I didn''t buy this phone from Amazon as intended, as there was a rush on stock following many positive newspaper articles, and I didn''t want to wait. My wife and I were fed up with the increasing volume of nuisance calls selling everything from PPI and Accident claims to annoying "surveys". Then there are the "silent" calls, where no-one answers (I''m told that these are automated calls that add your number to a list when the phone is answered. Your number is then sold on as a "live" number to marketing companies.) Very annoying. Accordingly I popped down the local shops and got one this weekend. It was a little more expensive than the Amazon one but we were desperate! I only now realise how many nuisance calls we received, as the house is strangely silent. We can eat our meals in peace, without having to tell yet another teleseller that that is NOT how to pronounce our name, and NO, we don''t buy anything or take surveys by phone. How many times have I told you - I HAVEN''T had an accident, Go Away! I''ve suddenly realised, all those phone calls were not from friends and relatives wanting to chat - they were mainly people after our money! Now hardly anyone rings - I feel bereft, somewhat unpopular and unneeded. But I''ll survive. Opening the box,I was surprised to see there is no manual in there, nor even a "Quick Start" sheet. No paperwork at all. *(see comments for more info - there is a quick start guide hidden in there!) Oh well, the blurb says that its easy to use, so lets see. I carefully unpacked the contents, and saw that little tags were attached to the handsets through the battery cover. They advised that the phone sets need charging for 24 hours. I couldn''t wait 24 hours, so I simply removed the AAA batteries from my existing phones (which were fully charged) and placed them in the new sets - Voila - all ready to work. (Two AAAs for each handset are needed) I plugged the phones in and proceeded to set them up. Yes, there is a "Wizard" that helps you through set up, but soon I was interrupted and had to quit this task for a while. Going back to the phone some time later, I couldn''t see the set up wizard again, so just explored the options on the easily readable screen. It is fairly intuitive to set up, even, I suspect, for the average technophobe. One of the first things I did after getting all my phone contacts entered was to set up the call barring. (I entered the details by hand, rather than inserting the sim from my mobile into the sim card reader** on the phone, as I have different numbers on there from what I want on my home phone. This was easy enough, and the entries were immediately and automatically copied to the second remote handset without any problem.) Setting up the call blocking is easy. Press Menu and select "Call Control" (You''ll need to set up a simple four digit code sometime during the process) In the "Incoming Calls" section,under "Call Type" you can block (and unblock) all International calls,(the source of many nuisance calls) withheld numbers, no caller id numbers, etc. Under "By number" you can block any number by entering that number (you can have up to ten or so numbers blocked in this way) Its also very easy to add numbers automatically to this list after receiving a phone call, by following the easy to use menus. Should you block a specific number, and then decide to unblock it you need to go to "Call Control" - "Incoming Calls" menu and simply remove the number from the list. If you elect to block withheld or International numbers, the caller can still leave a message, so if it''s not a nuisance call and someone genuinely needs to speak to you, they can still leave a message,(I did check this)so you don''t need to worry about them no being able to contact you, and very few canvassers/sellers will waste their time leaving messages. Parental control is easy to set up too, for example you can easily block all outgoing premium rate calls, plus other options. As I said earlier, the screen is clear and the type font is easily readable, and the menu fairly intuitive. If you do need help, don''t bother with BT''s helpline number (automatically added to the phone) which is always busy. If you have internet access, a pdf manual can be found by searching "BT 6500 manual" quite easily. It is NOT the exact same model, but most of the instructions do apply this model. The exact manual is on the BT website. Oh, and its easy to use the phone as an internal system - call any handset from any other - very handy! The sound quality is not the best, but I won''t be listening to any classical concerts on it, and most of the ring tones are a bit naff, but we found two that we can live with. All in all a great phone - but don''t get one if you''re feeling lonely; You''ll miss all those nice strangers calling you at all times of the day! *Don''t forget, you''ll need to subscribe to a "caller ID" service from your phone provider to make use of these services, which will cost maybe a couple of pounds per month. Without this, of course, you''ll not be able to see who''s calling anyway. I see from another review that if you intend to use an existing phone on your phone line together with this phone, the existing phone (If its NOT a BT 6500) will still ring, even if calls are screened on the BT 6500. That doesn''t surprise me, but some people may need to be aware of this too if they plan to "mix and match". ** Thanks to J Shepherd for pointing out that there is no mention of a simcard reader mentioned in the manual. Having checked my phone for the slot a little belatedly, I have to say that there isn''t one! When I purchased the phone, having not found the manual in the box, I downloaded one from the Internet. Unfortunately I downloaded the manual for the BT Synergy 6500 which is a slightly different version of this phone which apparently does have a simcard reader. Sorry if I have misled anyone by mentioning the card reader. Several weeks (19th March now)from my initial review, and I have to say that this phone is doing a great job of keeping those pesky, annoying sales people away. It was well worth the money I paid, even though the price on Amazon is now considerably less than what it was
As its name suggests, this is an up-to-date cordless phone from BT, with all the usual functions including answering machine. As such, it works perfectly well. Calls are clear and messages reliably recorded and played back. Battery capacity and range are fine for most purposes, and there's room to store up to 200 contacts. You can send and receive text messages. In fact, all the usual functions seem to be supported, and more. But this is also a phone with a difference: it's designed to block nuisance calls, and that's the main focus of this brief review.
