Moshi Moshi: Narcissism in phone form

Review: Native Union Moshi Moshi 01, 02 and possibly 03 – Desiring something that you want for no good reason needs some explaining. Perhaps it is beautiful and honest, doing only what it says. Perhaps it makes your desk look hotter. And it definitely looks hotter to cradle a retro modern soft-touch handset than hold that tiny little cellphone to your ear to talk into like a chimp. The Moshi Moshi telephone handsets are a whole new class of cellphone accessory: designed to be bigger, heavier and less function-rich than the thing they connect to.

The two units Gearburn tested (there were three, but one got abducted by the corner office) were respectively new-80s Nordic sleek (the Curve) and multi-decade public telephone (the Pop). See the pictures below, it’s hard to describe. They start with a little rectangular silicon rubber pad that you drop your mobile onto, and ends in a big ol’ telhone.

One assumes the pad is to stop it skidding around, yanked around by the 3.5mm audio headset cable you’ve plugged into its audio headset plug-hole.

And now you have a rather fetching telephone set on your desk, base and handset, to use when taking and receiving calls. And what a winner at doing that they are, for only US$50 or US$150. Depending on what a winner you are.

The two little electro-mechanical machines fastidiously incorporated into the handset, respectively the microphone for your dulcet but powerful speaking tones, and the speaker to stimulate your incus, malleus and stapes. Not titillate these tiny hearing bones deep in the inner ear, you understand, they merely stimulate. It is a cellphone headset after all. Hardly a landline’s toll quality 4kHz wide band of voice audio goodness (note to inquisitive readers: I challenge you to find a clear definition of toll quality on any Website, and without having to pay the dinosaurs at the ITU for the right to read it without it costing unnecessary research money).

There’s not a lot to say about the Moshi Moshi once the philosophising stops. It’s black, comes in three shapes, namely sleek, modern and modern-sleek. Units are solidly constructed and beautifully fabricated. It does nothing apart from let you talk on your mobile using a proper handset. It is not a headset. Buy it if you like this kind of thing and have some cash handy. And have a mobile phone, of course.

If you’re smart and creative, you can also use it as your Skype headset because the 3.5mm four-contact TRRS plug can be plugged into a splitter cable ( for use with your computer to create a Skype headset that won’t look at all out of place when you’re video calling.

All good, but it gets better. The crème de la extreme gaucherie is the Moshi Moshi 03 (with styling that is more high-gloss contemporary). It doesn’t need a silicon mat or coiled rubberised telephone cord to connect up to your mobile as it is Bluetooth. Boo, Bluetooth, by the way.

Or scale the summit of gratuitous consumption and stride onto the golden plains of the 03i, which sports an iPhone charging dock. And Bluetooth.

And sink back, sated, on your Herman Miller chair.

Who it’s for:

  • People who buy this kind of thing. Usually on a whim.

What we liked:

  • Everything. Ish.

What we didn’t like:

  • Feeling suckered… seduced. Both.

Roger Hislop


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