Luckily, CES provided the first chance to get up close and personal with the Aura. Normally, manufactures keep cell phones that cost $1,999 safely behind glass at trade shows. But to our surprise, Moto was eager to let us get our grubby hands on the Aura. And from what we can tell, the device is just as attractive in the flesh. Its overall shape may not be for everyone, but it will stand apart from any other phone on the street. Be sure to check a gallery of shots in our .
The etched pattern on the shiny, stainless-steel exterior is eye-catching, even if Moto hadn't told us that it takes two weeks to etch and polish the design. As we said in October, the Aura reminds us of the much more mundane
The circular display is something we haven't seen before on a cell phone. We like the clock design and the icon-based menu design that's similar to the interface on the
We were apprehensive about the swivel mechanism, given our past experience with that design. We've found over time that swivel phones like the
Other exterior features include a camera shutter, a volume rocker, and the standard Moto smart key. The Aura also has a memory card slot, but it's stashed behind the battery cover. The keypad is flush and relatively spacious, but it too attracts smudges and fingerprints.
All of that glitz and high-end styling does come at a price, and we don't just mean the wallet-crunching $1,999 price tag. The Aura weighs almost 5 ounces, so it will add some mass to a pocket or bag. And it doesn't come with a huge feature set either. Goodies are limited to a 2-megapixel camera, a music player, stereo Bluetooth, Moto's CrystalTalk, messaging, a speakerphone, and an open-source browser. But if its looks are what you care about, there are few better phones.