Review: Moshi Moshi Retro Handsets Make Your Cellphone Feel Like a Desk PhoneS

Native Union's Moshi Moshi line of handsets are both retro and functional, giving you an office-y flair keeps your cellphone away from your head. And with all the concern over not holding your phone during calls—any cellphone—this is perfect.

The Price

  • $30 for MM01H: Phone only with 3.5mm Jack
  • $60 for MM01: Phone with a handset base, both 3.5mm
  • $130 for MM03: Wireless Bluetooth handset with base

Review: Moshi Moshi Retro Handsets Make Your Cellphone Feel Like a Desk PhoneS

The Verdict

This type of gadget really appeals to the Mad Men-watcher in me, even if I'm still stuck halfway through on season 2. Perhaps it's the David Turpin French styling of the MM03 and MM01, but holding these handsets up to my face elevates the importance of every call by at least 15%.

Review: Moshi Moshi Retro Handsets Make Your Cellphone Feel Like a Desk PhoneS

If you were hoping the MM01 handsets had an authentic feel to them, you might be slightly disappointed. They are lighter than the handsets in old Western Electric phones, and are coated in a more grippy, "soft-touch texture" rather than smooth plastic. The MM03, on the other hand, has a plastic base and handset build while still keeping the "what year is this from" mystique of the other phones.

Sound quality

The MM01, because they are directly connected through the 3.5mm jack, has about as good quality as you'd expect from a standard wired headset. The audio comes in nice and clear—no volume adjustment on the phone itself, unfortunately—and I've gotten no complaints about the outgoing volume. The downside comes from the fact that you are still tethered to your phone, but the stretchable phone cord should give you plenty of room to slide about your cubicle. The only thing to remember is that your cellphone is probably not weighed down or docked to something heavy, so if you pull your handset too far away from the phone, the phone is going to come with.

Your MM03, on the other hand, sacrifices a little call quality for portability. It's nothing dramatic—same as any other Bluetooth headsets—but you will get occasional dropouts as wireless interference is apt to do. But, having 30-60 minute conversations on it is much more comfortable than doing it raw, on a cellphone, in my experience.

Review: Moshi Moshi Retro Handsets Make Your Cellphone Feel Like a Desk PhoneS

Tell me more about the wireless version

There is a base station that acts as both a charging station and a hang-up switch, allowing you to angrily (or gingerly) place the phone down and end a call—something not possible with normal Bluetooth headsets. There's also a hang-up and answer button on the phone itself, as well as volume toggles. You can get up to 6 hours of talk on a charge, which isn't too bad, seeing as it will spend most of its life docked and charging. Unless you're forgetful or spend most of your day on the phone, you shouldn't have a problem.

All their phones can be connected to a computer for VoIP calls as well, with the MM03 having multipoint Bluetooth so you don't need to re-pair to various devices.

Review: Moshi Moshi Retro Handsets Make Your Cellphone Feel Like a Desk PhoneS

Why now?

Retro phones like this have been around since before 2006, but have developed a new relevance now that there's increased scrutiny on how you hold your phone. Plus, you have San Francisco wanting SAR radiation levels displayed for each phone, which makes me question whether or not I'm getting brain-blasted every time I have a conversation. The Moshi Moshi handsets solve both problems while simultaneously looking good. [Native Union]

Review: Moshi Moshi Retro Handsets Make Your Cellphone Feel Like a Desk Phone

Nicely designed and works with VoIP

Review: Moshi Moshi Retro Handsets Make Your Cellphone Feel Like a Desk Phone

Not too expensive

Review: Moshi Moshi Retro Handsets Make Your Cellphone Feel Like a Desk Phone

Eliminates any sort of radiation and/or reception issues

Review: Moshi Moshi Retro Handsets Make Your Cellphone Feel Like a Desk Phone

Call quality is just fine with the wired versions

Review: Moshi Moshi Retro Handsets Make Your Cellphone Feel Like a Desk Phone

Bluetooth call quality isn't perfect, but that's inherent to Bluetooth