LG KF900 Prada review: Messenger wears Prada

GSMArena team, 27 January 2009.
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Tags: LG, Touch UI

Retail package - quite a catch

The LG KF900 Prada comes in an all-black leather cube of a box that's at least as stylish as the phone tries to be. On top is the handset and with all the accessories underneath, each in its own small package. That arrangement we saw in the first Prada and the Secret later on.

There's plenty of stuff inside the big box so prepare for a long unpacking. Boy, it feels like Christmas.

Let's start with the essentials. There is a charger, USB-cable, cleaning cloth, CD with software and a manual. The supplied hard leather case is the same as the one that came with the original Prada, of duly increased size of course.

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There is a lot packed in that small black box

The new Prada entourage also includes a stereo headset with a rather chunky remote, attachment clip and a 3.5 mm jack adapter, so you're not stuck with the Prada branded earphones.

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Leather case • The headset remote has a lapel clip and 3.5 mm plug

The new Prada phone comes along with 1GB microSD card. The 256MB card that came with the original Prada seems so helplessly dated but we're not sure 1 GB quite cuts it at the top of the line either. Anyway, cards of greater capacity are perfectly compatible. The KF900 handled a 16GB microSD card just fine.

LG also made available another fashionable accessory for the Prada phone - the LG Prada Link wristwatch. Sold separately, the Bluetooth-equipped Prada Link wristwatch seems like an excellent companion for the new Prada phone.

Unfortunately, as we didn't receive a sample Prada Link in our office, we can't really comment on its features beyond what was stated officially by the manufacturer. It's an elegant digital wristwatch, which is Bluetooth-enabled so that can remotely monitor the Prada phone calls as well as allow you to read full SMS text messages. On top of that, the timepiece is water resistant, so you can keep track of your calls and messages while taking a bath or resting in the pool.

LG KF900 Prada 360-degree spin

Even if the LG KF900 is notably thicker than the original Prada, it is still a pocketable device and the inbuilt QWERTY keyboard is enough of an excuse for the few extra millimeters around the waist. The new LG Prada is about the size of the XPERIA X1, only not as tall.

When it comes to weight though, the difference is well justified. The all plastic Prada messenger weighs 130 g, which is 15 g less than the XPERIA.

Design and construction

The original Prada was more of a fashion accessory - the first touchscreen GSM phone by LG and the haute couture label were the features that stood out clearly against the unimpressive spec sheet.

The new release is a major upgrade in weaponry - interface, connectivity, multimedia - but there's nothing on the exterior to suggest that. The two Prada phones look such complete clones on the outside that the QWERTY keypad becomes the most eye-catching - though hardly most important - feature.

Looking at the front of both Prada phone you almost can't tell the difference. The front facing camera is the only tip.

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Who is who? Old Prada on the left, QWERTY messenger on the right

The black and chrome combination remains intact. And again, the body is all plastic, including the chrome-finished elements.

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The new Prada means more business, still seductive

Right on top of the display, is the centrally placed earpiece. The Prada logo is below and the top right corner hosts the front-facing camera.

The rest of the front is the 3" capacitive touchscreen display. The use of capacitive technology means the contact with the screen is possible only by fingers - no stylus or nails. However the thing is more sensitive than the regular resistive touchscreens that most LG touch phones use. The original Prada phone also had the same type of the display, as well both Apple iPhones.

The Prada display size and resolution (240 x 400 pixel, WQVGA) are the same as in the first GSM touch phone by LG two years ago - the original Prada phone.

Right under the screen are the only hardware controls found on the LG KF900 Prada - a Back key squeezed in between the Call and End/Power buttons.

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Front views of the Prada • The 3" touchscreen • Hardware buttons up front

The microSD card slot if on the right-hand side of the phone. It is covered with a lid to keep away dirt and dust.

Right under it are the touchscreen lock knob and the Launcher/Multitasking key. It opens a tabbed menu where the first tab displays shortcuts to user-defined favorite features while the second hosts the Task Manager.

With the help of the Task Manager you can get to the home screen without closing the application you are currently using and you can also have several Java apps running in the same time.

The last control on the right side of the Prada 2 is the shutter key. The camera on the Prada messenger is auto-focus enabled, so the shutter key gets pressed in two steps. The camera key is OK to use, with a distinct half press but most often than not pressing it slides the back part of the device down so using it takes some extra patience.

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The crowded right side: microSD card slot, touchscreen lock, multitasking and camera keys

On the left you'll find the volume rocker. It is chrome-finished (like all side controls) and quite comfortable to use. It also serves as a zoom lever in the camera but is of questionable value: you'll need to press it with your left thumb, while holding the handset in landscape position.

LG KF900 Prada
Only the volume rocker is on the left

At the handset's top is the charger/headset connector which, like the memory card slot, is covered by a protective cap. On its left is the lanyard eyelet. Only the mouthpiece is to be found at the bottom.

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Charger/headset connector and lanyard eyelet at the top, mouthpiece at the bottom

The all-black, all-plastic rear clearly takes after the original Prada phone. The camera lens, LED flash and the small self-portrait mirror are placed in the top left corner, all within a stylish metal plate.

In the original Prada phone, the camera lens was in between the flash and the mirror, while now it's the first in line. It is right in the very top corner of the body, and we did end up with a finger across the lens quite too often.

There is no latch for releasing the battery cover. A tiny knob provides a thumb rest to gently slide the cover downwards. By the way, the same knob keeps the exposed camera lens from rubbing against any surface when the phone is laid on its back.

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The LG Prada rear

The LG KF900 Prada battery life won't let you down. The 950 mAh unit gets you covered for a good two days of fairly extensive use.

Direct comparisons to, say, the 1500 mAh battery of the XPERIA would be irrelevant, as the Prada phone has neither the screen resolution nor the smartphone platform of its Sony Ericsson counterpart. It's more like Renoir's 1000 mAh battery, which we were more than happy with.

The LG KF900 Prada handles quite comfortably and its build quality is just fine. For the time of testing we didn't note any unwelcome rattles and creaks in the casing. The controls are altogether friendly and the slider action smooth and solid.

The handset is hardly a match for the intimidating solidity of the XPERIA but stays faithful to the original Prada styling. The all plastic case feels quite durable. The only turnoff is the fingerprint-prone piano black finish, which makes a mess of the handset, so the supplied cleaning cloth will be put to much use.

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