LG Prada KF900

The Prada phone update is proof that LG is well and truly in touch with the fashion phone segment, and the slide-out keyboard is a master stroke.


8.6
CNET Rating
7.1
User Rating

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Joe capitalises on a life-long love of blinking lights and upbeat MIDI soundtracks covering the latest developments in smartphones and tablet computers. When not ruining his eyesight staring at small screens, Joe ruins his eyesight playing video games and watching movies. Twitter: @Joseph_Hanlon


Design

The technology world and the fashion world seldom come together. Perhaps it's because those in the tech world struggle with fashion, or perhaps it's those in fashion who struggle with technology. Nearly two years ago LG embarked on a daring partnership with Prada and the result was one of the first mass-market touchscreen phones in Australia. A sleek, simplistically designed handset, though ultimately one that struggled technologically.

This second generation of Prada phone is what you mightn't expect from a fashion phone: it's fatter. Over 50 per cent heavier and 5mm thicker, the new Prada is a bit of a porker, though for a very good reason. The Prada phone is now a slider with a full-QWERTY keyboard concealed beneath the slide. This is a master stroke from LG, which shows that this Korean company is aware of what a phone is mostly used for in this segment — SMS messaging.

The interface is subtly different from the originals; the home screen now makes use of three panes, selectable by swiping your finger across the screen. The main menu is almost identical to the previous LGs, but with the colour stripped out, the interface themes are either black on white or white on black. Opening the slide changes the interface to a single revolving list of shortcuts, stripping out the extras you're not likely to use with the keyboard exposed.

On the back of the Prada is a 5-megapixel camera with LED photolight and a self-portrait mirror — so you can be sure you look fabulous before snapping yourself for MySpace. Around the edge of the phone you'll find the standard volume and camera keys, plus a key for switching active applications and another for locking the touchscreen. The bundled headphones are inserted into the USB charging port.

Features

For many interested in a Prada phone its list of specs probably reads like a laundry list of the things you need and nothing you don't. For the web it features HSDPA and Wi-Fi, and file transfers are completed by either USB or Bluetooth. There's no GPS or any location-based services pre-installed, but Google Maps is, of coarse, downloadable.

Notably absent is a wealth of internal storage. There is a microSD card slot for expanding storage, but its 60MB of usable memory is paltry compared with nearly all of the smartphones in this price range. 30MB is sufficient for taking a bunch of photos or alternatively you could store about 20 songs. Our test unit came with a 1GB microSD card which is a good start, but music lovers will need to get a bigger SD card.

You might also consider more memory after you start taking photos with the excellent 5-megapixel camera. With the lens camouflaged on the back of the handset, we mistakenly assumed its performance would be unmoving. However, some of the photos we've taken, particularly at night, has turned out really well. The flash does the trick, it was able to light groups of people within 2 metres of the phone, and though the shots turned out grainy, we've been happy with the way they've turned out. The digital zoom is rubbish though, pushing it in to the full four-times zoom turned great photos into a pixellated mess.

Performance

From the moment we switched the Prada on we knew it was a winner. LG's Arena, which we reviewed two weeks before, was a cluttered mess of icons for tools of limited use. In contrast, the Prada phone is simple in its design and as a result is easy to use. Better still, it's fast: menus load like lightning, and commonly used apps, like messaging and taking photos, are ready to use with a minimum of lag.

The QWERTY keyboard is one of the best in the business, and typing messages and emails is pure pleasure. It's a shame that LG hasn't included easy set-up email for business users — you'll need to know all of your account settings like incoming and outgoing mail server details — because the Prada phone would look great on the boardroom table next to the ever-growing range of business smartphones. We were also boggled by the lack of the exclamation point on the keyboard! The four-row pad includes most commonly used punctuation, including three different styles of parentheses, but no exclamation mark! We love exclamation marks!

The web browser is the other letdown for us. Like the Arena, the Prada has the hardware to offer a decent web experience, but the browser is disappointing. The Prada browser is still better than the Arena, it loads faster and renders neater, but it's still a long way off the best browsers, like that in the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic.

Overall

We don't want to pigeon hole our readers too much, but we suspect those interested in the Prada phone won't lament the lack of GPS and a decent web experience too greatly. For us, the real absence is that of a 3.5mm headphone jack on the handset and substantial internal storage, and both of these issues have easy fixes — a headphone adapter and 1GB storage are bundled with the phone.

The LG Prada is proof positive that the touchscreen experience in mobile devices has improved in the past two years. The Prada is one of the most responsive and intuitive touchscreen experiences we've had so far in 2009; the menus are clear and easy to understand, and the transition between menus and apps is seamless. The AU$999 price tag may have some shoppers baulking, but if you're offered the Prada on a decent phone plan we can happily recommend it.

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Post comment as
juicystar07
1
Rating
 

"Hate it."

juicystar07 posted a review   
Australia

The Good:it looks good, the reason i wanted it was because it said prada on it.

The Bad:slow. cant change screen savers, no email, glitches, tap on things and takes a long time to load, headphones it comes with are different lengths on each side, is black and white and i cant change the colour and i am also stuck in a plan.

i hate this phone! arrghhh~!!! ( i have discribed everything else in the good & bad areas up top . :(

llauryn
10
Rating
 

llauryn posted a review   

The Good:amzing

The Bad:x

i am getting the phone in 2 weeks all my phones exsept for one are LG. i cant wait till i get the prada ii : ) im juust a bit on the edge cause i have heard that it turns off by itself and all :\ but i still will get it!

 

hotlips 117*** posted a comment   

The Good:everything

The Bad:nothing

love it

Susie
9
Rating
 

Susie posted a review   

The Good:Keyboard and touch screen are great.

The Bad:LG user interface needs to be improved.

I have had the phone for twelve months - its been great. The camera is easy to used and texting is extremely easy.

 

Pill posted a comment   

The Good:looks

The Bad:switches of frequently and unable to access internet due to switching off

Phone has been nothing but a pain since buying it, LG support on their website seems useless

 

Kal posted a comment   

The Good:qwerty board. design.

The Bad:screensavers

Love this phone, just got it, no problems except for the screensavers but it's not a major issue. thats it. Great phone defonately get it

 

alyssa posted a comment   

The Good:is

The Bad:aweome.

i have the old prada and i think its great and i am getting the prada 2 next month i am so excited. and i love the phone.

poep
10
Rating
 

poep posted a review   

The Good:Everything

The Bad:Screensaverpictures

I like the phone, mine is perfect, i don't even had problems once and i have it now for nearly one year !

 

oliviaaa posted a comment   

The Good:Looks

The Bad:the phone

i heard LG has taken this phone back because its full of problems. It turns off all the time and has bad battery life

 

asdf posted a comment   

can anybody show me how to get rid of the prada's screensaver pictures?


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User Reviews / Comments  LG Prada KF900

  • juicystar07

    juicystar07

    Rating1

    "i hate this phone! arrghhh~!!! ( i have discribed everything else in the good & bad areas up top . :("

  • llauryn

    llauryn

    Rating10

    "i am getting the phone in 2 weeks all my phones exsept for one are LG. i cant wait till i get the prada ii : ) im juust a bit on the edge cause i have heard that it turns off by itself and all :\ b..."

  • hotlips 117***

    hotlips 117***

    "love it"

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