LG Prada (KE850) mobile phone

LG's latest fashion phone boasts a partnership with leading Italian fashion label Prada

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LG Prada (KE850)
  • LG Prada (KE850)
  • LG Prada (KE850)
  • LG Prada (KE850)

Pros

  • Complete touch interface, fantastic display, attractive design, size and weight, excellent user interface

Cons

  • Battery life, T9 messaging, not 3G, scrolling through lists is troublesome, price

Bottom Line

It's far from perfect, but the Prada KE850 is a must have fashion accessory. Combined with its gorgeous touch screen display and excellent design makes it the most attractive phone on the market to date. If you're an avid SMS user though, you'll find the T9 system frustrating.

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It was only a matter of time before mobile phone companies attempted to out-do Apple and it hasn't taken very long. Announced before the release of the original Apple iPhone, LG's latest fashion phone boasts a partnership with leading Italian fashion label Prada and is the first completely touch interface phone to be released in Australia.

The Prada KE850 is best described as a stunning piece of design. It's without a doubt one of the best looking phones on the market; the chrome edging and gloss black exterior combines perfectly with a sleek casing that is just 12mm thick. At 85g its surprisingly lightweight and despite the gloss black surface being almost impossible to keep clean, the Prada responds surprisingly well to a bit of wear and tear - it's quite difficult to scratch.

The Prada's touch screen interface is superb. The large 3in touch screen is generally responsive, and you'll have no problem picking it up in just a day or two. The menu system layout is a highlight; four main menu icons align the right side of the main menu (phone, applications, organiser and settings). Conveniently, the home screen has a row of easily accessible icons - main menu, dialler, messaging and phonebook. Each menu item is clearly labelled and is large enough to tap effortlessly with your finger.

The two biggest issues with the touch screen operation are messaging and scrolling through lists. The general keyboard layout for SMS, MMS and e-mail messaging is excellent; the Prada uses a regular 1-9 keypad layout and offers T9 predictive text input. Pressing each key isn't an issue, but changing the word using T9 requires you to either repeatedly tap the word (an almost impossible task on smaller words), or use the small, semi-transparent up and down arrows. Both are a hit and miss affair, and tend to make messaging frustrating. Scrolling through lists is a little troublesome as well, especially using the phonebook. The scroll bar is difficult to quickly move, and the search by letter function takes a few taps to access.

In-call quality is quite good, though the ringtone volume isn't really loud enough at its highest setting. Conveniently, the screen turns off while you're on a call so you don't accidentally bump the touch screen with your face. Pressing the speaker button while in a call brings up the dialling display. Unfortunately, the Prada is a standard GSM phone - there is no 3G support.

Features wise, the Prada is certainly solid, but not overly generous. The highlight is a 2-megapixel camera with a Schneider-Kreuznach lens, self-portrait mirror and flash - though the latter is terribly ineffective for night-time photography. The camera interface is well laid out and easy to use, but image quality isn't the best. Video recording is available, but it's grainy and generally of a poor quality.

The music player supports MP3, WAV, AAC and AAC+ files and utilises a simple, effective interface. Its functions are fairly basic, though the Prada conveniently acts as a mass storage device when connected to a PC via USB, and there is A2DP Bluetooth for wireless audio streaming. An FM radio is also present, and the included headphones act as the antenna for FM reception. Unfortunately, there is no standard 3.5mm headphone jack. A voice recorder, games and a selection of PIM features (alarm clock, calculator, world clock, unit converter, calendar and memo) round out the package.

Battery life is disappointing, rated at just three hours talk time and up to 12.5 days of standby time. We had to charge the unit every night or two, despite minimal to moderate use.

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