In October we saw the release of the latest addition to the relatively successful ‘Chocolate’ range with the LG Chocolate BL40 which, with its good looks (most notably the ‘super-widescreen’) and wide array of features, promised and then proved to be very popular thus setting itself up well as a rival to the other smartphones out at the time.
Seeing how high spec the LG Chocolate (BL40) was it made perfect sense for LG to stretch the range further and release a lower end version which they duly have done with the LG Chocolate (BL20) — essentially a viciously cut down smaller sister of the BL40.
Probably the defining feature of the Chocolate range is its looks, and the BL20 does not depart from tradition in that sense, in fact looking remarkably like its older sibling with the black gloss finish and brightly coloured ends. In fact if it wasn’t for the fact that the BL20 is slightly smaller and thicker you’d be forgiven for thinking they were the same phone, but the reason for this is that this phone has gone back to previous ‘Chocolates’ roots as it’s a slider phone.
That’s probably the first major drawback from the BL40 — the first thing to go was the impressive widescreen touchscreen and in has come a significantly smaller 2.4” 240×320 TFT screen which although is far from poor unfortunately looks inferior compared to its big brother.
Just below the screen on the front sits red lit touch controls which do look particularly nice, and which appear from the uniform black front when you slide out the identically coloured red keypad which again look particularly nice, but how easy these buttons which sit flush to the form are to use is a different matter and one you’d only be able to answer after extended use, personally I wasn’t a fan, but I’m now used to using touchscreens these days.
Moving onto the actual features of the phone and again it manages to impress, but not quite as much as its superior sibling. It boasts a 5 Megapixel camera with auto-focus and flash which is pretty impressive, and the software lacks up for its lack of scenes with a surprisingly useful and effective Text Read mode.
As far as the rest of the specs go the LG Chocolate BL20 is somewhat lacking compared to some of the phones we see here on Zath — there’s no WiFi and the 3G isn’t brilliant as the Internet browser is very fiddly to use and the inability to add any apps to the phone will annoy many of those who have become accustomed to adding to the standard functions that manufacturers offer.
Having said that there are very few complaints to be made with regards to what you get on the phone as they are all easy to use, and the shortcuts you can use (via the lovely red touch controls) can help speed everything up. It comes with a microSD slot allowing you to use up to 16GB allowing you to pretty much take your whole music collection around and the battery (allowing 300 min talk time and 450hours standby) is more than enough.
Overall taken by itself this is a pretty impressive phone — it does pretty much anything you’d want it to (with the exception of the Internet which is a bit of a letdown) and if you can live without a touchscreen then this could be for you. People will still notice this when you take it out your pocket as it’s definitely a looker, and presumably that’s what the £200 (PAYG) you’ll have to pay for this goes on.
Unfortunately it is somewhat overshadowed by the superior BL40 and to be honest I would rather spend a bit more money to get the ‘top of the range’ model rather than one that, however nice it looks, harks back to the beginning of the decade, but then some people just want a more basic mobile phone. But credit where credit’s due LG have done a good job, and it remains to see which will be more popular (but I think I could make a pretty good guess!).