There’s something else missing too; there are no number buttons for dialling. We missed being able to just bash in the numbers for friends, family and colleagues that we regularly called and knew the number’s of. Instead, a trip to your actual phone is required everytime you want to make a call, that is unless you own an iPhone 4S in which case you can get Siri to help out.
By pressing and holding down the central plus-shaped button you can invoke Siri then talk into the handset and ask to call either a number or someone from your phone book. It’s a system that works very well but obviously isn’t always ideal, and is generally slower than just dialling the number.
A slide button on the side of the handset lets you flip between “made for iPhone” mode and normal phone mode. The former makes the phone compatible with iPhones, providing the aforementioned Siri compatibility as well as volume control (via the buttons on the side of the handset) and music playback/call answering control via different numbers of taps of the main button. Out of iPhone mode it can perform many of the same functions for other phones, though compatibility varies - we tried on the Galaxy Note and Galaxy S3 and found that the volume control didn't work but the central button did for playing/pausing music and answering/hanging up calls.
When we first put the CH01 to task with a few test calls, we were genuinely shocked that it picked up so much noise from our phone signal – surely such a basic mistake couldn’t have been made? Thankfully, it hasn't. While the handset does occasionally pick up some interference the majority of the time it is noise free. Only every now and then will you get those beeps and whistles from the mobile signal.
We weren’t all that blown away by sound quality, though. It is a step up from most mobiles but it’s not exactly Hi-Fi. As such, the only real benefit here is the ergonomics (and style) of the device. Admittedly this counts for a lot, as it’s just nicer to hold and you can more easily hold the phone between head and shoulder for when talking while typing, note taking, thumb twiddling, washing up, arm wrestling…
Ultimately, though, while the SwissVoice ePure CH01 has some uses and a charming design, its performance isn’t quite good enough to come close to a recommendation. Value isn’t the concern – at £35 it’s not overly pricey – but if you’re actually looking for something to improve on every shortcoming of mobile phones when it comes to making calls then this accessory doesn't quite fit the bill. If you simply want the ergonomic benefits of a proper handset then it does the job.