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HolidayBuyer's Guide

Think the Samsung Galaxy S5 is a lot of money? Think again. The Vertu Signature Touch costs a whopping £6,750 ($11,350 or AU$12,140).

Why? It's hand-made from titanium, sapphire and various real leathers, it encrypts your calls, comes with a concierge service that gets you almost anything you want, and it's packed full of the best tech around.

The Signature Touch will be available this month in Vertu "boutiques" around the world, including Beverly Hills, Old Bond Street in London and Red Square in Moscow.

Caption by / Photo by Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Forget the aluminium frame of the Sony Xperia Z2 or the plastic body of the Galaxy S5, the Signature Touch is encased in grade-5 titanium. This really isn't a phone you want to drop on the concrete.

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Its angular face is quite aggressive -- it's far from the minimalist appearance of the iPhone.

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If nothing else, you'll certainly stand out from your Galaxy S5-packing friends. I had numerous people asking me what the phone was when I was testing it -- most of whom were subsequently appalled when I told them the price.

Caption by / Photo by Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Forget robots and assembly lines, Vertu's phones are hand-built in England. You'll find the engineer's signature inscribed inside the access panel on the back -- a lovely touch.

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The base model, shown here, is wrapped in real, hand-stitched calfskin leather. Other dead beasts are available, including lizards and alligators.

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The top model, costing an immense £13,000 (around $21,900 or AU$23,400) combines a variety of different metals, including "pure jet red gold".

Caption by / Photo by Andrew Hoyle/CNET

On the side of the phone is this red button. Pressing it will give instant access to Vertu's concierge service -- essentially, a person at the end of the phone who will provide anything you ask. A taxi to the airport, tickets to the most exclusive clubs, or hiring a giraffe for the afternoon are just a call away.

Caption by / Photo by Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Towards the bottom of the phone are the speakers. These are provided by high-end audio specialists Bang & Olufsen.

Caption by / Photo by Andrew Hoyle/CNET

There's a 13-megapixel camera on the back, which Vertu says is certified by camera experts Hasselblad.

Caption by / Photo by Andrew Hoyle/CNET

It's running the latest Android 4.4.2 KitKat -- but you'd hope it would be up to date, considering the massive price.

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Vertu has heavily skinned the look of Android, but the fundamental architecture remains the same.

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It's the extra software that Vertu includes that sets this phone apart from other Android handsets.

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The Vertu Life app tells you where exclusive restaurants, clubs or services are nearby.

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The calfskin leather feels fantastic. It can also be wrapped in various real lizard- and alligator-skin finishes.

Caption by / Photo by Andrew Hoyle/CNET

There's a 2.1-megapixel front-facing camera for taking selfies in the most expensive places in the world.

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The back panel isn't removable, so you can't swap out the battery. It does make it feel extremely solid in your hand though.

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There's a cool access panel for you to pop in your SIM card. It's 4G LTE-enabled and uses a wide selection of radio bands so you can connect to networks wherever you've parked your yacht.

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That button is just begging to be pressed.

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The buttons are metal too of course.

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The display has a full HD 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution.

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It's covered in a 5.1-inch slab of 118-carat sapphire. Try bragging about that in a bar. It's sure to impress everyone.

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The phone comes with a host of protective software, including Kaspersky anti-virus, to stop sneaky malware stealing whatever secrets you have that have helped you become an oligarch.

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It'll also encrypt your calls and text messages, so nobody can listen in while you're arranging high-level summits.

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A subscription to iPass lets you connect to almost any public Wi-Fi network in the world.

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The phone is essentially your ticket to the fanciest of cocktail bars.

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Not all of the services you'll find on Vertu Life are for you. It took me a moment to understand this was advertising high-end tuition for my kids. It's a different world.

Caption by / Photo by Andrew Hoyle/CNET
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