* Prices may differ from that shown
When I moved in with my now ex partner out of my parents last year I bought a package from Sky to cover the TV, phone line and broadband. We didnt have any house phones we could move into our new house so I went on the hunt for some new ones. I didn't have a particular brand in mind - the only requirements I had was to pick up a double set, a good brand and it had to look attractive.
I came across this BT Graphite 2100 twin set in the Argos catalogue in September 2011 and chose this set due to the appearance and the fact the they were cheaper than other similar sets.
The twin set was supposed to be £49.99 but was reduced by £20 down to £29.99 - menaing you are paying around £15 per handset - I think this is excellent value for money. At the time of writing this review is is currently being sold at the same reduction I got them for - £29.99.
As well as the twin pack you can also purchase this handset in single, trio and quad packs depending on your needs! For just me and my young daughter living in my house, two phones is all we needed.
About the handsets and base units
In the twin pack you get the following:
1 x main base unit (the only difference to the other is that its slightly bigger and has a "find" button to ring the phone when you have misplaced - I use this a lot! I use this in my living room)
* 1 x normal unit (I tend to use this one in my bedroom)
* 2 x Graphite 2100 handsets
* All cabels required to plug into phone line and electric supply
As a female I had no problems at all with installing these.
The handsets and base units are all black in colour - the buttons on the handsets are also black and have white font showing numbers and letters in a smaller font (for those who would like to use it as a text phone)... You get a number of other buttons on the handset to carry out a number of uses - these include:
* Secrecy (Cancel button)
* Ring button (shows as a green telephone, can also be used as a handheld if you press again during the call)
* Volume Up/Down (Can also be used to check last dialled and last incoming calls)
The hansets both require 2 x AAA batteries (which come supplied) which can be easily re-charged using the base units provided - always use rechargable batteries though!
How the handsets and bases looked to me was a big factor in what I was purchasing. The above image seems to give the indication to me that the handsets start off quite thin at the bottom and get thicker towards the top - this seems to be a style which is quite popular at the moment... in person the handsets don't really look like this... I think its just clever photography.
On both the handsets and base units you have an engraved image of the BT symbol - this is located on the back of the handsets and the middle of the base units. The base units also show the brand name but the handsets do not show this information.
The handsets have an internal phonebook for you to store your most dialled numbers - which is great for someone like me forever losing loose things like phone books! As per user manual it is very easy to go into the phone, locate the phone book and dial the number you wish to call.
* The handsets can each hold a total of 50 names/numbers
You have the choice out of 10 ringtones - you can even pick a different ringtone for each handset and this can be easily changed using the options menu. The ringtones all sound great compared to some other handsets which often give really annoying ringtones. Another option the handset gives you for these quiet times where you don't want to be disturbed you can turn the ringer off completly from the options menu.
Like many other handheld phones these days you do get the options of:
* Caller ID
* Call Transfer
* Call Waiting
I do recieve caller ID on mine which is great for knowing who is calling me and if its one of those pesky call centres trying to sell me rubbish I know to ignore it! I have not had the oppertunity to try the transfer or waiting options however and I am under the impression that the ID/transfer/waiting options are included on your phone line depending on your operator - I get free caller ID but many other companys do not offer this. Check with your telephone provider for more information.
As previously mentioned you do have the option of the handheld / loud speaker facility -which is great if you want to have a conversation without the phone being pinned between your shoulder and ear - which gives a clear loud speaker.
The handsets do also come with an alarm - do date I have used this to help me get up for work - which is great because in your half asleep state you jump up and run to the phone thinking someone is calling you.
When the handsets are fully charged they give you a total of 10 hours talk time (if you are constantly using the phone) and 100 hours standby (if the phone is sitting unused) which is great for me as a person who is forever forgetting to put the phones on charge / loses the phones under a sofa cushion!
As previously mentioned the handsets are cordless and give a great range of 50m indoor and 300m outdoor. I am forever wandering outside into my front and back gardens with the phone glued to my ear and I have never had any problems with it falling out of range.
I must also stress that the base units are intended for stand up use so the phones are not suitable at all to be wall mounted.
My favourite thing about this set like all other good cordless phones, is the button on the main unit which you press to ring the other phones - when you lose them! I would be completly lost without this option...
As previously mentioned I had no problems at all with installation and find I can carry out normal functions on the phone such as find a number in the address book / update the address book / change ringtones all without difficulty. My 6 year old daughter finds it very easy to use the phone to ring friends and family without a great deal of supervision which is great!
