LG Prada 3.0 review
A slim, light and stylish Android 2.3 handset with distinctive styling and an attractive customised operating system, but battery life is poor and there's no Android 4.0 yet
Review Date: 22 May 2012
Price when reviewed: £350
Reviewed By: Barry de la Rosa
The original Prada phone, which came out in December 2006, was the first mobile with a capacitive touchscreen, and was a huge hit for LG. It wasn't a smartphone, though, and neither was its successor, the keyboard-equipped Prada II.
With the Prada 3.0, LG has finally married the fashionable name to some up-to-date hardware; it's an Android 2.3 smartphone with a 4.3in 480x800 resolution display and a dual-core Cortex-A9 processor with a dedicated graphics chip. The phone is also just 9mm thick and weighs only 138g.
LG's website claims the phone's case is made of leather, when in fact it simply has a plastic case with a leather finish that's meant to replicate Prada's unique leather finish, but the rest of the phone's design is quite impressive, with machined metal buttons and a matching cover for the USB port. The rounded edges and metal end pieces don't just look good, they also feel durable. Only the plastic casing on the rear feels a bit tacky, but it saves weight and is easy to remove to access the battery, SIM slot and SDHC card slot.
Sadly, battery life isn't impressive - the phone only lasted for five and a half hours when playing back our test video, which means you'll probably need to charge it every day unless you're very strict with Wi-Fi, 3G data and Bluetooth usage. You can use an app like Juice Defender to turn off unwanted services when you're not using them, but we'd have preferred a larger battery, even if it meant a thicker phone.
Prada's influence extends further than the faux-leather case, however. The Android interface has been re-modelled in black-and-white, with most of the app icons given the same treatment - only Google's own apps are in colour, plus any apps you decide to download later. It's a bit disconcerting at first, as we missed that feeling of familiarity with some common Android apps, but it does look fantastic. We especially like the custom notification area, which includes toggles for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, sound and data, as well as music playback controls. The custom skin's impact is also helped by the phone's hugely bright display, which LG claims is twice as bright as the Super AMOLED screens favoured by Samsung.
LG has installed some useful additions to the standard Android apps. There's a Car Home app that presents you with large icons for launching navigation, music or contacts apps, and which accepts voice commands. There's a desk clock app with big, easy-to-read numbers that flip down like an old alarm clock; when you tap on the clock, music playback controls pop up. There's an image editor and a copy of Polaris Office, which lets you edit office files.
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