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Vertu Constellation Review: The Billionaire's Phone

Most of us live in a world where smartphones cost somewhere between $200 and $800. There's a wide variety of phones in that range, from bargain ZTE and Motorola devices to top-end iPhones and Samsung Galaxy handsets. But there's a whole world beyond that, the exclusive and expensive realm of the luxury smartphone. The latest phone to join those rarified ranks is the 2017 Vertu Constellation. This is both a pedestrian smartphone and one that's sporting out-of-this-world services and construction. The Constellation is a measure in contradictions, as many things made for the billionaire class are.

Vertu Constellation

Vertu has been at this for many years. They were founded as a division of Nokia and have traded hands since a few times; most recently the company was purchased by Turkish businessman Hakan Uzan for £50 million. So Vertu is a small, niche company that deals in small, niche electronics. Their latest release is the 2017 edition of the Constellation, which is what amounts to their mid-tier smartphone.

Mid-tier in Vertu Land means a starting price of $6,000.

Yeah, that's a lot for a phone. Can it possibly be worth that much?

See at Vertu{.cta .shop}

About this review

We're publishing this review after two weeks with the Vertu Constellation, running on the AT&T network in Cincinnati and New York City. Our review unit, loaned from Vertu, was running Android 6.0.1 with the 1 January 2017 security patch.

Vertu Constellation Video Review

Feels so good…

Vertu Constellation Hardware

The Vertu Constellation stands out in a sea of black slab phones. Where more and more phones are becoming more and more anonymous, Vertu has opted to adorn the front of their smartphone with, well, bling. There are at least seven different materials showing on just the front of the phone, yet somehow it's an attractive device. There's no denying that it's ostentatious (the shiny chrome accents see to that), but I found myself liking it as soon as I pulled it out of the box, and it's grown on me ever since.

There's no denying that it's ostentatious, but I found myself liking it right away.

Those materials are a mix of machined aluminum, calf leather, and sapphire. Owing to their relatively small production count, Vertu can get away with sourcing truly premium materials for their phones. Apple tried and failed hard to get a sapphire screen for the iPhone, and after using the Constellation I can understand why Apple spent hundreds of millions of dollars on that quest. The sapphire display cover here is smooth, crystal clear, and supremely hard — sapphire is one of the hardest materials out there, and is far more scratch resistant than even the latest iteration of Gorilla Glass. It's also expensive, especially at the 140 carats needed for the Constellation.

Vertu Constellation

That display is a sharp 5.5-inch QHD model with a 534ppi pixel density. It's an AMOLED panel, but it's been tuned without the excessive color saturation that's a hallmark of AMOLED king Samsung. The panel wasn't incredibly bright, though, and struggled with visibility in sunlight.

Right below the screen, wrapped in a silver accent, is a front-facing fingerprint sensor. This is a first for Vertu, and it's spacious, accurate, and highly responsive. The set-up process is straight Nexus Imprint, with none of the customizations for customization's sake that other manufacturers have seen fit to implement. The fingerprint sensor also doubles as a home button in conjunction with the on-screen key.

These are, hands-down, the best sounding and loudest speakers I've heard on any phone.

Flanking the screen at top and bottom you'll find a pair of stereo speakers. These are, hands-down, the best sounding and loudest speakers I've heard on any phone — even the lauded HTC BoomSound speakers of years past. They're offering Dolby tuning with on-the-fly EQ adjustments through a widget or the on-screen volume controls. The remarkable quality of these speakers helps make up for the regrettably large bezels on this phone — in an era where smartphones are moving more and more towards smaller and smaller bezels, Vertu has either bucked or lagged behind on that trend. The flip side is that there's plenty of space for the large 13mm x 17mm drivers and the necessary acoustic chambers.

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Vertu Constellation fingerprint sensor

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Vertu Constellation side

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Vertu Constellation back

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Vertu Constellation USB-C port

Wrapping around the sides of the Vertu Constellation is a hefty machined aluminum frame. Eschewing the smooth and rounded aesthetic of Apple and Samsung, the constellation's metal has a sand-blasted finish, hard corners, and a concave character line that runs the entire height of the phone. It looks like it should be really uncomfortable, but it actually feels great, and helps this large phone grip with ease. That frame is host on the right side of the phone to a volume rocker and an unfortunately wiggly power button, while the left side is home to the dual SIM card/microSD card tray and a ruby button to launch the Vertu Concierge service (more on that later). Up top is a standard 3.5mm headphone jack, while on the bottom left corner is a USB-C port — it's angled to match the slightly pointed base of the phone.