The BT6500 is available with up to 4 handsets. The model reviewed here is the twin handset version.
WHAT PRICE PEACE AND QUIET?
If, like us, you've been increasingly plagued with calls about PPI etc., despite being registered with the Telephone Preference Service etc., you might like to investigate this product. Since installing it a month or so back, our house has fallen strangely silent. We'd become so used to cold calls constantly disturbing us that this actually felt quite odd at first. I couldn't quite think what was 'wrong'! It may not be quite 100 per cent, but it's definitely a big improvement for such a modest investment.
At under £50 this was a good investment last year, having almost entirely eliminated our nuisance calls since then. The only extra cost may be from your network provider to enable caller display if, like us, you're not BT subscribers. I can confirm this product works fine with a Virgin Media landline, but there is a small monthly charge for caller id - currently just over £2 per month.
At the time, this model seemed to tick all the right boxes and was available at our local Argos for £49.99 when I checked their website. As it was the last one in stock I reserved online and collected the next day. It's currently available from Amazon for £50 with free delivery, and from Argos or the BT online shop for £69.99. (January 2014)
PACKAGING, INSTALLATION AND USER INSTRUCTIONS
The phone came neatly packaged, and installation was straightforward: just open box, unwrap, plug in to mains and phone sockets, charge and go. (Though you are advised to charge the batteries for 24 hours initially).
The 4 page illustrated 'User Guide' included is really just a quick start guide to check package contents, connection and initial setup. The sockets and cords are well illustrated. There is also a handy card with brief instructions for blocking calls, but the full instructions are available online in the full user guide - see address below.
Having dutifully charged batteries initially for 24 hours, I found the automatic setup quite straightforward and the initial settings sensible, with one exception: the answering machine is set to answer after just 4 rings. The downloadable guide does advise you how to change this to answer before any voicemail service. In fact, I'd strongly suggest saving a copy of this publication locally for future reference. It tells you, for instance, how to go about blocking those pesky nuisance calls. (See below)
Help is also available via the BT telephone Helpline and online at bt.com/producthelp.
SPECIFICATION, COMPATIBILITY, PERFORMANCE AND USABILITY
I've had no real difficulties using this phone. It ticks all the right boxes, and it's pretty much 'plug and play'. Calls are clear, as are the buttons, menus and controls. The handsets are virtually identical in size to our old Philips phone (reviewed previously), but the graphical display is slightly larger (at 1.8 inches) and easy enough to read with its light blue background illumination.
Although this is a BT product and some of the features and default contacts relate to BT services, it is compatible with other network providers. The only thing I needed to do was ask for Caller Display to be enabled on our account, which incurs a small monthly extra charge (currently just over two pounds per month). This can take up to 24 hours but is needed to allow call blocking.
In addition to text messaging and call controls (see below), all the usual functions are supported, including:
* Caller display
* Hands-free mode
* Call list/redial - up to 80 calls (50 incoming/30 out)
* Contact list - up to 200 entries
* Answering machine/call screening (up to 30 minutes)
Other functions (not fully tested)
* 'eco mode'
* Keypad lock
* Change ringtones
* Speed dial
* Handset paging
* Call waiting, ringback and diversion (check with network provider)
* Outgoing message recording
So far not tested as I've never actually attempted to use a handset beyond the immediate vicinity of the house and garden - there is apparently an out-of-range warning. In fact, I don't recall ever encountering this with a cordless phone, though it could be an issue for some.
