Remember when hearing your tech talk to you was actually novel and desirable? I do, it was 2004 and it was a phone I'd seen Paris Hilton use (although I couldn't get my hands on the pink version) called the Motorola Razr.
If you're too young to remember what it said when you powered up, listen to this. For the rest of us (and for any of the 130 million people who owned that phone following its release), it might be something of a revelation to know that Motorola also sells earbuds that take you right back to that very moment!
The Razr's hugely popular clamshell or 'flip' design phone is now 18 years old – but the company responsible for it (which sadly accounts for only a small chunk of the smartphone market these days, having been acquired by Chinese giant Lenovo – from previous owner Google – back in 2014) did revive it a few years back with the Motorola Razr 2019 and Razr 2020.
And the best bit is this: there's a new Motorola Razr 2022 on the horizon – and what's a shiny new smartphone these days without a set of earbuds to play nice with it?
Meet the Moto Buds 150. At a truly palatable $50 / £45 (around AU$80) it's bizarre to note that these earbuds are Moto's mid-range offering, because the brand's entry level 085 cost just £30 / $45, while the flagship Moto Buds S-ANC will set you back $150 / £130.
I'll quickly glance over the specs, because while a few stand out, they're not the most interesting part: IPX5 water-proofing (so they can resist a sustained, low-pressure water jet spray) on-ear touch controls (although not volume) and an 18-hour battery life (six hours from the buds and 12 from the case). You also get three eartip options in total and a USB-C charging cable.
Opinion: the retro jingle shouldn't work here – but it does
The point is that the Moto Buds 150 – which, incidentally, are ergonomically shaped and feel very nice and light when worn – categorically should not take me back to a time when it was groundbreaking to actually see other people on the end of a Skype call on my laptop. But they do, thanks to that little welcome you hear when you put them in, and I love it.
Obviously there's a major discrepancy here in terms of chronological accuracy, because the first true wireless earbuds didn't arrive until 2014, a decade after the launch of my beloved Motorola Razr and the vocal greeting it issued. I speak of the days before Alexa (who also first piped up in 2014), TikTok, or smartphones – a simpler time.
And I like being reminded of it, even if a few of the specs (no ANC, no wearer detection, no app support) mean the Moto Buds 150 are probably not about to challenge the class-leading Sony WF-1000XM4 or the more price-comparable JLab Go Air Pop.
Obviously this is not a review of the product for sound, features and usability, but I must admit that after hearing that joyous woman (the internet gives conflicting names for her, but if you're out there Motorola lady, thank you!) greet me a few times, I want to buy them purely to hear her whenever I feel like a jolt of nostalgia.
Again, they're really quite affordable, and on this selling point alone I might be tempted to add them to our best budget wireless earbuds guide, but that might not be particularly professional of me. We'll have to see.
Incidentally, 2004 was the year Mark Zuckerberg launched The Facebook, soon renamed to just Facebook. And now I'm right back to feeling old…
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Becky is a senior staff writer at TechRadar (which she has been assured refers to expertise rather than age) focusing on all things audio. Before joining the team, she spent three years at What Hi-Fi? testing and reviewing everything from wallet-friendly wireless earbuds to huge high-end sound systems. Prior to gaining her MA in Journalism in 2018, Becky freelanced as an arts critic alongside a 22-year career as a professional dancer and aerialist – any love of dance starts with a love of music. Becky has previously contributed to Stuff, FourFourTwo and The Stage. When not writing, she can still be found throwing shapes in a dance studio, these days with varying degrees of success.