If you thought the front of the Constellation was busy, wait until you get a load of the back. We're again looking at multiple materials, and without the requirement to work around the phone's black rectangular screen, Vertu's designers had a canvas to work with. Given what has come out of Vertu's workshops in the past… I think they showed remarkable restraint. It's a relatively simple layout — a band of brushed aluminum bordered by chrome strips stretches across the phone about 1/3 of the way from the top, with the camera and dual-LED flash housed dead center; the matte aluminum frame wraps around on either side, and the rest of the space is filled with a flat expanse of soft brown leather.

Vertu Constellation leather

The end result is a phone that has some serious heft — at 241 grams it's one of the heaviest phones we've seen in a long time, but then again, Vertu never made any claims otherwise. And there's something that just seems right that a luxury smartphone should be a weighty one. It's a tech reviewer cliché, but the Vertu Constellation truly does feel great in the hand, and in a completely different manner than a svelte, smooth, and featherweight phone like the new Galaxy S8.

So if this phone is so heavy and expensive, you'd hope for some high-end internals, right? Eh… you're not getting a state-of-the-art smartphone here. The Vertu Constellation launched in early 2017, but it's sporting the specifications of a phone from a year prior. Crack it open an inside you'd find a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB of internal storage augmented by a microSD card slot. Yep, that's what you would find in a Samsung Galaxy S7 or LG G5 from a year ago — not even the later-in-2016 Snapdragon 821 made it into this phone. The reasoning is simple: Vertu doesn't work in big numbers of anything, so their purchasing power is limited, their development team is small, and their engineering lead time is longer. Will the Snapdragon 821 and the brand-new 835 eventually make it into Vertu phones? Without a doubt, but you'll be waiting for a while.

The Vertu Constellation launched in early 2017, but it's sporting the specifications of a phone from early 2016.

That said, the Snapdragon 820 is still a mighty fine chip, even if it's no longer the best in town. It carries the Vertu Constellation with aplomb, certainly far better than the Snapdragon 801 handled itself in the Vertu Signature Touch of 2014. It could simply be that with an 820 running things, the less-than-optimized Vertu software just can't bog it down enough to matter.

Rounding things out on the hardware front, the Constellation sports dual-mode Qi + PMA wireless charging, Bluetooth 4.2, 21 LTE bands, dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and a 3220mAh battery. That's far from the largest battery we've ever seen, and for the weight of this phone we'd have expected something more inside. But then again, Vertu doesn't have the engineering bench to quickly bring the latest processors to market, let alone develop space-age battery tech.

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You'll find a 12MP camera on the back and a 4MP shooter on the front. Both are reasonably good in daylight, though they often struggled with focus and fell short when night fell. I'd have expected more, but as we saw for a long time with Android phone manufacturers: doing cameras right is hard and takes a lot of engineering talent. Vertu might have a great sensor behind that lens, but the pictures it puts out are merely adequate.

Vertu Constellation

The numbers story

Vertu Constellation Specs

CategorySpec
Operating SystemAndroid 6.0.1
Display5.5-inch QHD AMOLED
140-carat sapphire cover
CPUQualcomm Snapdragon 820
RAM4GB
Storage128GB + microSD (uses SIM slot 2)
AudioStereo Dolby front-facing speakers
3.5mm headphone jack
SIMDual Nano
Rear Camera12MP ƒ/2.0, 1.55 micron pixels
phase detect autofocus, dual-tone LED flash
Front Camera4MP ƒ/2.0, 2 micro pixels
Battery3220mAh non-removable
ChargingUSB-C
Dimensions162mm x 77mm x 10mm
Weight241g

Marshmallugh.

Vertu Constellation Software

So if the Vertu Constellation's design is aesthetically unique (and debatably attractive — I get it if you don't like it, though I'll admit that it looks a lot better in person), it's certainly got to have some sort of software ace up its sleeve, right? Yes and no. When it comes to the Android OS, Vertu's gone close to stock Android here, with only a custom launcher, old-school-style notification shade, and a few widgets on top of Android 6.0.1. There's nothing terribly special about Vertu's implementation of Android.

