The million dollar review: Going window-shopping
GoldVish: If you had one wish
GoldVish is another Swiss manufacturer, making the Swiss accountable for 2 out of the 3 brands in our article. The business is quite simple actually, never mind the obscene amounts of cash involved. Brits and Swiss make them, Russians buy them. Now, GoldVish is true Millionaire Fair stuff. Theirs is a pretty strict routine and they're in no mood to experiment. The GoldVish idea of a premium handset is gold and diamonds - nothing more, nothing less. And each GoldVish phone uses at least 150 grams of 18K gold.
By the way, the company got famous for releasing the world's most expensive phone. The 'Le million' Piece Unique comes with a full diamond coat, which secured it a place in the Guinness book of records. As to mass production (or whatever gets closest to that, as these handsets hardly sell by the million - pun intended) the company only has one line and we checked out two of their models.
GoldVish Illusion: Your gold bar is ringing
Solid gold handsets are the GoldVish line of business, and diamonds are their ornament of choice. There are five handsets in the Illusion lineup, each coming in three different flavors.
In the Illusion lineup it all boils down to what kind of gold (white, yellow or rose) and how many diamonds. The options vary from a single diamond in the confirm button of the Centerfold to 1639 stones in the ultra-exclusive 120,000 euro Like Heaven. What can we say - that's 1638 reasons for Centerfold owners to want to upgrade.
We hate to break it to you but we only got the low-end GoldVish Illusion phones: the entry-level Centerfold (yellow gold) and the next-in-rank Violent Numbers (white gold). The name of the latter is a good enough warning of the extra 10 grand you'll need to splash on it. Or is it the diamond encrusted numpad they had in mind? Anyway, the Centerfold with its single stone costs 21,000 euro, while the Violent Numbers goes around at 31,500. The diamonds used are all VVS1 clarity certified, which means the only acceptable imperfections are minor ones that are not visible to the naked eye.
If you paid attention you would have noticed the croc skin at the back of each handset. You can pick from up to 12 different colors for the back of your GoldVish but it doesn't end there.
Those rear inlays are available for purchase separately at around 500 euro a piece. It was never easier (and probably more expensive) to have your mobile handset match your evening outfit.
Our major disappointment with the GoldVish Illusion handsets is their performance. The company motto is luxury communication and we're willing to trust them on luxury. Not sure about the rest. We guess there's no need to fuss over ergonomics - hand feel is irrelevant as long as there's a handful of diamonds.
The worse part however is the obsolete and utterly unintuitive interface. It's so terrible it must've been made by the same guys that skinned the crocodiles. A bit of graphics here and some more features there certainly wouldn't have swollen the price too much (certainly not beyond affordability).
The display is also pretty bad, but we kinda saw that coming. It's a 262K-color unit of 176 x 220 resolution. Oh well, more diamonds than pixels must be a fair deal to some.
It's pretty obvious we're dealing with jewelry rather than mobile phones here - they have to look pretty and expensive, rather than being practical. But it sure makes more sense to simply carry a solid gold bar in you pocket and a regular phone. After all, the design of the GoldVish is hardly much more inspiring, is it?
Finally, just to end on a positive note, we would like to mention the GoldVish retail package. The enormous box is crafted from fine wood and is a pretty expensive item itself.
There's a mirror inside, as you have every right to expect in a jewelry box. We just can't help but wish the team that made the box and the team that encrusted the handset each set one person aside to work on features and interface. You're right, we wish.
So to conclude, we aren't really in awe with the GoldVish handsets, despite them being perhaps the priciest of the lot. We guess GoldVish are equally unimpressed with a bunch of penny-pinching geeks, so it's all square and fair.
Alright then, we're gonna watch about 150,000 US dollars worth of mobile phones slip through our hands. There goes the title of the article but we won't fuss it. At least the million dollar liability coverage never came into force. Anyway, even if we reached the million mark we doubt it our conclusions would be any different.
But we hardly know anything about jewelry, so don't take our words for it. And no, we're not gonna tell you Vertu gets an edge out of a 3 MP camera, WLAN and Nokia-made interface. The rather obvious conclusion is just the opposite - the best handset is the one with the most diamonds.
So, these phones are out there and some people are buying. If you're next in line to unload a bag of cash, there's little we can say to change your mind. And don't let anyone tell you it can't be a smart buy. It can't be much worse than a Louis Vuitton hand bag, right?