When it launched the Chocolate phone last year, LG established itself as a serious fashion-phone manufacturer. Gone are the days when the company made ugly lumps of plastic -- now its mobile phones are synonymous with class and style.
LG has in fact become so stylish that Prada, a fashion house rumoured to have rejected many offers to make a co-branded phone in the past, has teamed up with it to create this new model.
The LG Prada is a very attractive, slim, candybar handset with a large colour touchscreen that looks a tad like Apple's iPhone. But, unlike many fashion phones on the market, it comes with a decent feature set. It was conceived by designers from both LG and Prada -- Miuccia Prada herself was involved in its design.
The LG Prada will be available at the end of March for free on a monthly contract, but be warned: it will be popular, so getting your hands on one might be difficult.
This is one of the most attractive handsets we've ever seen. The LG Prada looks and feels as though it belongs in a glass case on display in a trendy flat, rather than stuffed in a bag or pocket. You will definitely be noticed when you use it.
Even the box it comes in looks as though it was designed to house a luxury watch, not a mobile phone. There's a trendy hard-leather case inside emblazoned with a Prada logo, as well as a Prada-branded cleaning cloth and a hands-free headset.
For a touchscreen handset, the LG Prada isn't that big, measuring a relatively pocket-friendly 54mm wide by 99mm tall by 12mm deep -- it feels very light, too. It's wide enough to hold comfortably with one hand and it's fairly easy to tap the touchscreen with your thumb.
The first thing you'll notice when you turn on the LG Prada is a distinctive start-up sound that was, according to LG, created by Prada and sounds like something from one of the Saw horror movies -- you'll want to turn this off straight away.
Once it stops screeching at you, you'll notice that the user interface looks great, with cute icons, and you can customise it to suit your taste. We particularly like the theme that displays a wriggling fish on the start page.
The touchscreen is large, bright and more responsive than those found on touchscreen phones we've previously tested. There's no stylus provided but we didn't feel awkward using our fingers. It works very well when you just need to tap an icon or dial a number, but as with many touchscreen phones, there isn't any tactile feedback when you're texting. This means that you're not always sure if you've pressed the right key or if the screen has registered your tap, which gets frustrating.
The other problem that a touchscreen phone brings is that it can get scratched rather easily and unless you keep the LG Prada in its leather pouch it will become tarnished. It also collects a great deal of grease when you hold it against your ear to make a call, making it look dirty.
There's a video player that supports MPEG-4 and H.263 formats, an FM radio and a music player that supports MP3 and ACC files, among others. The music player feels vaguely like Apple's iTunes and lets you adjust the play mode to repeat and shuffle tracks. One flaw is that there's no built-in 3.5mm jack to let you plug in a pair of standard headphones.