What do you get when you try too hard to make a luxury mobile phone that stands out? In fact, what do you get when you try too hard to make just a luxury mobile phone? Most of the time it is some hideous creation that excels at delivering a sub par technological device in an expensive skin. So if you want to spend big bucks on a luxury phone, you can have a device that is probably antiquated before it reaches market, and is covered in gems, gold, and other gaudy looking essentials. The message no one seems to be getting is that mobile phones are mostly a commodity because technological changes and advancements require an upgrade every 12-24 months. Stick luxury watches, those can last for generations - literally.
Still, there are a slew of "successful" luxury phones out there. Vertu is one of them, as well as the Tag Heuer Meridist. There are also Nokia's line of "fashionable" phones that come with hefty style premiums. These phones do well in limited markets, especially among those are are more interested in phones being fashion icons rather than productivity tools. As such, a luxury phone needs to look nice, and be nice to the touch. The materials it uses are important, but overall it is the user experience that is key to pushing a product.
The shortcoming of most luxury phones is that they use very complex and expensive materials. The rationale? The expensive watch market puts a premium both in price and prestige on use of exotic materials. Because it works there, and presumably there is a market overlap between luxury watch buyers and luxury phone buyers, it seems like a good idea to use exotic and very expensive materials on luxury phones. The reason this unwise, is that it dramatically increases the price, does not seem to be valued much by mobile phone consumers, and is placed on an item with a very limited useful life. Like I said, nice watch can literally last you generations. A luxury phone will last maybe a few years max. Thus, it makes more sense to spend a lot on a luxury watch than phone.
So the subject of this discussion is the Professional 105GMT Gold Discovery phone from Russian based luxury phone maker Mobiado. Funny enough, I hear that their phones aren't even sold in Russia. Further, I have no idea exactly what is supposed to be professional about this? Mobiado seems to have a mission to take a bunch of fancy materials and make a phone out of them. While they have succeeded in this, the sum of the parts is seemingly cheaper than the parts individually. So I'll talk about the good aspects of the phone first; the bad aspects should be obvious.
The gold you see on the case is gold plated (base is brass). The case is also offered in a gun metal version (screws are gun metal too), which is just specially treated steel. The dark parts of the case are Ebony wood with thin layers of synthetic sapphire crystal over them. This is the same type of sapphire crystal used on watch faces. It is very strong and doesn't scratch, and probably forces the phone to weight a lot. There are also diamonds around the watch faces. They aren't particularly well placed, but they are real diamonds. Though I do get a distinct low-end blingy feel from this phone.
The phone is also a "world phone," and pretty flexible. With quad-band GSM and WCDMA (world CDMA), this phone should work on just about every network or carrier; great so that you can appear in absolute fashion disarray from the cities of Africa to the suburbs of Korea. This item represents one of the few hybrid GSM/CDMA phones out there, and you'll certainly be paying for it...in money and dignity. The phone also has 3G connection. Otherwise the operating system seems to be some Symbian derivative. Nokia's Symbian OS is a really functional and flexible OS, but the version in this phone just seems totally outdated from a UI standpoint. Further, the mediocre small screen (two inches) is probably not the best to look at, but adequate. Inside it has enough stuff to offer decent functionality. Nothing better than a decent free phone from your local carrier.
You then have the oddly incorporated watches. Two automatic mechanical Swiss watch movements are in a section at the bottom of the phone. I don't even think the phone will get enough movement in your pocket to keep the movements wound. Why are these there? Mobiado says to add two time zones, but really it was just something to add. The mechanical movements are likely ETA 2824-2 movements, or something of the sort. Beyond being gold plated (or simply gold toned), they are not decorated at all really. The faces are skeletonized, which in this case just mean there is no dial. The hands are pretty boring, nothing special, and the placement of the diamond hour markers feels awkward. This is not a watch lover's timepiece-phone. Between the two watch faces is an "M" shaped diamond cluster. This is backlit when the keyboard lights up. The keyboard itself features those tiny keys that everyone hates to press. Nothing comfortable there.
You can go to www.Mobiado.com if you want to learn more about the technical details. My feelings are that the Professional 105GMT Gold phone is pretty hideous looking. For lack of a better term, there simply is no design. The elements are just thrown together symmetrically. This phone is in all senses, as ugly at the large brick cellulars phones from the late 1980s, just with a different look. It isn't ergonomic, it doesn't offer anything special in terms of technology, and once the tech life is out dated, you simply have an expensive paper weight. The company offers other ugly models, but this model wins for being the most hideous. For these reasons I am giving this item the aBlogtoRead.com Bad Idea Award. Price? At least $5,000.
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