Hands-on with Moshi's new wireless Vortex Air premium earbuds

Hands-on with Moshi's new wireless Vortex Air premium earbuds

With the disappearance of headphone jacks on an increasing number of smartphones, wireless earbuds have become more than just a convenience feature. That means a difficult tradeoff for audio designers between accommodating the limited battery capacity and providing high-quality sound. These tiny devices also need to support drop-free Bluetooth connectivity and streaming. Moshi, which is known for its fashion-forward accessories, , and headphones, has entered the market with two cleverly-designed models. The less-expensive Mythro Air and the Vortex Air – which we’ve been testing.

Using the Vortex Air earbuds

There are basically two ways to create wireless earbuds. You can either cram all the electronics into the separate earbuds, like the EarIn model I reviewed last year, or you can connect the two earbuds with a wire, and have a control unit that operates both of them. The later approach allows for more power (the EarIns definitely had limited bass and overall volume), and for music and speakerphone controls. But it means that you need to find a way to secure the control unit. Moshi has chosen to have a magnetic clip that you can use to attach it to your shirt. I’m not really sold on that as a great system. The included clip is small, with a small jaw opening. I managed to lose it in a few days, at which point I needed to buy some cheap magnetic clips from Amazon to replace it. Whichever clip I used the magnet just wasn’t strong enough to guarantee the “neckpod” would stay attached if I was walking or exercising. The good news is that the little pod is light enough, and the earbuds fit is solid enough, that you can easily wear the earbuds without the clip being attached. Speaking of the earbuds, their fit was great, and the unit comes with three sizes so there should be one with a good fit for you. They blocked out a surprising amount of ambient noise, and the hefty driver components in the buds themselves made the fit feel substantial and solid.

By default, the unit does not turn itself off automatically, so be careful you don’t accidentally drain the batteries. You can change that with the mobile app, which I strongly recommend, unless you are sure you’ll never forget to turn them off. Getting on a plane or train for a long trip with dead headphones is never fun.

Vortex Air audio performance

The Vortex Air played trouble free when paired with both my Android (Galaxy S6 Edge) and iOS (iPhone 5) phones. I was able to put the phone in a pocket, or on a nearby piece of exercise equipment. The first thing that struck me about the audio was the clarity. For such a small, and relatively-inexpensive, set of earbuds, the mid-tones and treble has excellent definition. The bass was more than enough for my needs, even for fairly-hardcore rock’n’roll. The most-noticeable short-coming we noticed, especially compared to very-high-end units, is that the sound – especially mid-tones and treble – is a little thin. It definitely isn’t as rich as you can get with a higher-powered wired set of earbuds, so you’re giving up a little bit for the convenience. The only other issue we heard was a very low-level hiss. It wasn’t really noticeable while music was playing, but can be heard in the background during particularly quiet passages. 

The Vortex & Mythro also offer a cool feature where you can have two users listening to the same audio stream at the same time. You’ll need to be using them with a smartphone and the company’s mobile app to use this DJ4two feature. This is especially handy for sharing music or a movie on a plane flight or in the back seat of a car, and duplicates the way a “Y-cable” allowed you to do so with a wired setup. Moshi’s Bluetooth Audio app (look for it under Audio in your app drawer once you have it installed) also lets you customize some of  the unit’s settings. For example, I was able to improve the mid-tones by switching the equalizer from the flat default to the “Moshi Preset.”

You can purchase the .

Mythro Air for the cost conscious

If you don’t want to spring for the $119 Vortex AIr model, you can get similar functionality (minus the speakerphone), with slightly-less-expensive audio components by purchasing the from Amazon (B&H doesn’t carry them at this time, although you can get the ).

Moshi Vortex Air features & specs:

  • Advanced Bluetooth wireless design with 8 hours of playtime.
  • RigidBody™ steel alloy construction delivers deep, clean bass.
  • DJ4two™: share music wirelessly to a second Moshi headset.
  • High-definition HR8 Neodymium drivers with extended range.
  • Integrated microphone with 3-button remote.
  • Magnetic clip included.
  • Cable Length

    2ft (0.6 m)

  • Available In Dark Steel
  • Product Weight

  • 0.98 oz (28 g)

  • Transducer Unit

    HR8 full range 8mm neodymium driver

  • Sensitivity

    100 +/- 3dB @ 1kHz

  • Impedance

    18 Ω

  • Ear-coupling Type

    canal-fit silicone or memory foam

  • Noise isolation (passive)

    up to 23dB

  • In-line control

    3-button controls with mic

  • Bluetooth Version


  • Codec

    AAC, SBC, Modified SBC

  • Profile

    HSP v1.2, HFP v1.6, A2DP v1.3, AVRCP v1.5

  • Bluetooth Range

    30 ft (10 m)

  • Paired Devices

    up to 8

  • Microphone


  • Microphone Sensitivity

    -39 dBV/Pa @ 1 kHz

  • Battery

    100 mAh (lithium-polymer)

  • Talk/Music Time

    up to 8 Hrs @ 50% volume

  • Standby Time

    up to 100 hrs

  • Charging Time

    2 hrs using micro USB port

  • Wearing type


Moshi Mythro Air features:

  • Lightweight anodized aluminum design with 8 hours of playtime.
  • Compact and ergonomic fit for comfortable listening.
  • DJ4two™: share music wirelessly to a second Moshi headset.
  • DR8 Neodymium drivers (15 Hz-20 kHz / -10dB@1kHz).
  • Integrated microphone with 3-button remote. Magnetic clip included.