If there's one lesson you can glean from this feature on the world's highest-priced gadgets and gizmos, it's that there's very little in the world that can't be made more expensive and less desirable by the addition of 4,000 precious stones and a layer of white gold. Light up a £50 note, fill a bath with bubbly and relax with our signed, strictly limited-edition countdown of the most ridiculously overpriced tech on the planet.
The no-nonsense, £665 Stealth Computer HULA-DT/IS-PS/2 mouse is pressure-riveted from stainless steel to withstand wind-blown dust and rain, splashing and hose-directed water, and even the formation of ice on its enclosure. The la-di-da, £14,400 Pat Says Now mouse is cast from 18-carat white gold and sprinkled with 59 diamonds in flowery designs. Pit these digital rodents against each other and there can be only one winner -- the bulletproof Stealth. The main loser though, is you, for spending more on a pointing device than most sensible people spend on an entire computer.
You can never be too expensive or too thin. That's how the saying goes, right? The £2,250 Artcoustic Crystal wall-mounted iPod dock/picture frame certainly has the skinny thing going on -- it manages to squeeze 150W of stereo amplification and a thundering 106dB of audio into a flat panel just 13cm deep. When it comes to dazzling your neighbours with cost, though, you might want to slip a Gauguin sketch or Banksy print into the Swarovski crystal frame to boost its rather anaemic RRP.
Ears: useless fleshy flaps that have done little for human history other than accumulate fluff and get in the way of decent haircuts. But now Norwegian fashion house Heyerdahl has ushered in the age of the lughole, with the £4,470 iDiamond ear -- earbuds that look as good, or possibly significantly better, than they sound. We're not sure how the white and rosé gold and over 200 brilliant cut diamonds affect the 20-22,000Hz acoustics, but there'd better be some serious noise-cancelling tech to block out the 'oohs' and 'aahs' of envious passers-by.
Diamonds may be a girl's best friend, but when a man goes in search of a buddy, he could do much worse than samurai-themed Kyoto lacquerware. Masculine without being macho, SoftBank's classy £680 iPhone cases apparently celebrate "the concept of love and belief in warlords", which is okay because all the unpleasant hacking, stabbing, decapitating and impaling happened several hundred years ago and a long way away. The cases come with 'barbarian' suede, 'tabard' velvet or 'Niigata' silk slips for protection against ronin, ninjas and spilt Starbucks lattes.
Paul Simon once sang, "She's got diamonds on the soles of her shoes." Looking at the bizarre, Swarovski crystal-encrusted Electrolux Ergorapido cyclonic, bagless vacuum cleaner, that suddenly doesn't seem like such a crazy idea. At the very least, you could hoover up any that happen to fall off. Please note how we got through this entire paragraph without talking about how the concept of sticking 3,730 crystals on a £13,500 vacuum cleaner sucks, blows or will help Electrolux to clean up.
The hundreds and thousands on this tasty transport treat hide a 24V electric motor, heavy-duty battery and a little seat. Originally designed for pagan festival Burning Man and with a top speed of 7mph, the nippy Customised Cupcake Car is now available for purchase by anyone with £15,100 to spare who's undergoing a disturbed mid-life crisis or delusions of a second childhood. It comes with a choice of toppings, naturally.
How good does your stereo have to be to justify dropping £20,000 on the Nordost Whitelight glass fibre-optic cable? Put it this way: unless Bob Dylan regularly pops in for jam sessions and a boogie, there are probably better ways to spend your spare change. You'll miss out on highly polished glass fibre conductors, three layers of low-loss insulation and polished lens connectors, though. Gutted.
Michael Jackson's famous illuminated white glove, worn on his 1984 Victory Tour, has a disappointingly low-tech construction: 50 small lights powered by a 9V battery in the cuff. Separate circuits allow the lights to sparkle at random, and Jackson could turn them off (or get glove technician Ted Shell to do it) with a little switch. The single glove that sold for £44,300 at an auction in October is probably only of interest to hardcore fans or amputees -- the whereabouts of its sibling are unknown.
The £81,800 Goldmund Eidos Reference Blue Blu-ray player is a heavyweight investment. This Swiss disc-spinner weighs in at 82kg, thanks to its heavy-duty brass and aluminium construction. The magnetic damping tech, stabilised power supply and HDMI 1.3 output sound pretty good today, but we're not at all convinced by Goldmund's claim that it will "keep its value over the years and decades to come", because collectors are really driving up the value of those 1980s LaserDisc players, aren't they?
A million quid just doesn't go as far as it used to. Sure, with the £905,000 Goldvish Le million mobile phone, you get 120 carats of first-water diamonds set in a chassis of 18-carat white gold, but quad-band GSM and a built-in camera simply aren't enough to get our Gucci knickers in a twist. We'd rather pocket three-quarters of a mill and snap up Amosu's £120,000 Curva instead. Only three of these BlingBerrys will ever be made, each smothered in 4,459 diamonds and 62g of 18-carat gold.
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