Nine Cell Phones and Smartphones That Will Bust Your Budget

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Nine Cell Phones and Smartphones That Will Bust Your Budget

by Nate Eddy

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Nokia N97 ($700)

This one barely makes the list, coming in at an almost affordable $700. Nokia's Symbian-powered, touch-screen-enabled N97 smartphone is packed with features like a touch-sensitive display and a slide-out keyboard. For good measure, the N97 also sports the dynamic duo of a handwriting recognition application and a tiny stylus.

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Motorola Aura ($2,000)

The Motorola Aura is the company's high-end cell phone offering. For the $2,000 price, a user can get the Aura's solid steel casing and a screen that can support 16 million colors and a 300-dpi resolution. The Aura is also SIM-free and contains more than 700 additional components—don't drop it.

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HP iPAQ Data Messenger ($700)

Another "cheapie" smartphone, the iPAQ runs Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional and sports a touch-screen display with LED backlight and a full QWERTY slide-out keyboard. Also included are an integrated 3.1-megapixel auto-focus camera, 5X digital zoom, 3G wireless broadband capability and integrated GPS navigation.

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Sagem Porsche P9521 ($1,600)

This handset sports a 2.2-inch active-matrix OLED touch-screen and integrated 3.2-megapixel camera module with auto-focus and digital zoom. Of course, the big draw is the design, inspired by legendary automaker Porsche. It helps if you have the car to go with the phone, of course—don't get caught with it in a Kia.

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Mobiado Executive ($2,200)

As the Mobiado Executive is a limited-edition collector's item (only 200 were made), you may have trouble tracking one down, but hey, when you've got money, anything's possible. If you manage to obtain one of these, you'll be treated to a handset made from ebony wood, hard-anodized aluminum and titanium. The Executive also has Bluetooth technology, infrared, a USB port and a "visual radio."

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Nokia N95 Diamonds ($24,482)

What's the best way to separate your already capable N95 from the pack? Encrust it with diamonds, naturally! The front is 18-karat solid white gold and features 658 brilliant cut diamonds. Only 25 of these phones were made, so they're rarer than anything Mobiado or Gresso sells (if you keep track of that kind of thing). Each phone is made to the customer's requirements and is unique either by color of diamonds or a choice of solid classic gold or white gold.

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Gresso Royal White Diamonds ($14,000)

Another limited-edition handset, the Gresso has 23 function keys made of gold and encased with white diamonds. The front panel is embellished by a triangle inset of gold and the back panel is furnished in African whitewood. The case is manually manufactured and fastened with gold screws. Sapphire crystal glass frames the screen and there is a special scratch-resistant covering on the keyboard, the figures and letters of which are laser cut. Salivating yet?

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Vertu Ascent Ti ($6,628)

Along with a titanium chassis, sapphire face layer and cowhide back (available in red, black or brown), the major asset of the Vertu family of handsets is access to Fortress, a 24-hour concierge service with the ability to sync notes, contacts and calendars with a server located in an English bunker. It's perfect for making last-minute preparations before boarding your Learjet.

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Bang & Olufsen Serene by Samsung ($1,275)

The partnership between luxury audio design company Bang & Olufsen and Samsung resulted in the strange-looking Serene. Predictably, the handset boasts great audio quality and a motorized clamshell design. The keypad is located around the thumb-operated navigation wheel (outdated in the touch-screen age). While it may not be the most practical mobile ever made, it's sure to draw attention. That's why you bought it in the first place, right?