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MotorolaAURA Watch: The $2000 phone

Designer, exclusive mobile phones seem to be the toys of the rich and famous, whilst doubling up as a status symbol all at the same time. Or so we’re all led to believe. Is there room for a phone of this nature in your arsenal? We went along to the launch of the Motorola AURA just to find out.

We waited for well over a week for answers to our quandaries from Motorola, all but to no avail. Here are our thoughts on the AURA and we apologise for the wait.

The event itself wasn’t a normal press briefing per se, some might have called it an art unveiling.

There are now some of you who think we’re being pretentious by saying such things. With the phone supposedly being a piece of art in itself, with its sapphire crystal display and etchings that take two weeks to carve into the designer case.

We’re not, it actually was an art unveiling. Motorola had commissioned a piece of work to back this launch of this most expensive of expensive handsets.

The world renowned architectural practice UNStudio unveiled a bespoke design installation to launch this phone, at the exclusive of exclusive St Martins Lane Hotel, in London.

UNStudio co-founder Ben van Berkel aired the ‘Time out of scale’ which creates an immersive environment inspired by AURA, although we’re not entirely sure what all of that means if any of it.

As for the handset, we weren’t overly impressed with a phone that’ll be on sale for $2000 – just in case the following you are about to read isn’t subtle enough.

We can appreciate the engineering that has gone into the phone, aspects of which we covered here. We can also appreciate the materials used and how exemplary they are, with the 62 carrot sapphire crystal screen and a case with over 700 parts. We also get how all of this factors into why it does cost so much and whom they are aiming it at. Still, we can’t really appreciate the handset for what it is. We tried, we really really did, sorry.

We looked over it again and again, but still came away not entirely getting it. Even if the phone wasn’t at the cost it is, we still don’t think we could go for it. Or even use it as a replacement for any other handset we currently have at our disposal.

The round screen is fairly ok to behold. Being the second most scratch resistant material on this Earth you expect it to be something out of this world. It wasn’t. It was very ordinary, dull and not really the most outstanding feature we’ve ever seen on a phone.

As this is supposed to be one of the redeeming features of the mobile it fell short, was very deficient, came under par, didn’t meet expectations, made no effort to excel – you get where we’re going with this.

There really was nothing in its appearance that really shone to us, in any way shape or form. Yes, it’s the world’s first circular display. Yes, it can display 16 million colours. Yes, it’s durable. As a designer screen to a phone it matches up to the casing and the overall feel. But it could have had something else just to add that little extra.

We even felt short changed in viewing any images or using it to browse the net. Even the novelty factor of seeing and using a well rounded display lost its appeal almost instantaneously.

The second most redeeming feature of the phone is apparently the way the handset opens, with everything hinging on its performance – no pun intended.

Its opening mechanism has been designed by a Swiss manufacturer; we weren’t informed which one despite our feverous questioning. Although they may have let slip to us it could be linked to a well know watch maker. They weren’t allowed to disclose which one, but we’re sure it will come out within time.

One of the product spokespeople from the Motorola design team drew a comparison over its look to a well made watch; Omega was the name he mentioned in passing.

The same person told us though the phone’s opening has the same feel as opening a luxury Mercedes Benz car door. So perhaps he was just waxing lyrical rather than hinting after all.

The phone’s menu features are very very basic, with nothing there stands out at all. We desperately tried here for find something worthwhile to talk about here. Once again, there really isn’t anything outstanding at all.

It’s almost as if the phone’s operation has a very retro feel, which goes against the futuristic look. As the menu options come across like an old old set of functions from say a Nokia 6010 from almost half a decade ago.

We didn’t get to use the camera, but seeing as its only 2megapixels we expect we’re not missing out on anything.

Really all you have here is a GSM phone, with no 3G, no HSDPA, no WIFI or really anything of use to anyone what so ever.

The Motorola AURA is being sold exclusively at Selfridges SIM free for 1400 of your Earth pounds. We were told at the briefing it will also be on sale in the Americas at an equally exclusive store.

Expect to see it soon for free on a 180 month contract.

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