One niggle I did have with our old phone was that entries and changes to the contact list on one handset failed to update the other. I was pleased to note this works seamlessly with the BT handsets. The other problem we had with our previous phone was a recurrent issue with batteries on one of the handsets. No problems here with the BT product.
The only other usability issue worth noting here relates to last number redial. There's no dedicated button for this, but redial is available from the call list.
TAKING CONTROL - THOSE PESKY CALLS!
This is where things get a bit more interesting with this product. The call controls on this device are fairly sophisticated. They allow you to set up 'Do not disturb', parental controls, assign VIPs and change access PIN. But the ones that attracted me were controls to block calls. These include blocking specific numbers - up to 10, a limit that may seem restrictive but has actually proved sufficient to date. The other options for 'blocking by call type' is less straightforward and should be approached with some caution.
Briefly, call types include:
* Withheld number
* No Caller ID
For a better understanding of each of these, it's worth reading various sources online. For example, I read that blocking calls with withheld numbers and no caller ID might block genuine calls from certain organisations and Skype calls. Callers will, however, still be able to leave messages.
I claim no expertise in this area, though I did find some very helpful information about call types on the web, and there are other organisations which offer help with nuisance calls.
It may also be worth noting here that, as I understand it, call blocking relies on network functionality, which may depend on your service supplier and contract.
CALL BLOCKING: THE BOTTOM LINE
Circumstances probably vary, but judging by our experience, you may find registering with Telephone Preference Service and using the specific number blocking feature on this device prove effective enough at cutting down on those intrusive calls.
We may just be lucky but so far this has been one of our best investments in recent years. The house seems almost too quiet - famous last words! In any case, this is also a perfectly functional and usable twin cordless phone still available at quite a reasonable price.
* Product description and full user guide from : www.shop.bt.com
* Frequently asked questions: bt.com/producthelp
* Telephone Preference Service : www.tpsonline.org.uk
[© SteveS001 2014. A version of this original review may appear on other review sites under the same name]
A few months back I went out and bought a new set of phones, normal phones, not mobile phones. I won't go into the reason why I had to go and get a new phone but I will say that accidents in my house are becoming a daily occurrence and it's costing me a fortune every time.
I was out looking for a certain type of house phone, a cordless one, so that I was not strapped to one place when making a call, plus the fact that I wanted at least two handsets so that I did not have to run up and down the stairs to answer the thing, (as running is something I don't like to do... I get out of breath running a bath).
Anyway, on my shopping trip for a phone I came across many of all shapes and sizes. Some I'd used before, those being good, bad and ugly, and some I had never even though about trying as they looked so stupid that I'd be too embarrassed pressing them too my ear.
But one particular phone I saw interested me quite a lot, even if the logo on it was a slight 'put off' for me'. the specs of this particular phone really stood out as I pondered over the idea of buying it. Then, with a good deal made and a nice price paid, I was soon swayed into buying the phone, together with a second handset so that I did not have to tackle my stairs every time someone called offering me a cheap alternative to my gas supplier or telling me that I was missing out on some PPI that I may or may not be due??? The phone I had just bought being the BT 6500 cordless DECT phone with answering machine, twin set...
So there I was, box in hand, off home, eager and ready to set up the new phones in order to see just how honest the specs and claims in the box really were.
When I got home I checked out everything in the box, making sure that I had not been mis-sold more than my PPI.... Opening the box and making sure it was all there.
* In the box you should get...
- The Base unit, which is an answering machine and is double the size of the other charger cradle.
- A second cradle for the second handset, (although the set does come in a triple/quadruple- up to six- handsets, but each handset should come with its own cradle).
- Mains cables, (I had two but again it depends on how many handsets are in the pack you buy, each base has it's own mains cable).
- A phone line cable
- Rechargable batteries, although these are actually already in the phones themselves and need to be activated by pulling out the little piece of plastic that is sticking out of the back of each handset.
- A quick start guide
And that's what you should get in the box....
* Is it hard to set up..?
No. it's pretty straight forwards and should only take a matter of minutes, although this depends on how many numbers you have to put into the address book that is.
You simply slide out the plastic bit so that the sets get the power from the batteries.
This is where they recommend charging each of the units for a good 24 hours before using them.
Anyway, once you have the power you then let the phones link up to the base unit and to each other. This takes a few seconds in most cases and once done it should not need doing again.
