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Sony coats Xperia P in 24-carat gold, keeps up tradition of so-so phones in luxury shells

A perfect choice for those with deep, velvet-lined pockets.

Outside of custom projects, the cardinal rule for draping phones in exotic materials is that they must never, ever be truly high end devices: at best, they should involve mid-tier hardware that could be eclipsed by a garden-variety smartphone at a fraction of the price. Sony's maintaining that all too time-honored tradition by producing a gold-coated, 24-carat version of... the Xperia P. Yes, rather than spruce up a flagship like the James Bond-approved Xperia T, Sony has instead given the luxury treatment to a smartphone with a strictly middling 4-inch display and dual-core 1GHz processor. In fairness, the company sees this as an experiment rather than a Vertu-like business model, with the intent strictly to emphasize the unibody design. A maximum 15 have been built as a result -- and rather than count on impulse purchases from oligarchs, Sony hints that it's offering at least some of its gold Xperia P stock to followers on Facebook. As long as there's no pretenses of living the high life with what's really a very ordinary phone underneath, we're satisfied.

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