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First Impressions: The New LG Prada Phone

Gordon Kelly


First Impressions: The New LG Prada Phone

When the LG Viewty launched this time last year it did a fairly good job of beating up the company's own much-hyped, but actually fairly mediocre, Prada KE850. That seemed fair enough, the two models launched six months apart and we were talking midrange verses flagship. So what I want to know is what is LG's excuse this time around?

Having been rather unimpressed with the official Prada II specifications (strictly it is 'Prada' in the way 'iPod' replaced 'iPod' for many years) I held off giving out another kicking until I'd seen the chunky handset in person and had a chance to speak with those responsible for its creation. In short, I came, I saw, I'm still unimpressed.

Let's give you some first impressions here. First off the Prada (II) isn't a bad phone, it looks rather stylish, there are some notable hardware improvements: 7.2Mbit HSDPA, 5MP camera with Schneider-Kreuznach certified lens and WiFi which makes a welcome appearance. It also feels quite nice in the hand (not so good in the pocket - more of later) and build quality has definitely improved from the first generation.

Against this however the Prada II lacks GPS - a virtual given these days, sports the same 3in 240 x 400 pixel touchscreen, is now far fatter (16.8mm verses 12mm) and heavier (approx 140g) thanks to its bolted on physical Qwerty keyboard and yet has no business sensibilities whatsoever.

So what is this Qwerty for then? In essence text messaging. So what we have is a premium fashion phone, the size and cost of a smartphone debuting during the worst economic depression in more than a decade. At least it must have social networking, right? Some Facebook, MySpace, Twitter integration... nope, nada.

Still, there must be a bundle of native memory you'd think? Well you'd also be wrong again. Just 60MB onboard and while there is a microSD slot capable of taking up to 8GB cards (no, not 16GB) you'll get no card in the box!

So we have a KS360 for the fat of wallet and boy, it needs to be fat. Carrying a 600 euro RRP (circa £450) sim free the new Prada costs a third more than the 8MP LG Renoir.

Sorry guys, while we would all love a wardrobe full of Prada clothes and the name carries a given premium my time with the handset suggests I certainly won't want a Prada (whisper it: II) in my pocket...

Update: In all fairness I should point out the first 1,500 - 3,000 (yes, wonderfully vague) Prada (II) customers will get a free Bluetooth watch called 'The Link' as a consolation prize. The Link connects to your phone and allows you to preview incoming text messages and reject calls without having to take the phone out of your pocket... a wise idea given the RRP.

For now The Link will only work on with the new Prada but LG said it may make it compatible with more of its own handsets. That said, with a normal £200 asking price you're going to have to put your hand deep into your pocket to avoid, well... putting your hand deep into your pocket.

Expect it to be hacked to worth on any handset quick sharp.


November 18, 2008, 11:51 pm

"Discuss this article" - Nah, you said everything i would have!


November 19, 2008, 1:28 am

Y'know, I just don't care at all about social networking through my phone. OK, I do wish it had the GPS but I don't find it essential. Going by the way I use my phone, this does tick a lot of my boxes. Shame its so expensive because I'm looking to replace my F700 at the end of the year and I really like QWERTY for text and would like a better camera than I have right now.


November 19, 2008, 6:39 am

Hi Gordon, I can't help but feel you've got it wrong mate. This phone isn't aimed at the regular crowd. It's aimed at the Prada, LV, Burberry (etc) crowd. The price indicates as much. It DOES have good features like a nice camera, and Wifi, and presumably the qwerty keyboard comes handy when browsing the net and typing web based emails and/or using programs like Fring to chat. I guess LG have done some market research into this sector of the market and realised that they want a qwerty keyboard. Its not meant to be a business phone, nor an iPhone wannabe aimed at effervescent 20-somethings. Its a yuppie phone for overpaid yuppies, and fashionistas who want to stay brand loyal. Its about the image of owning a Prada phone.

As for me, I'd take a look at Samsung's next Armani phone successor..atleast that was small and pocketable!


November 19, 2008, 8:49 am

@Robovski - in all fairness I'd go for a Nokia N63 instead: http://www.trustedreviews.com/...

@Midnight-Alchemist, if you want to pay circa &#8364600 for a handset with poor screen, poor functionality, no memory, no memory card, no GPS, no multimedia and no portability - you be my guest.

Clearly I HAVE missed the point on THAT target market...

If you're blind enough to buy a midrange handset sold for top dollar because the letters PRADA are stuck on it you deserve everything you get...


November 19, 2008, 5:17 pm

Hey Gordon I agree with you, I would not buy this phone for the reasons you mentioned, especially the functionality, price and 'chunkyness' part. But its not targeted at those who care about such things. The no memory card is a moot point, depending on what country you are in and what provider you have, many phones dont come with that; GPS...well surely its an optional extra? I mean, Im surviving fine without GPS on my nokia e51, is it really that essential..or rather just 'useful'?

But I still say it appeals to some people much like a pair of black socks by hugo boss appeals to some people, like a prada handbag appeals....you could probably get an equivalent or better product for cheaper if you wanted....but thats not the point.

I just know, and I'm sure you do, that many people will buy this phone cos its a Prada, and I repeat, it does have two good features..namely wifi and the 5mp camera.


November 19, 2008, 10:18 pm

@Midnight-Alchemist - I think people who buy Prada, Hugo Boss and so forth (I have done in the past) are perfectly entitled to as they are often get superior craftsmanship, quality and fit and style. None of this is true with the handset.

Personally if LG has made the Renoir and stuck a Prada logo on it and Prada menu system then I could get behind it being a premium product. But it's actually one third cheaper.

In short: "you could probably get an equivalent or better product for cheaper if you wanted....but that's not the point." I don't want to know those people ;)

PS - you can get WiFi and a 5MP camera on PAYG these days.


November 20, 2008, 6:50 pm

A masterpiece of cynical badge engineering, or as Charlie Brooker would have it 'garish designer label bulls**t'.


November 26, 2008, 7:39 am

@TheSecretName - oh dear, Brooker quoting. Can beat that in 5 seconds of thinking, let's try: "MOR designer label garnish"

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