LG’s KF900 handset is a smoothly stylish piece of mobile phone technology featuring a superb 3-inch touchscreen and a slide-open body that hides an excellent to use QWERTY keyboard. Given the Prada marketing slant, as you’d expect, the phone’s fairly pricey at around £400 (SIM-free) but from free depending on provider and contract.
At first glance the KF900 looks very similar to LG’s first Prada phone with the Prada logo sat above the screen with a silver strip beneath providing call and end buttons with the end button also acting as the on/off switch, a clear key sits between these two.
The phone’s packaging is very nice, a neat cube of black cardboard housing the phone, software and accessories that include a travel power adapter, cleaning cloth for that lovely screen and a "leather case" but in reality this is a rigid sleeve of leather that is probably the worst phone case I’ve encountered.
For a kick off, it lacks and suppleness and does not even encase the entire phone, leaving a top half inch or so of the phone (helpfully revealing the Prada logo or the button bar) peeking from the top. It is increases the bulkiness of the phone, providing the overall impression of a lack of thought into how or why people may want to use a protective case for their phone.
In terms of the phone itself, the screen is a 240 x 400-pixel, 3-inch touchscreen, which sits above the aforementioned backlit keyboard that slides out from the phone’s longest edge, beneath the display. The KF900 is bulkier than the original model as a result increasing measurements to 104.5 x 54 x 16.8mm and 130g.
The phone is built well, keys are spaced well and they’re slightly proud, making a neat confirmation click in use, a couple of minor niggles include the lack of a dedicated number row and the use of the shift key to get at the "@" symbol becomes frustrating after a while.
With the keyboard out, the screen flips into landscape mode and a carousel style menu system supports the key functions and can be flipped through on the screen, iPhone fashion; selections and activated modes initialling a high frequency vibration as confirmation. The KF900 is quad-band compatible handset, and it’s packing HSDPA up to 7.2Mbps, but given the handset’s price, the omission of GPS is a big demerit.
Otherwise the interface is much the same as on the original Prada but has been nicely enhanced and is similar in many respects to other LG handsets, such as the Renoir. The interface includes applications in a strip down the right side of the screen grouped for Communicate, Utilities Entertainment and Settings, each with a further eight options as large circle icons on the screen. This system is the same throughout, so becomes fast to get along with and easy to use.
A front mounted camera for video calls, joins the rear-mounted 5-megapixel camera featuring a Schneider Kreuznach lens. Pictures are reasonably detailed as are the 720 x 480 top quality videos. However, the screen’s colour limitations (it’s a 256,000 colour TFT) make this a less satisfying viewing experience than we’d perhaps have liked. You get a built-in flash, macro shooting and panoramic modes among the choice elements of the camera’s various specifications.
As for control interface, the main screen also provides four short cuts into dialling, contacts, the main menu and messaging, a tap of the status bar fires up more shortcuts and information to get to the music player or Wi-Fi and the like. Here you can also flip through other options by sweeping your finger left or right across the shortcuts screen and you can select and add user shortcuts and drop widgets onto the screen such as an analogue display clock or calendar for example. A hard button on the phone’s side can also reach application shortcuts too, adding to the KF900’s usability.
The iPhone-alike aspects of the KF900 include finger panning and a suitably responsive pinch'n'zoom system for your web browsing or image reviewing. Images (and video clips and music tracks, for that matter) are stored either on the rather stingy 60MB of internal memory or the supplied - and also rather stingy - 1GB microSD external storage.
As usual, LG use a proprietary connector for the supplied two-piece headphones, so you’re limited to the supplied two piece headphones, however, the connector is positioned nicely at the top edge meaning it’s easier to use, particularly when in your pocket.
The headphones provide controls, just about mid-way along adjacent to the 3.5mm connector that joins the two headphone sections and the in-ear buds are comfortable. Sound quality is good and the equaliser offers good presets but lacks personal settings though you do get an FM radio built-in for good measure.
Other neat applications, as standard, include Muvee Studio for in-phone image and/or video editing, there’s a calculator, voice recorder, a converter and a couple of games that use a built-in accelerometer too, among other things, shake virtual dice. Battery power specs include around 3 hours talk time and (up to) 400-hours on standby, but I found a power top up necessary every couple of days, or sooner if the Wi-Fi and camera flash or music player had been employed for any length of time.
The LG KF900 Prada II looks pricey SIM-free, but its specification and nice interface and the excellent keyboard are all worthy of note if you can find the Prada II on a contract that suits you.
Thicker and heavier than the original, the phone may have lost the sleek appeal for some, but the better and increased tech may outweigh those problems. Just make sure you get a better case for the thing if you do opt to get one: the supplied version is, well, pants.
Dependent on contract