Ultimate Guide to Help You Buy the Best Cordless Phone
Wired technology is dying. Mobile phones and other wireless devices are now considered as a matter of form. Soon not even the need for power cables will keep users shackled, for already phones can be charged wirelessly.
Yet there is still one realm where wires and tangles continue to be a matter of course. Land line phones provide islands of stability in a chaotic ocean of ever-more-complex mobile devices, and are still very much a necessity for the way we do business.
However, why stick with the basic unit your phone company gives you? Cordless phones give the flexibility of cellphones with several more features important to keeping in touch and keeping safe. So let’s have a look at these useful features you should look for in the best cordless landline phone.
Uniden Cordless Phone via
- Base and Back-lit Keypads
Even handset-only cordless phone units have keypads at a convenient size compared to most cellphones or the touch keys of any smartphone. Nearsighted and both seniors and young children alike would still have a much easier time with a base unit keypad with large buttons. At the very least, don’t underestimate the usefulness of being able to dial without taking the handset away from your head.
Either way, choose a cordless phone with back-light keypads for better readability in low-light conditions and to find that annoying ringing phone at night.
These are two main things to consider when evaluating the speakerphone and base unit of a cordless phone.
1) Does it have a duplex operation feature?
This would mean that you could use the device as an intercom, if someone has the receiver in one room and the base unit in another – for example, someone in the kitchen and another in the living room or garage, they can communicate without having to shout at each other. The same goes for handset-to-handset home intercom.
2) Will it allow you to make handsfree calls without need of the handset?
A handset offers privacy and voice fidelity, but sometimes you might just want to make a call quickly or to have more than one person respond. If your base unit has a keypad, you don’t need the handset with you to dial a call. This may be critical if you ever need to dial 911 in a hurry.
Something you should expect from any cordless phone is the ability to automatically put on hold any incoming call if you’re in the middle of another call. While you may not use it very often, not having this feature is the sign of a bottom-bin budget phone.
Caller ID is a network-dependent feature, but it’s one that’s useful for any user. Certain cordless phone units may even allow you to set custom ringtones for different incoming calls. Or, the device could ‘announce’ the name of the incoming caller in addition to displaying it on its LCD screen.
Imagine being able to separate urgent calls like “It’s your boss!” or “It’s your mom!” from a random telemarketer. You don’t need to rush at every ring. Which brings us to the next point –
- Answering Machine
The biggest appeal of a landline cordless phone is that you can set it to receive calls even when you’re not at home. With a cellphone your choices are:
- Take the call
- Ignore the call, but the caller will wonder why you’re not picking up, or
- Do nothing, because your mobile’s out of power and can’t receive calls.
Typical integrated answering machine functionality lets you receive messages when you’re otherwise unavailable – but better models also send a notice to your registered smartphone, and allows you to play back the message from there.
Most cordless phones have at least one voicemail inbox, but others may ask the caller to choose where they’d like to leave their message among different mailboxes. This allows the receiver to better separate calls between family and business.
Of course, you need an LCD screen for checking caller ID, phone lists, call history, battery level, etc. The question is: where’s the screen? Some cordless phones have the LCDs on the handset themselves, like much like cellphones. Others have them on the base unit so that the handset remains more compact. Some have both.
You might prefer a larger LCD screen or even one in full color like smartphones. Remember that screens are a major power hog, though. Units with smaller monochrome screens will likely last longer under emergency backup power.
Speed dialing and caller recall are pro forma features to expect in any decent landline phone. But what about call blocking? Great, you don’t have to suffer any more telemarketers. You should be able to block specific area codes, numbers from payphones, and international calls too.
How about a searchable digital address book? Filter by name, parts of a name, date added, or even most recently called. Certain numbers could be tagged VIP so that they cause the phone to ring anyway even if you’ve set the phone to silent mode.
