Vertu's new Signature Touch has top specs and a sky-high price tagView gallery - 4 images
The pricing of Vertu's newest smartphone might still be a little insane for most people, but the device does at least have top tier components to complement its luxury hand-crafted build. There's also a nice design touch on offer in the form of a pair of fetching-yet-functional gull-wing doors on the back of the case.
It wasn't all that long ago that many glitzy, luxury smartphones carried outdated software and yesteryear hardware under the hood, but it's a different story today, at least with Vertu products. This year's Signature Touch release carries some truly top shelf hardware. There's a full 4 GB RAM on board, paired up with an octa core Snapdragon 810 chip. That's the same processor you'll find inside flagship smartphones like the HTC One M9, and the same amount of memory you'll find in Samsung's latest Galaxy Note 5 and edge+ handsets.
Unlike those devices, the new Signature Touch offers expandable storage. You'll find 64 GB built-in, and there's a 64 GB microSD card included, though you can swap in a different card if you choose, allowing for expansion up to a whopping 2 TB.
Elsewhere, there's a 5.2-inch 1,920 x 1,080 display up front, front-facing Dolby Digital Plus virtual surround sound stereo speakers, 2.1 MP and 21 MP cameras around the front and back, and you'll find Android 5.1 Lollipop running things. The starting price? In the company's native UK, it'll set you back a pretty eye-watering £6,500, equivalent to around US$9,900.
So, at least the hardware is up there with the best non-luxury handsets on the market, but does that make spending so much cash on a smartphone any less ludicrous?
Well, no, probably not, but it is something that's becoming more common, not so much with smartphones, but with smartwatches. Devices like LG's 23-carat gold Watch Urbane Luxe (priced at $1,200) spring to mind, but the Apple Watch Edition is the best example around, with prices all the way up to $17,000. Tag Heuer will also be bringing a luxury wearable to market before long, and it's sure to feature a similar price tag.
Turning back to the Signature Touch – it is, of course, not all about the specs. The device also earns its luxury label on the outside, with the body built from handcrafted leather and grade 5 titanium, and there's a sheet of 130-carat sapphire crystal coating the display. Even getting at the nanoSIM and microSD card has a touch of luxury about it, with the slots hidden under a pair of gull-wing doors on the back of the device, with space for a personal engraving underneath.
The Vertu Signature Touch will be available in stores globally on October 16. The starting price is £6,500 ($9,900), but you can pay anything up to £13,700 ($20,900) depending on choice of finish.