Although I have mentioned previously to me the handsets look a bit different in the flesh to the above image thye are still very sleek and attractive and very comfortable to use. The base units are a round bubble-like design which also make both handset and unit look very attractive to look at.
The sound through the phone normally and also through the loud speaker sounds great - to date I have never had any problem with hearing on the phone with both options and neither have my incoming callers.
One thing I have found a bit annoying when the handset is on low battery is the fact that when you are on a call to someone, the phone will go silent and then give off continuous beeps in your ear for about 10 seconds - you cant hear the person on the other end during this time nor can they hear you.
The only other bad thing I have found about the handsets is how dirty the buttons get - if I hold the phone to my ear my make up tends to go on to the top buttons of the handset and through continuous cleaning due to this the buttons are a bit worn looking.
Apart from these two small points I think the phone is brilliant overall - great value for money, works like a dream and looks very nice! 4/5 for me!
When we came to replace our cordless home phone a few months ago, I was more than happy to purchase another BT branded phone, having such a positive experience with our last BT model.
This BT Graphite 2100 was our phone of choice, as a basic, inexpensive and easy to use option. This is also available as a twin, triple and even four-pack of handsets - so you could potentially have a phone in almost every room in the house, without needing any extra wiring or additional phone sockets. Given that this is a cordless handset and with three kids to keep an eye on, I find a single handset to be sufficient for our needs!
This phone was very straightforward to set up, as all it required was that the two NiMH AAA rechargeable batteries (which come supplied) were inserted into the handset. The charging base needs to be plugged in to a mains supply as well as connecting to a phone socket. The manual recommends that the phone is given a full twenty four hour charge on its charging cradle before the first use, which is advice that we followed in the hope that the phone and batteries will perform as well as its predecessor.
The handset itself is fairly simple in design, being very slim and lightweight. I would prefer the phone to feel a little heavier as it so light, it does make me wonder whether this would be robust enough to withstand regular falls or general lack of care. The simple shiny black handset contrasts nicely with the blue backlit screen although it's not the most exciting of appearances. The handset is perfectly functional but I'd prefer it to feel a little more substantial. I also find that the narrow handset is not the most ergonomically shaped design as it would benefit from a gentle curve to make it feel more secure in my hand.
Despite the slim design of the handset, the keys are fairly generously proportioned with a clear, straightforward layout, making it fairly intuitive to answer calls, dial numbers and access the other features. The keys feel comfortable to press and don't stick or miss numbers. Each press also gives off a reassuring tone too.
The charging unit is also very small and simple, far smaller than its predecessor, which is useful as this fits unobtrusively on the edge of the window sill. The phone line which comes supplied is very generous, as is the lead to connect this to an electricity supply. This length gives us a little more flexibility in terms of siting the charging base which is useful as our phone socket is some distance from our electricity sockets.
I find this phone to be incredibly clear during calls, thanks to the DECT technology it uses. There is never any interference, dips during calls or any fuzziness whatsoever, regardless of where I may be when taking a call. Even when using the hands free loud speaker function during a call, I find the speech to be clear and audible, without any issues. The microphone seems to be pretty good quality too, as the caller on the other line (usually my husband) never has any issues with hearing our voices and has never complained of any distortion or poor sound quality.
The range of the phone is pretty impressive, reputedly up to 300 metres outdoors and 50 metres indoors. Sadly, our 'estate' isn't quite that generously proportioned but the phone certainly covers the entire house, upstairs and downstairs, and is able to make and receive calls anywhere in the garden too.
As we have a single handset, this tends to remain on its charging cradle pretty much permanently. The phone is therefore permanently charged and ready to use with, allegedly, an impressive ten hours of talk time between charges. If inadvertently left off its holder, the handset seems to hold its charge well and has never failed to make or answer a call due to low charge.
The phone offers a choice of five ringtones and a volume selection from 1-5. Personally, I find the choice of ringtones to be pretty mediocre and find there is only one out of the five that I would consider to be suitable for a landline ringtone. All five of the tones are a little tinny, with almost a musical box quality. My main issue with the phone is that, even on the highest volume setting, the ringtone is frustratingly quiet. The ringer is activated on both the charging base and the handset but it is so quiet on the handset that sometimes I struggle to locate exactly where the ringing is coming from, if it's not on the base!
The base also has the option of 'paging' the handset, which is something I find very useful if I've mislaid the phone somewhere or one of the kids has been messing with it. (We find the phone in all sorts of random places, thanks to a very sociable toddler!) Luckily, the handset has a child lock button which needs to be held down for several seconds - something that my little one has yet to work out! Unfortunately, the paging tone of this set is incredibly quiet, which makes it very difficult to locate at times. If the handset is covered by anything or has managed to find its way down the back of the chair (something which is not at all uncommon), there is no way of finding it using the paging tone alone. If the phone is upstairs, there really is no hope that I'll be able to hear the tone downstairs which makes the feature almost useless.
