The Freestyle 6300 is a mid-market digital cordless telephone from BT. Whilst it has been on the market a while now, it still retails for around £50-60, and is available from many electronics or household retailers, or direct from the BT shop.
The Freestyle series from BT is designed with ease of use and accessibility in mind, and this is very evident from the outset with the 6300, as it features very large and clearly labelled buttons and a large LCD display.
The design of the phone and base station is fairly good. It is made out of mainly black plastic but also features areas of silver to add style and separate some of the different buttons. The slot for placing the handset into is very neatly designed and positioned so that the handset fits easily and snugly in place without looking too much of an eyesore. There is a what I can only describe as a little bobble sticking out of the back which can detract from the nice look, but I presume that this is the antennae for picking up the handsets digital signal and therefore needs to be there, and in actual fact it is made to look nice and smooth so that it blends in with the rest of the design as much as possible.
The digital technology in this phone gives it a much greater range and much clearer sound (crystal clear in fact) when compared to that of older analogue cordless phones, which were far more susceptible to interference from other transmitting devices in the area, and far more easily blocked out.
The exact range specifications given by BT are 300 meters outdoors and 50 meters indoors, though I suppose that depends on how many obstacles are between the handset and base station. I cant say I have ever got bored enough to test out those ranges (nor do I have a big enough house) so well just have to take their word for it. Nevertheless I can confidently say that I have not yet managed to take the phone out of range yet, and I often carry it to other ends of the house if Im busy when a call comes through so that I can carry on working through the phone call.
The features of the handset and base station are actually very similar. They both have electronic phone books for easily retrieving numbers and making calls to family and friends, and both allow you to see whose calling and recent calls taken if you subscribe to caller display from BT (which is now available for free as part of the BT Privacy package). This is very useful as I used to get a large amount of sales calls that disrupted my day. I can now see who is calling me and unless I recognise the number I simply reject the call. Obviously it still wont allow you to see withheld numbers but unless you know someone who has a reason for withholding their number you can pretty much assume that these will also be sales calls.
Phone numbers that are entered to the directory using the base unit can then be easily sent to the handset, however for some reason it does not seem to work the other way and therefore if you want to keep the number on both the handset and base unit I recommend always entering it on the base unit to save time and frustration.
Calls can be taken using the handset or using the loudspeaker on the base unit, which would be very useful if you were working at a desk and needed to keep your hands free so that you can enter information on a computer or carry on with other tasks whilst talking.
Most of the usual functions of a modern phone are available, including re-dial buttons, secrecy calling, call waiting and volume adjustment. There are also lots of advanced settings that can be accessed using the menu button. These include options for configuring the handsets and changing ringing tones there are 15 different ring tones available to choose from in total.
Both the handset and base feature a LCD screen so that you can easily view the current status of your calls or cycle through the various menus or phone numbers. The displays also show the current date and time when not being used for anything else.
Whilst the base stations screen is very large and easily fits everything on, the handset screen seems a little small and it is sometimes a bit of a tight squeeze to fit battery levels, signal strength, options buttons and the actual call details all onto what must be at most a 1.5x4cm display.
One major complaint that I do have is that the phone is often shown with the LCD display lit up and is sometimes even advertised in text as having a light function on the display. I have to say that after over a year of using this phone I have yet to find the light function. I am not going to declare that this is false advertising, as it could just be that I have a faulty unit or havent been looking in the correct place, but I have a feeling that this feature doesnt exist and may just have been part of the concept design, hence why it features in some earlier pictures of the product.
If there is indeed no light, then that is something which I feel could have been included in the product, as it is very hard to see what you are doing when making calls at night and I would be worried that should I need access to a phone quickly at night in an emergency, then I might waste a lot of time just trying to initiate the phone call, hence why I always keep my mobile phone close at hand as well.
Another thing that worried me in terms of emergencies is that the phone uses a lot of power and therefore requires a mains adapter to work, unlike some more basic wired phones. This of course means that the phone will be dead in the event of a power cut and you will not be able to make or receive calls. I would therefore recommend that you ensure you have a back-up readily available (either a mobile phone or a landline phone that is capable of running simply off of the phone line with no additional power needed).
Whilst on the subject of power, it is worth noting that the phone is supplied with two rechargeable AA sized batteries, so you dont have to worry about the cost of batteries.
There are two green and red LEDs on the base station of the phone to show the charge status of the handset. The green light also flashes to show that a call is in progress, and the caller will be shown on the bases display. A bright red light is also placed on the side of the phone which will light up to indicate Digital Clarity during a phone call meaning that you are in range of the base station and the signal is clear.
As I mentioned earlier, the phone has big chunky buttons throughout and this is perfect for people with needs for special accessibility functions, as there is very little chance of missing the button or hitting the one next to it as well. The text on the buttons is also very eye-friendly and easy to read meaning that those suffering from bad eyesight would also be very happy with this phone.
You also can upgrade the phone with more handsets which can be purchased separately under the model number 6100, and there are now white versions available. This is particularly useful if you have a lot of rooms in your house and dont want to have to be running to the base station from the other side of the building every time you get a call.
In conclusion, this is a phone that will suit people who are looking for ease of use along with long range and clear sound quality. There are some potential safety worries in that the phone may become hard or impossible to use in certain emergency situations, and you should therefore keep you old phone or buy a mobile as well, but generally this is a great phone to use on a day to day business with plenty of features to make calling easier.