• Full Review
  • Specifications

Full Review

Mobile technology is so good these days that it takes quite a bit of effort to make an Android phone that stands out from the crowd. LG has tried its best by bringing on board fashion great Prada to wave its magic wand over the style and design of its latest Android handset. Now it’s not the first time that the two companies have joined together – nor the first time a designer label has got in on the act with a mobile phone – but what’s different here is that it is not overly-logoed – nor has it been priced at some eye-watering level.


In fact it’s safe to say that compared with some of the other handsets to have come out of LG’s stables in the past year (the Optimus Black and the Optimus 3D to name but two), this Prada handset is probably one of the best LG handsets we’ve seen for some time.


Looking good


This Prada Phone By LG 3.0 is one of the slimmest smarties around – it measures just 8.5mm – and it has an understated style that makes it really stand out from the Android crowd, and looks pretty classy too. If you know your fashion, you’ll notice Prada has added its Saffiano signature to the reverse of the phone. This phone really lives up to its quality name – it feels good as well as looking stylish – unlike the lightweight Samsung Galaxy S II.


Circular steel buttons sit along the top of the device for camera and power, and there’s a slider that reveals the microUSB port – good for keeping out dust and easier to open than those flaps you have to prise open.


There is, of course a Prada logo – it is situated discreetly on the back. The letters are finished in a light reflective finish, and are very tasteful. And the price is tasteful too – at £429 SIM-free, it’s in the realms of a decent smartphone, rather than a silly designer price.


The display stretches almost to the edge of the chassis. Around the 4.3in display there is a bezel measuring an inch wide. The base of the screen is home to a quartet of touch-sensitive areas for Back, Home, Multitasking and All-programs. This betrays its Android Gingerbread history – as Ice Cream Sandwich phones only feature three touch areas. Expect an upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich ‘in the near future’.


Under the hood


Under that stylish body lurks 1GB of RAM and a dual-core 1GHz chip that keep everything running nicely. There’s a 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera for video calling, and an eight-megapixel rear facing snapper. There’s 8GB of onboard storage but that can be expanded up to 32GB via a microSD slot.


The WVGA touch-screen uses LG’s own NOVA display technology. Despite its standard resolution, it still offers fantastic colour and clarity, and the viewing angles are admirable.


User interface


The Prada touch has also been added to the user interface, which gives a grown-up feel to all seven home screens. The background defaults to black and the icons and widgets appear in white for a retro feel. This minimalist styling would do well on other Android devices – unfortunately Google’s own apps are still cartoonish in style – happily they have their own area in the app menu.


When it comes to connectivity, you get DLNA support, HSDPA and Wi-Fi, so you can transfer files wirelessly and stream to compatible devices. There is also an NFC chip, which lets you wirelessly communicate with nearby NFC devices (that means you can share information with other NFC phones) as well as NFC tags, which will launch apps or profiles on the device. These handy fob-like tags are set to be popular as smartphone accessories in 2012.


Getting social


The Prada phone is like other Android devices, in that it’s worth getting all your social network and email accounts set up from the off. You’ll need a Gmail account to use Android Market and start up your phone. An onboard LG app will sync with Twitter, MySpace and Facebook. It doesn’t offer the same deeply integrated experience as HTC’s Friend Stream but you can still sync contacts with your phonebook.


When it comes to typing, LG has produced its best-ever virtual keyboard – it’s accurate, speedy and responsive. We were able to type almost effortlessly even without autocorrect and with it switched on it was near perfect. It’s a pity you can’t save non-dictionary words as you go – they have to be entered manually into your User Dictionary.


Any contacts with the same full name or email address on a number of accounts will be merged automatically, but merging any other contacts is pretty clunky. It doesn’t help that the contacts default option shows every one from each account you sync – the simple way to stop this is to opt only to display those contacts with phone numbers.


Onboard widgets feature a Prada-designed calendar and news/weather, as well as LG’s social widget - this displays feeds from your networks, but one at a time. Widgets are a great feature of Android. They are live updating tiles that let you see all kinds of things, from a scrolling gallery of your snapper to the latest headlines.


You can also add your own combination of widgets and apps to the home screens – there’s a nice new addition that lets you add on more than one widget or app at the same time – really handy when you’re setting up the device at the beginning.


Get the picture


The 1080p video camera does a fantastic job, offering great colours and decent definition. Video capture is smooth, produces good colours in a fluro-lit room, and copes well with fast panning.


Videos can be shared using the DLNA app from LG – dubbed SmartShare. HDTVs and Windows 7 PCs are DLNA devices, and once you’ve confirmed that a device is able to accept wireless transfers, the Prada phone will always be capable of sending files to that device.


It’s odd that the video camera is so good and yet the stills snapper is decidedly average – especially as LG has gone to the trouble of including an eight-megapixel model. Pictures are clear enough but the colours aren’t true and always appear too yellow or green. No touch-focus is offered and the camera works out its exposure from the brightest light it sees, so that dimmer areas appear even blacker. The flash is prone to overexposure, too.


LG has always impressed with its media players and this phone is no exception – there is support for DivX video, H.264 and MPEG4. Downloads play well and if you want to sideload, it’s just simple drag and drop. On the reverse of the handset is a speaker, so if you’re watching videos you won’t want to keep the device flat on your desk. Connect some speakers to the 3.5mm audio jack and you get a good effect.


The battery is a disappointment – it’s a standard size but gives just 11 hours of power if you’re using GPS, push notifications, Wi-Fi and HSDPA. Even smartphones with big bright displays give at least 14 hours of battery life.


Our conclusion


The Prada Phone by LG 3.0 is a useful smartie with some neat features such as good wireless connectivity, 1080p video and NFC. If the battery life and mediocre stills snapper were better, this could be a rival to Samsung Android and iPhone. It won’t be able to compete with the quad-core devices as they appear, but it certainly looks far better than your average Android phone.



Type of phone:



candy bar






16 million colours




8 megapixels

Special Camera features:

LED flash, auto focus

Video recording:


Video playback:


Video calling:


Video streaming:


Music formats played:


3.5mm jack port:


Handsfree speakerphone:


Voice Control:


Voice Dialling:


Call records:

Practically unlimited


Practically unlimited

Ringtones customization:


Display description:

800 nit NOVA panel, capacitive touch-screen







Standard color:


Launch Status:




Operating system:



A2DP, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, MicroUSB

Announced date:

December 2011

What's in the Box:

phone, charger head, USB cable



International launch date:

January 2012

Battery life when playing multimedia:



Dual-core 1GHz

FM Radio Description:

Stereo FM with RDS

Internal memory:


Memory Card Slot:



MMS, SMS, IM, Email

Internet Browser:


E-mail client:

Attachments, Push email, SMTP, POP3, IMAP4







Data speed:








Display size:

4.3 inches



Audio recording:


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