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LG Prada 3.0: Hands-on shots and first impressions

The LG Prada 3.0 officially announced today is the latest Android smartphone from LG and the third addition to the premium Prada range that started with the first LG Prada – a touchscreen phone that predates the first iPhone – back in 2007.

As you’d expect from a phone co-designed with a leading fashion house, a huge premium is placed on design here. The LG Prada 3.0 is a super-thin 8.5mm and incredibly airy in the hand. The back of the phone, as you’ll see in our hands-on pics, features a textured gauze pattern than mimic’s Prada’s patented Saffiano leather, seen on Prada clutch bags and wallets.

The 4.3-inch WVGA touchscreen is protected by Corning’s Gorilla Glass, as are most high-end phones these days, so you’ve a measure of resilience there. The micro USB port on the top is too protected by a sliding dust cover. It’s not the Motorola Defy+ that’s for sure, but it’s going to be able to withstand a degree of wear and tear.

It’s not all about the exterior design though; if anything we were more intrigued by that black and white custom user interface. As you can see icons for things like the dialler, Facebook, the Android Market and the app launcher among other all feature a snazzy white neon style effect, in keeping with the silver and black design of the phone itself.

This effect of course may be spoiled by any other apps and games that you download from the Market yourself; those uniform white lines are all going to be ruined by big blocks of colour.

But in a nice touch, LG has also added a raft of other app icons that you can assign to app icons, like some of the custom skins and launchers that you can download from the Market. It’s a simple trick, but an effective one.

Pricing and tariff details on the LG Prada 3.0 haven’t been released for the UK, but we’re expecting it in January. Until then, have a look at our hands-on pics.

The textures of the Saffiano leather-aping back cover of the LG Prada 3.0.

The LG Prada 3.0 in all of its 8.5mm thin glory.

Volume controls on the left hand side.

Up on the top there’s the 3.5mm audio jack next to a dedicated button that launches the camera, in between the jack and the micro USB port. The power button is over on the right.

The LG Prada 3.0 reminded us just a little bit of the Samsung Galaxy S2 – 4.3-inch screen, super-lightweight feel in the hand, 8-megapixel camera. LG’s custom UI is very easy on the eye though; we’d take it over TouchWiz any day.

Earlier we mentioned how you can change the appearance of the app icons? Here’s how. When you drop an icon on to the homescreen field, long press on it and wait for the little pencil icon to appear. When it does, tap on the icon again…

This menu, full of miscellaneous icons than can be applied to anything, pops up. There’s icons for Google apps like Gtalk, Gmail and Google Maps as well as the Android Market. There’s a Microsoft Office lookalike in there as well, and one that could be for Myspace there at the bottom. Not being funny or anything, but we reckon LG could’ve left that one out…

This white on black/neon chalkboard style UI extends to the widgets as well as the app icons. It looks really impressive on that super bright NOVA display.

We’ll be honest, the lighting at the event was less than ideal. But the upshot of that was you can at least get an idea of just how bright that screen actually is; check out those app icons shining away in the gloom there.

Some rather nice metal headphones come bunged in with the LG Prada 3.0. The rubber buds will come in a number of sizes we’re told and the ‘phones themselves feature Dolby technology.

A close a shot as we could get of the unnamed HDMI adapter for the LG Prada 3.0 – it was behind a glass case unfortunately, stopping us from getting as close as we’d have liked. Made of metal, it looks a bit like a Zippo lighter. We’re not totally sold on the idea of it operating as a stand but it does look very nice. No word on retail price for this yet either – unlike the headphones, the HDMI adapter for the Prada 3.0 will be sold separately.