Would you buy a car made by Nokia? Perhaps, but what about a phone designed by Porsche? Aimed at the luxury end of the mobile market, the P'9521 certainly has some interesting features, not least of which is the fingerprint scanner on the front.
However, those tempted will have to have deep pockets because it has a wallet-bashing SIM-free price tag of £800.
The P'9521 is actually a joint effort between Porsche Design and Sagem, but the Porsche luxury stamp is all over the phone. For example, the handset is hewn from a solid block of aluminium and mineral glass is used on the display. The screen is also double-hinged so you can rotate it through 180 degrees and snap it back against the case -- in this respect it's very similar to LG's old P7200.
The display uses organic LED technology, so there's no backlight which helps save on power. We've seen OLED screens before that look washed out with muddy colours, but there are no such problems here. Colours are bright and vivid and the 320x240-pixel resolution means icons and text look nice and sharp.
Below the main screen sits one of the phone's key features -- a fingerprint scanner. You can set the phone up to use the scanner instead of the usual PIN lock code, or alternatively assign it to certain numbers in the phone's contact book. It also doubles as a touchpad to move through the phone's menus, but as it suffers from lag when working in this way you probably won't bother using it.
Another little trick the phone has up its sleeve is its accelerometer. When viewing pictures with the screen snapped back against the case you can change the view from landscape to portrait just by tilting the phone, just as you do with the iPod touch or iPhone.
The handset is supplied with a 2GB microSD memory card which you can stuff full of tunes to play in the music player. The sound quality via the supplied headphones is pretty good, but as the inline remote (which doubles as a hands-free kit) has a standard headphone connector, you can swap them for your own if you like.
When it comes to call quality, the P'9521 is difficult to fault and it also had extremely good reception.
Porsche produces a car called the Boxster and that name could easily be applied to this handset because the design is ridiculously angular. In fact, the sharp angles actually make it slightly uncomfortable to hold at times. All that aluminium has also added to its weight so it feels much heavier than most clamshell phones around at the moment.
The 3.2-megapixel camera has autofocus and dual LED flash so we had expected it to produce decent results, but in fact we were disappointed by the photos it takes. Colours look processed and there are too many digital artefacts present in the pictures for our liking.
Also, although the phone has some neat features, such as the fingerprint scanner and accelerometer, given the ridiculously high price tag we would have expected it to support 3G and also have a better battery life. You'll get around 3.5 hours of talk time out of it which is rather anaemic for a non 3G handset.
The Porsche P'9521 is certainly an interesting phone thanks to the solid aluminium construction, fingerprint scanner and accelerometer. However, luxury phones need to be unbelievably desirable to justify their high price tags and we just don't think that's the case here. We'd happily pass over this handset in favour of Apple's iPhone and we'd still have a lot of change left from our £800.
Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Jon Squire