Product Review: touchscreen phone

4 Mar 2008

Your mobile phone says a lot about you; in fact it is viewed by some as a status symbol akin to what car you drive or where you holiday. The LG Prada phone (pictured) is for those who want to discreetly say: I have money and I have style.

There are a few other designer handsets on the market, such as those from Bang & Olfusen and Armani, but Prada, the world famous Italian fashion house, has a certain cachet.

As I was unboxing the LG Prada phone I was hoping the €430 price tag was not just for the name (and super-posh packaging) alone, so I was surprised to find a sleek, black, touch-sensitive handset with a large screen and hardly any buttons – not unlike the iPhone in appearance.

However, appearance is where the iPhone similarities end because this is not a device built for web surfing nor is it Wi-Fi enabled. In fact, it is like any other multimedia phone out there, complete with camera, MP3 player and FM radio receiver.

While the LG Prada has the makings of a good solid phone I thought it best to test it out on the target market, so I visited a female friend with an addiction to shoes and handbags and unleashed the Prada.

I expected squeals of joy at the Prada label but her first question was: does it come in pink? Alas, no. She also noted that it smudges and scratches easily.

Absence of girly pink aside, she loved the appearance but felt its sleek, minimalist, piano-black exterior and accompanying black leather case were quite masculine, while her boyfriend pointed out that it was ‘metrosexual’.

While this of course is a matter of taste, the real worth of a phone should lie in its usability.

Like the majority of mobile users, my friend had never used a touchscreen handset before and she was pleased to find that operating the Prada phone was a doddle, that is until it came to texting. A virtual keypad can take a bit of getting used to.

At two megapixels, the camera was decent enough but the night settings were where it fell down and as my friend pointed out, someone with a Prada phone is likely to take most of her snaps while socialising at night.

I had the camera set to autofocus with the flash on and it had a hard time illuminating anything more than a foot in front of it.

The MP3 player, however, was superb. Playing music on the Prada handset is like playing music from one of those little mini stereos: the sound was loud and clear. I felt like having an impromptu party.

All in all, I can see the LG Prada being snapped up by the fashion-conscious rather than the tech-savvy: it looks pretty but is by no means a smartphone.

Pros: Big touchscreen, good sound

Cons: No real extras, exterior smudges easily

Price: €430

By Marie Boran