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Testing the MoGo Talk Bluetooth headset for the iPhone 4

Posted by Scott Kirsner  September 28, 2010 08:15 AM

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mogo.jpgI'm not a fan of Bluetooth headsets, so sending one to me in the mail is kind of like inviting a lactose-intolerant food critic to review your new fondue restaurant.

But last week, the MoGo Talk for iPhone 4, designed by Natick-based ID8-Mobile, arrived. (ID8-Mobile was known as Newton Peripherals when I wrote about them last.) The idea behind the MoGo is that it's both a protective case for your phone, and it also stores a slim Bluetooth headset in the back of the case. It costs $99.

The good: The MoGo headset was easy to pair up with my iPhone, and I was using it within a few minutes of charging it up. I like all things to have their own place, and it was handy to pop the headset in and out of the back of the case.

The bad: Like most (all?) Bluetooth headsets, even though this one integrates into the phone's case, it still requires its own micro USB charging cable. So it's one more thing to plug into your computer or a wall outlet, along with your phone itself. (ID8 chief executive Stuart Nixdorff says that a future version will feature "a very unique solution to charging both" simultaneously, but it won't be out until next year. Nixdorff also says that ID8's forthcoming Blackberry version of the MoGo will allow the phone and headset to share the same power source.)

Despite trying each of the half-dozen rubber earpieces that came with the MoGo, the thing wouldn't stay in my ear. There's no hook that allows it to hang from the top of your ear; you're supposed to just jam it into your aural canal and hope for the best. The result was that a supposedly hands-free headset turned into one that I had to hold in most of the time with two fingers.

The sound quality when I spoke to others on the MoGo was a little fuzzy, but just a smidge muddier than the wired headset I usually use, made by Scosche Industries. Listening was fine.

Like other Bluetooth headsets I've tried, there is a flashing blue light that announces to passersby that you are wearing a Bluetooth headset. There is also only one button on the headset that does everything, if you can remember numerous Morse-code-like commands. It can answer the phone, or reject an incoming call. It turns the headset on and off. It summons the police if you are being mugged, or sends out for pizza.

I'm returning to my small collection of inexpensive wired headsets, which fit my ears better; don't require charging; and also allow me to listen to music.

What's your take: do you use a Bluetooth headset... a wired headset... or none at all?

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Innovation and technology news that matters, on a new website from the Boston Globe, featuring Scott Kirsner and other original reporting.

About Scott Kirsner

Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.

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