Moshi, the self-dubbed purveyor of electronic fashion, has been around for quite some time, and are best known for their stylish and useful Mac accessories, such as the iLynx 800 that we reviewed last year. The company has now expanded into the consumer audio market, and has released their first audio headset, the Moshi Vortex ($79.95, link).
The company gladly agreed to send me a pair of their new earbuds for review, and I aim to find out whether Moshi’s latest offering will live up to their typical high standard of design and function.
Design & Comfort
Among the very first things I noticed about the Vortex buds was their fashionable design. These are some seriously nice looking headphones. The housing on each bud is made from a combination of glossy, matte and brushed steel alloy, immediately setting them apart from traditional “cheap” earbuds. The cables are also wrapped in a sturdy braided fabric rather than cheap plastic or rubber.
The Vortex earbuds are also exceptionally comfortable. Moshi includes a full set of ear tips in a variety of sizes, all of which are interchangeable and color-coded, and the ear tips are made from silicone – firm enough to stay in your ear, and soft enough that you could forget you’re wearing them.
The quality of these earbuds is apparent from the very first moment you handle them. Strong, fabric-covered cables, heavy steel buds, a brilliant custom case designed to protect and cradle the buds when they’re not being used, and more.
Because of Moshi’s choice of materials, these earbuds have a significant amount of weight and substance. While I initially thought this might make them less comfortable than I’d hoped, I actually found that it made me like them even more . They have a very solid and professional feel, which is apparent whether you’re holding them or wearing them. Quality you can feel.
Of course, what matters most of all when reviewing any audio device is the sound, and this is one area in which the Vortex buds do not disappoint. The bass performance was very clean and clear, although it tended to sound a bit muddy in the mid and upper bass ranges. The treble frequencies, on the other hand, were crisp and detailed, though at times they were overpowered by the dominant bass performance.
The built-in microphone performs similarly, focusing specifically on mid and high frequencies used while talking. This made voices more understandable and clear, but also sometimes makes background noise sound worse than it ordinarily would. Even so, the microphone is many times better than the one included with Apple’s iPhone headset, and performs well compared to other headsets I’ve used.
While my general experience with the Vortex buds was very good, they still have some room for improvement. For one, the headset doesn’t have any volume controls of its own, requiring you to grab your device from your pocket to adjust the volume.
Another point of concern I had was with the microphone push button, which is used to answer calls, activate voice dialing, and so forth. The button is far too difficult to push, which caused me some difficulty when using the headset while doing other things.
The Moshi Vortex headset is by far one of the most impressive sets of buds I’ve ever used in this price range. The exceptional build quality, durable construction, wide variety of ear pieces, and excellent sound quality made me a big fan of these buds, and the premium look and clean design makes them almost as nice to look as as they are to wear – I won’t be giving these up any time soon.
Rating & Conclusion
Considering the excellent quality, impressive looks and design, comfort, and the surprisingly great storage case for carrying these buds around, I award the Moshi Vertex headset a 4 out of 5, deducting points for the lack of volume controls, and for the finicky microphone button.
Overall, I’d highly recommend these buds to anyone, especially anyone who appreciates strong bass performance. These are some extremely solid buds, especially for the price, and left me far more impressed than I initially thought.
For more information, or to purchase these directly from the manufacturer ($80, Moshi), head on over to Moshi’s product page on the net. The Moshi Vortex headset is also available from Amazon.com with free shipping ($79.95, link).
- Excellent overall sound quality
- Great noise isolation
- Extremely attractive design
- Includes a surprisingly good carrying case
- Better performance and quality than expected
- Remote microphone button is hard to press
- Bass is a bit overpowering
- No built-in volume controls
- Microphone tends to pick up a lot of background noise