The BT Graphite 2100 is a fairly basic cordless home telephone which suits our needs entirely. The 'special' features are those that are fairly standard across cordless phones including a phonebook 'memory' storing up to fifty numbers, which seems pretty generous. Despite mislaying the user manual, I found it fairly self-explanatory to add telephone numbers using the dedicated 'phonebook' button and the 'menu' button. The system works like many mobile phones, with numbers being typed and saved and the names added using the three letters allocated to each number button. Anybody familiar with the process of sending text messages on a mobile phone would be able to add names and numbers to the telephone book, without needing any extra guidance.
Accessing the saved numbers is also straightforward as the phone automatically saves the stored numbers in alphabetical order. It is possible to scroll through the numbers in the phonebook to access the correct number or, more usefully when a larger amount of numbers have been saved, type in the first letter of the name and the phonebook automatically jumps to that letter. I find this system so simple to use that I have actually been doing this rather than dialling the numbers directly, as I have always done on landlines before. This set up is far superior to systems where you have a dedicated 'hot key' number for particular people as I could never remember which number related to which person, so never tended to use it!
The other benefit of this feature is that the phone can display the names of people calling (providing the numbers have been added to the phonebook.) Unfortunately, this is only available to people who have subscribed to a Caller Display service from the landline provider. I'm not a BT customer (having switched to the Post Office home phone a few years ago) and don't have this service so I don't really get the full benefit of this feature. The phone does also keep a log of dialled and received calls, which can be useful at times.
We picked this up from Argos and paid just under £20 for a single handset. Currently this is selling for £24.99 at Argos and for £20.83 on Amazon, although I have seen this available for much less on both sites, so it might be worth biding your time or shopping around if possible.
As a functional and inexpensive home phone, this has proven to be a good buy overall. The features are straightforward to access and this performs well at making and receiving calls, with an excellent range and good call quality.
The only minor disappointment is that I don't find the ring tone to be loud enough for my preference and find the choice of tones available to be a little disappointing. These niggles aren't enough to prevent me from recommending this phone to other consumers, although I suspect it may be possible to purchase a similar phone with louder (and more appealing) tones for an equally reasonable price.
Price and Availability
When moving into our first flat there was obviously loads of things we needed to buy. Initially a house phone wasn't at the top of the list but after the first months mobile contracts came through with extortionate charges we realised it would be much cheaper to have a home phone as well. My first port of call as it usually in whilst shopping for these type of things was Argos, I was a bit overwhelmed by the choice as all I wanted was a decent cordless phone that looked good but wasn't too pricey. After a little looking around at reviews I settled on the BT Graphite 2100 which cost £24.99, I only bought the single handset as we live in a flat but they're also available in double and triple handset packs for those with more than one storey in their house.
BT Graphite 2100
The BT Graphite 2100 is quite a stylish looking black phone; it's got a very curvy design and charges on a round base station. The buttons, although they're not that big, are very clear and I should imagine that most people wouldn't have a problem using the phone. The display on the phone has a bright blue backlight and makes the text/ numbers shown very easy to read. The phone has lots of really handy features including a memory for fifty names and numbers, handsfree, caller id and call log.
I found the BT Graphite 2100 very easy to set up, just a case of inserting batteries, plugging it in and letting it charge, a downside though is that it does initially need to charge for a full 24 hours before using. The phone doesn't take up much room on the side and does indeed look pretty good. The phone is very simple to use with very few buttons so it's not hard to do something wrong which is great for me as I aren't very technical at all. There are a few different ringtones but to be honest most of them aren't up to much and we just use the basic ring, the ring also isn't that loud even with the volume turned up, it's fine for us with a small flat but in a bigger house it wouldn't be much use although it can be carried round from room to room. Inside the phone retains signal up to 50m from the base and outside it is up to 300m, which is plenty enough range for us as I should imagine it is for most people. The in- call volume is easily adjusted and can go pretty loud which is great for those who are hard of hearing, the speaker/ handsfree function is also really useful as I'm often busy cooking or on my laptop and I don't have to worry about having the phone in my hand. The phone holds fifty names and numbers in its memory which for me is really handy as I don't tend to have a written note of peoples numbers, there's also a log of the last ten numbers which have been phoned. The battery life of the phone is great, 10 hours in use and 100 hours on stanby, we charge ours every night and it's never run out.
