Thanks to services like Line2, my iPad makes for a great phone. Seriously, so long as I have a good data connection, the tablet offers a huge screen for dialing and an excellent noise-canceling microphone for making speakerphone calls. But what if I want to use my iPad, or my iPhone, or my iPod touch or, shockingly, a device running an OS other than iOS as a VoIP phone AND have the calls be private? That’s where Native Union’s amusingly functional line of handsets come in.
Many of the designs simply connect to the 3.5mm headphone jack on my handsets and tablets and let you make and take calls as you would with any traditional phone.takes this idea a step further by allowing one handset to connect to two devices simultaneously and, in the process, makes for a great conversation piece. The company was kind enough to send a review sample and I thought we might take a closer look at a gadget that will have a permanent place on my desk going forward.
From Native Union:
Designed by the acclaimed product designer David Turpin, the MM02t is a stylish and sophisticated dual-line handset. It features two different lines mounted on a retractable system that always allows you to keep your work space clean. Switch between the devices using the central line switch button, and mount up to two devices in the universal holder. The MM02t has been designed for both the home and the office to offer the best conversation experience. Available as a set including the ‘Curve’ handset and weighted base unit, it’s finished in the luxurious ‘soft touch’ black or in white high gloss. The handset can also be used without the base, and plugged directly to the mobile-phone. Fitted with a first class speaker and microphone, the MM02t also uses a noise reduction technology for better sound quality. It can be fitted with a USB adaptor or a Splitter cable for use with Skype or any other VOIP software on your computer. The ideal set-up for the MM02t is to have it connected simultaneously with your mobile phone and your computer or tablet. It will become the center point of all your communications.
Out of the box I was immediately impressed by the design, feel and, believe it or not, weight of the Curve Twin. Yes, this is one heavy gadget. The weighted base gives it a substantive feel but, perhaps more importantly, it ensures that even with an iPad inserted in portrait the base will remain stable and keep the tablet safe. Considering the price of my 64GB 4G iPad I am happy to know it won’t go crashing backwards!
The soft-touch feel of the Curve Twin is quite pleasing to both the eye and the touch, although it does seem to collect dust and show oil from fingers that touch it. That is a bit of a bummer. The small white Native Union logo that is front and center is another bummer. I get the desire to brand your products, but the Curve Twin is so unusual that I have no doubt people will ask about it; that word of mouth will be far better advertising than the small white logo!
Part of what Native Union emphasizes with all of these handset products is the way in which they reduce the radiation that goes from a mobile device into your brain. In this case, they claim a reduction of 99%.
On the one hand I suspect that if cellphone radiation is a real concern it is likely too late for me but, at the same time, since the Curve Twin is also remarkably convenient there is no reason NOT to get less radiation exposure. I other words, this isn’t a major selling point for me but it is a nice side-benefit. Here are all the features the company stresses:
• Using a CURVE TWIN reduces up to 99% of the radiation absorbed compared to direct use of your mobile phone
• Twin 3.5mm jacks to plug directly in 2 devices
• Twin retractable-cable system
• One touch button for pick-up / hang-up directly from the handset
• Line switch button
• Noise reduction system
• Soft touch black or high gloss white finish
• Universal holder suitable for 2 devices
• Patented design
The Curve Twin has a 3.5 mm jack on the left side. This is where the included handset gets plugged into the dates. On the back there are two retractable 3.5 mm cables. These allow you to connect one or two different devices at the same time. This is what makes this particular product stand out.
You can have both an iPhone and an iPad connected at the same time and then, using the small, unobtrusive button that is front and center of the Twin Curve, you can select which of the two devices is active. I have already made a number of calls using a voice service and the handset and the quality is quite good so long as the wireless network is speedy. You can, of course, use the handset with the iPhone and make standard cellphone calls but it really shines when you are able to turn your iPad into a large screen desk phone.
For me the Twin Curve shines as a way to set your iPad down and have it securely sitting as a decent viewing angle and then, as an added bonus, take phone calls when they come in on Line2, Vonage Mobile or one of the many available VoIP services.
Since we have all but stopped using our landline I can see getting an old first generation iPad, setting it into the Twin Curve and using it in the kitchen as both a phone and an always-accessible tablet.
And that brings me to my biggest criticism of the Twin Curve. Native Union wanted this to be as universal a product as possible. They succeeded. The result is a base and phone handset that can be used with any two devices so long as they have a 3.5mm headset jack. OR you can use it with a computer since they also include a splitter cable for use with computers that still have a separate speaker and microphone jack. The downside of this universal approach is that the Curve Twin doesn’t charge your device. It is, in fact, completely unelectrified. It makes sense for the company since it creates the broadest possible appeal for an accessory nobody actually NEEDS but, for someone like me, I would have loved to be able to charge my iPad while it was “docked” and “plugged”. That way I would have had an iPad in place, ready to go and, no matter what, fully charged if I needed to grab it and go.
Is this a huge issue? Not really but it sure would have been nice.
Theand is available in Matt black. The base is weighted and stable and allows you to connect two devices at once and switch between then with the press of a button. The handset itself is detachable so you can take it with you if you are out and about and want to make calls that don’t send radiation into your head. The sound quality is excellent and it easily rates a 9 or higher on the conversation-piece scale. Details and ordering information can be found .
What I Like: Looks cool; Attention grabbing; Well made; Love the Soft-touch material; Works with 2 devices at one time and one can be your computer; Sound quality is excellent; Creates a nice, stable base for larger devices; Handset is detachable and usable on its own
What Needs Improvement: White logo is small but prominent; Finger print and dust magnet; Doesn’t charge devices