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HolidayBuyer's Guide
Phones

Aston Martin Racing 808 smartphone will set you back at least $6,000 (hands-on)

This licensed smartphone goes on sale later this year in countries including Dubai, Singapore, China and the UK, but its specs don't exactly live up to its famous name.

Want to be a British superspy but can't exactly afford an Aston Martin supercar? How about something less expensive, such as this licensed Aston Martin Racing 808 smartphone, with a starting price tag of $6,000 (£3,900 or AU$8,350)?

Sure, it's a good deal cheaper than a supercar, but it's still quite a hefty amount for a smartphone, and that's really only for the base model. If you're feeling up to splurging, an 18-karat gold and diamond version can be purchased for a whopping $30,000 (that's approximately £19,550 or AU$41,700).

Jaw-dropping price aside, the phone's hardware is, sadly, a little less inspired by Aston Martin's supercars and their secret-agent-level performance. The phone features a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor clocked at 2.5GHz, a middling 2GB of RAM and 32GB of onboard storage. While the 4.7-inch display only has a 1,280x720-pixel resolution, it uses an expensive sapphire glass screen for protection.

I wasn't impressed with the quality of the display -- viewing angles seem a tad weak and the brightness and vibrancy of the screen didn't really stand out. However, this could be due to the prototype nature of the device -- perhaps the final product will offer a much better viewing experience. It should, given the amount of cash you're paying for this.

Other specs include a 13-megapixel rear camera, a 2,000mAh battery and dual-SIM LTE support. The AMR 808 runs Android 5.0, which appears to be the stock version of Google's mobile software. Beyond a gimmicky wallpaper that says "Engine start" but obviously does nothing of the sort, there's no bundled software.

The AMR 808's top speaker comes clad in ceramic for reduced radiation, according to its manufacturer. Aloysius Low/CNET

While the phone's specifications are lackluster at best, the AMR 808 does have a pretty nice finish, even on the prototype model I played with. The entire rear is clad in leather, which is comfortable to hold. I'm told the phone's frame is made of metal, which should prove sturdy in the event you accidentally drop it. The top speaker of the phone is wrapped in a ceramic shell, which the manufacturer claims will help reduce radiation and is supposedly a lot more comfortable for listening.

This isn't the first time an Aston Martin Racing-licensed phone has been made available. The maker of the phone, Hong Kong-based Primo Mobile, first released an Aston Martin smartphone back in 2012 called the Aspire 668. The phone didn't exactly set the world on fire, but the newer AMR 808 is already set to go places when it launches on December 15.

The AMR 808 will be available at high-end department store Selfridges in London, and sold online on the Singapore Airlines website. There are also plans to launch the phone in Hong Kong, Dubai, Singapore and China in early December.

Given the competition it faces from other luxury smartphones, such as the Vertu New Signature Touch , the Aston Martin Racing 808 has its work cut out for it to reach the finish line.

The phone will come bundled with an Aston Martin branded Bluetooth headset and a portable battery charger. Aloysius Low/CNET

Where to Buy

Aston Martin Racing 808 (AMR 808, 18KT Gold & Diamond)

Visit manufacturer site for details.

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