LG and Prada's collaboration started in 2006, with the second handset arriving in 2009. 2012 sees the launch of the third in the trio: the LG Prada 3.0.
LG Prada 3.0: Design and build
At first glance it looks like 'another' black handset, but discreet Prada-inspired touches make it stand out from crowd. The back is textured to replicate Prada bags and theedge includes a chrome-effect trim, which catches the light.
In addition the menu, home, back and search controls are invisible until you turn the phone on or tap under the screen and the micro USB slot is concealed by a sliding door offering protection from dirt and dust.
When you pick up the phone it feels solid and well built, although for us the LG Prada 3.0 feels a little plasticky and not quite as premium as the Nokia Lumia 800 and Apple iPhone 4S, although this is personal preference, as others we showed the phone too likes the way it felt to hold.
The power buttons and the 3.5mm jack are located along the top, the headphones are far better quality than you'll typically find from a smartphone. Adjacent to them on the top is the camera launcher, which is in an unusual position, although you get used to it in time.
There's 8GB internal storage and a slot for a microSD card potentially adding 32GB extra storage.
LG Prada 3.0: Operating system
The LG Prada 3.0 runs Android Gingerbread, we spoke to LG about an a potential upgrade to to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and were told it was due one, but no date has been confirmed.
You get all the usual Android features - Customise seven homescreens by downloading apps from the Android Market or using widgets. The LG Prada 3.0 doesn't just have native Android UI, the Prada touches go beneath the body into the menu.
All the icons use Prada display font or alternatively choose from romantically themed alternatives like Ballerina, Love and Playful. Using white text on a black background adds an elegance that matches the rest of the phone. Google apps (like Gmail) are all there if you want a more pure Android experience; move any Google widget onto the homescreen and it rather spoils the black and white effect.
A neat touch is gesture support: pinch the screen in the main menu and the content splits into categories, which function like folders.
LG's added a couple of extra widgets like Social+, which pulls in your Twitter and Facebook feeds; App Manger and Desk Home, which turns the entire screen into a retro-style bedside alarm clock.
LG Prada 3.0: Screen
We've been really impressed with LG's NOVA Display screen technology in the past. In our smartphone screen round-up, we rated the Optimus Black very highly, especially in sunlight.
The resolution of 480x800 is fairly average - especially when you consider the resolution of rivals such as the HTC One X and LG Optimus 4X at 1280x720. However in practice, it's a fine screen and text on web pages is sharp and clear. 4.3-inches is a generous size too, it's not too big or small and a dream for browsing because it responds so well to touch.
In the past fashion and mobile collaborations have tended to look fantastic, but not offer much in the way of features, so it's great to see hear that LG has kitted out the LG Prada 3.0 with an impressive list of features.
LG Prada 3.0: Performance
It's also powered by a 1Ghz dual-core processor, which ensures it feels quick and can even handle gaming. We played Real Racing HD without a problem. Of course it’s not quad core, but then if you want a quad-core phone you're probably a gamers, in which case we’d suggest trying the LG Optimus 4X instead.
Battery life isn’t amazing. Like the Samsung Galaxy S2 you’ll be charging it every day.
LG Prada 3.0: Camera
LG’s equipped the Prada 3.0 with a decent camera, with a reasonable 8-megapixel resolution, an LED flash for low-light shooting along with adjustable ISO, white balance and scene modes. On a sunny day it's good, but in dim light it struggles and is a little soft.
Of course, it’s not just for stills, the LG Prada 3.0 can also capture full HD movies, which while smooth, just aren't as sharp as the Apple iPhone 4S or Sony Xperia S. You can play back footage using an HD TV via the MHL port, alternatively LG's DLNA client is included too.
LG Prada 3.0: Verdict
We really like the LG Prada 3.0. It's the best mobile phone we've reviewed from LG in a while and manages the rare feat of being fashionable, without compromising on features. It's not perfect - the specs already feel a little outclassed and there are certainly more powerful phones with better cameras out there, but if you want a stylish Android handset for a bit of browsing, gaming, email and posing, the LG Prada 3.0 is for you.
Thanks to Clove for the review sample.