Overall, the BT Graphite is a great little phone and delivers everything the average phone user needs whilst also being easy to use. The price is great as there are loads of handy features and the phone is suitable for a wide range of users. There are a couple of negatives to this phone but all in all it's a great buy.
After a few years my cordless phones started to play up, they were no longer ringing properly and the battery life was not as good as they had been at the beginning, I looked around and it was more cost effective to purchase two brand new digital cordless phones as opposed to replacing the batteries and trying to get them fixed.
The ones that I opted for were BT Graphite 2100 that were a Twin Digital Cordless Phones that came in Black. I picked these at the time as they were on special in Argos and I also had some vouchers that I need to use. But in looking around these phones are available from a wide range of different retailers and are on Amazon for under £25.
As these are cordless walkabout phones I only need two of them, one for upstairs and one for downstairs, there were different packs that came with a different number of handsets to suit your individual needs.
These phones have a phonebook capacity of up to 50 names and numbers each handset has a volume control and five different ringtones to choose from. It also has a speaker phone function and a volume control for the earpiece too. The phone also has a memory to store the last 10 dialled or received calls.
Each phone has a working distance of up to 300m from the base unit, any further than that and you cannot use the phone, but there is a beep noise that will notify you when you are moving out of range. The phones come with AAA NiMH rechargeable batteries and they can hold 100 hours on standby and a talk time of up to 10 hours.
If you are on one phone and want to put the call through to the other handset the calls can be internally transferred to the other handset with ease.
These phones if they are in their stands are answered automatically when they are taken out of the cradle, but if they are on the side you need to press answer to pick up the call.
They are easy to set up all you have to do is insert the batteries in the handsets, connect the phone bases to power sockets allow the phones to charge and then once fully charged you then connect the phone line to the main base and you are ready to go. The good thing about these phones is that only the main base needs to be connected to a phone line so you can put the other handset in any room that suit without having to worry about their being access to a phone socket.
The phones are also simple to use as once they are set up with your chosen ringtones and volume controls all you have to do is press the red and green buttons to answer and hang up on call and if you are making a call you just simply dial the number you want to call and then press the green button.
The great thing about these handsets are that there are not too many buttons which makes the buttons larger than buttons on other phones I have used so they are easier for those to see without their glasses on or for elderly people.
The only disadvantage with these phones are that some of the ringtones are absolutely terrible and are something I do not think anyone could use.
But other than that it is a great looking handset that is easy to use and ideal for people that are not technically minded and need a simple easy to use telephone.
So, do BTs home brand landline phones actually work with Virgin cable? Or with any other cable service come to think of it. We bought these guys before we moved to Virgin from BT and the landline connection was excellent on the generic BT line. But now the same phones are acting up on the new Virgin connection into the house. The problems we get make you feel like you are being bugged by the FBI. Lines go dead; a strange static beeping sound can be heard that won't click out when you put the receiver back on the base. It's not been a big enough issue to complain to either BT or Virgin about and it and I just wondered if you guys are having the same issues with non compatible branded phones with likewise cable connections, perhaps a fix on offer? It doesn't make a lot of sense for the companies to do that but you do wonder it it's a sneaky tactic by the pair of them to get you to buy the line to go with their home brand phones. I'm pretty sure a Virgin landline phone set would work a whole lot better than these BT guys? We all know how badly the mobile phone networks talk to each other to aid compatibility and bring down prices and so it hard not to be cynic around telecommunications these days.
With the BT graphite range you can have up to four mobile handsets being supported by one hub phone that has to be permanently grounded and charged to keep the connection working efficiently. These phones have those chunky rechargeable batteries in them and so if you switch the adapters off at night they may not work in the morning. Batteries only work well when constantly juiced. These are not, though, like cell phone batteries where if you overcharge or under charge them they don't last as long. The price of rechargeable batteries is up there with printer ink cartridges in the rip-off stakes.
Buttons wise you have all the basic settings like speaker phone, redial and call-waiting and caller display etc, although the later two are subscription services with this model. You can record answer phone personal messages too. It also has a secrecy setting to block out people listening into your conversation on the extensions and you can also program in your various numbers although the small display window isn't great for that. It has 5 boring standard handset ringtones (on or off option) and a handset ringer volume control. You can do lots other wonderful things with your ringtone if you are that way inclined. You can also name your handset if you are really sad.
