The phone that runs errands: Vertu's latest gadget trumps Siri by offering its own concierge

Adam Jacques gives the luxury mobile-phone company's impressive service a test run

I'm standing outside the upmarket London members' club and entertainment venue Sketch on a Saturday evening, eyeing up the queue that's formed outside the door. But for the next few days I'm a VIP, and my small group of friends and I won't be joining it. I mention the manager's name to the doormen who fetches him. He strides outside to greet me with a firm handshake, "right on time Mr Jacques, please follow me," I'm not, but it's good of him to say so. And with that, my astonished friends and I sail past the bouncers, along a corridor and are ushered into a luxurious, members-only cocktail bar.

This impressive meet-and-greet isn't down to me – my VIP status is zilch – but rather it's thanks to the assistance of Vertu. The luxury mobile-phone company has a rather smart trick up its sleeve: access to a global concierge phone and messaging service, available 24/7, via a dedicated button on its latest mobile-phone offering, the Vertu Ti. And I've been given four days with its new Android-powered model in an attempt to make the most of its claim to be able to arrange anything (legal) within a reasonable time frame: from granting last-minute access to a network of private-members' clubs, to arranging a shopping trip.

Back at Sketch, I'm reclining on a Louis XV chair in the "Parlour" room, sipping a £15 champagne cocktail and feeling rather like a visiting oligarch on a night out. I get an email update from my on-call Vertu assistant Lisa, explaining what's next on the evening's itinerary: we've been booked into the newly opened Libertine club (formerly Chinawhite), for dancing and more cocktails, though it's yet to open officially, earning me further kudos with my friends.

From a nightlife perspective, then, Vertu's service is a resounding success, with the prowess of Lisa and her team far outstripping what my own (digital) assistant, Siri, can provide me with on my usual mobile, my iPhone 4: one of Siri's suggestions is a local night club dive which doesn't even have a guest list.

Of course, its not just high-end revelry that the Vertu service promises to unlock for its clients – I'm assured I can ask for anything within reason. So for my next challenge, I try a little harder.

It's my girlfriend's birthday coming up and I'd heard a story about another concierge that helped arrange shopping trips, advising its clients how to blow £250,000 while they visited the likes of Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior. I want Vertu to do the same, albeit with a rather more meagre budget of £100. So reluctantly I restrict my retail options to the likes of Oasis and River Island. I send Vanessa, my personal assistant, pictures of my girlfriend and within a few hours she delivers a dossier of 20 affordable dress suggestions from assorted retailers – one of which I end up buying.

Next up, sold-out venues. Over the weekend I ask the service to find me a last-minute ticket to The Audience stage show, starring Helen Mirren, and also procure a seat at the England vs Italy Six Nations game. Vertu comes up trumps for both, though with a premium price tag: £144 for a fully serviced package to the stage show, including champagne, and £500 per person for access to a box at Twickenham.

It's only when I start getting a little more creative with my requests that Vertu comes unstuck: I've always wanted to appear in a TV drama, so I hit the concierge button and ask the eager assistant on the other end of the line to set me up in a show as an "extra". But after a lengthy wait all I get is a listing of suggested agencies to approach – where's my personal introduction service? But, still, it's better than what Siri can muster, with the electronic assistant suggesting a random selection of location-based listings with the word "extras" in it.

Come Sunday night, my last night with the Vertu Ti, I can't sleep. Perhaps it's the fear of losing my very own concierge. So at 4:50am I reach for the leather-and-titanium-clad phone and access its live instant-messenger service, to explain to whoever's out there that I'm having trouble sleeping. The on-call assistant, Cassandra, takes five minutes to reply, before deciding she's not equipped to deal with insomnia cases and ducks out without uttering more than a few words. Lisa gets in touch some 25 minutes later (an age in the world of instant messaging) and at least proves much more adept at banter, while also dispensing some relaxation advice. For research purposes I also activate my iPhone's Siri and ask it the same question. Its response alternates between, "I'm sorry to hear that" and "if you can't, you can't".

It's Monday morning and my last day with the Ti. Following an early morning wake-up call from Vanessa, I make my final request. I try to imagine myself as a rich millionaire playboy and ask her for a private jet to take me and 10 friends for a long weekend in Paris. She comes back to me swiftly, offering to book one of several suggested flights (about £14,000 return for up to 13 people – not bad if you split it). I decline on account of my extensive overdraft.

Which brings me to a reluctant conclusion; to make the most of this impressive service you need bundles of spare cash. And while renewal of its service after one year is "only" £1,850, to enjoy the perks of money-can't-buy events and executive transport, you need the sort of disposable income that most of us don't have. But for those that do, its elegant styling will go well with your Patek Philippe watch and Ferrari 458 – and I recommend it. For everyone else, well, there's always Siri.

The Vertu Ti is priced at £6,700 for the handset and one year of service. vertu.com

Apps that can concierge

You most likely can't afford Vertu's expensive service but an array of other apps can help you out, whether it's on-demand taxi services such as Hailo or Kabbee or restaurant reservations via Toptable.

Flower-delivery group Interflora has its own app if you need to send some stems, quick-sharp. And for car hire and other travel info, Kayak will work out the best deals and prices on hotels, cars, flights and more.

Will Dean

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
News
The data shows that the number of “unlawfully” large infant classes has doubled in the last 12 months alone
i100Mike Stuchbery, a teacher in Great Yarmouth, said he received abuse
Arts and Entertainment
The starship in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
filmsThe first glimpse of JJ Abrams' new film has been released online
Sport
Rio Ferdinand returns for QPR
sportRio Ferdinand returns from his three-game suspension today
News
The Speaker of the House will takes his turn as guest editor of the Today programme
arts + ents
News
people

Watch the spoof Thanksgiving segment filmed for Live!
Sport
Billy Twelvetrees will start for England against Australia tomorrow with Owen Farrell dropping to the bench
rugbyEngland need a victory against Australia today
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of The Guest Cat – expect to see it everywhere
books
Sport
Tyson Fury poses outside the Imperial War Museum in south London ahead of his fight against Dereck Chisora
boxingAll British heavyweight clash gets underway on Saturday night
News
i100 Charity collates series of videos that show acts of kindness to animals
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Opilio Recruitment: Senior Developer

    £50k - 60k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We have an exciting Seni...

    Opilio Recruitment: Senior Front End Developer

    £50k - 70k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We have an exciting Seni...

    h2 Recruit Ltd: Senior Sales Executive - SaaS/ Cyber Security - £60,000

    £32000 - £34000 per annum + Uncapped OTE £65,000 : h2 Recruit Ltd: Looking for...

    h2 Recruit Ltd: Sales Executive - Software-as-a-Service/ SaaS - £42,000

    £28000 - £31000 per annum + Bonus + Progression: h2 Recruit Ltd: Are you looki...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

    Christmas Appeal

    Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
    Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

    Is it always right to try to prolong life?

    Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
    Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

    What does it take for women to get to the top?

    Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
    Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

    Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

    Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
    French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

    French chefs campaign against bullying

    A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
    Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

    Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

    Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
    Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

    Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

    Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
    Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

    Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

    Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
    Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

    Paul Scholes column

    I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
    Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

    Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

    So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
    Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

    Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

    The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
    Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

    Sarkozy returns

    The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
    Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

    Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

    Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
    Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

    Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

    Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game