LG KE850 Prada review: Sophistication made simple
Focusing on… the camera
The LG Prada phone is equipped with a 2 megapixel camera with auto focus and a Scheider-Kreuznach certified lens. The maximum picture resolution is 1600x1200 pixels.
In terms of camera speed, the Prada is the fastest LG phone we've reviewed so far - it takes around 8 seconds to focus, take a picture at the maximum resolution and save it as compared to 9 seconds in LG KE970 Shine and 10 seconds in LG KE800 Platinum. The auto focusing itself is slower than in previous models… It takes 4 seconds to focus on a subject as compared to 2 seconds in LG KE970 Shine.
The camera is also equipped with a LED flash which is there to help you in poor light conditions. For our disappointment it is too weak. It's effective from a really close distance only. In fact the LED is usable only for macros, as you can see from our samples. Speaking of poor light conditions, the camera of the KE850 doesn't have a night mode.
The camera menu offers options such as picture resolution, brightness level, white balance that has several presets according to the available light conditions, and some color effects such as sepia, black & white, negative, etc. Beside the regular Single shot mode the camera can also capture images in Multi shoot mode which takes 3 or 6 pictures in a quick succession. A new setting is the option to view the viewfinder in either 4:3 or 16:9 screen ratio. The 16:9 setting fills the entire screen.
Camera user interface, photo settings
The LG Prada camera photos don't have any EXIF information that may help a photo enthusiast determine what went wrong with a certain picture or setup. The quality of the 2 megapixel autofocus camera depends a lot on the lighting conditions. The outdoor photos are not bad, but we noticed a tendency for over-sharpening plus the colors on most of the photos look way too intensive (high saturation). Indoor photos turned out very good, but only when taken during the day. But if you resize the images to a smaller resolution you are almost sure to get some great looking samples.
Although there isn't a dedicated macro mode, we were pleasantly surprised by the macro shots - the camera can focus from really close distance and capture really fine details.
As a simple conclusion, as with all LG fashion mobiles the LG Prada phone can't compete with Sony Ericsson K750 and company. The overall quality of the LG Prada camera can be compared to the LG Shine for example.
The camera captures video in the maximum WQVGA resolution of 400 x 240 pixels which is in fact the wide-screen version of QVGA (320 x 240 pixels). The output files format is the usual 3GP.
As you can see, the menu of the video camera is pretty much the same as the one we already described for the still camera with few exceptions. The camera offers both limited and unlimited video recording.
Plug it in…
The phone features full USB support and the LG USB cable comes along in the retail box along with the phone itself. The great thing about the USB support of the phone is that when connected, the phone memory and the memory card both appear in the Windows explorer as removable drives just as your regular USB flash drive would with no special drivers needed.
If you receive a call while in mass storage mode, the call will be rejected but after you disconnect the handset, you will see the information about any missed calls.
If you need any other type of synchronization between the phone and the PC like for items such as the phonebook and the schedule you should use the dedicated LG software LG Mobile Sync that comes on CD along with the phone.
As much as connectivity is concerned, the phone features 3-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE 900/1800/1900, as well as Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP support.
The web browser that the Prada phone is equipped with offers some really basic features but it's able to open full HTML pages. It doesn't feature zoom and landscape mode. When browsing web pages the touchscreen functionality doesn't work over the pages themselves and you have to use the arrows in the bottom of the screen for navigation. As you can see from the screenshot, only half of the screen is actually used to display the web page.
The Calendar is pretty straightforward, it offers a monthly view and you can navigate along the dates with your finger. A large orange square denotes the current date and when you touch a date, a popup appears above your finger so that you can see what's under it. As with several previous LG handsets the first day of the week is Sunday and there is no option for changing that to Monday. Adding an event is made really simple.
There is also a Memos feature that allows for storing some notes. Each note can have a maximum of 200 characters. The Prada phone also has an Alarm clock, a Calculator, a Unit converter and a World time clock. The Alarm clock allows for setting only one alarm, which can be repeated.
The Calculator is really nicely designed and when you touch a virtual key a popup above your finger let's you know which key you are pressing. As with most LG mobiles the Calculator offers two modes - a regular calculator and a scientific one.
The Unit Converter also has a nice list of units such as Currency, Area, Length, Weight, Temperature, Volume, and Velocity.
The World Time application is among the nicest we've seen - it really manages to please the eye. We saw the same one used in LG KE970 Shine. It features nice graphics and animations.
Calendar, calculator, world time
The Voice recorder application has no limitation in the duration of the recorded files and saves the output files in MP3 format.
The LG Prada phone has support for Java MDIP 2.0 so you can install third party Java applications to suit your needs.
Play some more
The phone we tested had four preinstalled games - Halloween Fever, Photo Puzzle, Virus and Pipe. In the Halloween Fever you have to annihilate similar objects by moving them next to each other. The Photo Puzzle is pretty self-explanatory. In the Virus game you have to terminate viruses by touching them with your finger before they contaminate healthy cells. The Pipes game is a highly popular one too - you have to rearrange different pipe segments in order for the water to flush all the way to the sewers. Presumably you can install additional games but their compatibility with the touchscreen navigation is arguable.
Well, this review is closing to its end. The Prada phone by LG is a fascinating device and we enjoyed reviewing it. Sometimes experiments turn out to be less impressive and less successful than they might have been expected. This is surely not the case with the LG Prada phone.
Sophistication made simple is the most appropriate tagline that would best describe the concept of this highly fashionable and highly expensive handset. Almost everything about it is made as simple as it can get, while at the same time it is a revolutionary step as compared to joystick or D-pad operated handsets.
The Prada phone by LG is surely a quick winner in the fashionable market segment and it comes with a price tag to match it. If you don't mind the lack of 3G and you are not much into web surfing from your handheld you would be delighted at what this baby can offer you - a killer fashion statement plus the enjoyment of using a state-of-the-art technological achievement.