LG and Prada are banking on the look here. The hardware design will be core to the appeal of this handset, and fortunately the phone looks classy and understated. The team-up's certainly worked in that regard. Prada branding is found on both the front and the back, with a textured finish that reminds us of the BlackBerry Bold. That finish on the back is actually Prada's own Saffiano pattern. In the hand, the device feels surprisingly light and although the back isn't quite leather, it does assist with gripping the phone.
Under the designer shell, there's a dual-core OMAP4430 1GHz processor and 8GB of internal storage, expandable by microSD. The camera, found just above the Prada logo, is an eight-megapixel shooter capable of full HD 1080p video, and it's auto-focus, naturally, ready for those sumptuous macro shots we all love. The camera seems to behave just as well as other dual-core smartphones from LG, with a two-stage camera button thankfully not skipped over, while touch-to-focus was also pleasingly responsive.
The screen is LG's NOVA display, and it's pretty bright. In fact we had to turn it down to avoid washing out our photos. The WVGA resolution may not be world-beating, but you're going to have no trouble in sunlight and other harsh lighting. Despite the 4.3-inch touchscreen, the phone measures in at under 9mm thick, and taking a tour around that edge, you'll find an MHL port at the top, supporting micro-USB connectivity and media streaming and flanked by the two-stage camera button and power button. The volume rocker's found on the left edge, and there's also a subtle row of four Android capacitive keys along the base of the screen.
Software-wise, this is Android Gingerbread, version 2.3.7, to be precise, and LG has already stated that Ice Cream Sandwich will arrive on the fashion device. The distinctive black and white skin here is an interesting gambit, we liked the effort made to differentiate the software from other LG devices. The whole UI is washed over in a monochromes, including the icons. We've heard rumors that LG will develop something to convert third-party app icons, and thankfully it turned out to be true. It's as easy as holding onto the icon, where you can then reassign a monochromatic letter or pictogram to substitute. It's a well though-out provision; the likes of Spotify and ReadItLater could ruin the whole black and white wardrobe.
Bloaty app additions are also thankfully minimal; there's the standard social hub offering but you're largely free of unnecessary golf games or music services that you'll never touch. Also, you can assign icons in the menu to different "levels" in the list, allowing you to keep must-use apps within fingertip's reach.
Although both LG and Prada are keeping quiet on that premium price tag the moment, the phone is expected to arrive in South Korea and Europe first, and we've been told to expect a release in the UK in January 2012, alongside a medley of pouches and other branded accessories. You can expect a gallery of those very soon.
LG PRADA 3.0