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Thursday, Jul 3, 2014

Science And Tech, Features

Vertu Signature Touch: Most expensive smartphone

The Brunei Times/ANN | Thursday, Jul 3, 2014

The Vertu Constellation Touch and Vertu Constellation Quest.

For those who have been following my articles over the recent months, you've obviously noticed that I've been a serious advocate for great quality smartphones on the cheap.

Low-cost Phones such as the Moto G, the Nexus 5 and the OnePlus One have been in my list of favourite devices under US$500 (S$600).

Today I'm going to do the opposite. Ever wondered what is the most expensive smartphone on the market right now?

Of course, it's easy to point at the iPhone 5s. Apple's smartphones often carry the highest price tag at mobile stores, with the 64GB model surpassing the US$1,000 price point (other flagship phones are between US$700 to US$900).

For many years, Apple has been known for charging a premium for its iPhones. But while they are commonly overpriced, they aren't really the priciest phones on the planet.

That title is currently held by Vertu, the maker of luxury phones, and its latest Android smartphone, the Signature Touch, will set you back a whopping US$11,000! That's more than S$13,000.

Vertu has been around since the days of Nokia, and it is only recently that the company has shifted away from the outdated keypads and into touch screens.

Vertu phones are like the Rolls-Royce of phones. What makes them so special (and downright expensive) is the fact that each phone is handmade by a single person in England, and the Signature Touch is no exception.

Vertu is also exclusively known for its Concierge service. It gives the owner access to a 24-hour personal concierge that will serve the user's every needs at just a touch of a button.

In the case of the Signature Touch, that button is made of ruby located at the top right side of the phone.

The service is free for the first year, then jumps to around US$3,000 a year. But hey, you get to have your own assistant to do your bidding from booking a dinner reservation at a fancy restaurant to arranging your next flight to Prague.

So what else do you get from paying an outrageous price? It's all in the design and hardware.

Every material used on this phone is of the finest quality. The handset is made of strong and durable grade 5 titanium, which Vertu claims is two and a half times stronger than stainless steel, though just as light, weighing in at 192g and 10.65mm thick.

Each Signature Touch phone has a calf leather finish at the back with a range of textures to choose from: Claret Calf (red), Seaspray Lizard (blue) and Jet Alligator (black).

This smartphone has a 4.7-inch, 1080p display which is protected by highly scratch-resistant sapphire crystal.

It has high quality speakers from Bang & Olufsen, a Danish audio brand, and features Digital Dolby Surround sound.

It gets even more interesting as we get to the camera. The Signature Touch is equipped with a rear 13-megapixel camera that is certified by Hassleblad. Photography nerds will recognise Hassleblad as the camera that had been used on the moon.

Under the hood, the Signature Touch sports a 2.3-GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor with 2GB RAM, the same chip you'll find in current flagship phones such as the HTC One M8 and the Samsung Galaxy S5.

It packs a non-expandable 64GB of storage, a 2,275 mAh battery, NFC (Near Field Communications) connectivity and wireless charging capability. It is also a 4G phone that supports a variety of LTE bands.

On the software side, the Signature Touch runs on the latest Android 4.4.2 KitKat operating system.

Sorry Apple fans, but it looks like Vertu isn't going to come up with an iOS-running Vertu phone anytime soon.

Overall, this is a phone for the high-net-worth individuals. It's a status icon in the league of handmade diamond-encrusted watches.

The phone is available from Vertu's boutique stores all around the world. The closest you can get one is in Singapore, that is, if you can afford one.

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