Phones today come at a wide variety of price points. On the upper end, there are devices that push close to $2,000. That may seem steep, but there have been much more expensive phones.
What Qualifies as “Expensive”?
When it comes to “expensive” phones, there are really two types. There’s realistic expensive—like the Galaxy S “Ultra” series—which is certainly pricey, but it’s not absurd and you’re getting a very good phone.
The second type is status symbols. These phones are not practical for anyone to buy or use. They have ridiculous features and even more ridiculous prices. High-end brands love to slap their names on these phones.
Note: For this list, I’ll be mixing in phones from both of these categories. This is not simply a ranking based on price.
Samsung Galaxy Fold: $1,980
Let’s start on the “realistic” end of the spectrum. The original Samsung Galaxy Fold was released in 2019 with a starting price of $1,980. This was the first device with a foldable display to hit the mainstream market.
Bleeding edge technology often comes at a hefty price, and the Galaxy Fold was no exception. Despite the launch issues, it was a very exciting device and the price felt reasonable. You were getting a device that could act as a tablet or phone and still fit in your pocket.
The Fold series has continued to improve since then, and Samsung now has more affordable foldable options.
Sony Xperia PRO 5G: $2,500
I was not expecting to find a Sony phone when researching for this list, but the Xperia PRO 5G blew me away. Sony launched this phone in early 2021 with a whopping price tag of $2,500.
What makes this phone so expensive? It looks like a pretty standard smartphone on the outside. Don’t be fooled, it’s packing a lot of serious hardware—and it’s much more than just big megapixel numbers.
The Xperia PRO 5G can act as a 4K camera monitor, a file transfer device, and a 5G modem. This is a phone targeted at people who do a lot of high-end video and photography work. It’s not for everyone, but it may be worth the price to the right people.
Vertu Signature Cobra: $360,000
You can’t write a list of the most expensive phones and not include Vertu. This luxury brand has been pumping out ludicrous devices for a long time. The Signature Cobra is one of the silliest and it cost a whopping $360,000 in 2017.
We’re now in the category of impractical expensive phones. The Signature Cobra isn’t even a smartphone. It’s a very basic feature phone embellished with gold plating and a jeweled cobra that wraps around the phone. This is an example of something trying to look so expensive that it ends up cheap and tacky.
Goldvish Le Million: $1.3 million
Speaking of tacky phones…oh my. The Goldvish Le Million is one of the ugliest phones I found in my research. It was unveiled in 2006 for the insane price of $1.3 million.
This was before the original iPhone was announced, so we can excuse the Goldvish Le Million for not being a smartphone. That crazy price comes from the 18-karat white gold body in the shape of a weird boomerang. It’s also topped with 120 carats of diamonds.
The kicker? Only three of these were ever made. At least you knew you had something unique.
Falcon Supernova iPhone 6 Pink Diamond: $48.5 million
Throughout the years, many designers have released extravagantly decked-out iPhones. Nothing tops the insanely named Falcon Supernova iPhone 6 Pink Diamond for $48.5 million.
Compared to other custom iPhones, this one is pretty simple. It’s an iPhone 6 with a 24-karat gold exterior. There were also Rose Gold and Platinum versions. But what brings that catastrophic price tag? The big ‘ol diamond on the back.
Yup, this is literally an iPhone with a large Pink Diamond embedded on the rear. Diamonds of this size are generally considered very valuable. Whoever bought this phone in 2004 wanted to show that off.
Oh, and if $48.5 million is a little too rich for you, there were more affordable versions for 42.5 million and $32.5 million respectively.