected by a metallic plate that surrounds it.
The microSD card slot has been placed under the back hood, near the SIM slot. Fortunately, you won't need to pull out the battery to insert a memory card, but you will need to remove the back cover, which is not an easy thing to do. Removing the battery cover requires users to keep the microUSB latch cover open, otherwise
it will not budge.
The only negative thing I found about the phone's design is the fact that it's a fingerprint magnet. Further, the sale package doesn't include a special cloth to help users remove the grease and fingerprints from both, front and back of the handset. Display and Camera
LG BL40 features a huge TFT capacitive touch screen display, with an excellent 345 x 800 pixels resolution and supporting 16 Million colors. Even though the contrast, the colors and the overall quality of the image are exceptional, you will have some troubles in strong sunlight, especially if the screen is not clean. If you can get over this, the screen is amazing, especially when gaming or watching a movie. It also features an accelerometer sensor for automatic screen rotation, proximity sensor, gesture controls, multi-touch support and, a scratch resistant surface. The 21:9 aspect ratio is perfect for movies, if you can find them.
The 5-megapixel camera is protected by plastic cover, and by the metallic plate that surrounds it. Users can take pictures with a maximum resolution of 2,592 x 1,944 pixels. The dedicated camera button has been comfortably placed and can be employed with ease. Still, I would recommend using the touch shutter on the screen.
The LG BL40's camera features auto-focus, image stabilization, geo-tagging, as well as face and smile detection. Its interface has been much improved compared to other LG mobile phones with S-Class UI. You will now find most of the settings on a wheel-like selector, which you can browse from.
Some of the settings that you can take advantage of include: Shot mode, Colour effect, White balance, Scene mode, ISO function. Clips can be recorded using a maximum VGA (640x480 pixels) resolution at 30fps. These cannot be compared with the quality of the pictures at all, and are not worth the trouble.
In terms of performance, LG BL40's camera is clearly showing some improvements from LG's part. The quality of the pictures is above average, but you will still find some traces of noise on some pictures. I was expecting such good quality, since the manufacturer used the well-known Schneider-Kreuznach lenses. On a scale from 1 to 10, I would give the camera an 9.Menu and Software
LG BL40 New Chocolate features the same proprietary S-Class UI and can now be controlled easily without a stylus thanks to the capacitive touch screen. The strong point of this kind of interface is without a doubt the full customization feature, flash integration and functionality that come with the customization. Furthermore, the phone's UI has been reshaped for the screen's unusual form. Instead of only one Home screen, you are now presented with an extended one that provides you with a total of four standard Home screens, which can be customized with widgets, just like Android's.
To browse between them, you will simply need to swipe the screen to the left or right. There are some new things introduced by LG, which come in very handy and should definitely be highlighted: Task Manager, which is accessible from anywhere in the menus; Quick Menu, which can be accessed by clicking on the very upper part of the touch screen, where the clock and signal reception icons are placed.
The Home screens are editable by clicking on each icon. Unfortunately, you won't be able to use other widgets besides those that are pre-installed. Still, you will be able to insert bookmarks and shortcuts of various functions and programs that are found inside your gadget, as well as favorite contacts. The main menu has been organized, so that it suits the screen's form. There are four rows of icons, that can be swiped to left or right. Each icon has its description below, but if you turn the phone in landscape mode all the text will disappear. The phone also features a Document viewer application, which supports Word documents and Excel files.
The phone comes with four demo version games that you can find in the Games folder: Asphalt 4, Brain Challenge 2, Bubble Bash and Tetris. Still, there are seven full games that you can find in the Fun stuff folder: Racing Time 2, Dual Match, Music World, Hidden Catch Wide, Real Motion Fishing, Bubble Breeze and Musical Instrument. The phone does not feature a dedicated YouTube client and does not have Flash included. You won't be able to watch YouTube clips through a Wi-Fi connection (no video streaming), but you can do that by using an Internet connection and visit m.youtube.com link.
