For a more comfortable, not to mention retro, mobile phone experience, try one of the Native Union Moshi Moshi telephone handsets.

It’s a wireless world, these days. For short-range and relatively slow data transfers, we have wireless Bluetooth. To whistle data across the home, office or coffee shop, we have wireless Wi-Fi; and with 11n networking, shuffling data around can now be quicker than many wired ethernet networks.

There’s even wireless power transfer, although this is still limited to a range of just a few millimetres, using induction-coil coupling – just like an electric toothbrush charger.

So it’s all the more brow-raising that a new telephone handset company is peddling corded phones – and ones aimed at linking up your wire-free mobile phone. But retro chic aside, there’s some real benefits to be found here.

We tried two of the new Moshi Moshi corded handsets, designed for easy use with any mobile sporting a 3.5mm combo mic/headphone socket. And they also work with some laptops sporting the same single in/out audio jacks too, like recent Apple MacBooks. So here you could employ such a handset for VoIP apps over Skype.

For other phones that don’t already have the standard 3.5mm jack, an adaptor kit is planned for £10; meanwhile a USB adaptor (£14) should allow direct connection to a computer without a suitable analogue socket.

At the most retro end of the Native Union catalogue is the Native Union Moshi Moshi MM01 (£30), resembling an old-school GPO handset.

This is available as a free-floating phone on a jack-terminated spiral cord (Native Union MM01H), or with a desk stand for it to sit upon while you’re waiting for your phone to ring (Native Union MM01). It comes in a soft-touch rubbery matt coating, in either black or dark red.

Native Union MM01

Native Union Moshi Moshi MM01 in red

We also looked at the Native Union Moshi Moshi MM02 (£50), an altogether more contemporary design with a slim, arched handset, and a thin (but heavy, at 466g) rectangular base. Our sample was finished in glossy glacial white, including a matching white spiral cord.

So what’s the point of these anachronisms? Well, w found it much more comfortable to hold a conversation on these full-size rap-rods. And unlike many a mobile, they can be nuzzled between ear and shoulder much easier, for that pre-speakerphone, hands-free experience.

The next mooted benefit is a little more contentious. With the handset kept away from the phone that’s emanating non-ionising RF radiation, Native Union claims its products provide a safer option, since the phone is not held to the head: ‘recently published long-term studies have added to concerns that cell phone radiation may be linked to various forms of cancer’.

Brain tumour scares aside, UHF and sub-microwave radiation may indeed cause a mild warming effect to the ear on long conversations, so you could at least experience cooler calling.

Another bonus is potentially clearer calls. With better quality earpiece speakers and mics installed, we found call quality – while still at the mercy of the UK networks punishingly high compression and extremely low data-rates – was better than with some mobiles’ built-in transducers.

NEXT PAGE: Our expert verdict >>

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Native Union Moshi Moshi: Specs

  • Corded telephone handset
  • 3.5mm four-pole jack plug
  • rubber mat rest for mobile phone included
  • Corded telephone handset
  • 3.5mm four-pole jack plug
  • rubber mat rest for mobile phone included

OUR VERDICT

These phones are not especially cheap, but they do offer a certain style over a normal mobile phone, and make those long corded conversations less tiring. We’re not sure we’d pull one out for use on a commuter train but for home or office use they do make a difference in comfort. Look out for forthcoming versions with built-in docks to support the iPhone.

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