Not very long ago I reviewed LG’s Shine. Though it’s a handset that looks really good with its silver metal casing and clever slider format, in the end I decided it was a triumph of design over usability.
The phone I am looking at now was jointly designed by LG and Prada, the latter being, according to handset’s press release, ‘one of the world’s leading brands in the luxury goods industry’. I’ll take its word for it.
The duo has gone for broke and given this handset a giant sized touch screen and no physical number pad (sound familiar?). There is much room for things to go wrong here, methinks, so when the Prada arrived, I felt a shudder of Shine-induced trepidation.
Still, straight out of the box the Prada looks very appealing. It fits neatly in the hand and pocket at 98.8mm tall, 54mm wide and just 12mm thick. It weighs just 85g, and its black and silver colouring looks pretty stylish.
My review sample had been through a few hands before it got to mine and was rather scratched. I reckon that if you buy one of these you are going to need to take very good care of it to preserve its pristine sheen. The provided leather pocket will help at least. About a centimetre of the handset protrudes above the top of the pocket – just enough to show off the phone’s Prada logo, in fact.
Look only slightly more closely and a build quality issue hits you in the face. The shiny black plastic that form the front and back shell and the silver metal used for the camera surround and front buttons are all pretty nice. The Prada logo on the front – again picked out in silver – is a little blingy for my taste, but the real problem is the silver trim around the phone’s four edges - it is made of plastic. Come on, Prada, as a leading brand in the luxury goods industry don’t you think metal would have been a better choice?
For all its pretensions to be usable via its touch screen, several buttons lurk around. The front buttons I mentioned earlier sit on a slim silver bar and comprise Call and End buttons and, in between them, a tiny back button.
The right edge has a lock button, and one which on a short press launches the handset’s music player and on a longer press launches the camera. On the left edge are a volume rocker, which doubles as a scroller, an OK button and a covered proprietary slot shared by headphones and mains power adaptor.
The Prada is Tri-band GSM with GPRS and EDGE. Built-in software includes mobile email, a Web browser, voice recorder, alarm, calendar, calculator and unit converter. A couple of games take advantage of the touch screen. For example one is called Photo Puzzle. It scrambles an image into blocks and you need to reassemble the image tapping the blocks to swap their locations. One game even pushes the screen into wide format for play.