The custom analog clock widgets are nice, both in a functionality and a throwback sense. They show the time, and tapping in the center will take you to the clock app, as you'd expect. But along the outside you'll find colored strips indicating your upcoming appointments — tapping there opens an agenda view that will take you to the Vertu Calendar app. And, of course, Vertu felt the need to build their own versions of apps like Calendar and Gallery, but they're blessedly few and easy to ignore. Vertu's software shines in the form of the services it ties into: Vertu Certainty, Vertu Life, and Vertu Concierge.

Vertu Concierge Suite

Certainty is a suite of apps — some third-party, others from Vertu, that aim to provide peace of mind for the Vertu owner. Some are security apps like Silent Circle for encrypted phone calls and messaging or Vertu's own "anti-theft service" (it does not stop your phone from being stolen, only giving you the ability to remotely locate, lock, and wipe the phone through Vertu's website). Others are about convenience, including sync to Apple's iCloud calendar, contacts, and reminders and global Wi-Fi hotspot access through iPass.

Also rolled under the Certainty umbrella is remote assistant support where Vertu's support staff can actually remotely take control of your phone to fix a setting for you or show you how something is done. That's the sort of thing that Vertu can afford to do when they have a relatively small userbase and charge thousands of dollars for their phones.

Vertu Life

Vertu Life is essentially what'd happen if the concierge had a bulletin board. Vertu's agents have arranged for access to a wide range of events and venues, and they're all available to you. From backstage passes for Coachella to 19th-century port wine to a luxury vacation to Antarctica (complete with emperor penguins and champagne) to priority reservations with perks at restaurants around the world, you'll find a lot worth exploring in Vertu Life. It all comes at a cost, though. Vertu might have arranged for special discounts or bonuses with these packages, but none of them will be particularly cheap.

The crown jewel of the Vertu services is Concierge. If there's any reason to buy a Vertu, this is it. Concierge isn't some newfangled AI or virtual assistant — it's real people making real judgment calls about what will best help you. Concierge is all about meeting your needs, be it something as basic as booking dinner reservations or things far more complicated. They offer communications in voice call, text chat, or via email — whatever suits your needs at the moment.

When the service is first set up for a new user, Vertu will call you (after making sure it's a good time to call) to orient you with the service, what they can do (basically anything), and how it all works. I took the opportunity to ask my primary Concierge manager, Melanie, what the most unique request she'd fulfilled was: she booked a Hollywood A-list makeup artist to fly to Miami and spend five hours teaching a client how to do makeup like the stars.

Vertu Concierge chat

I could have searched through thousands of restaurants in New York City, but I let the concierge make a reservation for me. The steak was phenomoenal.

I used Concierge for something a bit more pedestrian: dinner reservations in a city I don't know that well. I was in New York City for the Samsung Galaxy S8 launch event, and for that evening I wanted to be able to take the team out for dinner (and to celebrate the simultaneous birthday of one MrMobile). I could have been a normal person and spent too much time researching restaurants on Google and Yelp (Did you know that there are a lot of places to eat in New York? Who knew!) and then finding an available reservation via OpenTable.

Instead, I hit the ruby button on the side of the phone, fired up the Concierge chat, and asked for a reservation for someplace nice but still somewhat casual. The concierge I was connected with confirmed the date and number of guests, and then went to work. An hour later, there was a reservation in my inbox for a steakhouse in downtown Manhattan. I probably wouldn't have picked it myself, but that's for the best, because it ended up being one of the best steaks I've ever had. Vertu even went so far as to arrange for complimentary appetizers (have you ever had a religious experience with bacon, because I did that night) and a round of Prosecco for the table at dessert.

You're special

Vertu Constellation In Real Life

It's kind of strange to think that something as simple as a phone could make you feel special, but Vertu phones do that to me. It might simply be because they're absurdly expensive and it feels so weird to know that I've been walking around with one in my pocket. And it might be because of the human-driven power of Concierge and knowing that it's just a ruby button away from fulfilling my every wish. Or it might be because I'm just kind of smitten with this phone, flaws and all, because it is so ridiculous and ostentatious.

Vertu Constellation ruby button

It's a real ruby!

But there is no getting around that this is not a perfect phone, especially for what you might expect for a $6,000 price tag. You're not getting top-end specs or the latest Android software (Nougat is several months away, if ever coming at all), and with heavy use you'll still struggle to make it through the day, despite the heft of this phone making you think it must be full of lithium-ion battery.

