Summary

Our Score

5/10

Pros

  • Heavily styled design
  • wireless speaker functionality

Cons

  • Uncomfortable receiver design
  • poor speaker battery life
  • overly expensive

Review Price £179.90

Key Features: Bluetooth iPhone handset; Portable speaker dock; Dock charges & syncs with iTunes

Manufacturer: Native Union

Features & Functionality

The 'Moshi Moshi 04i' is the big daddy of the 03i we reviewed at the beginning of April. Like the 03i it makes the same basic assumption: for all its merits, the iPhone isn't the best phone. Furthermore when speaking on the phone you aren't able to look at the screen without using the dodgy external speaker or rushing to get your headphones. So why not make an elegant receiver with better call quality and supply it with a base that doubles as a charge/sync dock? Yes, it actually makes a kooky kind of sense.

Consequently the 04i shares a number of similarities with the 03i. For a start both pair to your iPhone using Bluetooth and both receivers have volume up/down and a multi-function button with the same combination of controls:  answer (press once), reject (hold for 1.5 seconds), redial numbers (double press) or switch calls (hold in calls). Pressing both volume keys simultaneously mutes a call. To answer a call just pick up the Moshi, to make a call redial using the Moshi's MFB or dial on the iPhone and pick up the 04i receiver. There is even voice dialling: add voice tags to any contact on your handset then hold the multi-function button for 1.5 seconds and when you hear the beep speak the tag into the receiver. Clever.

 

From this point onwards, however, things couldn't be more different. For a start, while the concept and basic functionality remain the same the two products look nothing alike. Whereas the 03i is designed to be simple and full of curves, the 04i has numerous flat surfaces and rigid angles. The 04i also ditches the uniform look of the 03i to mix aluminium and plastic finishes, looking less like a discrete office accessory and more like a 1980s ghetto blaster. The 03i vanishes in the background, the 04i demands your attention.

There is good reason for this: the 04i's aforementioned party trick is that it also works as a Bluetooth speaker and conference call unit. Even better is the fact this functionality works through the handset independently of the base unit, making it portable. To ensure decent sound quality the 04i uses Bluetooth's A2DP profile , NXT engineered acoustics and 2x 2W speakers – the latter of which is inline with dedicated mini speaker docks like the Jawbone Jambox.

All of which sets the stage for the Moshi Moshi 04i to be a flexible, powerful and practical device. The trouble is it doesn't work out that way.

For all its bold ambition the 04i has problems, the most prominent of which is it has forgotten its primary purpose. The beauty of the Moshi Moshi 03i is that however ludicrous its idea sounds at first, on closer inspection it actually makes sense: the iPhone is a rubbish phone that is uncomfortable to hold and has iffy sound quality. The 03i is comfortable to hold and has excellent sound quality. Job done.

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