Once they are all as one then you are ready to put in your numbers and away you go. I won't go into how and where to do this as it will only take up too much room on here, but what I will say is that you just have to press the envelope button, options, the letter/number keys and the 'OK' button and you'll soon be adding every number you can think of.
In fact, using everything in the phone is there on the screen, giving you an easy to understand and simple way to set everything up, such as call blacking, mute, the VIP list and more.
* What does it offer..?
Apart from the fact that it looks quite stylish and the little screen on each of the phones gives a clear and easy to understand listing of how many calls you've had and how many messages you've received, plus the fact that it's got a built in digital answering massage machine, which gives you up to 30 minutes of recording time. There's also the fact that it has a lovely little audio message alert, a gentle little blink sort of bleep so you know if someone's left a message.
There's also other things, such as...
* Automatic answering.
* It has a hands free function or speaker phone
* Nuisance called blacking feature
* 200 number phonebook
And other features include...
* Clock and alarm
* Call timer
* Back lit 1.8 inch screen
* Choice of 19 ringtones
* Volume control
It claims to give up to 12 hours of talktime or up to 120 hours on standby, but I have yet to put any of this to the test as mine mostly stays in the cradle and is charging up all the time.
It also claims to have a range of up to 300 metres outdoors, depending on obstacles of course, and about 50 metres indoors, but again I have not tested this out properly although I can say that I have used this as far from the main base unit as I could without looking like a madman standing on the street and the connection has remained as constant as ever.
* What do the handsets look like..?
The handsets are like most other phones. On the lower section of the hand set are the normal numbers, 1 - 9, with the star, zero and hash button right at the bottom.
On the top section there is a white rectangle outline which houses the buttons that offer options such as the phonebook, redial, answer, which doubles as the hands free function, or speaker. Then there's the end call, volumes up and down and the 'OK' button which sits proudly in the middle of it all.
The screen is pretty easy to understand, even when it seems to have more images in it than a teenagers mobile phone, everything that's there means something and is easy to understand. Those images being an envelope meaning message and the phone image meaning calls. Simple really.
Also in this display area there are other bits of information, such as...
* The time, which is nice and clear in the top left corner.
* The battery power, which comes in the guise of a four block logo in a rectangle in the top right of the screen, dropping a block at a time when the power runs down.
* Answer machine on or off, coming in the guise of a 'ANS' which shows next to the battery power indicator.
* The menu and Calls options, which are above the actual buttons for those choices.
* The calls, text messages and voice messages received, which is shown by a simple pair of icons and numbers.
* And the base units..?
Or chargers, or cradles? What ever you want to call them?
The base unit, or the answering machine, is another idiot proof piece of machinery.
On the left side is where you place the handset, standing it upright so as to charge.
On the right there is the answering machine functions, consisting of a cursor type layout on the lower section housing the play button which sits inside four other buttons, skip forward, skip backwards, delete and stop.
Then, above this there is a volume button, an answer machine on/off button and a 'find' button, which, when pressed, sets off an alarm on the handset so that you know where you left it when you were talking to your friend when you got back from the pub the night before.
Right at the bottom of it there is the proud logo of the company called BT. But luckily these phones are a lot more reliable than the company itself
As for the other units, or more the cradle/chargers that don't have the answering machine attached to them. These are simple little cradle unit that allow you to slot and stand the handsets into them. The two pins that stick out of the little indent on the cradle slot into the holes in the underside of the phone and, once slotted together, they charge the handsets up.
And again, each cradle has the BT logo on the lower front, proudly announcing that not everything from BT is a pile of whatsits....
* Is it any good..?
The sound quality is without doubt one of the best sound quality that I have found on any of the land line phones I has used in a long time. It's very very rare that I hear anything but the person I am talking too. There's no hissing or buzzing in my ear as I listen to what someone is saying to me and I have not had any issues with echoes from the passed in any of my conversations.
As I said. One of the best phones I have used when it comes to phone quality, even when I've been at the other end of the garden, or the house, even though I don't live in Buck house.
* Is there anything else to mention..?
You can store up to 200 names and numbers in the phone book which is a lot of names and should be enough for most people... unless you've given your number to ALL your friends on face book that is????
Adding numbers to the other hand sets is done automatically
There's a 'do not disturb' function which lets you stop calls coming through when you don't want them too. But on the other side, there's a VIP function which allows you to let your VIP listed numbers get through the DND function if you want them
Then there's the fact that you can send text message using these phones, although I don't use this function so can't really comment on it.
