Sirin Labs Solarin hands on review: security and performance come at a price

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This is the World's most advanced smartphone - but is it any good?

Reasons to buy
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    Most advanced smartphone

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    Isn't hidious

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    That screen

Reasons to avoid
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    Costs the same as a Nissan

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Sirin Labs has just unveiled the Solarin,the World's most advanced smartphone, at a star-studded launch party in London.

Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy were there, and so was T3, eager to get our hands on the smartphone before anyone else.

What makes it so special? The Solarinhas been developed with cost taken out of the equation, filled with the latest technologies, making this the most advanced smartphone available.

That does mean the phone will cost you £9,500 plus VAT, which is no small sum, but is it worth it? Let's have a look...


The Solarin is a big phone, it has a 5.5-inch screen, and it's thick as well, with a large bezel on the top and bottom. Official measurements are 80 x 160mm, and 10mm thick.

It's comfortable to hold though, and the key innovation here is with the materials used to create the smartphone.

Underneath the phone houses a unique metal matrix composite chassis. This material is typically used in the aerospace industry for its absolute rigidity, so that's cool.

On top of the futuristic chassisare titanium panels and a technical carbon leather panel.

The casing is rated IP54 water and dust resistant, and can be dropped from four feet onto solid concrete without breaking.

The glass is Corning GorillaGlass 4, and behind that is a 2K IPS display. This display has been tuned by Sirin Labs to produce a remarkable 120% sRGB colour gamut. Believe me whenI say this is one of the best displaysI've seen on a smartphone.

On the rear of the device is a tear drop shape which houses a fingerprint sensor and camera.

Above the camera is a little switch, which turns on super encryption mode. Which brings us onto...

Specs and Security

Security is one of the key features of this smartphone. Now Solarin runs Android - which doesn't sound that secure right? But underneath, the smartphone has "Zimperium" which is apparently the "most advanced privacy technology, currently unavailable outside the agency world".

Sirin Labs has also partnered with KoolSpan to integrate chip-to-chip 256-bit AES encryption - "the same technology that militaries around the world use to protect their communications".

As previously mentioned, there's a switch on the rear of the handset that opens super-security mode, allowing you to make fully encrypted calls and text messages.

That's all very useful if you have something you want kept secret. For most people, this is probably overkill, but for high-flying execs, celebrities, and spies, this could be the perfect phone.

The Solarinruns a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 octa-core processor and has 4GB of RAM so it should be incredibly fast. It certainly seemed quick during our brief time with it.

Onboard storage is a massive 128GBs with no option to expand.

Connectivity was also a key area of focus, withThere's support for 24 bands LTE, 802.11ac 2x2 MU-MIMO, WiGig (802.11ad) which is a first for smartphones.

The battery is a massive 4000mAh (in comparison, the Samsung S7 has a 3000mAh cell) that's very impressive, and should see two weeks of standby time or 33 hours of talk time.

Camera and Audio

The Solarin packs a 24-megapixel camera with laser autofocus and optical Image stabilization. It can record video in 4K at 30fps. The front facing camera is an 8-megapixel camera also with OIS.

We'd have to spend more time with the smartphone to test its camera capabilities.

The smartphone also has a great audio experience using three high-fidelity loudspeakers to create a loud, undistorted, 3D soundscape. Quite frankly we were blown away by how brilliant this smartphone sounded.

Early Verdict

Considering the price, Sirin Lab's Solarin is clearly a niche prospect, out of reach of most mear mortals.

While the design won't be to everyone's tastes, it's certainly a lot less tacky than it could be. It's a very exciting device though, and offers us a brief glimpse into the future of more commercial smartphones.

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Spencer Hart
Style and Travel Editor

As the Style and Travel Editor at T3, Spencer covers everything from clothes to cars and watches to hotels. Everything that's cool, stylish, and interesting, basically. He's been a part of T3 for over seven years, and in that time covered every industry event known to man, from CES and MWC to the Geneva Motorshow and Baselworld. When he's driving up and down the country in search of the greatest driving roads, he can be found messing around on an electric scooter, playing with luxury watches, or testing the latest fragrances.