WHEN Apple revealed that its new 'cheap' iPhone 5C would actually cost €600, some grumbled at the high price of shiny new technology. They don't know the half of it.
Beyond suburban shopping centres and duty-free airport strips, there is another world of electronics-based indulgence that makes the cost of the iPhone 5C look like a budget memory card. Bejewelled phones, rarified cameras and prestige audio-visual brands are just some of the ultra-expensive gadgets that pass under our radar but can be seen in Russian yachts or Dubai penthouses. These are the gadgets of the ultra-rich or the ultra-dedicated. Here are four of the most luxuriant gadgets and home entertainment items you can buy.
Price: from €7,900
The problem with cool iPhones or Samsungs is that any old prole can buy one. Worse, they're often offered "from free" in grubby "high-street" retailers where one has to queue up and be served by someone called Darren.
Not so Vertu's Ti. The marquee mobile manufacturer takes a high-end phone du jour and transforms it into something that can be left on the bar upstairs on an Emirates flight. In the case of the Ti, this takes the shape of a 3.7" touchscreen Android device with fairly modest specifications (1.7Ghz dual-core processor, 1GB Ram, 8mp camera).
The premium comes from the casing and the screen. The former is of titanium and leather while the latter is made of "sapphire crystal", supposed to be utterly "scratchproof".
Vertu is no Crispin-Come-Lately firm: the English company has been around for a decade and has sold 350,000 of its bejewelled handsets. Although Ireland does not have a physical Vertu shop, there's a guide to retailers from Vertu.com.
Price: from €6,000,000
You read that correctly: €6,000,000. That's the price of a 10-inch iPad poured into 53 individually-set diamonds and 0.2kg of solid, 24-carat gold.
The device, available via an online shopping cart on StuartHughes.com, does not trade merely on Kardashian-grade bling: it claims to also feature sections of a 65 million year old Tyrannosaurus Rex's thigh bone, splintered and shaved into ancient Ammolite rock.
What arguably makes this the most obscenely indulgent gadget of any item mentioned today is that it's only up to speed for a maximum 12 months, thanks to Apple's habit of upgrading its tablets and operating systems every year. As far as we know, there is no iPad mini version in the works.
Price: from €27,900
(body only, lenses extra)
For those who want to outbid everyone else in the photographic hierarchy stakes, there is little to compare to a Hasselblad. Yet it is not for jewels or ostentation that some seek these Swedish snappers out: the machine genuinely has specifications that few rival imaging devices can match. One of these is its whopping 200-megapixel sensor. This obscene quotient would normally overload an ordinary digital camera. However, Hasselblad has built a camera sensor almost twice the size of the kind to be found on conventional high-end cameras, such as Canon's 5D Mark III. The result is an astonishing level of resolution in still photos, attracting commercial product photographers and celebrity portrait photographers such as Vanity Fair's Annie Leibovitz.
Bang & Olufsen
Price: from €14,000
If you're the type of squillionaire who prefers Scandinavian architecture in its own wooded demesne to Malahide's Abington Manor, you'll wince at a black Beko telly.
Thankfully, there's something aesthetically more fitting available for your ultra-lean sensibilities. Bang & Olufsen's BeoVision 12 New Generation is a 65-inch telly that looks and sounds every bit the part of a posh, high-end TV. Available with or without a slick motorised floor stand, the screen has upgraded its already-excellent audio ability to synchronise with more external speaker combinations. It also has 3D and styling that is undeniably designer-focused.
True, for this kind of money you could get one of the newest, cutting-edge 4K televisions from Sony or Panasonic and still emerge with change. But where's the class in that? Handily, Bang & Olufsen has a shop in Dublin's Donnybrook suburb where you can walk in and see the equipment in action, first hand.