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LG KE850 Prada (Unlocked) review: LG KE850 Prada (Unlocked)

LG KE850 Prada (Unlocked)

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Nicole Lee
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Nicole Lee

Former Editor

Nicole Lee is a senior associate editor for CNET, covering cell phones, Bluetooth headsets, and all things mobile. She's also a fan of comic books, video games, and of course, shiny gadgets.

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6 min read

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7.7

LG KE850 Prada (Unlocked)

The Good

The LG Prada cell phone has a sophisticated and stylish design that is sure to turn heads. Its 3-inch display is stunning, and the touch screen interface is surprisingly usable. It also has a 2.0-megapixel camera, a music player, and a document viewer.

The Bad

The LG Prada does not have 3G support, which is unfortunate for such an expensive phone. While the touch screen interface isn't too difficult to use, it still requires a little bit of a learning curve. A few of the phone's external buttons are a little hard to press, and the microSD card slot is inconveniently located behind the battery.

The Bottom Line

While the LG Prada is a gorgeous phone with a stunning touch screen display, its simple feature set may not justify its hefty price tag. That said, if you want one of the most fashionable phones available, the LG Prada is definitely the phone to get.
LG Prada

With sleek and sexy cell phones like the LG Chocolate and the LG Shine under its belt, LG has edged Motorola to become one of the most well-known manufacturers of design-centric phones. It's no wonder, then, that Prada--one of the world's premier fashion houses--has chosen to partner with LG to produce the very first Prada-branded cell phone. Ever since the LG first announced the Prada, there has been a hurricane of hype surrounding the phone. And the hype makes sense: not only is the phone slim and beautiful, it's also a touch screen phone similar to the much-ballyhooed and yet-to-be-released Apple iPhone. Yet, we would've liked 3G support, and the touch screen interface isn't for everyone. If you simply must have the latest in fashion phones, the LG Prada fits the bill, but don't expect to do a lot with it. Since it doesn't have a U.S. carrier, you'll have to purchase it unlocked at the jaw-dropping price of $849. To find ringtones and accessories for this phone, plus advice and tips on how to use it, check out our Cell phones ringtones, accessories, and help page.

Design
Simply put, the LG Prada is the epitome of elegance and style. It fits the very definition of a fashion phone, and is quite possibly one of the most attractive handsets we've ever seen. Decked out in a lightweight piano-black shell, the Prada has a minimalist design, with smooth rounded corners and a touch of silver adorning its sides. It looks like a miniature version of a fancy plasma TV or a piece of high-class contemporary art. The design focus extends even to its packaging; the phone comes in a trendy black box fit for jewelry, plus a hard leather case with an embossed Prada logo. We would advise that you keep it in the case most of the time, since the Prada's black finish attracts fingerprint smudges like a magnet. The phone is also marvelously compact at 2.13 inches wide by 3.89 inches tall by 0.47 inch deep and weighing in at a scant 3 ounces. Because it's so slim and lightweight, you will have no problem slipping it into a pants pocket or a small clutch purse for a night out on the town.


The LG Prada has a large touch screen display.

The main attraction of the LG Prada is probably its enormous 3-inch diagonal touch display. The brilliant screen supports 256,000 colors that really show off the rich and colorful detail of the Prada's gorgeous menu interface. You can adjust the brightness and backlight time, but not the font size. That sits just fine with us, however, as the default font is quite nice and large already. You also can choose from a variety of innovative themes that take advantage of the touch screen interface--one of our favorites has a moving fish on the home screen wallpaper that you can direct with your finger.

Speaking of the touch screen, you'll need to use it with your finger to navigate the phone, as the Prada does not come with a stylus. Also, since it's almost entirely touch screen with just a few keys, you'll need to get accustomed to dialing and texting without any tactile feedback. Surprisingly, this went a lot better than we thought. The screen's sensitivity was just right, and we had no problem dialing numbers with the virtual keypad. Texting messages was a little trickier, though, as the Prada does not provide a virtual QWERTY keyboard; rather, you have to text messages with a virtual alphanumeric keypad just like on a normal phone. If we concentrated hard enough, we managed to text normally, but it did require a bit of precision on our part and there were many times when our fingers slipped and we pressed the wrong key by mistake. Again, it wasn't too difficult, but it does require a bit of a learning curve. And of course, you won't be able to dial by feel.


