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Meet the luxury phone for the super-rich and super-paranoid (pictures)

With its titanium body and security features, the Solarin phone from Sirin labs wants to earn its $16,000 price tag.

Andrew Lanxon
Andrew is CNET's go-to guy for product coverage and lead photographer for Europe. When not testing the latest phones, he can normally be found with his camera in hand, behind his drums or eating his stash of home-cooked food. Sometimes all at once.
Andrew Lanxon
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1 of 14 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

If you want to keep spies out of your business and you've got money to burn, then the Solarin phone from new startup Sirin Labs is the smartphone for you.

It's built from luxury materials, but its main aim is to encrypt all your calls and messages, making sure that all those shady deals you're doing stay firmly between you and your dodgy contacts.

Privacy comes at a price, though, and that price according to Sirin Labs £9,500 ($16,000). That's the starting price for the Solarin, but you can add even more money onto that if you want fancy metals like real gold. Which you do, of course.

The phone is available to buy online, or you can go down to Sirin Labs' retail store in no other than London's fanciest area, Mayfair.

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You do get some fancy design for that vast amount of cash. The body of the handset is made from titanium, and that back panel is real leather, which for some reason the company has tried to make look like carbon fibre.

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It tapers to a neat point at both ends.

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Here it is next to the iPhone 6S. Both phones have 5.2-inch displays.

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On the back of the phone is a 24-megapixel camera, with a four-tone flash. Above it is a very important switch. Flick it and...

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...it switches into its private mode. When in private mode, all your calls and texts will be fully encrypted to make sure no sneaky hackers can access what you're up to.

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Only calls and texts and texts are encrypted, so don't try sending launch codes over Snapchat.

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There's a fingerprint scanner, of course, to make sure only you -- or the guys who sawed off your hand -- can access your phone.

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You might think that a phone so pricey would come with the latest version of Android onboard.

You'd be wrong.

Instead, it runs the older Android Lollipop software.

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The Android interface is much the same as you'd find on any Android phone. It runs on an octa-core Qualcomm 810 processor, and there's a 4,000mAh battery, too.

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There's a front-facing camera, hidden beneath the nicely curved Gorilla Glass 4 toughened glass.

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It's certainly a dramatic-looking piece of kit. Whip this out in the business class suite of a major airline and people will know you mean business.

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Yes, spending so much money on a phone may seem ridiculous to most of us, but it's not really designed for "us," is it? It's for those of you who own multibillion dollar corporations and are happy to spend any amount of money if it helps keeps your business secrets safe.

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You do at least get the latest USB-C connector on the side.

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