LG’s BL40 Chocolate may look stunning with its full cinema screen but the battery life lets it down.
Last year I tried LG’s BL40 Chocolate mobile phone and I was pretty happy with it. I was a bit concerned with the format and that it may break easily when put in a pocket or something. You see, it’s so long, narrow and thin that it sort of looks like it’ll break any second. But after using it more extensively can say that that is an unfounded concern.
What’s amazing about the Chocolate is of course the screen. It’s in the 21:9 aspect ratio, the same format that you see on the screen in movie theaters. It means the picture is over twice as wide as it is high, or conversely, more than twice as high as it is wide. With 355 x 800 pixels is it arguably one of the best screens I’ve ever experienced on a mobile device.
Add to the screen a full set of good smartphone functionality like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 5 megapixel camera with flash and autofocus, etc. and you have a pretty good smartphone. In my experience the camera is really good and browsing the web with the wide screen means you don’t have to scroll much side to side. Sure, you’ll still end up scrolling a lot up and down but that’s not as bad. Also, putting a list of emails next to a full view of an email is also great, much like we do with our desktop email applications.
That all sounds very good, doesn’t it? For the most part I really like the BL40. It’s full of great functionality, more than most users will need. There’s no application store like for iPhone but that’s probably not much of an issue for most potential buyers of the Chocolate.
What will be an issue however is battery life. I had just fully charged the Chocolate and began to watch a movie but I only made it about one hour into the movie before it said the battery was low. One hour! At that point I stopped watching the movie and it took the phone perhaps another half hour to shut down after repeated warnings of “low battery.”
In comparison, I’ve watched two full length movies on my iPhone 3GS and the battery gauge has moved only perhaps 10%. Perhaps I should add that in both cases the phones were doing no data via Wi-Fi or 3G and nothing really but play the movies.
So unfortunately I must say that the BL40 Chocolate is a bold idea by LG that has a striking design, glorious screen, decent functionality but pathetic battery life. Unfortunately to me that last point means that buying the BL40 is not something I can recommend to most people.
You can listen to me talking to a representative of LG about the Chocolate at CES in January.