For all those shortcomings, though, the Vertu Constellation is still the sort of phone I think would be fun to have weighing down my pocket. It's certainly a conversation starter amongst my also-not-billionaires friends — I usually start with telling them which phone it is, walk them through the various features and materials, and then ask for a price. Everybody lowballs it because nobody can conceive of a phone costing this much.

Do you wear a crown? A real one?

Vertu Constellation: Is it worth it?

This isn't an easy phone to review. In 2017 I feel as if I should be lighting on fire and throwing into a dumpster any phone that comes with these specs at anything approaching consumer flagship pricing, let alone blowing past it on its way to thousands of dollars as the Vertu Constellation does. But a Vertu phone is more than just the specs, more than just a dumb screen to run smart apps like every other Android phone.

It's a status symbol; that you can afford to live the kind of lifestyle where a $6,000 phone is nothing and where you have the time and money to ask a Concierge to arrange for you to do things like party backstage at Coachella or reserve a dinner at the booked-for-the-next-year hot restaurant of the month.

Vertu Constellation

You can see the target customer in setting up your Vertu Account. Where a typical phone might offer only a few options for title — Mister, Miss, Doctor — Vertu Accounts offer a laundry list of titles, ranging from King and Queen to Sheikh and Lord and His Excellency (my favorite). This is a phone for the super rich, for oil barons and oligarchs and literal royalty.

You're not getting a technically superior product in the Vertu Constellation. You're getting a luxury product, with all of the trappings that a luxury gadget should provide. No, a Vertu can't make you coffee, but it can help you find the best coffee shop on the planet and book a private jet to get you there.

As the old saying about prices goes, "If you have to ask…"

See at Vertu{.cta .shop}

Derek Kessler is Special Projects Manager for Mobile Nations. He's been writing about tech since 2009, has far more phones than is considered humane, still carries a torch for Palm (the old one), and got a Tesla because it was the biggest gadget he could find. You can follow him on Twitter at @derekakessler.

