Tech of luxury

The Magic Mushroom USB is the creation of Swiss luxury jewellers Shawish. It features an 18K gold...

The Magic Mushroom USB is the creation of Swiss luxury jewellers Shawish. It features an 18K gold trunk, and - if it matters at all - can store 32GB of data. Check out shawish-jewellery.com. (Supplied)

Natalia Manzocco, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:45 PM ET

While shopping around for a new cellphone or camera, you might think to yourself: "Jeez, how high can the prices really go on these things?" That answer, of course, is sky high. There's no end to the features or exotic materials that can be shoehorned into a gadget — provided you've got the cash. Check out these luxury gadgets:

If you've ever wondered what the world's most expensive USB flash drive looks like, behold: It's a tiny, golden, jewel-encrusted...fungus. The creatively named Magic Mushroom USB is the creation of Swiss luxury jewellers Shawish. (Also in their product portfolio, "the world's first all-diamond ring.") Alice In Wonderland served as an inspiration for the drive; fitting, since it's perfect for those with a lot of cash to send down the rabbit hole. Pick your poison: The more budget-friendly option, covered in diamonds and pink sapphires, is $16,500 US; a ruby-and-diamond version is $24,400 US, and the emerald-coated fungus will set you back $37,000 US.  All of them feature an 18K gold trunk, and — if it matters at all — can store 32GB of data. Check out shawish-jewellery.com.

From Austrian luxury cabinetmaking firm Buben and Zorweg comes the Object of Time One-77, a creation so designed to favour luxury over function, the name doesn't even really tell you what it does. Created to coincide with the release of Aston-Martin's equally luxe and limited-edition One-77 coupe, the tricked-out unit incorporates a high-security safe, a bar, a cigar humidor, drawers for jewelry and watch storage, watch winders, four world clocks, and an iPod dock with speaker system. Pricing info, perhaps unsurprisingly, doesn't appear to be available to the public, and the limited edition of 77 (same as the One-77 itself) means they've probably all found new homes on luxury yachts, or in supervillains' underground lairs.

Fashion houses from Versace to Dolce and Gabbana have tried to entice deep-pocketed buyers with "luxury" cellphones. But no matter how slick their creations were, the designer dialers never quite caught on as publicly hankered-after status symbols -- not when other gadgets that are both useful and beautiful remain within the average buyer's reach. Italian design house Prada hasn't given up yet — they've co-opted Android technology for their third outing into the cellphone market, the LG Prada 3.0 Phone. From the back, the slim black unit looks a little like a cologne bottle, with a back panel that apes the cross-hatched pattern of the brand's saffiano leather. Despite its novelty appeal, the phone has earned some props from techies since its release due to its elegant exterior, 4.3-inch screen and dual-core processing power, but strangely for a phone so grounded in the world of fashion, it runs the out-of-date Gingerbread instead of Android's more recent Ice Cream Sandwich OS. They can be found online at expansys.ca for $354.99.

At first glance, the Leica M9 looks like a cute little retro-styled camera -- until you check out the price tag. It's actually the world's smallest digital camera body with a full-frame sensor, which allows Leica's M series film camera lenses the exact same functionality they would get on a film body. The "unobtrusive" shutter is whisper-quiet, and the all-metal body, made from brass and magnesium alloy, means your investment will likely last for years. The M9, which was released in 2009 (eons in the tech world) now has an upgraded sister model, the M9-P, which features a virtually scratch-proof sapphire cover for its screen, as well as a monochrome Leica logo, for even more "discretion." It's proof that good things come in small, great-looking, ridiculously expensive packages. Pick up an M9 body of your own for $6,999 at vistek.ca.

Clothiers aren't the only ones trying to make smartphones into the latest must-have accessory. Porsche Design's P'9981 BlackBerry smartphone just rolled into Canada, and Porsche's cachet in the auto and design worlds might capture a little more attention from the luxury market — particularly the big-business set. Its design pedigree is apparent in the sculpted keyboard and solid stainless steel/leather exterior, and the customization extends to the unique user interface and browser. And if you want absolutely everyone to know what you've got in your pocket, the phone has an exclusive Blackberry PIN that identifies the holder as the proud owner of a P'9981. It's $1,890 at the Porsche Design Store in Toronto.

 


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