This is a fully up to date 3G phone so you get HSDPA up to 7.2Mbps, GSM, EDGE connectivity and quad-band support. There's also Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and A-GPS onboard. We found it performed admirably as a phone, keeping a strong signal and providing clear audio both to and from the handset.
All told then, on a hardware front, the BL40 is an impressive handset. Unfortunately, LG remains seemingly incapable of making a decent phone operating system.
Starting with the home screen, rather than a simple set of sliding pages upon which you can add shortcuts and widgets, LG has seen fit to make the pages appear like they're on a rotating cuboid. It's just slow, cumbersome, and utterly akin to a broken pencil - pointless. Next is the awkward menu system that eschews a simple vertical list of words or icons and instead uses horizontal scrolling icons arranged into four sections. This is odd in and of itself but the fact that the icons don't scroll smoothly across as you'd expect just makes this a confusing and unintuitive system. Thankfully you can switch to a tabbed layout with a fixed grid of icons that is much easier to use.
Once you actually get to the programs you want, most of them are functional but hardly impressive and the lack of an app store with which to add functionality means it's severely limited compared to many smartphones. More pressing is the basic lack of capability in the web browser that, like all LG phones we've looked at recently, throws up an 'out of memory' error when trying to view the TrustedReviews home page.
There are some plus points to the software, though. The keyboard is very nice to use with a clear layout and fast response, there's support for copy and paste, the camera controls are worthy of praise, and the browser is nice to use (apart from its problems with our site). However, for a premium phone that, in terms of price, is coming up against some very capable smartphones, its functionality is lacking. That said, if you're not an avid mobile emailer/web browser/Facebooker, the core functionality is still perfectly acceptable.
The LG BL40 Chocolate is a stunning phone in terms of hardware design. It's solid glass front, long and slim profile and superb quality screen all combine to make a device that is nice to hold and look at. It also does all the basics without issue. However, a smartphone this certainly isn't and, compared to phones of a similar price, its severely lacking in some areas.