In the world of luxury mobile phones, the luxury elements – materials, finish and craftsmanship – usually exceed the technology. This new entrant to the market, the Solarin from Sirin Labs, is different, however, in that it’s physically more utilitarian than its competitors – think stainless-steel Rolex rather than rose-gold Audemars Piguet – but electronically high-end. It’s a big phone, neither light nor thin, but with a surprisingly magnificent, fearsomely bright 5.5in IPS LED 2k screen. Combined with a 23.8 megapixel ultra-wide-angle front-facing camera, it is a formidable picture-taking and viewing machine.
But this is not the main event. The Solarin’s pedigree is exactly what you’d want in a phone designed for global citizens with global concerns – privacy highest among them. The firm is Swiss but manufactures in Sweden with security input from Israel – the best of three worlds, then. Slide a switch on the Solarin’s broad back and the phone goes into calls and texts-only secure mode. How secure is impossible to test short of hiring a bunch of hackers, but the security software and hardware are from Zimperium and KoolSpan, two respected mobile-phone security companies not given to gimmickry.