The Tonino Lamborghini Evoluzione is a mouthful for any mobile device but the Lamborghini name will certainly get some attention, even if it's only peripherally related to the famous supercar manufacturer. This handset is the byproduct of one of the many brand tie-ins between luxury names and tech products. Remember the Prada phone? Can a niche product like this (and its often high price tag) find a place in the competitive world of smartphones?
At first glance, the phone attempts to live up to its branding - it's angular, polished and sleek-looking with a chassis that's built to emulate the characteristics of a supercar. While the phone is predominantly covered in plastic, it has a stylish silver aluminum back that is ostentatiously decorated with the trademark bull symbol of the Tonino Lamborghini branding. The masculine color scheme of red, gray and black also adds extra flair.
Other cool, if superficial features include an engine sound clip that plays when you start up the phone and the fact that the call buttons will flash red and green (like headlights) on cue once you unlock it. Like most handsets, its front is visibly prone to fingerprints, largely because of its screen and glossy controls. Otherwise, it looks good and feels nice to hold, due in part to its overall build and sturdiness.
Handling is relatively straightforward, with ports and buttons accessible at the usual places. The top is reserved for the 3.5mm headphone jack and a neighboring power button. We had a slight issue with the latter since the top is concave, making it more difficult for us to press. Throw in the fact that the button itself is rather small, and you will end up with a frustrating experience.
Next, lining the right profile are the volume control and camera shortcut buttons. Once again, the latter is a tad small and flat for comfortable press feedback, extending an already lengthy start-up time. On the left profile, you will find that the USB port for charging and transferring files is carefully tucked behind a plastic push-out cover. While it can be easily taken off, the fact that it’s sparingly attached to the main body by a thin and fragile plastic component is lamentable.
On the Evoluzione, you get to work with a mixture of physical buttons and touch buttons (Settings shortcuts, Home, Search and Back), with the former easy to miss since they look like they are an integrated part of the overall design. The three thin keys help mainly to make calling a speedier affair, but can be done without.
While the Android 2.1 based Evoluzione comes with no customized UI or exclusive apps, the phone itself displayed decent performance in most aspects. While thumbing through the device, we found that the screen was responsive with no lags: animation and screen transitions happened speedily and smoothly. With a sufficiently speedy 600MHz processor, things ran smoothly even with multiple apps running in the background.
The aforementioned 3.2-inch screen might not be the biggest size offered in the market, but we found that in this case, it is sufficient for a close-to-accurate typing experience. This screen is also adequate for watching videos on the go, exhibiting clear and well-contrasted results. Audio-wise, Evoluzione exhibited average audio performance with flat bass and vocals. The phone also comes equipped with a 5.0-MP camera alongside LED flash capabilities but with no auto-focus, it's slightly lacking by today's standards.
The Evoluzione experience is largely an aesthetic one, that is to say that you are paying a premium price for its looks and associated brand name. Look beyond the skin, and you will find an average, mid-range smartphone with the performance and specs that's closer to the S$500 - 600 range of smartphones. If you are looking to do a lot more with S$788, you will be better off with the modestly-priced and yet more powerful HTC Desire series. However if you are looking for a good mix of style and substance, the Evoluzione fulfills that niche.