British luxury brand Vertu launched its first smartphone, Constellation Quest, at a London presentation last week. The qwerty device combines ‘luxury’ services with the latest business tools, aiming to provide a user experience that is both effortless and intuitive.

The handset has a high-resolution VGA screen, plus a video output jack for larger viewing of films, images, presentations and emails. Other features include Bluetooth, free global maps and navigation with Assisted GPS, high-quality acoustics and an FM radio. The phone’s casing is formed from surgical grade stainless steel, or the customer can opt for 18-carat yellow gold, both complemented by the finest leather. Meanwhile, the crystal sapphire keys are honed to a beautiful, faceted V shape, resulting in a keyboard that is a tactile pleasure to use, with hardwearing graphics applied by silkscreen printing.

The home screen is uncluttered, displaying only the essentials chosen by the customer – email notifications, perhaps, or calendar appointments and selected news feeds. There is also a Vertu design signature in the form of an analogue clock – which automatically adjusts to the user’s location.

The ownership experience goes beyond the simple purchase of a phone, however. Vertu’s trained assistants will work with the customer to configure the phone’s settings to individual preferences, and then provide technical assistance 24 hours a day with Vertu Remote Assist. Should a customer be unable to resolve an issue with a handset via instruction from Vertu’s technical support team, with the user’s consent, a technician can remotely access the phone to sort the problem. The owner can also choose to automatically synchronise emails, contacts, calendar and task information with Vertu’s secure servers, for back-up protection of the data. There’s even the option of a fuller service, providing a dedicated lifestyle manager.

Prices range from 5500 euros for the brushed steel model, to 19,500 for the yellow gold version. See Vertu.com.