By Andrew Liszewski
At one time Bluetooth headsets were only worn by tech-savvy go-getters who didn’t realize they weren’t the most flattering-looking accessory. But as the use of cellphones while driving becomes illegal in more and more places around the world, Bluetooth headsets are becoming a necessity. However, that doesn’t mean they still have to be worn 24/7, and since nobody wants to have to carry a cellphone and a Bluetooth headset ‘just in case’, Newton Peripherals have come out with an iPhone case that makes it easy to carry both with the MoGo Talk. Read my full review after the jump.
The MoGo Talk comes with the bare essentials needed to get you going, including the case itself with the Bluetooth headset already attached, a charging cable, various sized soft silicone ear tips and a microfiber cloth.
You might think that cloth is a nice freebie too, but since the MoGo Talk I was sent has a polished plastic finish just like the iPhone 3G & 3GS it was designed for, you’ll be spending just as much time buffing out fingerprints as you do with the iPhone itself. However, at CES a rep from Newton Peripherals told me that another version of the case would be coming that featured a soft rubber finish where fingerprints were less of an issue.
The MoGo Talk also included a plastic screen protector (not pictured) but since my iPhone already has one, I didn’t use it.
Removing the Bluetooth headset from the iPhone case is as easy as gently pressing on one edge which causes it to pop-up, but I’ll admit I did have to read the instructions to figure that out. (After spending quite a bit of time prying at the edges trying to retrieve it.) And as far as I can tell when it’s in the iPhone case, the Bluetooth headset is simply held in by a snug fit, there’s no plastic clips or magnets to keep it secure. So while it makes it easy to remove and replace, it’s not that difficult to accidentally dislodge it either, though I will point out that hasn’t happened yet.
Charging the Bluetooth headset is done while it’s attached to the iPhone case. There’s a small pop-up jack that reveals a microUSB connector, allowing you to connect it to your PC, or a USB equipped AC adapter. For starters, I would have probably preferred a miniUSB connector here, since it means I have to carry a new microUSB cable if I intend to charge the MoGo Talk when I’m away from my office. And secondly, the additional charging port also means you’ll need 2 USB ports available if you intend to charge both your iPhone and the Bluetooth headset at the same time.
Speaking to a rep at CES about this slight inconvenience, he mentioned that there’s a Blackberry MoGo Talk case coming out that allows the Bluetooth headset to charge at the same time as the phone is, requiring just a single cable. But because of the placement and size of its sync port, doing the same for the iPhone was something they were still looking into.
And as for battery life, the company claims on a full charge you can expect to get about 4 hours of talk time and over a week of standby time with the MoGo Talk, but in my experience that might be just a tad generous.
You see, in order to create a Bluetooth headset that could attach to the back of an iPhone case without adding a considerable amount of bulk, the MoGo Talk had to be very thin, and it is remarkably svelte. But the downside to that is there’s not a lot of room left for batteries. So if battery life is your number one priority in a Bluetooth headset, the MoGo Talk might not be your ideal solution. However, when it comes to convenience the MoGo Talk is a real superstar. As you can see it’s a very compact and thin Bluetooth headset, and is light enough to not require an extra over-the-ear support when being worn.
Whether it’s for ease-of-use or to keep the internal components to a minimum, the headset only features a single button on top which is used to trigger a wide variety of functions depending on whether you simply tap it, or hold it down for several seconds. There’s no dedicated volume controls on the headset either, but that’s because it uses an automatic volume control system to monitor the level of ambient sound while you’re on a call, adjusting it up or down as needed. But you can still adjust the volume on the phone itself if you wanted to.
The MoGo Talk’s Bluetooth headset also features a folding earpiece, which is pretty much a necessity so it can fold flat and piggyback in the iPhone case. As you can see in the photo, the ear tip doesn’t exactly look ergonomic, particularly when compared to the round ear tip featured on most Bluetooth headsets, but when it’s squished in your ear the soft silicone does conform to the shape of your ear canal, providing adequate sound isolation and preventing it from falling out.
The MoGo Talk also comes with 2 types of swappable ear tips. The thinner version with ‘ribs’ pictured here which provides for a bit less sound isolation, and a thicker rounded type (not pictured) which provides better sound isolation and fuller sound.
Pairing the device to my iPhone was extremely easy, as I expect a Bluetooth headset designed specifically for the iPhone to be, and call quality was perfectly fine on both ends. My current Bluetooth headset is the BlueAnt Z9i, and I will say it produces slightly fuller sound when compared to the MoGo Talk, but I’m going to attribute that to the Z9i’s larger earpiece. The earpiece on the MoGo Talk is very thin in order to allow it to fold flat, so I’d expect there to be a slight drop in sound quality, but I doubt most users would even notice. And anyone I phoned who is used to talking to me with the BlueAnt Z9i couldn’t tell I was using a different Bluetooth headset.
Of course as thin as the MoGo Talk Bluetooth headset is, it’s not paper-thin, so the case does add a bit of bulk to your iPhone, there’s no getting around that. As you can see in this photo it roughly doubles the thickness of the iPhone, but the back of the case is extremely contoured so it doesn’t feel as if it’s twice as thick in hand. It will definitely make for a slightly tighter squeeze in your pocket, but at the same time, you don’t have to free up space for carrying a separate Bluetooth headset, so it’s a reasonable trade-off I think.
And even though the MoGo Talk case does add some thickness to your iPhone, making it sit a bit higher on your desk, the fact that the Bluetooth headset on the back is flat means it actually won’t wobble around as much, which is something I occasionally find annoying with the iPhone.
When it comes to buying any type of gadget or electronics there’s always going to be trade-offs you have to consider when making a decision, and the MoGo Talk is no different. If you’re looking for a Bluetooth headset that’s easy to carry when it’s not stuck in your ear then you’re probably not going to find a better solution than the MoGo Talk. The clever design of the headset and the iPhone case means the two can be easily carried together, even if it does result in a slightly larger bulge in your pocket.
But, if you’re looking for a feature-rich Bluetooth headset with cutting-edge noise cancellation technology and extreme battery life, the MoGo Talk will not be at the top of your list. The key word here is ‘convenience’, and I think Newton Peripherals have managed to pull that off with minimal compromises.
+ Easy to carry since it almost disappears onto the back of your iPhone.
+ Thin design with minimal compromise in sound quality.
+ Case perfectly matches the finish on the iPhone 3G & 3GS, though that could also be considered a downside if you hate fingerprints.
+ Automatic volume control removes the need for extra buttons on the headset.
+ Includes different types of ear tips for different sound isolation preferences.
- Uses a microUSB charging cable which means an extra cable to carry around for most people.
- Requires 2 cables to charge the iPhone and Bluetooth headset at the same time.
- Lack of clips or even magnets means there’s a slight chance the headset could fall out of the case if bumped.
- iPhone is roughly twice as thick with the case attached.
- The headset’s thin design means a thinner battery, which results in slightly reduced call and standby times.
- Flat design of the silicone ear tips may not result in a perfect fit for all users.
MoGo Talk Integrated Bluetooth Headset And iPhone Case – $129
If you have any questions about the MoGo Talk you’d like answered, please feel free to leave them in the comments, and I’ll try to respond to them as best I can.