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The S-Class UI has already taken honorable place among the rest of the most popular mobile user interfaces today. Since the first S-Class device - the LG KM900 Arena - the other two implementations in the Viewty Smart and the Crystal did not bring any significant visual or functional change. Well, the LG BL40 New Chocolate promises to change that by taking full advantage of the 4-inch super wide screen.
The Cube interface is still the base for the homescreen layout - four homescreens corresponding to the four faces of the 3D cube that is some sort of symbol of the S-class UI. You activate it by pressing the dedicated Cube button in the bottom right corner of the screen while you are at one of the available homescreens.A shortcut for the Task manager is always available in the bottom left corner of the screen. This time around itís more user-friendly and resembles the Symbian S60 one by popping up from the bottom to show the running apps. You can terminate everything from there or switch between those,
LG has got it just right and the visuals of the S-class interface are spectacular - everything from homescreen to dropdown menus roll, sweep in, unfold and rotate extra smoothly with a responsiveness that suggests some powerful graphics acceleration.
LG have finally swapped the impractical Multimedia homescreen with a new Browser one. There you can assign quick shortcuts to your favorite web pages - just as you can on the iPhone.
The three other homescreens are standard issue stuff - Contacts, Widgets and Shortcut. As you might expect, with the larger screen, there's now more real estate for widgets and shortcuts.
The lockscreen has also been changed and this time we like it much more. Instead of the previous "Press & Hold to Unlock" we have "Slide Up to Unlock". You need to press and slide the wallpaper up to reveal the homescreen. Though this procedure seems influenced by the iPhone slide-to-unlock thingy, we still find it original enough to deserve a pat on the back.
There were many users complaining about the fixed wallpapers on the homescreens. That's been fixed now - in the Screen Settings menu you'll find various options to change all wallpapers throughout the interface.
The main menu is accessible via the dedicated shortcut on the home screen. It has the usual layout of four rows of menu items, which are scrollable horizontally. That way almost all menu items are accessible simultaneously without jumping from tab to tab, as was the case with the older LG handsets.
As usual, if you turn the phone sideways, the menu items are all visualized with smaller icons fitting the screen perfectly with no need for scrolling (but with no text labels as well).
With the LG BL40 New Chocolate the menu icons are now styled in 3D accompanied with some visual effects, but if you like the old 2D menu there is an option to toggle it back on.
According to the official press materials, the LG BL40 New Chocolate should also have some clever gesture based app launcher - we can only guess it should be something along the lines of Samsung Smart Unlock feature, as we didn't actually have that one on our early LG BL40 sample. With the new Gesture Shortucts as LG call them, you can choose among twelve on-screen gestures and assign them various features or applications. As we already said, we are yet to see this one in action.
Quite naturally, the LG BL40 New Chocolate offers an onscreen alphanumeric keypad in portrait orientation and a landscape QWERTY thumboard. This time though the QWERTY keys are big enough and it is much harder to tap the wrong key. Each symbol you tap is clearly marked by iPhone-style pop-ups. The huge screen has allowed for larger Favorites and Contacts shortcuts on the SMS screen, which have replaced the small square buttons from the past.
The email client has a complete new look. When in the normal orientation it's the same as in the older S-Class version, but turning the BL40 New Chocolate to landscape mode reveals a much more comfortable interface. The message headers are sorted in a column on the left side of the screen, while on the right you can read the selected email. This type of UI resembles the standard desktop email clients such as Outlook or Thunderbird and we are sure it will be heartily welcomed by those looking for PC-like behavior from their phone.