Nokia Oro smart phone offers high-end bling for the taste-free elite

The gold and leather adorning the Nokia Oro turns a standard Symbian handset into a millionaire magnet. Expect to see it in the chairman's box of your local Premier League team this autumn.

Andy Merrett
Andy Merrett has been using mobile phones since the days when they only made voice calls. Since then he has worked his way through a huge number of Nokia, Motorola and Sony Ericsson models. Andy is a freelance writer and is not an employee of CNET.
Andy Merrett
2 min read

The premium Nokia Oro has just waved its sparkly bits at us to catch our magpie-like attention. Just as we thought Nokia's idea of expanding its portfolio meant churning out cheap, irritating handsets, the 18-carat gold and leather-clad Oro comes along. Yes, Nokia's rolling out expensive, gaudy phones too.

Unlike some other bling-infested mobiles, we can't poke too much fun at the Oro's technological prowess. At least, not for the next two months while it could still be considered advanced.

It features a 3.5-inch AMOLED touchscreen, an 8-megapixel camera with 720p HD recording, and runs the Symbian Anna OS. This puts it on a par with the Nokia C7 -- though with a slightly bigger screen -- and the Nokia N8, but with a lesser camera. Both of those were fairly horrible phones, so we expect the Oro to appeal to those with more money than sense. That's a big market.

Let's be honest, though. No one buys these phones for what they can do. It's all about how they look, and if expensive hand-picked materials slapped on to gadgets impress you, read on.

Oro means "gold" in Italian, so it's no surprise you can pick up the handset in either white or yellow 18-carat, scratch-resistant gold. The back is protected with Scottish leather taken from the "finest Caledonian herds". To round things off, the home key has a sapphire crystal in it. As it's eight times sturdier than glass, that's a purely functional addition, right?

The Oro will launch in very select stores in a few hand-picked countries. Nokia is expecting it to do very well in Russia, where there are "a large number of users who are looking for products with a build quality and superior materials that attest to their success and social standing." Like we said, people with more money than sense.

Put it this way. If it arrives in the UK (other than in the pocket of an oligarch checking up on his pet football team) you won't be picking one up at the Carphone Warehouse. Ever.

The Oro will cost around €800 (£700) and launch this autumn, according to Nokia. Just imagine how expensive a glammed-up Apple product would be.