Here’s What Makes a Smartphone Truly Luxurious

There is a difference between luxury and bling. It is not that luxurious things can’t also have bling. It is just that you can bling up just about anything, including many things that are not luxurious at all.

A Ford Pinto does not become a Bentley because you encrust the hood with Swarovski crystals. This is how far too many people define luxury. This is especially a challenge with smartphones.

One of the biggest problems is that smartphones don’t have classifications the same way automobiles do. We can sensibly talk about a budget sedan vs. a performance sport. Smartphones come down to senseless fan wars battling over brand loyalty. This makes it very difficult to know how to classify smartphones.

Here are some criteria to consider:

  • Materials
  • Price
  • Brand
  • Unique capabilities
  • Class

Here is a brief look at how each of these criteria helps to identify luxury in the smartphone market:


Before the iPhone started pushing the envelope of material sciences, smartphones were made out of plastic, and more plastic. Moreover, neither the screen nor the body were made from particularly good plastic.

Today, smartphones are thought of as rounded rectangles of metal and glass. That is a major improvement in materials used in consumer smartphones. Though many were dragged into using these materials kicking and screaming, it is the minimum expected from a modern smartphone.

While these are premium materials, they are not necessarily durable. That is why silicon is the other material for most smartphones, as they can be found in third-party cases.

You will find that BodyGuardz cases, as well as those from other manufacturers, come in a variety of materials. Some add a pleasing texture for holding the phone. Others add design. But the primary mission of a protective case is to protect your luxury investment.

So whether your device is made of metal and glass, porcelain, or solid gold, you will want to add one more material to protect it. Material is the first marker of a luxury device.


It is not always true that you get what you pay for. But you will seldom find luxury at bargain basement prices. Luxury is supposed to be expensive, out of reach by the populous. It is an exclusive club in which most can never enter. If that sounds a bit elitist, then you are starting to get the idea.

Do not expect to find luxury in the discount section. That does not mean that a luxury item is always the best item. It often isn’t. But when it comes to luxury, that is not really the point. Price is a factor. If you don’t pay enough for it, then it probably isn’t luxury.


Some brands are luxury brands. Even if a knock-off company made an identical replica of the item in question, it would not be a luxury item because it is not a brand original. In smartphones, Apple is a luxury brand.

Some of the Chinese competitors will never be luxury, not due to the products they make, but due to the positioning of their brand. Make no mistake about it: like fashion, brand matters.

Unique Capabilities

While waterproofing is not necessarily a luxury feature today, the first watch that could accompany a dive in the ocean boasted a luxury feature. Unique features are short-lived because they are quickly copied by competitors. But mobile payments was once a unique capability, as was video calling. To spot luxury, look for unique capabilities.


Class cannot be defined any more than style, or panache. There is a fine line separating good taste and gaudy excess. Luxury items are tasteful, classy, stylish. Class can neither be copied nor ignored. As with many things, we can’t really define it. But we know it when we see it.

The absence of any one of these components puts a smartphones luxury status into question. iPhones are there almost by default. But Vertu may have an even stronger claim to the title of luxury.

Since there are no official classifications, it is a judgement call. Like other luxury items, luxury smartphones are designated by their materials, price, brand, unique capabilities, and class.