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(Pocket-lint) - When LG announced that it had teamed up with Prada to make a mobile phone, we have to admit we were very sceptical. So is this just another fashion accessory or the surprise must have of the year? We get phoning to find out.

Prada, the fashion label is making a mobile phone? Surely not. Well it seems that perfumes are old hat when it comes to extending the brand beyond clothes.

Everyone is doing it; Dolce & Gabbana has teamed up with Motorola, Julian McDonald with Sony Ericsson, Cath Kidston with Nokia and even rumours that Gucci will be getting into the action shortly.

So it's not as illogical as it may sound for Prada to be releasing a mobile phone and before you have to rush off to another catwalk show lets get it out of the way now. This phone is lovely.

Small and compact - it's about the size of the Chocolate phone from LG, the phone is simplistic in its design thanks to the lack of keypad. No slider, clam or candybar design needed here, just one piece of technology with a couple of shortcut buttons.

The front displays the touchscreen, which not only dominates the design of the phone, but also like the Chocolate models from LG disappears when not in use, the only other buttons on the front are a small pick-up, hang-up and menu.

The sides offer equally small buttons for the camera shutter, MP3 player, lock and volume. If you need glasses to see small details, then this isn't for you. The buttons are poorly labelled, but then what do you expect - this isn't the Vodafone Simply phone designed for the over 70s.

With no keypad everything is done via the touchscreen display. Unlike your average PDA there is no stylus involved and in fact unless you use your finger tip the phone doesn't respond - something to bear in mind if you have long nails.

That said, using your fingertip, the screen is very responsive and not once in our trial did we find issue with it - something that LG should be congratulated for.

The default screen has a large analogue clock displayed on it - again giving it a retro look and four simple on-screen buttons that give access to the main menu, messages, contacts and of course a dial pad should you actually want to use this as a phone rather than a fashion statement - which of course you will be doing.

Pressing the relevant icon brings up the relevant menu and everything glides into action. No waiting, no uncertainty of whether or not you've pressed a button; it just works.

The menu system is incredible simple to read, understand and use and it's nice touches like touching the clock to get the alarm that make this a joy to use.

Being the fashion conscious person that we know you are, you can set a number of different themes including one that looks like the Apple Mac, not the iPhone, but the operating system's default wallpaper.

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With a 2 megapixel camera, Bluetooth so you can connect a handset kit for the car and MP3 player complete with microSD slot for your music the Prada phone isn't just all looks.


In short, wow! The Prada phone may not be an all singing all dancing 3G-enabled video-messaging, diary-organising handset, but it is an incredibly stylish phone that works a treat and is guaranteed to turn heads.

On the train we could openly see people pointing it out to their friends as we used it, while putting for all to see on a desk in a busy office passers-by couldn't not stop to pick it up.

Of course no Prada phone review would be complete without a reference to the iPhone, which many have said looks very similar. In the flesh (and we've been up close and personal with both) these are a very different kettle of fish.

The iPhone is the all singing all dancing smartphone with browser, this however is a much smaller daintier device that just wants you to look cool when you whip it out over lunch.

If, and I suspect you are if you're interested in this phone, you just want a phone that is only really a phone (well with a few add-ons) then this beats the Chocolate and the Razr hands down.

A contender for phone of the year? Most definitely and who would have thought it from a fashion house?

Writing by Stuart Miles. Originally published on 19 March 2007.