This unusual device functions as a cellphone dock, a Bluetooth speaker, and a Bluetooth handset that lets your cellphone act like a landline phone. Here’s our review.
The Moshi Moshi04i Bluetooth Speaker-Handset by Native Union works with any Bluetooth-equipped mobile device. It has a silver-colored receiver, festooned with a honeycomb motif and measuring a couple of inches longer than typical telephone handsets.
That handset rests on its base that also functions as a dock (that works particularly well with iPhones). Once you place the handset on the dock, it touches contacts that charge its battery. Likewise, when we plugged our iPhone 4 into the dock, it charged that as well. Overall, this device, designed by UK-born Michael Young, looks completely original, unlike any dock we’ve ever seen.
Let’s start out with what the 04i does best: It’s an excellent iPhone dock and Bluetooth speaker. Once you’ve charged up the handset, it serves as a portable pair of great-sounding speakers, capably playing whatever audio your mobile device feeds to it. Because of the two speakers’ diminutive size, its bass response isn’t going to rock the house, but even when it’s on battery power (when it will only play at 75% of its maximum volume), it sounds surprisingly good.
It’s easy to pair up your Bluetooth device with the 04i. With our iPhone, it acted just like any other Bluetooth gadget, where you put the 04i into pairing mode, find it in the appropriate iPhone menu, and the two devices recognize each other from then on. It can also be paired with a Bluetooth-equipped laptop, and from there you can use the handset to talk on VoIP connections such as Skype.
If you’re listening to music from your iPhone on the speakers and a phone call comes in, it behaves properly, fading down the music while you answer the phone. Working like a landline phone, when you pick up the handset from its cradle, you can begin talking without pushing any buttons.
Sound quality as a telephone handset is excellent, but we did have a problem with each of the two cellphones with which we tested it: Although the calls sounded excellent from the 04i, when talking from the other end, we could hear a slight echo at the end of a spoken sentence or phrase. In some instances this was distracting, while in other cases it was subtle, but it was still there, and you might find it annoying. Strangely enough, that echoing characteristic was not as noticeable when we used it in speakerphone mode, which worked well.
Here’s the bad news: It’s priced at a steep $200, a number that will probably give you sticker shock. But if you’re looking for a way to minimize your exposure to cellphone radiation, and would like an unusual cellphone dock that also functions as a pleasant-sounding Bluetooth speaker and gives you a landline-like wireless handset, the Moshi Moshi04i might be worth a try.