The first Prada phone is something of seminal handset. Launched just before the Apple iPhone and the HTC Touch in 2007, it helped kick start the touch phone movement while popularising the trend of fashion label affiliated blowers. Fashionistas couldn’t get enough.

Unfortunately, its touch UI was clunky and erratic and the Prada phone was forced to trade on its catwalk looks and Italian fashion label creds. Almost two years on and its successor, the Prada II, arrives with the touch phone revolution in full swing. Surely, lessons must have been learnt?

Feature fashion show

Well, the fact the Prada II flaunts multi-touch pincer moves, a la the iPhone, already shows they have. Not only that, but its feature set has been brought up well to speed with a 5MP snapper, WVGA quality video capture at 30fps, HSDPA download speeds and built-in Wi-Fi.

Prada has kept faith with the minimalist and sophisticated 2007 look because apart from a glossy makeover, the façade looks identical to its predecessor. No complaints here, but we’re a bit miffed that the original’s slinky slimline profile hasn’t survived.

LG and Prada, in their wisdom, have decided to draft in a full sliding QWERTY to improve its messaging prowess and perhaps its business acumen. It’s certainly a spacious and thumb-friendly arrangement but its arrival has compromised that size zero physique. What will the phone model agency say?

Multi-touch moves

Thankfully, the QWERTY compliments rather than carries the touch UI and this has improved immeasurably, responding nicely to your taps and swipes.

The multi-touch pinching technique when zooming in on web pages is surprisingly slick and the only touch problem we encountered was the sluggish response of selecting links with the website. The unintuitive and fiddly web browser didn’t help either.

With 7.2Mbps-flavoured HSDPA at the helm web pages load briskly with the built-in Wi-Fi stepping up the pace should you hit a hotspot. The absence of GPS is a little bit galling though, especially with a largish 3-inch screen at your disposal to showcase maps.

The Prada II is also big on widgets and homescreen customisation with two out of the three sliding panels ready for personalisation. The second screen can be garnished with seven widgets while swipe to the next screen and nine shortcuts, chosen from the phone’s menu system, can also be added.

Give us five (megapixels)

The camera may have been hiked from 1.3MP to 5MP, but it can’t match the Xenon-led set up of its Viewty or Renoir stablemates and the autofocus is tad slow to get its eye-in. That said, mods like image stabilisation and IS0 setting up to 800 help out and picture quality isn’t too shabby.

Naturally, traces of digital noise do occur when recording video but the Prada II’s WVGA quality resolution (720x480 pixels) at 30fps keeps the judder and drag to a minimum. Sadly, it can’t record slo-mo footage like its LG buddies, though it does support playback of DivX videos.

The 2009 Prada phone ignores the ‘style over substance’ fashion phone mantra, delivering a smart feature set with a slick touch performance. It’s not without its niggles and we miss the original’s super slim torso, but there’s enough inside and out to appease the gadget hungry label-lover.  

Stuff says... 

LG KF900 Prada II review

Less slinky than the original but the improved feature set and screen make it a solid, if unspectacular, touch phone