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Mar 31, 2009

TAG Heuer MERIDIIST







TAG Heuer MERIDIIST at a glance

Available:

Soon

Network:

GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900

Data:

GPRS

Screen:

240 x 320 pixels, 260k colours (main)

Camera:

2 megapixels

Size:

Medium monoblock
112 x 46 x 16mm / 155 grams

Bluetooth:

Yes

Memory card:

No

Infra-red:

No

Polyphonic:

Yes

Java:

Yes

GPS:

No

Battery life:

7 hours talk / 28 days standby




Review

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The TAG Heuer MERIDIIST is a beautifully engineered but hugely expensive luxury handset, the result of a collaboration between the famous chronograph manufacturer and ModeLabs, a French design house who have been behind a number of interesting bespoke designs in recent years.

As with the BELLPERRE and Motorola AURA, the MERIDIIST is more about engineering and craftmanship than technical gadgetry. A standard MERIDIIST comes with high-grade stainless steel, sapphire glass on the display, a mechanical stainless steel keypad and the handset itself is hand polished and finished. The back plates come in a variety of materials, including rubber, leather and alligator skin.

On the top of the MERIDIIST is a secondary display, used for the inbuilt TAG Heuer chronograph, or alternatively it can display details of incoming callers. A special "TAG Heuer" switch can politely reject incoming calls, and it also starts and stops the timer, or changes the screen orientation.

We may as well mention the price: the basic MERIDIIST with a stainless steel and rubber or leather backplate comes it at a cool €3400 or so. If you want alligator skin instead, then you are looking at €3900. If the polished steel is not your thing, you can add a "light diamond" finish with alligator skin for about €7500, or if you want a full diamond finish with white alligator, then that will set you back around €18000.

The MERIDIIST is certainly extremely expensive, but in fact it offers better value for money than a Vertu phone.. and it is a much more practical handset to use every day. No, we're not saying that the MERIDIIST offers good value for money, but we think that we would certainly choose one over a Vertu.

Remember that we said you were paying for engineering and craftmanship? Try to remember that, because underneath the impressive exterior, the MERIDIIST is rather more modest. This is a quad-band GSM phone with GPRS data only - there is no support for 3G or even EDGE. The 1.9" 240 x 320 pixel display is small by modern standards, although remember that it also comes with a small 96 x 16 pixel panel on the top. On the back is a 2 megapixel camera controlled by a mechanical trigger which can also be used to capture video clips. The MERIDIIST also comes with an MP3/AAC player and has a very reasonable 2GB of internal memory, but local PC connectivity is via a relatively slow USB 1.0 port. The MERIDIIST does support stereo Bluetooth or alternatively you can use a wired headset.

There's a WAP 2.0 browser, email client, voice recorder and a set of personal information management tools including a currency converter, world clock and PC synchronization. The MERIDIIST's software may not exactly make you go "wow", but it certainly seems practical enough.

 TAG Heuer MERIDIIST To be honest, the feature set is no more than you would expect to find in something like a ody who owns a MERIDIIST is likely to have a whole complement of gadgets to keep them amused with, the MERIDIIST really just needs to fulfill the features of a phone.

Due to the high-quality construction, the MERIDIIST is a fairly weighty device at 155 grams, although it's a pocket-friendly 112 x 46 x 16mm. The 950 mAh battery provides up to 7 hours talktime and 28 days standby time.. so again, the MERIDIIST is going to be quite dependable when it comes to battery life.

So, why should you want one? Well, it is a fabulous looking device, it will certainly be very exclusive, the solid feature set means that it is a practical phone to actually use, it's better value than a Vertu and in our view it a much classier device. But then the negative points are the huge price-tag and the modest feature set.

Would we want one? Actually, yes. Would we buy one? Well, no.. considering that it's 5 times more expensive than the gadget-stuffed Nokia N97. But if you are in the market for a super-premium handset, then we think the MERIDIIST will do the job.


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