The sleek exterior respects the aesthetics of the classic Italian couturier, but the back is covered with plastic imitation leather. It's a shame that the luxury element hasn't been taken further by using real leather instead ...
LG has included an MHL-compatible micro-USB port that means you can enjoy content from your phone on your TV, as well as a headphone jack at the top.
We first saw the Nova display on the LG Optimus Black last year, but here, at 4.3'', the resolution of 480 x 800 pixels seems a little stingy. Despite this, the display quality is acceptable, although you can't get away with browsing the web for very long before you have to zoom in. Again, we're disappointed that LG didn't do any better than that. The lab results were otherwise positive, with a decent contrast ratio (950:1), despite a slight blue tinge dragging the deltaE score up to 6.4 (a perfect display has a score below 3.0 on this test).
Interface and navigation
Until LG rolls out the latest update of Android, aka Ice Cream Sandwich, in September (!), you'll have to make do with the current version, Gingerbread. The interface has been redesigned in a stylish black and white, which makes a change from Android's usual garish icons. Even the shape of the icons has been redesigned, trimming away unnecessary detail. It's a matter of taste, of course, but we'd say the makeover has been a success.
The Prada 3.0 has an OMAP TI dual-core processor with 1 GB of RAM, keeping it responsive with smooth transitions whenever you move around in the interface.
Having a higher resolution for the display would have allowed reading pages without zooming in, but the everyday mobile Internet experience is generally enjoyable. We were impressed by how smooth scrolling around a site was, as well as how quickly pages loaded, which was perfectly reasonable, as long as the site wasn't too demanding. Some sites, though, took a little longer to load. There is support for Flash, but the results aren't great. LG's redesign even includes the browser, where it has added a window offering a preview of up to eight currently open tabs. The preview is handy and looks great.
LG claims to have paid special attention to the audio quality of its high-end smartphone, but we found the actual results to be only just listenable. Without any sign of bass, the treble seems to have disappeared too. We've certainly heard better, and without an awful echo in the background either. Finally, although the line out for your headphones is reasonable, it could do with more power. As we said, we've heard better, from Sony-Ericsson smartphones to name just one manufacturer.
Like most other high-end smartphones currently on the market, the LG Prada 3.0 has an 8 Megapixel camera with an LED flash, but by now we've grown tired of reminding you that more pixels doesn't necessarily mean better photos. In practice, the photos taken using the phone's camera are passable, as long you have enough natural light. They contain plenty of detail, as much as shots from the iPhone 4S, and are sharper than photos we've seen on the Samsung Galaxy S II. The iPhone 4S, however, has sharper outlines.
Electronic noise is kept in check, at least by smartphone standards, and the colours aren't too garish. We would put it in between the iPhone 4S, which is a little too warm, and the more neutral Samsung Galaxy S II when comparing colour reproduction. As you can see from the photo of Barbie above, the Prada struggles to get the focus right with people, often looking too far.
You can also shoot video at either 720p or 1080p, and even without the ability to adjust the focus during recording or any stabilisation system, the results are perfectly satisfactory for a smartphone, even in HD.
For playing video back, the Prada 3.0 can boast native support for HD files in DivX and MKV.
The Prada 3.0 comes in right on average for a modern smartphone with around a day of battery life, based on mostly using 3G. But if you're tempted to explore some of the demanding games that the Prada is so good at running, then you'll soon wear it down faster than that.