The LG Prada has a 2.0-megapixel camera lens on the back.

Below the display are the Send, Clear, and End/Power keys, which are a little hard to press because they're a little too skinny for our tastes. The left spine of the LG Prada is home to a charger/headset jack, a volume rocker, and a sound profile key, while the keyguard lock and the MP3/camera key are on the right spine. There's also a camera lens on the back, complete with a self-portrait mirror and flash. The LG Prada has a MicroSD card slot, but it is inconveniently located behind the battery of the phone.

Features
The LG Prada may have a beautiful design, but its feature set isn't too shabby, either. Let's start with the basics first. The Prada has a large 1,000-entry phone book with room in each entry for four numbers, an e-mail address, and a memo. You can save contacts to groups, assign them a photo for caller ID, and pair them with any of 10 available 40-chord polyphonic ringtones. The LG Prada also supports MP3 ringtones if you wish to add your own. Other essential features include a vibrate mode, text and multimedia messaging, an alarm clock, a calculator, a world clock, a unit converter, and a calendar. Those looking for additional functionality will like the voice recorder, e-mail support, Bluetooth 2.0 support, a speakerphone, and an FM radio tuner. Do note that the FM radio only works if you have the included headset attached, because it uses the cord as an antenna. Another neat feature for the working professional is a document viewer, which you can use to view Office documents. There's no way to edit them, but at least you can get a glance at your work while in transit. Even though the LG Prada has EDGE, for such an expensive phone we wish that it could at least have 3G support.


The LG Prada took admirable photos.

The LG Prada does come with an admirable 2.0-megapixel camera with plenty of settings. You can take photos of up to 1600x1200 resolution or all the way down to VGA mode at around 320x240 pixels. There's also a self-timer, three quality modes, four color effects, white balance settings, a choice of shutter sounds, and a multishot mode. The Prada also has a built-in camcorder with two resolutions (128x96 and 176x144) with settings similar to that of the still camera. Photo quality was admirable overall, with sharp detail and distinct colors, though the low-light photos had a bit of an overcast look to them. Video quality was not as good, with a rather grainy quality to most of our clips.

We really liked the design of Prada's music player on the LG. It is pretty basic in that you can only do so much with your music (like play, pause, fast forward, and repeat/shuffle your playlists), but we still liked its simple, minimalist interface. It supports MP3, WAV, AAC, AAC+, and AAC++ files, and you don't need any special software to get tunes into the phone. Simply attach the Prada as a USB Mass Storage device and drag and drop the songs over. We wish that the Prada had a 3.5mm headset jack instead of the proprietary port, however. The LG Prada also has a built-in video player that can playback MP4 files.

Personalization options are pretty decent with the Prada. It has a variety of included wallpapers and sounds, all of which take advantage of the beautiful touch screen and excellent speaker sound. You also can download more of these options with the wireless Web browser. The phone also comes with four games - Halloween Fever, Photo Puzzle, Virus, and Piper - though you can always download more as well.

Performance
We tested the triband (GSM 900/1800/1900) LG Prada in the San Francisco area using T-Mobile. Call quality was excellent, and callers reported little problem hearing us. We even managed to get through automated caller systems without a hitch. Speakerphone quality did not fare as well. Even though there was plenty of volume, calls sounded muffled and callers kept asking us to speak up. We paired the LG Prada with the Mavizen MyBlu stereo Bluetooth headset successfully and were able to answer calls and stream music to the headset. Calls sounded just fine with the MyBlu as well as with the included wired headset.

Audio quality of the music player was similarly satisfactory. Bass sounded a little weak, and it won't fully replace a standalone music player, but it's good enough for a quick music fix. We would recommend using a headset over the phone's speakers, as the headset provided superior sound quality.

The LG Prada has a rated battery life of three hours of talk time and 12.5 days of standby time. Our tests revealed a decent talk time of 3 hours and 7 minutes.

7.7

LG KE850 Prada (Unlocked)

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 7Performance 8