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Yubz Talk Mobile handset
Type: Gear, PersonalTech
From: Yubz
Usage: iPhone, Mobility, Peripheral
Yubz Talk Mobile handset
As the eminent David St. Hubbins once said, it's such a fine line between clever and stupid. The Yubz Talk Mobile handset wants to straddle it, but fails.
Posted July 14, 2009
An utterly frivolous gadget that pretends at both retro chic and old-fashioned functional, the Yubz Talk Mobile handset certainly does its job as advertised, but it's impossible to think of it as indispensable hardware.

The form factor of the Yubz Talk Mobile is identical to that of an old school, 60's era POT (plain old telephone) handset, lacking the weight (it's just half a pound) but boasting the same big huge housing that made such things so easy to cradle between one's shoulder and ear back in the day - the precursor to "hands free" phoning.

Well, hands-free but still tethered by the once-ubiquitous coiled, springy cord. Except now said cord does not attached to some rotary dial anvil, but your mobile phone instead - assuming it has a 1/4" phone plug (if not, adapters are available, making the whole kit and caboodle that much more garish).

Unlike the real old-school deal, the Yubz (tm for "Why You Busy?") sports both and on/off button and a volume fader on the inside of its handle, conveniences unseen when in use.

Problem is, after first novel blush, the thing is unconditionally redundant and entirely stupid. It has all the cachet of the big nose and eyebrows glasses you wear to a costume party once then toss after everyone has had a good chuckle. And those only cost a buck and the local nickel and dime. A Yubz Talk Mobile will set you back 40 bills - 60 in Canada.

Of course, the marketing materiel for the Yubz Talk Mobile certainly insinuates happy happy long-term usefulness with giggly girls and chatty suburbanites coddling the thing like second nature. However, in reality, to have a mobile phone with a built in speaker and mic in one hand tethered to a big ol' handset held to your head with the other doesn't really make you look stylish, it makes you look confused.

Yubz does wax at health benefits, such as Talk Mobile's ability to "greatly reduce radiation for mobile phone users," which is snake-oil speak "keeps cell phone away from head."

There's no denying that an old-fashion handset has its place in the practical sense; more substantial, easier to grip and easier to pinch to your head with your shoulder, unlike a mere mobile phone. It's really the curly cord that takes it over the top and well into the realm of kitsch.

Conveniently, Yubz also makes a cord-free Talk Bluetooth version - reportedly with expanded functionality and everything. There's also a USB Yubz Talk, which some users might find more productive than a head-tethering headset w/boom mic when using a laptop or desktop computer for VoIP calls. Those models are likewise garish, but intentionally so and somewhat sensible.

But the Yubz Talk Mobile with its dangly cord of serious inconvenience is nothing more than 21st century Groucho Marx novelty glasses that cost too much.
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2 (out of 5)