The Java emulator 2.1 MIDP works with all Java compatible software, but has a file size limit that cannot be exceeded. Unfortunately, even though the S-Class UI has been graphically improved, I still found it laggy and sluggish, but much better than any other LG device. Communication
LG BL40 New Chocolate supports GPRS and EDGE connectivity, both class 10, but also HSDPA 7.2 Mbps (HSDPA 900 / 2100) technology and Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g, DLNA. Data transfer speeds are average, but the integrated browser and the large screen definitely enhance the browsing experience. In terms of messaging, the candubar is compatible with a wide range of type messages: SMS, MMS, EMS, email, and Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP.
The integrated GPS receiver works fine together with the Google Maps included. The phone also comes with WisePilot application, which requires monthly payment. If you don't need that app you can stick to Google Maps with no problem.
The high-speed USB Mass Storage support enables users to synchronize the phone with their PC, but you won't be able to access the phone's memory in this mode. Choose synchronization through LG PC Suite IV to access the phone's memory.
The quadband (GSM 850 / GSM 900 / GSM 1800 / GSM 1900) network compatible bar has a very good GSM signal reception. I was pleasantly surprised by the sound quality.Processor and Memory
The device features a more powerful processor than what we were used to as benchmarks show the presence of a CPU running at speeds of up to 768 Mhz. This shows LG's intentions to offer users a fast gadget that would be able to fight iPhone and Android devices. Unfortunately, even though the performance of the graphical interface has been improved, the phone might still be sluggish.
It comes with 1.1GB of internal memory, but can be upgraded through the microSD slot card up to 32GB.Multimedia
The bar-styled handset features an eye-candy music player that includes the usual settings and supports album art visualization, but also landscape mode. One of the mutimedia highlights is the LG proprietary Dolby Mobile Sound enhancement, which sounds pretty cool on headphones. Users will be able to filter their music by artist, album, and genre or make their own playlists. The music sound is pretty decent, especially when using Dolby Mobile Sound equalizer mode and good headphones. Watching movies on the New Chocolate is a real pleasure, especially that the device supports DivX/XviD codecs.
The 3.5mm audio jack port will offer users the possibility to change the included earphones with professional ones for a better experience. The FM Radio features RDS and can only store up to 50 base stations and can be played through the loudspeaker. Both radio and music player can be run in the background and accessed on the Home screen through their corresponding widgets. There's also an FM transmitter, which enables users the possibility to broadcast their own music into the air.
The Gallery has now been reshaped and offers 3D perspective, displaying more pictures. Multi-touch feature is available, as well as zooming in/out. It takes advantage of the accelerometer sensor so you can view the pictures in landscape mode.Battery
LG BL40 New Chocolate features a 1000 mAh Li-Ion battery, which depletes pretty fast if you use the device for anything else than talking. The official numbers stated by LG - 400 hours (370h for 3G) of standby mode and six hours (5h for 3G) of talking - are not attainable. I got about three days of use with around 20 minutes of talking everyday and 10 minutes of Internet navigation and 20 minutes of playing. I noticed that the more you use the phone's display the faster the battery will deplete, but otherwise you get decent autonomy for an LG mobile phone.Impressions
It seems that the New Chocolate is an important step forward for LG, which gathered all its high-end technologies and included them in a device that should rock our world. It has an unusual form, it looks exquisite (when it's not dirty), it's an all-rounder when it comes to features and it's not expensive at all.The Good
Everything about this phone seems to be great, starting with its amazing bar design and finishing with its reshaped S-Class UI. The main highlights of the phone include: HSDPA 7.2 Mbps, huge 4.0-inch capacitive touch screen, 5-megapixel camera with Schneider-Kreuznach certified optics, 1.1GB of internal memory, microSD (up to 32GB), Wi-Fi, GPS with A-GPS support, 3.5-mm jack port, Office document viewer and gesture controls.The Bad
The most annoying thing I found is the lack of Flash for support for the web browser and the fact that the phone is a fingerprint magnet. The latter requires users to keep an all-time dedicated cloth to wipe the handset. Other minor downsides of the phone could be the still sluggish interface, the lack of video streaming and not so good battery life.Sales Package
LG BL40 New Chocolate Handset
1000 mAh Li-Ion Battery
microUSB Data Cable
Carrying leather case