Crystal, Gold, Champagne: Here’s what’s wrong with designer smartphones


Regardless of which OS we run or who makes it, we all love our smartphones. The reasons you opted for the phone that you’re carrying are as unique as you are. You have done your research and have come up with the solution that best fits you. Whatever your decision, it’s the best fit for you — regardless of what anyone else says. Alas, the same logic holds true for the person across from you who picked an entirely different phone, for entirely different reasons.

Each platform, each OS, each manufacturer, and each model all have their own unique set of advantages that appeal differently to their respective owners. Most of the time we can make our own unique choices based purely on specifications, but then our vanity gets in the way: we have to pick which color we want.


In the past we had only a few options: black, white, or silver. Sometimes we didn’t even have all three! These days we have a lot more options. Even the Nexus 5 is offered in black, white, and red. Some devices, like those from Motorola, offer not only a wide array of colors and materials, they even let you mix and match your configuration — you can make your phone as hideously ugly beautiful as you’d like!


Color is a huge customization point. In the past we’ve added this splash of personality though the application of any number of OEM or third-party cases or covers. I’ve even seen cases that are larger and heavier than the phone they’re meant to cover. Even Jess from Fox Television’s New Girl has a bright red case, complete with bunny ears — which serve absolutely no practical purpose.

Colored phones generally don’t demand much of a premium over their black and white counterparts. There is some cost differential, but it’s usually not a whole lot — not until we get into ridiculous colors, that is.

Designer Smartphones

We should be getting smartphones that best suit our individual needs. Unfortunately, you can get many flagship devices that are “crystal”, “gold”, or “champagne”. Sometimes the “gold” phones are actually made from real gold, and aren’t just gold-colored (but most of the time they’re not). The same is usually true for other “designer” options.

Don’t get confused here, we’re not talking about custom cases or covers, we’re talking about special versions of standard phones that come at a significantly marked up price and are produced in notably fewer numbers. They don’t do anything special or add any value to the phone — other than bragging rights.

HTC-Samsung-Galaxy-S5-gold-band-aidSure, that gold iPhone 5S is a conversation piece, but it also sends the message that the phone isn’t good enough by itself. The manufacturer had to pull some gimmicky trick to try and attract a certain person to a certain phone. The phone couldn’t stand on its own merit and still catch the person’s eye. No, that’s not always the case, but the sentiment rings true regardless of who made the phone: yours isn’t good enough because it’s not one of the “exclusive designer smartphones”, it’s just a run-of-the-mill smartphone that comes off an assembly line like everyone elses. Your phone isn’t special, so neither are you.

Of course that’s entirely false, and frankly, somewhat insulting! My phone is whatever I make of it. I’ll customize it with a case, a custom layout on the homescreens, and a specific set of apps. It will do everything that I need it to and it will be uniquely mine. You’ll do the same with yours, and will reap the same benefits as I. Neither of us needs an alleged “premium” designer version of our phone, and wanting one hurts the brand more than it helps it.

Even still, all that still doesn’t change the fact that I’d love a gold Nexus 5!

Share This Post
What's your reaction?
Love It
Like It
Want It
Had It
Hated It
About The Author
Joe Levi
Joe graduated from Weber State University with two degrees in Information Systems and Technologies. He has carried mobile devices with him for more than a decade, including Apple's Newton, Microsoft's Handheld and Palm Sized PCs, and is Pocketnow's "Android Guy". By day you'll find Joe coding web pages, tweaking for SEO, and leveraging social media to spread the word. By night you'll probably find him writing technology and "prepping" articles, as well as shooting video. Read more about Joe Levi here.