With Vertu finally offering an up-to-date luxury phone, we naturally had to check out the Signature Touch up close and personal. After all, it's not everyday that one gets to play with a $21,900 phone for free (though you can do so at any Vertu boutique, as long as you're nicely dressed). For those who haven't caught up with the announcement, we're looking at a 4.7-inch 1080p display, a 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 chip, 64GB of storage, 13MP/2.1MP cameras, a 2,275mAh battery, Qi wireless charging, NFC and a handful of LTE bands. With the exception of the battery (which, to be fair, is already much larger than those on previous models), these are all very decent for an Android 4.4 device.
As hinted by its name, the Signature Touch continues the legacy of the Signature series by carrying its iconic features. Under Vertu's new lead designer, Ignacio Germade, the masculine "V-spine" design and the D-ring latch (for popping open the Micro SIM tray cover) remain; though the ceramic ear pillow is now smaller and makes way for a titanium chin, instead of being surrounded by a metallic bezel. Another notable change is that the stereo speakers -- developed in partnership with Bang & Olufsen -- are now facing the front, which makes a lot more sense than the sideway speakers on the similar-looking Ti.
The ringtones produced by the London Symphony Orchestra sounded exceptional on those speakers, which isn't a surprise. According to Hutch Hutchison, Vertu's Head of Concept Creation and Design, each ringtone is tuned for optimal effect on each model, rather than just copying the same audio files to the whole range. A new addition on this end is the set of Dolby Digital Plus effects, which should come in handy for watching movies and playing games.
Another big collaboration on the Signature Touch lies within its 13-megapixel and 2.1-megapixel cameras. We're still surprised that Vertu managed to get renowned camera maker Hasselblad to help optimize the imaging performance; though sadly, we'll have to wait for the final camera software before we can judge the results.