After about a year with this phone I finally succumed to my inner most desires; grabbed a 2lb sledge hammer and... well, you can work out the rest for yourself. I'm a fan of digital cordless and at the time this model seemed to be the best looking of an ugly bunch. A bit ostentatious perhaps and the laughable picture on the front of the box (featuring a selection of advertising stereotypes creaming their united pants in its presence) didn't really help. I was happy enough for the first few weeks and enjoyed the little flashing light show every time someone called. The pre-recorded answer phone messages in a variety of different languages were sort of fun as well. But then it started to annoy me. The interface is pathetic. Pick up the phone while someone was leaving a message (pretty normal if you tend to screen your calls) and you'd have to scroll through the menu, pressing no less than three buttons, just to be able to say 'hello'. Added to that, the phone system 'crashed' on a regular basis - often when answering a call. Unplugging the power cord so the b***** thing could re-set its self became something of a ritual manoeuvre. After six months I accidently knocked it off the desk and it fell three feet onto a wooden floor. OK, that's my mistake, but even so - three feet was enough to break it. Took the case apart and nothing had broken inside but the internal speaker had become dislodged. Discovered it was held in place by nothing more than a wing and a prayer. A truly awful example of cheap industrial design. Ended up having to take the case apart on three further separate occasions when the speaker started rattling about, after I don't know - whispering in too loud a voice perhaps. As far as I'm concerned, the sooner Ascom goes out of buisiness and stops conning people out of their money the better. Avoid.
This is a nice looking, well made DECT telephone answering machine with lots of features and a very long user guide. I don't have time to describe all the features - and I don't use most of them anyway. The Avena has some good points: sound quality is fine, the speaker-phone works well, the LCD has a back light, and the rechargeable cells are AAA, so they will be easy and cheap to replace. Unfortunately, it has some bad points too: the range is surprisng limited, and it sometimes drops a call even when the handset is in the same room as the basestation. When making a call, all too often it will start to dial and immediately fail with a 'No System' message. And worst of all, occasionally the handset will lock up and refuse to make or take a call. Following a handset lock-up, it's necessary to remove the batteries, replace them and then re-register the handset with the basestation. This doesn't happen all that often (every couple of months), but it is not good enough for an expensive phone to have such a serious bug. But wait, there's more: even the basestation can lock up too, perhaps every six months. That lock-up needs a power cycle to clear. The answering machine works well, but taking over a call from the handset is strangely awkward. You cannot just hit the off-hook button, you need to go into the answering machine menu! And when you've done that, sometimes taking over the call just doesn't work. So I have mixed feelings about this product: there's a lot to like, and if it were completely dependable, I'd rate it highly. But losing the odd call certainly does take the shine off it.
This phone appeared to have a great appearance and great features for the price but it does help if the features actually work as they're supposed to. The voice dialling occasionally works if you're patient enough and can shout loud enough. The phone also has a 2-way recording facility which would be great if it worked everytime instead of only sometimes. The phone also loses connection with the base station far too easily, sometimes even when it's in the same room as the base station and the battery is full. I took the phone back to the shop where I bought it for a replacement which turned out to have exactly the same problems. I phoned Ascom's free customer helpline (thankfully, the phone didn't cut off while I was doing this) and they were very polite but only suggested another replacement. Having had 2 phones with exactly the same problems, I decided to return the phone to the shop and purchased one of a different brand which has given me no problems whatsoever.
