Bentley is a brand synonymous with luxury and quality, so when the company lends its name to a new smartphone, it’s not unfair to expect something pricy, but jaw-droppingly brilliant. You’d expect this bauble to be super-luxurious, with hardware that makes top-end smartphones from other vendors want to go and weep quietly in a corner.
Except, that’s not what’s happened. Instead, Bentley teamed up with another luxury firm called Vertu to bring the world the Vertu Signature for Bentley smartphone, a badly-specced phone with 2008-era hardware and software.
Its claims of luxury stem from its ridiculous £14 500 starting price tag (R275 550), its “Beluga Calf-skin Leather” backing and access to an exclusive “Vertu Concierge” service that is apparently “…designed to meet your every need, 24/7”. Press a button on the phone, and a real person picks up, ready to do whatever it is you need doing. Within reason, of course… probably.
Central to the phone’s design is the use of high-end, super-expensive materials like an 83-carat, nigh-on unbreakable sapphire screen, a key pad that uses 4.85 carat ruby bearings and, perhaps most importantly to Bentley owners, the option to personalise the phone to look as much like the Bentley they drive as possible.
That’s all well and good if your ambitions include looking like the world’s most pretentious douchebag, just don’t let anyone use the thing because, quite frankly, they’re going to laugh at you.
That’s because it uses Nokia’s very old Series 40 operating system from the days of its mid-tiered feature phones – yes, really – and is powered by a processor Vertu’s page doesn’t list. If that wasn’t bad enough, the phone sports a TWO INCH LCD screen, has a keypad rather than touch functionality, 4GB of internal storage and a battery so tiny it only provides five and a half hours of power, according to Trusted Reviews.
For a phone that costs considerably more than the annual salary of a mid-level manager in a big company, that’s beyond laughable, leading us to believe the target market is indeed rich twits with more money than sense.
And that starting price? That’s what you’ll pay if you don’t add gold, titanium, platinum, diamond, or alligator skin to it, all of which are options, apparently.
Vertu has other phones on offer that are better-specced and prettier than this one, of course, so the fact that this one is even a thing is a puzzle all of its own.
If you were super-rich and drove a Bentley, would you pick one up? After all, what’s a R275 000 phone when you drive a R4m car?
Me, I’d rather have a four-GPU, three-screen 12K PC gaming rig setup than this thing, but then I have more sense than money.