If you are looking for a good quality, easy to use cell phone with some nice extra features, look no further than the LG VX8550 Chocolate. The LG Chocolate is offered through Verizon Wireless.
The Chocolate is appropriately named as it is a "candybar" style cell phone. To open it, you simply slide the top half up with your thumb and it reveals a small number pad along the bottom third of the phone. This differs from the popular "flip" style phones which open like a clam shell. I found the Chocolate quite easy to open and close with one hand.
The first thing that jumps out at you with the LG Chocolate is the screen. The display is a brilliant 2.2" screen that is very bright, even in direct sunlight. The phone itself is reasonably sized. It easily fits in to my jeans (I'm a guy = no purse).
The Chocolate offers all the standard cell phone features you'd expect, along with a host of multimedia goodies. It has a fully functional MP3 player, along with the ability to download music from Verizon's overpriced VCAST service. You can easily add your own tunes to the player with an SD card expansion slot (a card is not included, but they are quite inexpensive and easy to find just about anywhere that sells computer equipment).
There is a 1.3 megapixel camera on the phone as well. Although I haven't used the camera very much, it does take nice pictures.
Controls on the Chocolate take a little getting used to. The primary control is a large iPod-like scroll wheel. You can move up and down in menus either by spinning the wheel, or more easily by clicking on any of the four quadrants of the wheel - up, down, left, and right. There are two small context sensitive buttons on either side of the wheel. Instead of being normal, clicky buttons, LG made them touch sensitive. You get a little vibration from the phone when you make contact with one of these, telling you it accepted your attempt to press that button. Although this is a nice novelty, I find is to be a bit of a pain and would have preferred a regular button that actually clicks when you press it.
One really annoying aspect of the Chocolate is the lack of a standard size headphone jack. Why in the world LG would make a phone that could easily be a stand-alone MP3 player and then cripple it with a small, non-standard size headphone jack, is totally beyond me.
Also, to get the most out of the music player features, you have to buy an extra "Music Package", which includes a synch cable, an SD card and some software. Not cool LG, not cool at all. Fortunately, you don't need this to play MP3s. If you just load some on your own microSD card and plug it in, you can add your own music without the overpriced accessories (which are more convienent, but not cheap).
The Chocolate does support stereo bluetooth. You can use the bluetooth either with a two-way earpiece for talking on on the phone, or with a stereo bluetooth headset for listening to music. Maybe that's why they didn't add a normal headphone plug... who knows.
Battery life gives you just under 5 hours of talk time. Not bad, not great.
Overall, the LG Chocolate VX8550 is a very nice phone. It looks great, comes in a variety of flavors (colors), works well, and has some very nice extras. Despite a few quirks, it's a defitite improvement over the first generation Chocolate and it's easy to see why it's becoming quite popular.