Being able to afford only a lowly $350 netbook doesn't render a person immune to gadget lust. It's true that most of us don't have a lifestyle that demands a gold-plated smartphone, but we can still dream.
Heck, when the price of gas goes down, you might even have the coin to spend on an extremely flashy gadget. To help you plan ahead, we've assembled a collection of 12 of the most expensive tech items we could find.
And if you're not just a window shopper, here's some great news: You can own everything on the list for a cool $350,442 (plus tax). Of course, if you have to ask how much these things cost, you can't afford them.
iLuxury for Your iPad
In the world of conspicuous consumption, regular old cowhide just doesn't cut it anymore. That's why our alternate-universe rich selves must insist on a Domenico Vacca alligator leather case to enclose our iPad. Despite its hefty four-figure price, this isn't the most utilitarian accessory we've seen: It doesn't seem to prop up the iPad in landscape mode. But it does come in 25 colors that gleam nicely in the sun. And you can always hire someone to hold the tablet sideways for you.
Good as Gold RIM BlackBerry Torch
Who needs a case when your device has the right luxurious body? For instance, rather than carrying a run-of-the-mill, plastic-bodied BlackBerry Torch smartphone, you can snap up this one from Amosu, made of 18-carat solid gold. The body's champagne gleam look great, and the gilding adds a trifling 1.3 ounces to the phone's weight. We can't say how all that metal will affect your cell phone's reception, however.
18CT Solid Gold BlackBerry Torch | $31,095
Since we seem to be aiming for a million-dollar entertainment center--literally--we might as well pony up for a suitable 3D projector. Our pick here is Sim2's Grand Cinema C3X Lumis 3D-Solo. As you'd expect, the device can project a 1080p image on suitable surface up to 16.5 feet wide. But what we love the most is that it can project a 3D image through a single lens.
Now that we have a projector, we need to hook it up to our system's peripheral satellite or cable DVR, entertainment PC, and Blu-ray player. And to keep up appearances, we'll handle that seemingly simple trick with Wireworld's Platinum Starlight series HDMI cables. The only things we want transporting our streams of precious electrons are these cables' gold contacts wrapped in a silver-and-carbon-fiber double-helix design.
Platinum Starlight | $3000
To enjoy the best analog media--gold and platinum LPs, no doubt--we'll want the best record player. Thankfully, Audio Consulting has us covered, with its R-evolution Stealth, an "entry-level" turntable composed of wood and fashioned into the form of a wooden cake. Underneath, the assembly contains a mix of "hi-tech" steel, bronze, and ceramics (which sounds and looks a lot like automotive brakes). The machinery is completely battery operated, and the whole player uses only about 2 watts of power while operating. So eventually you (and your descendants) will recoup the initial investment in savings on electricity.
R-evolution Minima | $28,400
Gold Nuggets Melted and Alligators Died for This Phone
One easy way to stand out from the crowd is to carry a smartphone unlike any that the average person has ever seen. No, we're not referring to some standard handset in a fancy-dress-up, jewel-encrusted shell from Vertu, as luxurious as that company's products are. We're talking about the Versace Unique, touted as "the first luxury touchphone." This crazy overpriced goodie runs Android and uses LG's Real Touch technology. The kicker? It breathes luxury with a body composed of 18-carat gold and genuine (but strikingly dyed) alligator skin. On second thought, let's get one for each member of the family.
Versace Unique | $6500
A Heady Bluetooth Headset
Of course, a fancy smartphone would probably feel lonely without suitable accessories. Fortunately, Amosu stocks a blinged-up version of the Motorola Motopure H12 Bluetooth headset, highlighted by 18-carat gold and 246 diamonds. Admittedly unimproved by the coruscation of finery is the headset's blocky shape and (in all likelihood) its call quality.
Motorola Motopure H12 | $6547
A Higher-End Bluetooth Headset
If the four-figure Amosu Bluetooth headset is a trifle low-rent for your taste, don't despair. Plantronics comes to the rescue with the gorgeous five-figure Discovery 925 Bluetooth headset, replete with gold and diamonds that look like pearls. It's lovely in a jeweled seashell sort of way, and the headset itself was already pretty terrific.
Photo: Courtesy of bluetoothstore.wordpress.com
A Plenitude of Pixels Good Enough for Avatar
A lot of TV shows are starting to use full-frame cameras; but for goldmine-pocketed home moviemakers, the definite object of desire is a Red camera. James Cameron thought Red Epic-M cameras were so hot that he bought 50 of them for shooting the movie Avatar. It's hard to blame him. The Epic-M can capture a 5120-pixel-wide video image at 120 fps. And you can expand this amazing 5-pound package with a host of modular lenses, storage media, and inputs.
Red Epic-M | $58,000
Terrific Titanium Digicam
The pièce de résistance of our reckless spending is the Leica M9 Titanium. Leicas are expensive in their own right because they are four-thirds sensor cameras and because aficionados admire their retro styling. But this particular version of the M9 is forged from solid titanium and engineered in partnership with Walter de'Silva, chief designer for the Audi Design Team. In addition to the metal and bits of leather trim that you might expect to find in an Audi, de'Silva filed down four slits for a lens-hood mount and added a few LEDs to backlight the sensor.
No doubt the same $32,000 could have bought a full-frame DSLR body with accompanying full-frame lenses, including an all-around 24-72mm zoom, a 50mm profile lens, a 24mm macro lens, a 14mm wide-angle fish-eye lens, a long 100-300mm zoom lens, a tilt-shift lens, all the lens babies, a carbon-fiber tripod, every camera strap in creation, a handful of series-10-class-speed Compact Flash cards, a decked-out camera bag with a full cleaning kit, and another full-frame DSLR body--or an Audi--but after all, solid titanium bodies don't grow on trees.
Leica M9 Titanium | $32,000
Photo: Courtesy of Uncrate
Wonder iPod Nano Watch Case
The latest iPod Nano makes for a fancy wristwatch/media player, but its glossy screen lacks the glorious excess needed to strike passers-by blind. ZShock comes to the rescue with its iLunatik white gold case, adorned by handset diamonds (and what looks to be a cheap black plastic band stamped "Made in China"). Just pop your Apple timepiece into place, and put on your darkest shades--quick.
(Note: This item may be legit, but we couldn't find any mention of it on the ZShock site; and we couldn't help noticing that Boy Genius Report posted the originating story on the day before April Fools.)
iLunatik iPod Nano Watch Case | $18,000
Image: Courtesy of Boy Genius Report
A Mountain of Speaker Goodness
Still have money to burn? You'll need some awesome tweeters to catch every classic scratch from your souped-up stereo system--and for that, look no further than the Genesis 2.2, called by its makers "the Ferrari of Speakers." The 6.5-foot high speaker system features a suite of twelve 1-inch speakers at the front and four 8-inch woofers in the back. The item on the far right is the servo-controlled bass amplifier.
As you might suspect, the speaker system produces Richter-scale events when powered on. But the speakers emerge undamaged, thanks to the unique suspension system and spikes supplied by Genesis to keep it firmly rooted to any stone or wood floor. Warning: The Genesis 2.2 arrives in crates, and the total weight (including shipping materials) is 1400 pounds!
Genesis 2.2 | $63,000