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Quickie: LG BL40 (Chocolate)

This post and my post on the LG KM900 (Arena) are intentionally similar because both devices are extremely similar.

One of my coworkers recently let me take a euro-spec LG BL40 (Chocolate) for a spin…

It’s a super sexy feature phone that was introduced last fall in LG’s “Black Label” series, and while the software is nothing to write home about, the hardware is actually quite decent!

So how does it stack up? Find out after the break :)

The BL40 was the first device showcasing LG’s Dual Screen UI. It’s not a smartphone, but Java is supported. Google maps comes pre-installed, but requires some JAR hacking for the latest version.

There’s multitouch (with pinch to zoom), copy and paste, widgets, and multitasking. Unfortunately, it looks & feels neither pretty nor intuitive, except for the camera interface, which is better than most.

On the feature front, the BL40 trumps the competition with a gorgeous 800×345 pixel 4″ TFT capacitive touchscreen, 5 mepapixel camera with Schneider-Kreuznach optics, auto-focus, LED flash and VGA (640×480 at 25 fps) video recording!

Build quality and materials (glass, fancy black and red plastic) are top notch. There’s a standard 3.5 mm audio connector, micro-USB power/data connector, and micro-SD card slot.

Like the Arena, the camera is very good, but the BL40’s sensor is less noisy. Unlike the Arena, video recording is limited to VGA quality…

Device pictures and video:

– Premium look and feel
– Gorgeous touchscreen (4″, 800×345 pixels, capacitive)
– Nice 5 megapixel camera (with auto-focus, LED flash, dedicated shutter button, and VGA video recording)
– WiFi, GPS, and 3D acceleration
– Accelerometer and haptic feedback
– Decent battery life
– Full Bluetooth support (including ObEx, DUN, and A2DP)
– Standard 3.5 mm audio and micro-USB power/data connectors
– USB 2.0 mass storage and micro-SD support
– 8 GB built-in flash memory
– Google maps pre-installed
– Excellent audio features (FM radio, Dolby mobile)

– Fingerprint magnet
– No US-compatible 3G (2100 MHz only)
– Poor user interface
– No gapless music playback
– Difficult to upgrade Google maps
– No iSync support (but vCard support)

Photo samples (slide show):

Video samples (download original):

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