The keypad lock stops the kids ringing Russia and a useful earpiece and handsfree volume control help with mobility use. The further away from the hub the more crackle you get and the quieter the volume so a must. You can time your outward calls for billing reasons and there's a clock alarm to get you up in the morning for work. The low battery indicator is critical (red and green lights on the base) and you get a low battery alert to make sure the phones don't go flat. If they do flat, you miss your calls, simple as. Range wise there is an alert if you are about to lose the signal in your back garden and the like and you have up to 10 hours talk time on a fully charged battery. If left on the base unused and not charging you have about 100 hours standby life. Again, keep them charged or your battery life fades. I reckon I have kept the connection with a 25 yards distance from the base.
Although 40 bucks is a fair price for the three phones you can match up other bands with your hub phone and so you can buy just a single BT Graphite phone. It's a simple code procedure to get old phones to work with your new set. The Graphite range has energy proficient claims, stating that the batteries use half as much electricity as other models although if you have to leave them on charge you are still using much more than just the one fixed non portable landline unit.
* 50 names and numbers phonebook
* 10 last numbers redial
* Backlist display
* Handsfree speakerphone
* Type 2 caller display compatible
My thoughts on the phones is they are as only as bad as your line. The dead line issues maybe my doing but there's also another fault like this. When you get phoned by those automated call centre pests that dial multiple numbers from machines and then hang up on you the moment five callers answer the operators this kit doesn't deal with it well. These lines are often still open and the Graphite phone doesn't cut them off when you replace the handset on the base sometimes, meaning no line in to receive calls. The government was supposed to ban them but still they call.
Price wise they are very good value on Amazon at 40 quid for the trio box set and stylish too, light to pick up and sturdy on the base at a 40 degrees angle. With a one year warrantee and an ok caller display they are idea for younger families. If you are a doddery old pensioner though the caller-display is quite small and the numbers and names written and scrolling smaller and so something to think about. Apart from that it's a good product and all you can do is just hope your line and phone get on. If they don't then tough.
For the last few years I have had novelty telephones in my house rather than a "grown up" kind of one as I just love the quirkiness of them, the most recent being a Hello Kitty phone! However, the Hello Kitty phone started to play up and go all crackly all the time a couple of months ago so I knew it was coming to the end and I would have to start looking for a new phone. Unfortunately novelty phones are quite expensive so I knew I would just have to have a standard phone this time as money is a little tight.
Looking online I came across the BT Graphite 2100 phones which was two phones in the set so that was ideal for my house as it meant I could have a phone in my bedroom also without having to put a new phone line in up there. The phones are digital cordless ones which instantly made them more appealing to me as corded phones and my kitten really do not mix!
When the phones arrived they were in a cardboard box which showed a picture of the two phones on the front. Inside the box were the two phones and base units, two power leads and the instruction manual. The phones are very stylish in appearance with their slightly curved shape and they are black and quite sleek looking. The screen on the phone has an LED blue backlight which I think looks really effective against the stylishness. The bases in which the phones sit are also quite stylish, they are small and round with a light at the front of the unit which shows the battery level and when the phone is in use. The buttons on the phones are quite large, certainly bigger than any cordless phone I have used in the past so you can easily use your thumb to press the keys without the risk of hitting another button by mistake - something I have done many times on my mums phone!! Along with the standard buttons you will find on a phone (numbers) there is a menu button, phonebook, secrecy and large volume/calls button.
Setting up the phones really couldn't have been any more simple at all, just plug the base units into the mains and leave to charge for 24 hours and they are ready to use! The menu button has five options - phonebook, settings, clock/alarm, BT services and advanced options. You can store up to 50 names and numbers in your phonebook, and putting them in is quite easy and just takes a matter of seconds for each one. The BT services option in the menu contains helpful numbers such as BT 118500. Other features on the phone include volume control, call waiting, handsfree calling and caller display which shows you who is calling before you answer the phone.
I think the BT Graphite 2100 phones are excellent and have pretty much everything I could ask for in a phone. One downside for some may be that there is no answerphone but I have always used 1571 so that isn't an issue for me. The phones look great and don't take up much room at all, in fact they look a little lost in my window sill compared to my old novelty phone! I would say that this would be a good phone for anyone who is looking to buy a cordless phone, and the fact there are two in the set is an added bonus. Another thing I really like about these phones is that they are very simple to use whereas some phones I have seen are a lot more complex than they actually need to be. The battery life is excellent with these phones, I have regularly used them for long periods and left them off charge and they have never ran out of power so you don't need to worry about making sure they are always in the bases.
I paid £37.00 for the set of BT Graphite 2100 phones and I do think that is a really good price to pay, though I have seen them on sale for up to £50 so it is worth shopping around.
Thank you for reading my review