93 Comments
  • So, most of those in Trump's Cabinet, including Trump himself, will probably be using this phone then. "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche".
  • I'm confident cabinet members during previous administrations could also afford this phone.
  • Doesn't that moron use an S3?
  • Lol, I think you are correct.
  • He's the best president we will ever have
  • Calvin Coolidge
  • You were not alive when Coolidge was in office Erik so how could he have been the best for you?
  • What? I wasn't alive when Lincoln was around​ either, but I know for sure he was better than Carter. I guess when the historians debate who was best it's a waste of time according to you. I'll go with Reagan than if I must adhere to your guidelines.
  • Thank you for adhering to the guild lines and I FULLY respect your answer. Now am I being an a**? Yes I am but I say that to say that we should base our opinions of what we actually live through than a historian's account only because we don't know if the 'history' in question is accurate or tainted.
  • Problem is, most in these forums only have four choices. Four bad choices.
  • ROFL ROFL ROFL ROFL ROFL ROFL ROFL ROFL It's day 78 of moron's presidency and he hasn't done a thing yet.
  • He's done alot actually
  • Replace the ACA? Failed. Impose travel ban? Failed. Get a Supreme Court nominee that would bipartisan support in the Senate? Failed. Unite the country behind him? Failed.
  • But it's all Obama's fault.
  • Yeah, his commitment to his Golf game has certainly improved.
  • Well, someone going by the moniker "worlds outro" would think that... Very "on-brand" lol.
  • Still not a Muslim ban
  • The Vertu constellation? Are you sure?
  • He's using an iPhone now: http://forums.imore.com/general-apple-news-discussion/386548-trump-using...
  • Like I needed another reason to not use Apple products Haha. I was under the impression the SCROTUS wasn't permitted to carry a smartphone for security reasons... Then again, the man IS a moron.
  • Actually he's the smartest man we will ever have as a president
  • Stop.
  • Go
  • Except for everyone else.
  • iPhone now.
  • I'd rather trump use an S3 than an iPhone.
  • Trump is to cheap to buy this phone...he's still using an S3.
  • He's actually using an iPhone now: http://forums.imore.com/general-apple-news-discussion/386548-trump-using...
  • Didn't he trash Apple last year for not unlocking​ that phone
  • He did indeed.
  • My first thoughts when seeing this phone was, "When will Kevin get this?" @CRACKBERRYKEVIN #TrippleDogDareYou
  • 8o
  • Not sure I agree it's a billionaires phone... With that kind of cash the concierge service is useless, you have a team of real human being to do things for you. Might be a good phone for a billionaires assistant though.
  • I wouldnt say team, but my wife and I have a realist view of need. We keep our life simple, a realtor, a home builder, a Private Client Manager, a Trust Officer, and a Financial analysts all at the same firm (mind you, the firm isnt fancy either, if you consider Bank of America level even fancy) and a CPA. We are in the process of getting an estate lawyer, but thats because we have small children to consider in our sitution. There really is no need for anyone else that I can think of or have come across.
    Hell im only 42, and changed my work status from full time with health benefits to part time with health benefits. Insurance is super expensive for a family of 5 when you dont work and I'd rather not blow money on that when Im healthy enough to work 25 hours a week and get that insurance much cheaper. I even stepped away from a technical desk job to a warehouse supervisor role to get even more physical movement into my daily activities outside of working out. 20,000 steps and lifting 100 plus pound items before 9 am and then getting to a normal workout has made a huge difference in my health aspect. Sure I could start my own business, but there are no guarantees these days of success, and i did that grueling work with my own business in college, and it just didnt work out. The harder I worked, the less I made, and the less rewards for owning a business versus what I was being offered back in the 90s to go to work for a major wireless carrier was quite a tip on the scales. I dont regret giving the business up the past 21 years, I made good decent money, despite failing to ever get promoted. Turns out I am in a better position today for not having those events happen, and life is finally real real good...finally. Trust me losing my first home, being laid off 5 times due to industry mergers, all the while trying to raise 3 kids while life was trying to be real ****** to me made me appreciate with a sane head the new direction life has given us.
  • Your biography is great and all but what on earth does any of that have to do with this story?
  • Feel like I have known him for years.
  • My story? Okay. It was never easy for me. I was born a poor black child. I remember the days, sittin' on the porch with my family, singin' and dancin' down in Mississippi...
  • New phone books are here!
  • Now I need an umbrella drink so I can 'Be Somebody'.
  • Haha this is a true story? The only way to verify this is true is to have that 5-easy-steps-to-a-better-life link at the bottom of this post.
  • WTF just happened?
  • Super rich Americans born in the US don't buy this phone. They keep their mouths shut and hide out so that people don't ask him for money.
  • "them" for money
  • Would've bought one if the camera was better.
  • Wow really? I'm so impressed by you! Please tell us more about yourself!
  • Sarcasm
  • This is more like the guy that wants to be a billionaire's phone. Most of the time, billionaires actually had to work to get where they are. It's the immediate underlings (the Vice Presidents), and the bratty, spoiled kids who go out and get crap like this.
  • Kind of like BMWs ... some call those "climber cars." Is this a "climber mobile?"
