LG has had a long relationship with fashion giant Prada; the first LG Prada handset appeared in 2007. But the pairing has not turned out new phones very often, and this latest is only the third in the series. It is a large format Android handset and, as befits the Prada name, it has a striking design.
The most immediately noticeable thing about this handset is the user interface which is almost entirely a black and white affair. The monotones make a great change from the splashes of colour that we are used to, and we have to say it’s really very appealing.
There are exceptions to the black and white styling which you notice as soon as you download or run apps.
While the skinning of Android 2.3 into black and white has been possible for pre-installed apps, there are some notable flashes of colour. The dialer has a green call button, the calculator is blue and black.
The Google app icons, Market icon and Google search widget are their usual colourful selves too, and of course as soon as you venture onto the web or take a photo with the 8 megapixel camera, you drop into full colour world.
If you don’t like the monochrome at all then you can opt for colour wallpaper which dilutes the feel somewhat.
In the hand the Prada is a solid and very different looking phone to the run of the mill. The four touch sensitive shortcut icons under the screen light up only briefly when you tap that area, so that when the phone is off the front is a single slab of black.
The right and bottom edges are clear of buttons and connectors, with a small pair of volume buttons on the left edge. On the top the USB connector has a slide-over cover.
The top also houses the headset connector and two buttons, one of which is a camera shortcut, the other turning the screen off and if held down, turning the handset itself off – or on.
The back has a stippled, leather look finish that’s quite distinctive and helps with grip, and overall the design is chic – which is no more than you’d expect, really.
The technology has not been compromised. We’ve already noted there is an 8 megapixel camera. The screen is a generous 4.3 inches, and while this means the handset itself is large, it also means that the Prada is great for web browsing and reading text.
You’ll struggle to reach right across it one handed, though, if you’ve smaller hands.
With 8GB of on board storage there’s plenty of internal space for music and other media, and if you need more you can add a microSD card. The slot is discretely hidden under the backplate.
A dual core 1GHz processor ensures that the handset nips along quite nicely – we felt it was speedy under the fingers and had no complaints with juddering or general slowing down. The presence of Flash support makes web browsing a pleasure whenever you encounter embedded video.
This is all fairly mid-range nowadays, though, and considering the price of this handset you might perhaps feel you deserve a little more in some respects. Ice Cream Sandwich would have been nice, though this is apparently coming in due course of time.
A faster processor might also be welcome to ensure the device remains smooth throughout the life of the contract you buy it on.
But there are a lot of neat extras, These include DLNA, Polaris Office for creating Word, Excel and PowerPoint compatible documents, near field communications, and an FM radio.
There are also desktop and car user interfaces, the former offering a nice retro black and white flipover clock, the latter offering a selection of large icons for voice commands, navigation, dialer, contacts, music and call log to make the handset easier to use when you are in a vehicle.
The upshot is a handset which feels and looks good, and whose innards appear to have been well thought out. We rather like it, though it is a slightly pricey choice.
Written by Sandra Vogel