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LG Prada 2 KF900 review: LG Prada 2 KF900

The LG Prada, one of the first touchscreen phones available for purchase in the UK, delivered a relatively good user experience but lacked the oomph of subsequent competitors. Now LG is back with another Prada phone, the Prada 2 KF900, which comes with HSDPA (3.5G) and a slide-out Qwerty keypad.

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8.3

LG Prada 2 KF900

The Good

Responsive screen; slide-out Qwerty keypad.

The Bad

Lack of 3.5mm headphone jack; no xenon flash.

The Bottom Line

If you're after a fashion phone, the LG Prada 2 KF900 is one of the best so far. Boasting a responsive touchscreen and slide-out Qwerty keypad, we found the Prada 2 ideal for messaging. Keep in mind, though, that it doesn't have the app ecosystem of the iPhone, so what you see is pretty much what you get

We took a look at the Prada 2 to find out if this is the fashion phone you've been yearning for. Make sure to check out our review images for a closer look at this year's Italian-South Korean stallion.

The Prada 2 is available SIM-free for around £400 and will, most probably, soon be available for free on a monthly contract.

Design
The Prada 2 is an attractive phone that, from the front, looks very similar to its predecessor. A large touchscreen sits between a Prada logo and three hard keys that let you make and end calls, and cancel entries. Just above the screen on the top right, there's a small camera that can be used for video calls.

Turn the Prada 2 on its side and you'll instantly see where it differs from the older model -- it's much chunkier. But that's because it boasts many more features. One of the most obvious new features is a slide-out Qwerty keypad. The keys on the keypad could do with more definition but they work well for texting.

The Prada 2's shiny finish means that fingerprint marks start appearing very quickly, particularly on the front and back. Sitting at the top of the Prada 2's back section is a 5-megapixel camera that isn't protected by a lens cover and only comes with an LED photo light instead of a xenon flash, which is disappointing.

Overall, the Prada 2 is a looker, but it is chunkier than certain other touchscreen phones, such as the iPhone 3G, and, consequently, may not appeal to everyone. What's great about the Prada 2, however, is that it's not a fashion phone that just looks good -- it works too.

Features
The original Prada also looked good but its touchscreen left something to be desired. The Prada 2, however, has a very responsive screen. In fact, we think the Prada 2 boasts LG's best touchscreen to date, reacting to gentle taps without a stylus in sight.

The Prada 2's 5-megapixel camera struggles in low light

The Prada 2's user interface is made up of simple, finger-friendly icons and a tab-based system that lets you navigate through all of its options very quickly. In a similar fashion to the interface of the original HTC Touch, the Prada 2 allows you to flick the homepage left and right, changing what it displays to a clock, menu or blank screen.

Thanks to the very responsive screen, the interface works well, and LG has made an effort to ensure that the software interface is finger-friendly. Unlike any LG phone to date, the Prada 2 provides a smooth touchscreen experience that almost equals that of the iPhone. At times, however, it does feel slightly clunky, especially when scrolling through lists.

Similarly, the Web browser, which has all of the traits of the iPhone's browser, feels awkward at times. When you're zooming in and out of Web sites, for example, it can stutter, and we occasionally found it difficult to click links.

You can connect to the Internet using HSDPA or Wi-Fi. Unfortunately, there's no GPS, which means that, unlike the iPhone 3G, you can't use it to accurately navigate around town. That said, you can still download Google Maps and use that to get directions.

What makes the Prada 2 work so much better than its predecessor is the slide-out keypad -- if you find tapping the on-screen keypad frustrating, you don't have to use it.

The Prada 2's music player works well enough, but scrolling through long lists of music using the touchscreen interface can make for a frustrating experience. Equally annoying is the lack of a built-in 3.5mm headphone jack. You do, however, get an adaptor in the box that comes with a handy in-cable remote.


Finally, the Prada 2 boasts a 5-megapixel camera that, in daylight, takes high-quality pictures, although it struggles in low light. The Prada 2's LED photo light doesn't illuminate subjects well enough, unless you're very close, which is disappointing.

Performance
The Prada 2's audio quality is good, sounding clear even when the volume is turned up high, and you can adjust the equaliser settings should you need to. The camera takes good pictures in daylight for MMS messages or medium-sized prints, but the lack of xenon flash means shots in low light aren't as good.

Battery life is quoted at 400 hours of standby time and 3 hours of talk time. We found that battery life goes up or down depending on the use of features such as Wi-Fi or HSDPA. Decreasing the screen's brightness and not using the phone's features too often will increase the battery life.

Conclusion
The LG Prada 2 KF900's responsive screen and nifty slide-out Qwerty keypad make it much better than its predecessor. HSDPA and Wi-Fi add oomph to the Internet experience, and, overall, we enjoyed using the Prada 2. It's disappointing that LG has yet to develop an app ecosystem, and the lack of GPS might annoy some, but we think this is one of LG's best phones yet.

If you're looking for a more app-driven experience, the iPhone 3G or T-Mobile G1 may be more suitable.

Edited by Charles Kloet