  • I want to be a billionaires phone.
  • As someone who recently came into a lot of wealth last year I find that even though I can afford a purchase like this, its still not worth its value (to me personally). I keep phones barely a year, I upgraded every nexus I owned, will upgrade every pixel, and in the past upgraded to every flagship Note product or in the early days of Android, every HTC. Granted I had to pay full price since I was once employed as a tech for one of the 4 carriers but still...there are far better things I can do with a measly 6k than a wierd phone from a wierd company like Vertu. Learning how to keep millions of dollars and learning what life decisions help make it grow cuts down on splurging items like this and investing in other things. Just built my second house and one of the hugest things our realtor kept telling us before we had each meeting with our builder was to just go with the built in packages the company was running for the level of home we were buying. They nickel and dime you for all the upgrades and you never get your money back out of that, even as mundane as moving from the level 3 appliances, flooring and faucets to the level 4 or 5 versions. Hell we even saved a bit as some of the level 2 flooring looked way better than some of the level 3s. Secondary market has better anyway for better prices if we ever wanted to upgrade anything after the fact. Concierge services all rate differently as well. The differences between gold, platinum, and the onyx Amex cards alone are staggoring. Hard to wrap your head around that after just living with the norm cash back, points etc programs al the traditional cards have. It can be weirdly overwhelming.
  • Wealth isn't something that one suddenly comes into ... Those who are wealthy don't have to "[learn] how to keep millions;" they were born with them, and their great-grandchildren will have lived died with them. I'm by no means wealthy, rich, or even middle class. But I grew up with and was educated with *real* wealth, and the lives they live vs the lives the new rich (yourself, according to you) or anyone else lives, or can aspire to live, have nothing to do with one another. Also, new money, as much fun as it may be, is nothing when one lacks the ability to afford an apostrophe. The Internet is a fascinating thing, don't you think?
  • Nope, the internet shows me what I want to interpret. You choose to be a grammer ****, I chose to make a statement about a phone and where I manage my money, and I threw in a life lesson I personally learned, having never built a home before these past 2 years. I also think you are confused about a few worldy things, but if I elaborate, you will choose to retaliate again as if you are some all knowing person on the internet, just like everyone else tries to think they are. Its a bit pathetic, but then again...it is the internet, and im old enough to have been around it long enough to know certain things about quite a bit of people.
  • Hooray?
  • I bought one because I liked it....I have the orange leather/carbon fiber, and my wife has the light blue leather and gold version....They are awesome...not in downright performance...but feel in your hand, nothing compares. They are well built.
  • That was what the company has always stood for--well-built mobile phones, first and foremost. Which one did you get?
  • two signature touch. the carbon sport for me, the sky blue for my wife. I have been following vertu for along time. before they had touchscreen models. I kept holding off, and since I sold 2 of my businesses I treated us to two awesome phones!
  • Lol.
  • Problem?
  • *buys one and puts an OtterBox​ on it* ( :
  • Haha , exactly.
  • The concierge service would be awesome to have. And comparing the price of personal assistants this could be a bargain. So I think the real value prop Vertu is going for is that more than the phone itself. I doubt they'll sell enough to stay in business though.
  • I feel even if i were rich I wouldn't buy this, Samsung makes a better phone no doubt.
  • You know what's funny? Is that "billionaires" and rich people do NOT use Vertu phones.
    In fact these phones are sold mostly to those people we call "New Rich" (people who got lucky in the lottery, football players etc) and to Middle-Eastern men. I know my fair share of bankers, CEOs, Earls and Countesses and Barons etc and not a single one of them would waste their money on this. Most of those people are actually incredibly cheap and will only spend lots of money on things that add value, not subtract it. They spend on houses, jewelry, art. Not smartphones lol So, if you ever see someone with a Vertu, know that in 10-20 years they will probably not be able to even afford the S8, let alone another Vertu :P
  • I am not sure I completely agree. Try and notice from the window of your office (you are lawyer, from your old comments) how many Porsche Cayennes of your "rich" clients get parked, then ask them why they opted for a Porsche Cayenne instead of a VW Touareg. They are essentially the same car (heck they use the same doors), but the difference between the starting price of each with the same engine (with VW being the cheaper obviously) is almost equivalent to the price of a new VW polo, and Porsche does sell more Cayennes (mostly more expensive versions) than VW with Touaregs. By your analogy, in 10-20 years, that Porsche owner will not be able to afford a Skoda Octavia, let alone a new VW Golf when their Porsche depreciates to price lower than that of a new Golf?!. No, he is probably eyeing a Bentley Bentayga for his next upgrade. There are even weirder examples like the utterly pointless Mercedes G Wagon selling more every year or buying a Bugati Chirion that will only sit in a garage most of its life. Most of the time, these don't make a dent for what these people earn annually, just like a Galaxy S8 for your earnings(Lawyers do earn well I heard :P). And no, this is not just for Middle-Eastern oil sheikhs or Russian Oligarchs (to complete your stereotype). Go to mostly European populated places like Monaco, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein or even Switzerland to see Ferraris and Lamborghinis driving as slow as a Dacia Sandero but depreciating as fast as they can go on the road. Or maybe London to see alot of British driven 100k-pound-Range Rovers (maybe their owners won't afford more Range Rovers in 10 years for another reason ;) ). Well, there is a reason why most luxury items (Swiss Watches, Cars, Phones...etc) companies are based in Europe. you can see also similar trends in other places like Shanghai in China. I could go on.
