Screen and Operating System
The screen is rather large at three inches and with a 240 x 400 resolution, it also looks great. This is a 262,000 colour display as well, so pictures will look much better than on most Windows Mobile devices. You'll see how clear the display is from our screen shot images, as these were taken with our digital SLR camera. The capacitive touch surface was generally okay to use, although some applications had far too small icons for normal fingers to use them and required multiple attempts at selecting the right option. Although, the general UI was pretty quick and easy to use, with the only major issue being that there's no virtual keyboard for text input.
Instead you have to rely on T9 or multi tap when you want to enter messages, which isn't the best way of doing it even on a device with a normal keypad. Sure, if you're used to the kind of text lingo that is being used these days, then maybe that isn't going to be too much of an issue, but if you want to send a business email while you're out of the office, then it's going to drive you nuts. The same goes for when you want to use the web browser, as typing in URL's without a keyboard, just isn't fun at all.
But before we go into details about the software, let's take a closer look at the hardware. Sadly this isn't a 3G handset, but you might already have guessed that due to the slim line design. You get tri-band GSM coverage on 900, 1800 and 1900MHz and it supports GPRS and EDGE. It also lacks Wi-Fi, but it does include Bluetooth, although we couldn't pin-point if it supports A2DP profiles for stereo sound.
It has only 8MB of built-in memory, although it should ship with a 256MB memory card, but this might differ depending on where you buy it. For some reason LG seemed it fit to limit the contacts list to 1,000 contacts and the SMS memory to 300 messages - even worse, the calendar is limited to a mere 100 entries and 50 text memos. Considering that this kind if information takes up very little space, it's an odd limitation that LG has imposed upon the Prada.
The standby screen can actually be messed around with in several ways. You can use a range of pre-installed templates and backgrounds and one of them has a Koi Karp swimming around seen from above and it looks pretty cool. The analogue watch can be moved around the screen, you just grab hold of it and drag it around with your finger. Tap it and you get a menu up that allows you to set your alarm. All pretty neat and it gives out an air of expectation.
The rest of the UI is quite easy to use, although to get the most out of it, you sadly have to leave all the tapping sounds and other noises on, as you won't know if you've miss-pressed a key without it. This can make the Prada a slightly annoying experience in the long term. The menu structure is very straight forward and the Prada has four small tabs for the various menu sections on the right hand side. You tap these to move between the various menus and simply tap whatever you want to do to start the right application.
It doesn't take more than a couple of minutes to get to grips with things and this is a good thing, since you won't have to sit down and read page after page of manuals. Oh, by the way, the manual comes on a small 8cm CD instead of being a printed booklet, so be grateful that the Prada is so easy to read, as digital manuals are generally quite terrible.
To make a call you simply press the call button, or you can select the call icon at the standby screen or from the menu by pressing the dialling icon. Up comes a virtual keypad and you tap in the number and press dial - again this can be done with the button or the touch screen.
You can of course synchronise your contacts from your PC with the Prada and this way you can just pick and choose your contacts from a list, which is much easier than entering it all manually. The contacts application allows for contact groups and speed dials, just as with most other modern phones.
Other cool features of the Prada is of course the MP3 player, which is pretty straightforward to use again, although it's a little bit tricky to figure out how to get to your music the first time, as you don't get a file browser, only a couple of playlist options, although the play all will play all music that is on the device or the memory card. The UI for the MP3 player looks quite cool, although it lacks an equalizer, much like the media player on Windows Mobile devices. The supplied headset comes with a separate remote and this way you can choose to use your own headphones.
Saying that, the supplied ear buds sounded quite good for something that comes bundled with a phone. The corded remote has a built-in mic and a wide range of buttons. You can answer and end calls with it, play and stop your music, fast forward or rewind or skip forward and backwards between tracks. It also has a built in volume key and a small clip for fastening it onto your clothes.
There's also a built-in FM radio and it had fairly good reception, although not great. It will auto scan for radio channels and store them in one of 12 presets. You can't manually just scan for stations, which is slightly odd.