Being born in the 1970s, I grew up in a world where landline telephones were a central part of every person’s life. Every teenage girl had a princess phone, and every family kitchen had a wall-mounted phone with a ridiculously long cord. Talking on the phone hands-free meant tilting one’s head sideways and using one’s shoulder to press the phone to one’s ear, a custom that spawned not only a market for handset shoulder rest pads, but surely also helped to swell the bank accounts of many a chiropractor. I find it necessary to explain this because, as mobile and VOIP telephony technologies have advanced, traditional landline handsets can be found in fewer and fewer homes. Normally I applaud the relentless march of technology as it tramples and grinds outdated technologies under heel; but the truth is that I actually like holding and using a landline-style receiver. Fortunately, Native Union makes it possible to embrace both modern technology and old-school practicality with their line of Moshi Moshi handsets. They sent me the Moshi Moshi 02 to review, and I found it to be exactly what I had been hoping for.
- Design by French designer David Turpin
- Black soft-touch or white high-gloss finish
- High-quality speaker and microphone
- Compatible with all mobile phones via available adapters
- Can be used for VOIP computer calls via available USB adapter
- Weighted base
- Included silicone mat to protect your mobile phone
- 3.5mm jack is compatible with iPhone
Taking the Moshi Moshi 02 out of the box for the first time, I was struck by how solid it felt in my hands. The attention to fit and finish is impeccable, and both the receiver and base have a nice heft to them. Both pieces passed the “squeeze test” without a pop or creak, and the soft-touch finish feels nice and is sufficiently grippy (I received the black model, so I cannot comment on the glossy finish of the white model). The underside of the receiver features a single, easily-locatable button that provides a satisfying tactile response when depressed.
A coiled cord is hardwired to the receiver, and can either be plugged directly into a mobile phone (if your phone has a 3.5mm jack, or you can use one of many available adapters), or can be plugged into the base. The base has two 3.5mm jacks, one for the receiver, and one to connect an additional included 3.5mm cable to your mobile phone.
The design of the receiver and base are impressive, the simple squared corners of the base providing a sharp contrast to the gentle curves of the receiver. Native Union has managed to provide a design that would look at home on just about any desk, and that is very complimentary to whatever hardware you end up using it with.
The package also includes a small silicone pad, intended as mat for one to place one’s mobile phone onto. I didn’t find much value in this when I had my iPhone plugged into the MM02′ s base, since the phone was sitting perfectly still, tethered to the weighted base. However, the mat’s utility became apparent when I plugged the receiver directly into the phone, as I had a tendency to drag my phone around the table when I reached the limits of the coiled cord’s unstretched length, and the mat at least gave the phone enough grip to hold it in place for longer.
In short, the sound quality of the receiver’s speaker and microphone are as good as you’re likely to get in any telephone. Test calls using the MM02 through my iPhone sounded at least as good or better than calls made using the iPhone directly or a Bluetooth headset, for both ends of the call. It is clear that, while using the MM02, the weakest links in sound quality are in either the mobile phone itself or the network.
I had hoped to be able to test the MM02’s performance with Skype as well, but in order to do so one must use the Moshi Moshi USB adapter, a $20 accessory that Native Union sells separately. I did not receive an adapter for the purposes of this review, and the adapters are currently unavailable on the Native Union website, so there was unfortunately no way for me to get a test of the MM02’s VOIP performance. I’m sure it’s every bit as impressive as its mobile performance, but it would have been nice to have been able to confirm that.
Usage, and Other Notes
At its heart, the MM02 is just like using any corded headset & mic device. The button on the receiver performs the same functions as the button on a corded headset would, even going so far as to work with the single-, double-, and triple-click functionality of such a headset in the iPod app on the iPhone. The end result is that using the MM02 to receive calls is effortless… just lift the receiver, press the button to answer the call, have your conversation, and then press the button again to end the call. Naturally, one still needs to use one’s mobile phone to initiate outgoing calls.
One very minor complaint is that the included 3.5mm cord that connects the MM02’s base to a mobile phone is a straight cord. I can’t imagine that it would make sense to place one’s mobile phone very far away from the MM02’s base — especially considering that physical access to the mobile phone is still needed for dialing out — so it seems like a coiled cord would make more sense. As it is, the straight cord is somewhat stiff, and ends up cluttering up the desk surface. The only benefit I can see to the straight cord is if one is planning to use the MM02 exclusively for Skype calls on a desktop computer, because it would certainly be more appropriate than a coiled cord for running behind one’s desktop. If that’s the idea, however, I’d think it would make more sense to include a coiled 3.5mm cord with the MM02, and include the straight 3.5mm cord with the USB adapter.
The Moshi Moshi 02 is a solid piece of hardware, and if you make or receive a lot of mobile phone calls from your desk, and you’d rather use a full-size receiver than a wired or Bluetooth headset, then you can’t go wrong here. The MM02 isn’t terribly expensive at $60, though it starts to become somewhat pricey if you add in the $20 USB adapter. I can definitely see the MM02 earning a permanent place on my desktop.