Jointly developed by PRADA, the LG KE850 PRADA phone has been very much talked about for as long as rumors about the phone started circulating. Unlike the LG 'Shine', the development of the LG KE850 had been a closely guarded secret. PRADA, it seems, appears to be demanding exclusivity in the launch of the phone. LG in turn is keeping a much lower profile, contributing more of its technical expertise instead - although the company is a known heavyweight for making premium phones; recall LG Chocolate and Shine.
The LG KE850 PRADA phone comes in a big gorgeous box that whistles its luxurious standing intently. It may only weigh 85g but that sleek body shell does enough to ooze simplicity and sophistication - the PRADA logo helps of course. Its sides are lined with chrome – albeit plastic painted with chrome - and face is adorned with just three buttons (accept, reject and option). The low button count is only possible because the phone is almost entirely touch activated. A large touch screen is held within a black frame that's finished with a simple PRADA logo, giving the LG KE850 a clean chiseled and handsome demeanor. Notably, there is not a single trace of LG logo in sight.
Behind the phone is a 2.0-megapixel camera with Schneider – KREUZNACH lens that is flanked by a small mirror and LED flash. Pictures taken by the camera were good but one shouldn’t expect too much from it, really. Shutterbugs can also choose to upgrade the phone's memory capacity by inserting a microSD card into the expansion port.
What makes the LG KE850 PRADA phone so exciting is none other than its touch interface. However, after being disappointed by so many handsets that claimed touch screen capability, we weren't about to pin high hopes on the usability of the KE850 just yet. Happily however, the LG KE850 PRADA phone surprised us with its delightfully simple interface that's very easy to pick up.
The extent of effort put into the interface is perhaps best illustrated by the customizable clock face on the "desktop" that can be further dragged about at your will.
That fancy item aside, a digital keypad will appear on the touch screen when making calls while a familiar alphanumeric keypad allows for short text messages (SMS, E-mail). Conventional mobile phone users should have no problems adjusting to the new interface. As far as input speed goes however, the touch screen system of the LG KE850 PRADA phone is not exactly a quick replacement for the good old tactile button number pad on conventional phones. Thumb-typing is difficult as the big surface area of the thumb tips makes it too easy to accidentally press the wrong "button" on the screen. Input with a finger from an assisting hand however is fine although this generally makes the LG KE850 PRADA phone a handset that requires two hands to operate efficiently, especially when it comes to vertical scrolling (there are no manual buttons).
Navigation wise, the phone scores well. All the functions of the phone are into four tabs that can be accessed from the side bar and a convenient back button along the bottom right of the screen for backtracking. Further into each of the tabs are a series of programs and system options that you'll find very well organized. Programs including a series of games, an FM Radio, World Clock, Voice Recorder and even an MP3 Player with a Play List worked without a hitch. Music buffs will be disappointed though as the LG KE850 PRADA phone uses a proprietary interface for earphone output and not a 3.5mm jack.
In summary, telephony technology isn't the strongest selling point of the LG KE850 PRADA phone. It is still a normal 2G handset despite being set in a world that's rapidly moving towards 3.5G (HSDPA). However, when it comes to looks, functionality and prestige as a collective consideration, we are pleased to report that the Prada phone, priced at approximately US$847 (~S$1288), is like no other in recent times. It is a phone that's in a class of its own (for now) and will certainly make a great conversation piece or an exquisite gift. Furthermore, with a steep price tag, it also promises certain exclusivity for those who prefer purchases outside the mainstream.