We purchased this snazzy looking DECT handset around six months ago. It had all the features we wanted including a digital answering machine integrated so we didn't have extra unsightly wires cluttering the kitchen. The price was reasonable (you can get cheaper but at what cost ?!) and it does look very good. The deciding factor was that it uses the chips produced by employer so not only do I get a phone, the company gets a bit more revenue! So, what are the product highlights ? 1. It plugs into a normal phone socket. 2. It looks nice. 3. There is no three. So what are the disadvantages ? 1. The user interface is awfull. Anyone used to using a Nokia mobile phone will have nightmares about the Ascom interface. It is clumsy to use and does not seem to follow any basic logic. 2. The voice recognition is a joke - if you can be bothered to shout a name several times at the handset hoping it will connect (i.e you like the novelty value), then this is for you. Personally, after struggling to get the names recorded (it only lets you have three presets for voice recongnition) you really would be quicker just typing the number you want. 3. It drops the connection to the basestation frequently. Anyone that uses an analog cordless will not be used to the basic technology behind a digital phone. If there are any communication difficulties between the handset and the basestation you are in trouble, and we are in trouble. At least 40% of dialled calls do not connect first time, forcing you to redial. I assume this is a non documented feature of the phone(read bug) that is designed to cut your phone costs. So, in summary, three advantages and three disadvantages. I will let you draw your own conclusions from that.
This Swiss made unit is available as phone only or combined phone and answerphone (Plus model). The Avena announces callers names, can voice dial,lights up, is hands free anywhere and is truly friendly to use.Having used many digital cordless phones prior to the Ascom - I was pretty sick of missing features and the lack of intuitive menus which could enable adjustments without finding the user manual. With the Avena - liberation has come - there are friendly menus for virtually everything. This little beauty does everything with simplicity and verve and even it even talks to you. With voice dialling and caller ID announcements (on up to 10 numbers), a 4-line matrix display with backlight - this phone is a joy to use every time. The combination of hands free, optical signal and voice functions makes this phone particularly useful to sight and hearing impaired users and those with arthritis and limb problems. It's a pity the numbers aren't illuminated though - as this would complete the picture. The phone has a 150 name phonebook and bright and clearly visible illuminated dynamic graphic displays on all menu items. It's intuitive enough to only provide a calls register menu when there are calls. One of the phone's best features is the hands free facility which can be implemented during or before making calls with loud, crisp, realistic and sharp voice definition - making it possible for several people to chat around the phone absolutely anywhere. A bright red light flashes on receiving calls and on all voice functions. Additional features include provider selection - this dials my NTL prefix for me automatically and can be set dial the cheapest provider on all or selective calls. This is foolproof - which is more than can be said for NTL dialler boxes which frequently fail to direct call in conjunction with many digital phones and calls from memory. Not so with the Avena - it performs impecably. The babyphone feature can au
todial if a noise is made in a selected room (3 pre-set sensitivity levels) and users have direct access to most provider services. Nine useful melodies are available, including two blues ones which I find pleasing. It's also possible to select distinctive rings to distinguish internal from external calls. The phones appear to be very well made - right down to their gold contacts and offer reasonable battery life (150 hours on one charge) with easily replaceable AAA NiMH cells. Design is elegant, balanced, light and ergonomic with graceful curves, positive button actions and an easy grip shape. The three-way 'fox-key' offers alternative menus in each mode and is a joy to use. I was so thrilled with the Avena's performance and design that I bought a second and it was a doddle to link the second handset. A wonderful feature enabled me to automatically transfer my entire directory within moments - saving the odious task of typing everything in again. Ascom have freephone helpline that was busy all morning. But they did call me back and solved my query instantly (about my NTL boxes) blocking caller ID. The Plus model enables full control over the mult-featured answerphone from the handset in any location. The clarity and stability of the signal appears to be faultless wherever I place the base station. It comes with a both a cobalt blue or metallic silver panel to taste - they're a bit bulky and it's a pity green isn't available. The only fault in terms of ergonomics is that call volume has to be adjusted for each call and simple volume buttons on the side would have helped - rather than having to enter the menu and select functions prior to adjustment during each call. I simply can't recommend this product enough - it's just wonderful to use and I can't wait for my next phone call - so that I may play with its features. The phone costs around £80 and the Plus version between
£100 and £120. The product smacks of quality and really does perform perfectly and naturally.