LG KF900 Prada review: Messenger wears Prada

GSMArena team, 27 January 2009.
Pages: 12345678

Tags: LG, Touch UI

Display - no stylus needed

LG KF900 Prada has the display of its predecessor in terms of both size and resolution, but most importantly - they share the same capacitive touchscreen technology. In layman's terms, it's either your fingertips or bust.

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The display is bright and responsive

The LG KF900 Prada screen supports multi touch, which is a treat in web browsing and photo viewing. All it takes to zoom in is a pinch on the screen. By the way, comparison with the iPhone is inevitable - the Apple iPhone screen is built on the same technology.

Unfortunately the pinch zooming is quite unpredictable - sometimes it zooms more than you expect.

The KF900 Prada display is vibrant and detailed. Brightness is adjustable, but contrast isn't. The screen is quite usable outside on a bright sunny day, but sunlight legibility is not the best we've had.

Comparison to handsets like HTC Touch HD and XPERIA X1 is definitely not in favor of the Prada phone. But while the display resolution is a weak spot, touchscreen sensitivity and interface response is impressive.

Good QWERTY keyboard

The QWERTY keyboard is a defining feature of the new Prada phone by LG. It does put the handset in a rather tight niche where competition is lower but tougher. Well, at least in QWERTY terms, the LG KF900 Prada has nothing to be ashamed of. Its slide-out keyboard is comfortable, tactile and responsive.

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The Prada has a more than adequate QWERTY keyboard

Buttons are 7 mm wide and there is 1.5 mm space between them. Each key is raised and etched at the bottom, resulting in tangible terracing of the rows. The press is solid and touch orientation quite good.

Overall, the Prada QWERTY keyboard is slightly better than the XPERIA's in terms of key size and tactility, and overall comfort of use. Both handsets share a major weakness though -inadequate headroom for the top row of keys.

Sliding the QWERTY keyboard out, the screen automatically flips landscape mode. Pressing any of the number keys launches the dialing screen. If you slide the keypad back in while dialing, the digits you typed remain on screen so you can pick up where you left.

The keypad backlighting is very adequate, the solid white illumination making the handset both attractive and quite comfortable to use in the dark.

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More views of the QWERTY keyboard

The familiar UI with multi-touch upgrade

The KF900 Prada uses the latest Flash-based touch user interface by LG. The first handset we saw that in was the LG KE850 Prada, subsequently followed by the LG KU900 Viewty, the LG KF700 and finally in the 8MP cameraphone LG KC910 Renoir.

Before we go on a trip through all the menus, we must mention of one really interesting upgrade of the LG Prada 2 user interface. The latest Prada phone has multi-touch support, which makes it the second multi-touch handset in the world after the iPhone.

If you've played with the Apple gadget already, you know the difference it makes and what it feels like. If you don't - well you've certainly heard about it.

Again, much like on the iPhone, with the capacitive touch display the contact with the screen is possible only by fingers - no stylus or nails.

We are rather surprised to see that the user interface of the LG Prada 2 is quite faster and more responsive than the LG Renoir implementation, which tended to get on our nerves at times.

Here's a quick video demoing the LG Prada 2 interface - from the new optional layout of the main menu through the cube-like 3D home screen to multi-touch zooming.

LG made a very strange decision to remove the option for re-arranging the main menu icons, which we praised in the Renoir. The items are fixed again, just like in the Viewty, so you'll have to like it or lump it.

Thanks to the built-in accelerometer, the LG KF900 Prada interface auto rotates when you turn the handset to landscape mode but only in selected applications such as the image gallery, video player or the web browser.

This screen rotation however works every time you slide open the QWERTY keyboard. Rotation is smooth and the phone reacts promptly to your movement.

When you slide the keyboard out the homescreen even changes its layout and some new shortcuts appear allowing you to start a new message or go through some other applications such as image gallery, web browser, calendar, memo, and to-do's.

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The rotated screen: the widgets on the homescreen disappear

Unlike the LG Renoir, the LG Prada 2 has three different homescreens which you can switch between by swiping your finger across the screen.

This causes them to rotate like the sides of a pyramid, creating the illusion of 3D. The first one is the customizable screen with widgets. The second is empty, decorated only with the Prada and operator logo. The last one is used for quick access to applications through customizable shortcuts.

Three is certainly better than one and we are delighted by this new addition.

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The second and third desktops: a blank one and a shortcut launcher

LG have also added some Prada-themed content on the device. There are a bunch of wallpapers for example picturing fashion models presenting Prada collections on the catwalk. Each time you lock the phone the wallpaper automatically changes to a new one.

There are also exclusive ringtones and videos on board - nothing too special though. If you are interested at all the exclusive content on the Prada 2, you can check the Download section over at PradaPhoneByLG.com as it's all listed there.

Widget me this

You probably know all about widgets by now. Samsung use those on various phones, LG have already implemented them in some ways in their past touch phones.

We saw the most advanced widget home screen by LG so far on the LG Renoir and despite some of its imperfections it was generally welcomed by our team.

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Various widgets on the LG Renoir home screen

You might remember that on the Renoir you can enable all of the available widgets on home screen and then scroll through them. Unfortunately, on the LG KF900 Prada that's no longer an option.

Instead there is a nice choice to automatically realign them by shaking the phone (the same feature is present on LG Cookie as well).

Unlike the LG Renoir, the LG Prada 2 comes with only 7 widgets - an analog clock, a world time clock, a calendar, FM radio, Music player, Notes and Image slideshow. The missing bits include the digital clock and the dedicated weather application.

Unfortunately new widgets cannot be added. That is the main disadvantage when compared with the competing Samsung TouchWiz interface used in the Pixon.

Jump on to the next page to see more about the LG Prada user interface.

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