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Tonino Lamborghini Antares hands-on review

We meet the latest Lamborghini Android smartphone, the Tonino Lamborghini Antares up close and personal.

First, a little bit of history. The world-renowned Lamborghini cars that are the object of many a motorists’ desire rose out of what was originally an Italian agricultural equipment manufacturer, started by the famed Ferruccio Lamborghini. Whilst Ferruccio built the original brand and the luxury motors associated with it, his son, Antonio “Tonino” Lamborghini now manages the company’s lifestyle brand – Tonino Lamborghini, which covers everything from 5-star hotels, to headphones and now smartphones.

Touted as being in “a class of its own” dubbed the ‘techno-luxury segment’ by its makers, the Antares smartphone is hoping to draw fans of luxury items towards a smartphone that has beauty, brawn and brains.

Tonino Lamborghini hands-on review: Design

The beauty comes from a milled steel body, polished so vigorously that it actually loses volume by the end of the polishing process. Screws accent the body and Italian leather has been inlaid on the removable back too. Despite its obvious bulk, the Antares isn’t as heavy as you’d expect (170 grams), feeling only marginally weightier in the hand than the likes of the new HTC One (160 grams).

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The metal body comes in four main flavours; rose gold, yellow gold, silver and black, with different leather inlays to choose from depending on your colour choice.

Being an Android device, the Antares features three physical capacitive keys under its display and microSD expandability (by up to 32GB) from a slot underneath the 1500mAh battery.

Tonino Lamborghini hands-on review: Screen

Although the dimensions are fairly expansive, the Antares sports a reasonably small 4-inch LCD panel, rocking a qHD resolution (960×540). It’s a perfectly serviceable screen, protected by a layer of Gorilla Glass, but for the price we would have liked at the very least a 720p HD panel with better contrast and viewing angles.

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One nice touch is that you can output shots and video to a larger display in Full HD thanks to MHL support built into the microUSB port.

Tonino Lamborghini hands-on review: Performance and features

The brawn and the brain fall to a 1.5GHz quad-core chip, 2GB of RAM and 32GB of inbuilt storage. Twinned with the low demands of the resolution, the Antares is actually a snappy smartphone. The user experience is a lightly skinned take on Android 4.2.1 Jelly Bean, which Tonino Lamborghini says should receive and upgrade to KitKat as and when it sees fit.

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Aside from Google’s core apps like Gmail and the Play Store, practically every other icon has been designed in-house in Bologna with a metallic aesthetic surrounded by that familiar shield emblem. Customers who pick up the phone will also be greeted with a unique video message from Tonino Lamborghini himself as well as have access to a number of exclusive wallpapers, ringtones and notification sounds.

There’s a 5-megapixel front-facing camera for snapping selfies in the Algarve and a 13-megapixel rear camera which relies on a Sony sensor, made for taking pictures of your prized sports car (we suggest checking out Automobili Lamborghini, you may have heard of them) on the streets of Monaco.

One piece of connectivity we would have expected is 4G. For a brand associated with speed, a lack of LTE for a four-figure phone would leave us feeling like we’ve been short-changed.

Tonino Lamborghini hands-on review: Price and availability

If the name alone wasn’t enough of a clue, the Antares is a luxury smartphone, and is priced as such. Whist you get a lot more bang for your buck compared to previous ‘smart’ luxury phones, performance isn’t going to be at the top of your list of priorities if this is a phone you’re considering, you buy this for the brand, the raging bull pressed into the back of the Antares’ body, not to mention the name that it represents.

Carphone Warehouse holds a three-month exclusivity over the Antares and it’s solely available at their department within Selfridges in Central London. Tonino Lamborghini has been rolling the smartphone out across several core markets since February this year, but Selfridges will be the only place UK customers will be able to pick one up.

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So what will £2500 actually buy you? A themed presentation box containing international chargers, a card of authenticity, an anti-tangle microUSB lead for charging, Tonino Lamborghini headphones, the Antares smartphone and a 32GB microSD card, saving you the added cost of having to pick one up separately, phew.

What’s your take on luxury smartphones and is the Antares a worthwhile addition to the smartphone world?

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