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Would you pay £10,000 for a smartphone?

Posted by: Tom Morris

Israeli tech start-up Sirin Labs launched its first super high-end Android smartphone onto the market last week. 

Solarin is claimed by its creators as the “best smartphone in the world which incorporates the most advanced privacy technology currently unavailable outside of the agency world”. Made for people whose mobile devices are business-critical and to whom privacy is of the utmost importance (the target market being international business leaders, VIPs and celebrities), the Solarin is built to minimise the risk of hacking threats. We now live our lives through mobile devices so users have a lot to lose if their device is hacked and although the Solarin cannot be a 100% secure solution because that is not possible, the phone detects hacking activity and can reverse engineer the attacks to prevent any future hacking. The phone also comes with a 24/7 incident response team provided by Zimperium and Sirin themselves.


In development for 2 years at Sirin’s Tel Aviv centre and also in Lund, Sweden, the Solarin boasts being at the front of the worlds most cutting edge technology. The Solarin features military grade chip-to-chip 256-bit AES encryption with a Zimperium state-of-the-art security system complete with threat protection. There is also an additional “physical” security feature that comes in the form of a switch. Users can flick the “security switch” to turn on extra security features including “shielded mode” which encrypts outgoing calls and messages.

Aside from the security features, the Solarin has a Snapdragon 810 processor, a 23.8 megapixel camera on the back and an 8 megapixel front camera, a 5.5 inch IPS LED 2k screen, 4GB of RAM and 128GB worth of storage, however this storage not expandable. It also boasts a bevy of advanced cellular and wireless technologies as the first global smartphone with WiGig technology. This will allow the Solarin to connect with speeds of up to 4.6 GBps and theoretically download at a speed of 450MBps and upload at a speed of 150MBps which is far superior to any other mobile device seen in the commercial market. Fredik Oijer, VP of Product at Sirin has declared that “Every single design decision and material choice was based on performance and functionality”. Sirin employed Karim Rashid, an industrial designer who has worked with the likes of Giorgio Armani to design the final look of the phone and his over-the-top design combinations include Fire Black Carbon Leather with Titanium or the Fire Black Carbon Leather with Diamond like Carbon. But at least it is nice to see that Sirin have at least avoided the obvious ostentatious bling often associated with this level of phone.

However, the Solarin does have some obvious design flaws. For a phone of this calibre it really should have more than one SIM slot. And although the battery is an impressive 4000mAh, this does mean that the device is much heavier than other smartphones, weighing in at 250grams; this also makes the device feel clunky when using it. The price tag is obviously going to be a sticking point for the majority, although I guess this is the idea and it is an exclusive product built and available for only a select handful. There are cheaper alternatives on the market that would satisfy the privacy paranoid, such as Samsung’s Knox solution or the Blackberry Priv. But both of these solutions have not been as popular as the creators had hoped, suggesting that people prioritise other features over security. At over £10,000 for the Solarin, I’ll take my chances signing into Gmail and using Whatsapp on my standard smartphone.



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