09/07/2014 07:53 BST | Updated 09/07/2014 12:59 BST

Vertu Signature Touch Review: The Phone That'll Grant Any Wish

The Vertu Signature Touch is the ultra-premium smartphone maker's key to a new life for the person that has it all. With its trademark Concierge service built in, the Signature Touch isn't just a smartphone, it's your real-life PA, your wake up call and the person that knows when everyone's birthday is -- and that's before you even get to the phone.

Key Features:

  • Vertu Concierge: A 24/7 personal concierge that'll get you literally anything. Legality and your bank account are the only two limiting factors.
  • Snapdragon 801 2.3GHz quad-core processor
  • 4.7-inch 1080p display at 473ppi
  • Pure sapphire glass display
  • Titanium body with leather
  • 13MP Hasselblad Rear-facing camera
  • Bang & Olufsen tuned stereo speakers
  • Wireless Charging

The Pitch

With unmatched global connectivity, acoustics tuned in partnership with Bang & Olufsen, a Hasselblad-certified camera and a full HD screen protected by sapphire crystal and titanium casing, Signature Touch performs like nothing else.


Vertu have put us in a bit of an awkward situation. Whereas before it was easy to write off a Vertu phone as being nothing more than an overpriced 'walkie talkie' with a direct line to an impersonal butler, the company's more recent devices offer more than that: they're increasingly half-decent gadgets too.

In fact things get even more confusing with the Signature Touch because it's actually a genuinely decent phone.

No, seriously, it's a really good phone. Look at the specs! Sure, it's big, but have you held a Lumia 1020 recently? That's big.

If you ever put on your Sunday best and manage to make it inside the Vertu showroom, pick up the Signature Touch. Take a moment to actually look at it. You'll see that the craftsmanship really is impressive. It's no accident. The body of the phone alone is made from a mixture of titanium, leather, porcelain and sapphire. That's a hell of a list and it certainly goes someway to explaining the gargantuan £6-14,000 price tag.

Every Vertu is assigned to a single 'master craftsman'. They then make that phone through to completion, finally signing it on the inside of the SIM cover. It's a neat detail in what is a highly thought-out process, and one which (we imagine) gives you the same feeling of ownership as you'd get from a handmade sports car.

Look closer and you'll see the other little touches that make it so exclusive. The ear rest is made from polished porcelain; extremely hard but soft to the touch. Those accents on either side? Pure sapphire, and the screen itself is made from a single sheet of the stuff. Vertu make huge tiles of sapphire, find the finest part of it, and use that for the screen, they throw the rest away. Apple will get there too, in time. But Vertu was here first.

Look on the back and you'll find a tiny circular hinge which opens the SIM bay, yes that's carbon fibre surrounding it. Finally take a look on the side and you'll see Vertu's Concierge button, it's red, and that's because it's an actual ruby. The largest they've ever used on their phones in fact.

You add these things together and on paper at least this sounds like every millionaire's porcelain and leather-clad dream; it's lighter than a Ferrari, certainly more portable, and yet just as capable of showing the world how fantastically over-the-top wealthy you really are.

These then are the elements that make it a Vertu phone. In a sense they are a given. What makes it a surprisingly usable smartphone are hidden within its exclusive shell: the quad-core processor, Full-HD display, wireless charging and optics by Hasselblad. On specs alone this phone is capable of competing with the Galaxy S5, the HTC One M8 and indeed the iPhone 5s.

Of course as a millionaire you're not buying a phone for its specs. Hell that's why Vertu has only just started making phones with touchscreen. No, not having WhatsApp isn't a world-ending proposition for you, there a thousands of other ways to keep in contact with people. Trained messenger hawks being one. If you want you can just buy an iPhone every time you want to actually check your email and snap it over your knee in between sips of cinnamon-toasted polar bear's blood.

What you're buying this for is something else. You're buying it because of what it says about you, and thanks to the shopping list of materials we mentioned earlier it should at least look the part.

Vertu Concierge: A Living Siri

You'll buy a Vertu because you can. You'll keep it for the service. That ruby button opens doors to everything, whether it's tickets for the Wimbledon Final or a reservation at the most exclusive restaurant in London, Vertu's Concierge service can do it.

It is -- and this should come as no surprise -- an entirely surreal experience using this button. For four days we were basically handed the keys to another world, and we used it.

Press the button and you're directed to one of a small handful of Concierge staff that'll know everything about you from the moment you've bought the phone. Thanks to an induction, you can describe your daily life, your likes, dislikes, everything they need to make sure that they recommend something before you've even thought of it.

So what does £2,000pa (membership to Vertu's Concierge service doesn't come cheap) get a young, newly minted millionaire? Well it's the perfect way to start living the lifestyle, they'll recommend all the places you can finally afford, and don't worry about a table, that's covered.

They'll make sure you're a member of the private members clubs that matter. Not a member? Doesn't matter, they'll get you in. This was rather stunningly demonstrated when we realised one day that it was a) beautifully sunny and b) lunchtime. What did we do? We called the Concierge and got a day pass to the hugely exclusive Home House.

Travelling abroad? Vertu Life is a Feedly list of all the amazing things you can now do, whether it's staying in a Parisian five star hotel or going to the races in Hong Kong. Just tap the Concierge button on the screen next to the activity and it's all booked.

Of course you haven't reached this far without making enemies, so privacy and security are a major concern. Thankfully Vertu Certainty offers encrypted text messaging, calling and browsing all through Silent Circle's range of ultra-secure apps.

It goes without saying that we're not millionaires, so a lot of this was simply 'look don't touch'. Sure, Vertu could have got me a room at the Ritz, but could I afford it? Not likely.

In fact our financial situation become nothing but a hinderance, when asking Concierge for a great steak restaurant one evening we were presented with not one, but five incredible restaurants, all costing more than we make in a week.

Ask for the quirkier things and suddenly the Concierge makes more sense. It's not just a key for unlocking doors, they'll remember your friends' birthdays, they'll wake you up in the morning, they'll even read you poetry if you're lacking for literary inspiration.

One of Vertu's Concierge staff summed it up perfectly: 'As long as it's legal, we'll do it'.

£14,350 may seem like a lot but it's just the tip of the iceberg, think of it as an incredibly reasonable joining fee to the ultimate club.

So, this is it. Should you buy one? If you do the its a decision that's more for you than it is for anyone else. The Signature Touch isn't a Lamborghini, it's an Aston Martin, it's the phone you buy because you're new to the game. You don't want to go screaming and shouting about it just yet, you want to find your feet and smile every morning knowing that in about ten minutes time, someone's going to wake you up with some poetry.