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Vertu goes chic with the sleek new, $6,800 Aster smartphone

Vertu has launched a new smartphone, its second in 2014, following the Signature Touch back in June. The new phone is called the Aster, and it comes nearly twelve months after the announcement of the 2013 Vertu Constellation, the firm’s more accessibly priced “lifestyle” model.

The Aster continues the refreshing new trend at Vertu of ensuring the tech inside the hardware matches the high-end exterior. The screen measures 4.7-inches and has a 1080p resolution, but is covered with a 5.1-inch piece of fifth-generation sapphire crystal, and it’s all encased inside a titanium, leather clad body shell.

Related: Read our full hands-on impressions of the Vertu Aster!

Last year’s Vertu Constellation was designed to appeal to people who found the TI too masculine, or overly aggressive in its styling. The Aster is softer too, and many of the visual improvements introduced on the Signature Touch – the smooth, sleek sides for example – are repeated here. The leather rear panel will come in a choice of six colors, and in three different styles.

A Snapdragon 801 processor running at 2.3GHz powers the Aster, and is accompanied by 64GB of internal storage space. A 13-megapixel camera lens sits behind more sapphire crystal glass on the back of the phone, along with a dual-LED flash. Hasselblad has again been called in to tune the camera performance, which surprisingly didn’t translate into amazing results on the Signature Touch, so it’ll be interesting to see if there have been improvements here. Other features include global 4G LTE, Bluetooth 4.0, an extensive array of supported languages, and wireless charging.

Related: Read our review of the Vertu Signature Touch

The Aster should sound great during calls, thanks to the usually excellent speaker, microphones, and noise canceling tech; plus it has stereo front facing speakers and Dolby Digital Plus for optimum audio performance too. Vertu’s usual suite of services such as Classic Concierge, Certainty, and Life are all included, plus a wide range of customization options too. Android 4.4 KitKat is installed, and is subtly enhanced.

Naturally, the Vertu Aster is quite expensive. Prices start at £4,200 (around $6,800) and rise to £5,900 ($9,550) for the most expensive Ostrich leather model. Even one of the gorgeous matching leather slip cases will set you back between £280/$450 and £590/$950. Deep pockets, then, are essential. But exclusivity never comes cheap.

Related: See inside the Vertu factory, where its smartphones are hand made