Vertu Signature Touch review: Smartphone a little too hot to handle at Dh57,000

A week spent trialling Vertu’s Signature Touch for Bentley smartphone was similar to my one and only visit to a Prada store. And not in a good way.

Don’t get me wrong, the Signature Touch is perhaps the best designed smartphone I’ve ever tried, with some truly exceptional features. But knowing it cost Dh57,000, the experience of actually holding it had the same ruinous effect on my blood pressure as my wife enthusiastically trying out that yellow Prada handbag.

A Vertu isn’t a smartphone for journalists. It’s for high net worth individual males, designed to complement their Patek Phillipe watch, their villa on Lake Como, their Ermenegildo Zegna Suit, and, most of all, their Bentley Continental.

Three things set it apart for its extremely rich target audience. First up, a luxury design that means more than a curved glass display. The Signature Touch for Bentley, like every Vertu, is assembled by hand at a workshop in England, and bears the signature of the craftsman that assembled it.

Below the 5.2-inch display is a Bentley-logoed grill. Its “knurled” side keys resemble classic car pedals, while the rear is encased in a premium “Beluga” black and “Hotspur” red leather. It’s really quite sumptuous.

Second, there’s Vertu’s exclusive service suite, dominated by its Vertu Concierge service, just in case your personal assistant is indisposed. Vertu Certainty uses Silent Circle encryption to keep the details of your next billion-dollar deal secret, and will wipe your data if your vindictive former girlfriend supermodel runs off with it.

Vertu Life meanwhile offers you access to “an inspiring selection of exclusive experiences that reflect your lifestyle and desires”. There’s also exclusive Bentley content for when you take your weekend motor out for a spin.

And third, the price. For a billionaire Bentley driver with Dh57,000 to spare, it’s an exquisitely crafted handset with wonderful features. This journalist, however, finds his comparatively bargain basement iPhone significantly easier on his blood pressure.

q&a mingle with the jet set

John Everington expands on Vertu’s Signature Touch for Bentley smartphone:

So how good a phone is it?

You haven’t been paying attention have you? You don’t buy this phone for its 21MP camera, its Octacore processor or its 428 ppi pixel density display, all of which are very good, mind. You buy it because it’s well designed, expensive and comes with a guy who can order you a private jet.

Wait, what? Are you talking about Vertu Concierge?

Yes I am. When you take possession of your new device, you get a call from your personal concierge, who finds out what you like in terms of food, travel, shopping, entertainment and then will offer you a variety of services.

Such as?

Find you a table tomorrow evening at a five-star restaurant at short notice, provide you a bespoke itinerary for your upcoming weekend in New York, get VIP seats for sold-out sports events, and, indeed book you a private jet should you need one.

Did you get it to do any of these things for you?

Sadly my expense account didn’t extend to a private jet, so I’m afraid not. A Pokemon Go-loving friend suggested I ask my lovely concierge where all the Pikachus were in Abu Dhabi, but I didn’t have the heart.

So it’s a well-equipped smartphone that people like you can’t afford. I’m just wondering if …

Vertu will customise the phone to your liking with a wide range of leather and stitching shades. I’m sure many of these are a variation on rose gold, pink gold, pink, or whatever else the luxury-minded want to call it.

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John Everington

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