    The thing is the concept of buying disposable luxury items is not exclusive to "New Rich" people, pseudo bourgeoisie or any ethnic/stereotypical group of people. It is everywhere and has been there for a long time (old luxury horse carriages compared to old wooden ones). If anything, it's your "fair share of bankers, CEOs, Earls and Countesses and Barons" that drive such industry, as the numbers of the companies I mentioned do tell. It's just maybe smartphones are so young as luxury items compared to century old items like cars and Swiss watches (they do depreciate as well except a few Rolex models).
  • Well written review, and er lifestyle experiment. Very interesting.
    I get the contradictions/anomalies but it has that slightly understated (really) non blingy appeal. If I become rich, I mean when I become rich there are some expensive brands, eg cars, clothes I would not be seen to use, having been on the other end of the scale an also seen how other people try to live - but I would give one of these a shot.
    I would by now investigate when the next version is coming out though, and I get that this is their mid range model starting at $6000, but as an Android user by default it would have discrete appeal.
  • Wow some very strange comments on here.
  • Hey, I'm working on my second million.....gave up on the first. Makes the Sony Xperia XZ Premium look real good now!
  • "gave up on my first." thanks for the good laugh. I'm gonna have to use that sometime.
  • Interesting review. Yes it's expensive but I get why people would buy it. Some people love bling! That said, I think how you use the concierge service and kind of level of service it offers, really makes or breaks its value for money proposition. I think vertu used to include 18 months of concierge service so its disappointing that it's been reduced to 12 months. If you are extremely well heeled; use a private bank, have an american express centurion, and a member of a top tier airline frequent flyer programme (e.g. United Airlines Global Services, American Airlines ConciergeKey etc), and have access to your own personal assistant, you have to question what value the Vertu Concierge really offers.
  • The vertu concierge has access to things your personal assistant doesn't. Want to goto a great restaurant in NYC or someplace like that, and there is "no space"...the concierge gets you in! Want tickets to a sold out show or event, GOT EM! it's totally different than having your own personal assistant.
  • Yeah my bad. I didn't make myself perfectly clear. If you are so well funded that dropping 6k+ on a phone is nothing, it's likely that you might be using a private bank or using a premium credit card service that offer their own concierge service. Admittingly not all concierge services are the same - but generally the more premium the credit card the better the concierge service. E.g. a concierge service from a fee free platinum credit card will look at ticketmaster and book tickets for you or book a table through opentable whilst the concierge service offered by amex centurion will offer backstage passes or get you a table at a fully booked popular restaurant. If you are fly heaps, you might be able to get to a platinum / top tier status of your frequent flyer program. If you fly even more, you might become a member of the even higher level of membership which usually isn't listed on the airline's website (e.g. United Airlines Global Services, Qantas Chairmans Lounge etc). Benefits range from using VIP airport entrances and thoroughfares, being walked through from check in to a private lounge and avoiding to queue like everyone else through customs and security, or having priority in getting a flight out of an airport during a snow storm and bumping someone else off. If you are so well heeled, you might also have a personal assistant who might be able to liase with all these people and your contacts to organise things so you don't have to do it yourself. So say you plan to have dinner with people who are flying in, your assistant can speak to your united airline representative and ensure that everyone is on time, then the assistant can contact your dinner guests and ask for their dining preferences, and then speak to your concierge person to get a table at that restaurant that's really hard to get to. The point is, if you already have these people and services in place, the Vertu concierge service offers little value.
  • Yes, I agree, but there are people who don't bother with that other stuff who have money too. Everyone who has a bit of cash does automatically go get a black card. I don't have **** you money....but I had enough to pop down on these phones and services without feeling it. LIke I said, sold 2 of my businesses to open a new business in something I love doing. I made enough money that I no longer HAVE to work, but choose too.
  • Great review Posted via the Android Central App
  • Only a few talking about the actual phone...everything else is politics as usual.
  • Don't know that you really need to be a billionaire to buy a $6,000 phone.
  • You don't, but it'd be foolish unless you're very wealthy. When stuff like the 3T exists this is just insane. It has a better chipset, more RAM, and premium build quality for 1/12 the price.
