Vertu’s $10K Smartphone Rings With Bling

Written By Mekhels O' Cypher on Wednesday, February 13, 2013 | 8:07 AM

Vertu, the company that makes phones for the rich and technologically illiterate, has finally made a smartphone, the Android-powered Vertu Ti. And because it is a Vertu, the Ti is ridiculously expensive and technologically underwhelming.

You think the iPhone is pricey? The Vertu Ti starts with a $9,600 price tag. And yes, that’s the unsubsidized price*. For that kind of money, you’d expect it to transform into a jet that flies you to an island.

That’s not the case. Instead, you get a phone with 184 parts handcrafted in England — the “craftsman” who assembles your phone even signs the inside of the removable titanium back plate so you know exactly who made your overpriced, under-spec’d device.

When it comes to actual smartphone capabilities, the Ti is depressingly average. It’s running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and has a dual-core 1.7Ghz processor. There’s also 1GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, an 8MP rear-facing camera, a 1.3MP front-facing camera, and NFC support. That’s the same performance you could get in any mid-tier Android phone on the market for about $9,400 less. One bonus: The 3.7-inch screen is made of sapphire crystal, like a fine watch, and is said to be four times stronger than the average phone’s screen. That’s good, because the last thing anyone wants is a $9,600 phone with a cracked screen.

The Vertu Ti comes in four flashy models to cater to the undoubtedly refined tastes of the people buying them: Titanium Black Leather for $9,600; Titanium Pure Black for $11,500; Titanium Black Alligator for $12,800; and Black PVD Titanium Red Gold Mixed Metals for $19,900.

Vertu Ti owners can find comfort in knowing that the company has put its phone through several stress tests. The screen can withstand a 110gm ball bearing dropped on itself. Like a rugged traveler, the phone survived “extreme temperature testing, torsional strength, tumble testing and humidity.” And should you choose a leather model, know that the material has gone through 17 — count that, 17! — tests to “prove its robustness.”

Now all you need to do is bedazzle it with 2-carat diamonds.

*Not that any carrier would dream of subsidizing this phone. (