Swissvoice ePure BH01i Bluetooth Station
More comfortable for long phone calls; doubles as an impressive speaker; access Siri from the wireless handset; charges iPhone; looks stylish; compatible with iPhone 5
iPhone 5 users need an Apple adapter; better speaker functionality can be found cheaper elsewhere; some iPhone owners won’t see the need for such a device
US$149.99 + shipping
Swissvoice’s ePure Bluetooth station is several iPhone accessories rolled into one. It’s a speaker, a charging dock, a Bluetooth handset and a way to access Siri without picking up your iPhone.
So, first things first, and probably the most obvious feature, is the Bluetooth handset. The ePure can connect to your iPhone via Bluetooth to act as a separate handset, designed to provide more comfortable use and also to reduce the amount of radiation absorbed by your brain during a phone call.
Our iPhone 4S paired easily with the handset, and we found that we could use the handset to take phone calls from an impressive 20 metres away from our iPhone. The sound of our caller’s voice was clear and crisp and the handset was comfortable to use for prolonged periods of time.
Once paired, your device will automatically reconnect with the ePure when it is in range of the device, so it’s not even necessary to take your iPhone out of your pocket if you choose not to. You can turn off this setting if you wish.
If you have an iPhone 4S or iPhone 5, you can use the ePure to control Siri. One tap of a button on the handset activates Siri, and you can use it to make calls, play music, find out information, and carry out all of Siri’s other functions.
The handset can also become wireless speakers. Simply pair the ePure with your iPhone and play audio to hear it through the handset. You can rest the handset on a table or surface while sound is playing.
The ePure’s speakers have an impressive maximum volume, which can be controlled using volume keys found on the handset. The overall sound quality is rich and a vast improvement over the speakers built in to an iPhone.
If you happen to receive a phone call while you are playing music or other audio through the ePure, the sound will fade out and be replaced by your ringtone. The ePure uses the ringtone you already have set up on your iPhone. Once you have finished the phone call, the music will resume playing.
Finally, the ePure has a retractable dock that acts as a charger for your iPhone. We weren’t able to test the iPhone 5 with the ePure BH01i, but Swissvoice has told us that the new iPhone will be able to sit in the dock and charge via Apple’s 30-pin to Lignting adapter.
We loved the calming sound effects programmed into the ePure to let you know when the handset it charging, when it’s being turned on or off, and when the handset is paired to a Bluetooth device.
It’s matte black finish and simplistic design says style and sophistication, and suits Apple devices well.
Although the ePure Bluetooth station is first and foremost an iPhone accessory, it can be used with iPads and iPods, though phone call features will, of course, not work with those devices.
Macworld Australia‘s buying advice
Overall, we think the ePure BH01i is a beautifully made and well thought out product that would suit an office environment or someone that finds using an iPhone for long phone calls uncomfortable. If you’re just looking for a speaker dock, however, and aren’t interested in the handset functions it has to offer, there’ll be a different product out there to suit your needs.