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Tonino Lamborghini 88 Tauri Review: In Depth

The Good

  • Simultaneous 4G dual SIM
  • Limited Edition
  • Great hardware for a luxury phone

The Bad

  • Camera lacks OIS/DIS
  • Heavy
  • Exclusive pricing
4

I’m not going to pretend that I have the kind of disposable income that would afford me the Tonino Lamborghini 88 Tauri in real life, but I can’t help admit that it was fun whilst it lasted.

Design: Leather and steel

As much as Tonino wished you didn’t, it’s hard to avoid drawing comparisons between the brand’s 88 Tauri and its sister automotive brand’s famed supercars. The black steel bodywork features familiar angles and surfaces although ergonomics dictate subtler rounding along the device’s edges. It’s a surprisingly comfortable thing to hold too, although relative to its screen size its dimensions are notably more generous when you place it alongside similar-sized but more affordable devices (an iPhone 6 is 7.1mm thick, the 88 Tauri is a robust 13 mm).

88 Tauri front Tauri 88 back

The other most obvious element aside from its striking aesthetic is its considerable weight (250 grams). Commonplace in the world of luxury electronics that this device inhabits, such an attribute is treated as some sort of unofficial badge of perceived quality rather than a flaw.

Working in contrast to its reflective, fingerprint magnet-like black bodywork (silver and gold-colour options are also available) is a layer of eye-catching red leather, tightly wrapped around parts of the Tauri’s body (including the majority of its back) so you can see more of that distinctive geometry. There’s even stitched detailing to again reflect the marque’s motoring heritage and the subtle texturing helps improve grip too.

Tauri 88 plaque

Two substantial metal port covers pull open symmetrically on either to keep the design balanced. Under the left cover lives a microSD card slot and the seldom seen microUSB 3.0 port, whilst the right side grants access to the phone’s dual SIM slots.

Other detailing includes power and volume hard keys on either side, the raging bull insignia below both the display and on the centre of the Tauri’s back, as well as dual speaker grilles further down either side of the phone’s unique plaque. There are only 1947 of each metal colour variant to commemorate the year of Tonino Lamborghini’s birth, so if you decide to pick one up, you’ll be part of a pretty exclusive 5,841-person group.

Screen: New Year’s resolution

Prior to the 88 Tauri, Tonino Lamborghini brought its Antares smartphone to market and whilst it packed a similarly wallet-emptying price tag its screen feel behind the curve with sub-HD resolution. As a result 2015 is clearly a time of change as the Tauri is far more inline with more recent flagships.

88 Tauri screen

The 5-inch Full HD LCD is certainly attractive, bright and for the most part, offers accurate colours. Contrast is a little off kilter however with blacks that could be darker and whites that change from warm to cool at different viewing angles.

OS: Unique sights and sounds

Purchasing a Tonino Lamborghini smartphone affords you a few unique Android dressings. There are an assortment of custom icons – each a mix of red and silver surrounded by Lambo’s distinctive shield icon, and then there are sounds – notifications and ringtones which for the most part hint at the suggested clientele the 88 Tauri is likely aimed at. A number of compositions that draw heavily from Spanish and Middle Eastern musical influences and certainly stand out against the ringtones you’d find on more conventional smartphones.

Beyond that the Android 4.4 KitKat-based experience is fairly stock. It’s a simple, responsive design that is only really bested by Google’s own Now Launcher. A dip into the quick settings within the notifications panel reveals a number of additional features, like the ability to toggle vibrations on touch, screen timeout and mobile data on either of the phone’s SIM cards.

The most unique element is the phone’s gesture functionality which lets you customise waving a hand above the 88 Tauri in various directions and how these motions can be configured to carry out various actions like launch an app, skip a track during music playback or simply navigate homescreens. It’s a nice inclusion and could be useful if you were, for example operating the phone with wet hands after swimming in your Lamborghini-shaped swimming pool.

Performance: Plenty of horsepower

Had the 88 Tauri arrived one year ago its Snapdragon 801 processor would have set it amongst the competition as a notable rival, in the world of luxury electronics however it’s probably still the one to beat.

The quad-core silicon and 3GB of RAM give this thing plenty of punch for everything from 1080p HD video playback to 3D gaming. It’s on par with the likes of the flagship Sonys, HTCs and Samsungs of last year, primarily because they too employed the same chipsets.

Elsewhere you’re given plenty of storage in the form of 64GB of inbuilt memory and expandability up to an additional 128GBs as well as a sizable 3400mAh battery, which no doubt contributes to the phone’s significant overall weight. Expect a couple of days of general use with a single SIM plugged in too.

The last party piece is the phone’s dual SIM capability, which aside from hinting to others about the jet-set lifestyle you might lead, allows for simultaneous use of cards, including 4G LTE connectivity too, something of a rarity in the world of mobile right now.

Camera: A powerful pair of snappers

We have a sneaking suspicion Sony’s responsible for the huge 20.7-megapixel rear sensor mounted on the back of the 88 Tauri and as with Sony’s own top tier smartphones, image quality is excellent, including low light performance (although noise rears its head); both elements that lacked in last year’s offering from Tonino.

The front-facer also boasts a relatively large 8-meg sensor that again shows talent for capturing stills in less-than ideal lighting conditions, like a nightclub – an environment we suspect the 88 Tauri’s cameras will see a lot of action in.

As with much of the phone’s Android experience, the camera UI adopts a near-default aesthetic although there are a few additional features dropped in there. The main stills UI lets you choose from scene modes like ‘night’ and ‘beach’ or remain in auto and there’s an effective HDR capture feature too, although it’s surprisingly slow when capturing a shot.

On the video front you again get a crisp image, although the lack of 4K recording or any form of image stabilisation are a little disappointing. There’s also a dual LED flash that’s exceptionally powerful, but it’s almost too powerful in certain conditions, whiting out subjects in dark environments with now obvious metering or means of throttling its power.

Verdict: We’ll take four

There are a lot of ‘ifs’ when it comes to summing up whether or not the Tonino Lamborghini 88 Tauri is worth a purchase. IF your lifestyle affords you such luxury items, the Tauri will make an excellent addition as it includes far more substance than many similar devices currently yearning for your credit card.

Tauri 88 handheld

If you need a dual SIM device that supports 4G and simultaneous use, this is a great device IF you can stomach the inordinate price tag and IF you’re looking for a truly unique smartphone, few will serve you well from both a functionality and individuality standpoint.

The model we tested clocks in at around £3900, whilst the other variants go for an even steeper £4100. The 88 Tauri is the best luxury smartphone out there right now, but for a few thousand less the more commonplace names will meet or beat this phone in terms of features.

Specification

Screen size5-inches
Screen resolution1080p HD (1920x1080)
Weight250 grams
OSAndroid 4.4 KitKat
Rear Camera20.7-megapixel w/ dual LED flash
Front camera8-megapixel
Processor2.3GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801
Memory3GB RAM
Storage64GB. Expandable via microSD up to 128GB
4G LTEYes (both SIMs)
Bonus featuresTonino Lamborghini Quantum series ML-01 earphones, PVD protective treatment, Time lapse shooting mode

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