British luxury mobile firm Vertu has just launched Constellation.
Claiming that it combines a powerful triumvirate of design, performance and service, the £4,000 Android device clearly packs an "affordable" Holy Trinity for those who drink their communion wine from a crystal-embellished champagne flute.
This year has seen many less-celebrated siblings of high-end phones cartwheel their way into our palms at more competitive prices. Vertu’s addition, on the other hand, swans in more gracefully and like a spoiled mobster’s daughter may require more creative means to afford its price tag. You can re-mortgage your house to run your pinky finger over the real calf’s leather that clads its grade-5 titanium frame, sign up for medical experiments or sell all your Apple shareholdings to play the complimentary range of London Symphony Orchestra ringtones based on English birdsong.
The reason for the Constellation’s extortionate price is largely due to its design. The calf’s leather covering has been “carefully selected” explains Vertu, “from one of Europe’s oldest tanneries for its exquisite feel and natural grain.” Available in black, beige, brown, orange and pink, even the glass of the screen is expensive, imbued with the strength of sapphires to resist even the most aggressive of car key scratches. In addition, the titanium case itself is reportedly as strong as steel, yet half the weight and meticulously polished to an immaculate finish.
Under this gleaming façade, however, the specs are less than impressive. Your children’s inheritance pays for internal components that are mediocre even by last year’s standards. The same sapphire screen is only 720p, a far cry from the HD sharpness now commonplace in 2013 flagship phones. A 1.7GHz dual-core processor runs the old Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean software and its 1,800mAh battery is dwarfed by some of the latest 3,000mAh cells found in today’s most powerful models. Still, in fairness for the majority of your day-to-day activities – emailing, tweeting and buying Bugatti Veyrons – it will probably hold its own.
Despite not having access to Vertu’s complete concierge service, as a Constellation owner you will at least have unlimited access to all iPass Wi-Fi points around the world, encrypted VoIP for securer Skype calls and a curated guide to premium places of interest nearby.
So if a genetic abnormality endowed you with an extra kidney at birth, you may want to consider flogging it and register your interest in the Vertu Constellation on its website, prior to the phone’s UK release in the next few days.