There's a call waiting function which lets you see who's waiting on the line whilst you're talking to someone else. Then, when you're ready, you press a button and you're connected to that waiting person. If they are still there that is.
These functions can only be used if your service provider has them set up on your line of course.
* My overall opinion..?
The backlight is a lovely light blue colour which doesn't really make the light stand out when it's sat on the shelf in a room, so there's no spoiling your television viewing as you catch this unit in the corner of your eye.
Even holding the handset is pretty nice too, in a phone holding sort of way. They are made of a black moulded plastic and are shaped in such as a way so that they actually feel quite comfortable when holding it, even after a long period of chatting.
The buttons are a good and easy to press, with each one clearly marked with what it does or the number it is. Then there's the way that the screen glows a lovely light blue colour when the either someone calls or you make a call. It's a bit of a soothing colour, relaxing almost. Which is nice.
As for the actual capabilities of the phones, well, I like the fact that I can block certain numbers, sending them either straight to the answer machine or stopping them from leaving a message, so that I am not having to keep checking who's actually calling, although I have found that this can become a bit of a nuisance in itself because when I block say 'withheld' numbers, such as cold callers and those annoying little bleepers, it also blocks calls that I am expecting, such as those who use the 'withhold number' feature on their phones.
I can even let certain numbers through the phone and block others, which is another great idea and, once set up, works a treat, which helps when it comes to the mother in law phoning up.
I have to say that I was a little miffed with the auto answer. I initially thought that it was going to be something that answered the phone after a set amount of rings, but it's not. It simply means that the call is answered when you pick the handset up off the cradle, so you don't have to press the green 'answer' button. Which at first caused a few, shall we say, embarrassing situation as I've started to talk about the person calling me when I've picked up the phone, totally forgetting that the call had connected as soon as I took the handset from the cradle. And talking my way out of those little situations took some quick thinking...
The answering machine is easy to understand and gives out a clear message most of the time, unless the person leaving the message talks with a muffled voice as if they are hiding behind a handkerchief or something.
* So what about the price..?
This sells for about £60.00, although it does go for more and for less, so do shop around as there's always a bargain out there.
* Would I recommend these phones..?
Yes, I think I would, even if they are spoilt by the BT logo on the front, that logo does not effect the splendour of the phones themselves.
It gives clear call quality and can handle being far from the base unit without losing connection or crackling and hissing.
Then there's the fact that the answering machine, and the handsets themselves, all look nice and smooth so they don't look out of place on the telephone table or a shelf.
If you're after a new cordless phone and want a good quality one then you can't go wrong with these.
© Blissman70 2013
THE BRITISH TELECOM BT 6500 DIGITALLY ENHANCED CORDLESS TELEPHONE (DECT) FEATURES A BUILT IN NUISANCE CALL BLOCKER / DESIGNED TO BE EASILY SET UP AND NAVIGATE WITH A SIMPLE MENU THE 6500 DECT TELEPHONE MEANS YOU CAN SAY GOODBYE TO THOSE IRRITATING NUISANCE CALLS / THIS STYLISH SLEEK BLACK TELEPHONE WITH A LARGE CLEAR BLUE DISPLAY GIVES YOU THE FREEDOM TO KEEP THE HANDSET CLOSE TO YOU AS THE SIGNAL IS RECEIVED FROM THE BASE TO THE HANDSET UP TO 50 METRES (INDOORS) AND 300 METRES (OUTDOORS) FROM THE CHARGING BASE UNIT / YOU CAN STORE UP TO 200 FAVOURITE NAMES AND NUMBERS AND FURTHERMORE THE BT 6500 FEATURES A BUILT IN DIGITAL ANSWERMACHINE WHICH WILL STORE UP TO 30 MINUTES OF MESSAGES / THE UNIT ALSO SHOWS YOU WHO HAS CALLED IF THEY ARE LISTED IN YOUR DECT TELEPHONE DIRECTORY / THE BRIGHT BLUE BACKLIT SCREEN HAS THE ALL IMPORTANT CALLER DISPLAY FEATURE SO YOU CAN SEE WHO IS CALLING BEFORE YOU ANSWER THE CALL AND THE UNIT HAS A CLEVER 'DO NOT DISTURB' FEATURE OR QUIET MODE / IT CAN ALSO BE ANSWERED 'HANDS FREE' AS IT HAS A BUILT IN SPEAKER.