Smartphones are expensive. In most cases, you need to shell out around $US200 to get a good phone with a two-year contract.
Those prices skyrocket up to the $US600-$700 range when you buy a phone off-contract.
That amount of money sounds like petty cash compared to what luxury brand Vertu charges for its smartphones.
The company recently launched its Vertu Signature Touch smartphone earlier this month, which costs between about $US10,000 and $US22,000 depending on how you customise it.
So what makes Vertu’s smartphones so expensive? The company claims it’s all about the materials it uses for the design.
All of Vertu’s smartphones are handmade in England, according to the company’s website. Vertu hand writes its signature on each smartphone it manufactures to prove it was created by a single craftsman from start to finish.
The phone’s casing is made of natural-grain alligator leather and grade five titanium alloy, which Vertu claims is two-and-a-half times stronger than stainless steel but is still light.
The phone’s display, made of sapphire crystal, can reportedly withstand the weight of a 200g ball dropped from 3.2 feet, according to the company.
Vertu has partnered with Bang and Olufson for the speakers in this device, claiming its camera is certified by Swedish camera manufacturer Hasselblad.
Other than its appearance, the Vertu Signature Touch doesn’t seem to be much different than your average smartphone.
The phone comes with a 4.7-inch 1080p display, a 13-megapixel camera, and runs on a 2.3-GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor — the same chip you’ll find in today’s flagships like the Galaxy S5 and HTC One M8.
It’s unclear exactly what accounts for the differences in price: Specifically, Engadget reports the prices range between $US10,300 and $US21,900, while The Wall Street Journal reports the black alligator version costs $US14,100.
Vertu does mention, however, that buyers can choose different design and colours. You can also get your name or any other phrase engraved on the phone.
Vertu’s Signature Touch smartphone is unfathomably priced for the everyday user, but it’s not the most expensive phone in the world.
Luxury gadget designer Stuart Hughes recreated the iPhone 5’s chassis with solid gold and embedded a rare black diamond in the body. Hughes’ iPhone 5 sells for an unimaginable $US15 million.