- Handset Paging
Multi-handset cordless phones need a pager functionality to send alerts from one phone to another. Like in the example situation mentioned previous, put the call on waiting and press a button to give notice to another (or all handsets in range) to pick up.
Don’t quite know where your family misplaced that handset? Page it to track it down. Are you leaving receiver range from the main unit? Your handset may ring another alert.
Always demand this feature from any multi-handset setup.
Philips Cordless Phone via Salestores.com
DECT 6.0 is the newest communications standard that ensures phones are less prone to interference from other domestic radio and electronic signals, have better range, less prone to data congestion, and much more secure. Look for phones with DECT 6.0 tag as they’re likely to have longer talk times, days of standby time, and all calls are automatically encrypted without sacrificing sound quality.
- Advanced Playback
Most cordless phones with integrated answering machines allow you to play, skip, and rewind messages. A better unit should provide more talk time per message, finer controls for faster and slower playback to focus on specific portions of the message, and automatically saves the selected caller to your address book.
If you’re using that as a business phone too, look for a dial-back feature to respond to the message asap.
A base unit that can handle more handset is always a good buy. Generic Access Profile (GAP)-compatible phones can connect to a handset or base unit from a different manufacturer with basic functionality. Unfortunately, newer DECT 6.0 phones no longer support GAP. However, handsets with better features are often compatible to most base units from the same manufacturer.
You might as well also get a unit with direct link capability to make a pair of handsets can serve as walkie-talkies.
Certain models allow you to pair your cellphone with your cordless phone unit and receive cellphone calls from any handset. Now you don’t have to go from room to room just to catch that call.
There is also another interesting feature allows you to use your smartphone as an additional handset. Answer landline calls without having to get up from where you’re sitting, if you happen to have your smartphone with you.
Certain phones are noise-sensitive. This will send the sound of their babies crying to parents in another room. However, it’s more than just for households with children. Though called a ‘baby monitor’ feature, it may pick up any loud sound and send an alert.
If you don’t want to have the phone ringing constantly, a cordless phone with quiet mode is a must. Let callers talk to the answering machine without waking you up when you really need that rest. A visual ‘ringing’ alert will let you know if someone’s calling.
Corded phones are powered through the copper phone lines, but that’s not enough for all the advanced features that come with your cordless phone. If the power’s out, how long will that phone you’re considering allow you to receive calls and dial emergency services?
Ask for phones with backup battery and Energy Star certification for resilience against power outages. Fortunately, even cordless phones will last longer than a smartphone under such conditions. Look for talk times of about 10 hours on the handset and standby times of over 100 hours. Make sure it has Low Battery warning for both handset and base unit.
Vtech Multi-Line Phone via Vtechphones.com
To make the most out of a multi-handset system, the base unit should support at least a 2-line connection. Pay for only one device that allows you to pick up from anywhere in your home, rather than two phone setups incompatible with each other.
You also need this for three-way voice conferencing between Line 1, Line 2, and the receiver. Calls coming through each line should have distinctive ringtones.
Cordless phones with this feature are incredibly useful in terms of preserving important information given over a conversation, avoiding legal liability, and deterring nuisance calls. Remember that both parties must consent to the recording of a call, else it is illegal and inadmissible as evidence.
For true hands-free phone use, buy a handset with a headset jack. Now you can talk while working on the computer or otherwise have your hands full.
Every number in the address book, every recorded message eats up flash memory. Most voice mail messages last only around 20 seconds, so address books of 50 names and recording times of about 15-20 minutes are normal for cordless phones.
However, take note the maximum amount of discrete answering machine messages before new ones overwrite the old. Some have as few as 30, while others keep 60 or more time-stamped messages.
Many DECT cordless phones also allow you to access your stored messages remotely. Just dial your own number and your remote access code and follow the voice prompts. Certain models also offer apps for your smartphone (for example, Panasonic’s Smartphone Connect App) for total control over your cordless phone’s functionality wherever you may be.
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