Review: LG Prada 3.0

By Mike Wheeler

There have been a few smartphones released into the market already this year and it’s only March. Now it’s the turn of LG to give us a sniff of what they are up to in the handset market. Enter the Prada 3.0.

We assume the 3.0 relates to the fact that this is the third iteration of LG’s collaboration with the high-end Italian fashion house. As you would expect, the phone is just as much about being a fashion statement as it is being a smartphone.

Out of the box, our first thoughts are that it feels a bit clunky, compared to the Nokia Lumia 800 we have just reviewed – it’s a good centimetre wider and taller than the Nokia device. It does feel nice in the hand, though,  and just to reinforce Prada’s involvement with the handset, the back is matt black with the company’s well-known saffiano pattern etched into the plastic.

First of all the good – it’s pretty simple to use. It uses a black and white GUI, which at first seems a bit weird, even archaic. LG claim it is all part of the Prada design, but one thing about a colour GUI is that your eye automatically goes to the applications you want – not just because it is named, but because of the colour.  However, as it uses Google’s Gingerbread operating system, Google’s own icons – which have their own little screen – are in colour. It is also fast – it loaded internet pages within 10 seconds and navigating the device was easy.

Calls were clear and crisp with no lag or interference (despite having a Vodafone SIM card), which suggest that the antenna is in good order.

For those who like tech specs, it has a 1.0GHz dual-core/channel processor; dual-band wifi,  8 megapixel camera and (a relatively small) 8GB of memory that is expandable with an microSD slot under the back panel.

We’re being a bit finicky, but there are a couple of little annoyances – one is personal as opposed to being objective, while the other has more practical ramifications. Personally I like an open charging port, or one with a little flap. Being Prada, though they have this sliding piece of metal, which we initially thought was some sort of on/off button and there are two other buttons at the top of the unit that are identical (one being the aforementioned on/off button for real). The practical annoyance is the battery indicator. When the battery is full it looks empty, and vice versa, thus when I initially got the handset I thought it was almost fully charged, when the opposite was true.

Overall, this is not bad for what it is. You almost get the impression that LG went for style over substance, but we’re pretty sure there is a market for the device with wannabe fashionistas.

Pros: Stylish; light; will appeal to a certain type of person, easy to use
Cons: Uses Gingerbread instead of Ice Cream Sandwich; battery indicator confusion; monochrome GUI might be lost on some; small internal storage capacity

3 Shacks Out of 5

Varies with plans

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