  • There is nothing mainstream that has build quality of the vertu. Once you see one and hold one you understand. Yep, there are faster phones, better cameras etc, but there is NO phone that feels as good and premium when you hold it.
  • Maybe so, but the point I'm making is that there are phones 1/10 the price that pack more power and RAM.
  • I don't think the point of the phone is for it to run games better...
  • It runs just fine. I don't spec race. I could care less about bench marks. I like build quality. It's fast, it does EVERYTHING I need it to, and we love the feel of the phones when we are using them. There is no lag, or anything of that nature. Yes, Its not for everyone, but for us, IT IS!
  • This phone is ridiculous, but I want it.
  • A phone so exclusive even the reviewer had to wear his Sunday best suit to review it.. gad-dem !!! 🙇🙇🙇
  • I'm afraid I will laugh aloud if I see someone drop one of these in an airport. Then again, special people don't use airports.
  • As silly as this phone is, it's made of really durable materials. An all-sapphire screen is no joke. It'd probably handle a drop a lot better than my Pixel.
  • Billionaires don't need a phone with concierge service. They turn to their personal secretary and tell them what they want and it's handled.
    Who needs a smartphone?
  • So very true. I have a friend that is a personal assistant for a very very wealthy individual that made more money than he can possibly spend with a little luck and some wise investing. You have no idea what having a black American Express card gets you. It makes the concierge service of this phone look like a cheap knock off type of service. Anything....and I mean ANYTHING is just a phone call away. There is no limit to what your request might end up costing. It is an American Express Black card. You wouldn't even have it if money was even a slight concern. I was having dinner one night with my friend when his boss calls him and has decided he wants to fly to New York for a few days (he was in L.A.) and he wanted to leave in an hour. He also wanted to stay at the Waldorf in their presidential suite while he was there. My friend calls The concierge service at Amex (the special black card service. Gives the particulars of what is needed (private jet, hotel reservations and the fact that it all needs to be ready to go in an hour and the Amex rep says that he will call back with the particulars shortly. We continue to eat dinner and about 20 minutes later Amex calls back and tells him that they just sent him an e-mail with the flight info and that the jet will be ready at the Van Nuys airport when his boss gets there. They had already dispatched a limo to his bosses house and while the presidential suite at the Waldorf had already been booked for the following night the manager of the Waldorf went ahead and moved that persons reservation to a large suite and they will keep the presidential suite open for him for as long as he would like to stay. My friend had his smartphone on speakerphone so when I heard that I almost choked on what I was eating. I doubt Vertu's service could do that. I also realized that my friends job was so much simpler with the Amex concierge. All he ever has to do is place a phone call and let Amex take care of everything. It must be hell being that filthy rich.
  • Vertu concierge can do everything you just said and more. Amex is limited to using services that accept Amex cards and as good as that concierge is you must spend about 250k a year to maintain it. The only other way to get Vertu concierge without buying a Vertu is to be referred to the Coots private bank and be awarded a black coots card which requires 5Mil in the account at any one time. I know of a Vertu client who was very wealthy and bought the phone because it was the only concierge service that could get 2 elephants to come to Birmingham and walk the bride and groom of his daughters wedding to the ceremony. I've know several people with a black Amex card. Never met anyone with a black coots card even though they have a had a coots account. Vertu concierge is the superior option, its not the "cheap knock off service" that you clearly know so little about.
  • This isn't a billionaires phone or even millionaires; they wouldn't waste (even what to them is chump change) $6k on a mid-spec phone as a status symbol. This is a phone only the IDIOTS out there that want to appear "rich" via bling would by. Yes, I'm looking at you Mr drives a new $70,000 SUV while living in a $500/month section 8 apartment.
  • Hi, Both my wife, and I have one. We are NOT living in a section 8 apartment, nor drive a 70k SUV. I think the real IDIOT is the person who JUDGES others by what they decide to purchase. It's not your money, so don't worry about it.
  • Curious, why?
  • I'm sorry man, I really don't like to judge people. But I gotta say yikes! bro... Why would you waste money on one of these? (or better yet, two!). I mean, serously? You couldn't get two Galaxy S8's and donate the difference to your local animal shelter?
  • I was with you - right up until you pulled out the old saw about the welfare cheat driving a Cadillac. Yes - this is a 'status' item for people who don't know what to spend their money on next. The kind that'd drop the same $6000 on a handbag. But then again, there are enough AC commenters that seem to drop $800 every year on the latest Samsung device. Doesn't take too long to blow $6000 that way, and you don't even get much of a status bump for it. I personally prefer to bask in the anti-status of being able to keep my $400 mid-ranger on the latest Android version until it drops dead ;-)
  • If I was 'comfortable' financially, I would consider one of these. Why not? It looks different/quality build and has high enough specs for me. It's all about choice isn't it. Some are happy with their £30 Nokia, some are salivating waiting for the Samsung S8.