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Why Making a $6,000 Smartphone May Not Be Crazy After All

A technician uses a magnifier to polish a Vertu mobile phone
A technician uses a magnifier to polish a Vertu mobile phonePhotograph by Micha Theiner/Redux

It’s easy to make fun of Vertu.

In case you’re not familiar, Vertu is a maker of luxury mobile phones. And by “luxury” I mean models that cost anywhere from roughly $6,000 all the way up to $12,000 (and well past that, for special orders that can go into the mid-six figures). What drives those looney-tunes prices? Materials and craftsmanship, mainly. Sapphire crystal faces instead of Gorilla Glass. Titanium bodies (or gold, or platinum) instead of plastic or aluminum.