* Prices may differ from that shown
I purchased my BT Stratus 1500 twin pack from Ebay about a year ago, they cost me £35.99 as they are refurbished, to buy a new set would cost around £79.99.
The phones were as new and were very well packaged; all the packaging was made of card so easily recyclable. In the box were two handsets, an answer machine base, a charger base, two power adaptors 2 x rechargeable batteries for each handset and covers for the battery compartments.
The handsets are glossy black on the front and matt silver on the back. The handsets are flat on the front and rounded on the back so they are more comfortable to hold. The screen of each handset is black and the writing is displayed in white, the screen size is 2.1cm x 2.6 cm and the handset dimensions are L17cm x W4.5cm x D2.2cm.
The bases are also have a glossy black front and matt silver on the back, the answering machine charger base dimensions are L13cm x H8.5cm x D10.5cm and the handset charger base dimensions are L10.5cm x H10.5cm x D10.5cm.
On each handset the buttons are flat with rubber inserts inbetween each button is 0.5cm square. The buttons are easy to press, each one presses in with a small click and the phone makes a short beep, this beep can be turned off easily as it does get a bit annoying. In my opinion these handsets are not suitable for a person who struggles with there hands as they are quite sleek and the flat buttons could be awkward to press.
Getting started is quite simple, unpack the handsets, plug the chargers into power sockets, put the batteries in and place each phone on to the charger and leave for 24 hours for the first charge. The phones automatically assign them selves to each base.
Once charged you can plug the phone line into the answer machine base, as the other handset is a satellite to this and needs no phone line of its own, this makes them ideal if you do not have or want phone line extensions running all over the house. My answer machine base is in the lounge and my other handset is in the kitchen. It is recommended that the bases be placed quite high up and at least 1 meter away from any other electrical item as the phones work by sending radio signals between the bases and the handsets and this positioning will ensure the best signal.
The time and date needs setting up on each phone as this will tell you when each call came in.
Each handset has a 100 number phonebook, speed dial, a 10 number redial list, caller display (you need this service activating through BT) a 30 number call list, quick access to BT services such as directory enquiries, call diverting and call waiting (these are all BT services and are charged accordingly) and SMS (again you need this service activating on your line).
The handsets have a lot of features so I will go through the ones I use in more detail. The handset stores up to 100 names and numbers and these are all easily accessed by pressing the button on the top right hand of the phone, once pressed the screen lights up and you can scroll through all your contacts or jump to the one you want by pressing the number with the letter of the contacts first name on it (a bit like texting) once you have brought the contact up you can press the talk/dial button, it has a picture of a old fashioned phone handset on it. Pressing this button during a call will put the call on loudspeaker therefore enabling hands free. To end the call you press the end call button, this has a picture of an old fashioned handset on its base. During a call if you wish to mute yourself (incase you are yawning or saying mean things about the person you are on the phone too) you press the top right hand button to mute and again to unmute.
One of the features I like is that you can programme the phone to play a different melody for different people, there are 15 different melodies and when that person calls, for example my mother is flight of the valkeries, and the melody you have chosen for that person will play. I find this handy as sometimes I can say "oh that's my mother, I don't really feel like talking to her so I will let it ring and the machine can get it". If you have not assigned a melody to a person or the person is calling from a phone number that is withheld or unknown to the handset then it will ring the regular "ring, ring" melody.
If you receive a call from a person who you do not have the number of this can easily be saved by going to the last caller menu, highlighting the number and then selecting to save it to the phone book, you can then give it a name and a melody so next time they phone you know who they are.
If you do not have caller display a lot of the features of this phone are defunct as the phone needs to know who is calling so it can display the correct name and play the correct melody.
Another feature I have used occasionally is the text messaging service; I have BT option 3 so I get 100 texts free and while this function comes in handy it is not one I use regularly as I use my little mobile for texting. to text you need to open up the main menu, this is done by pressing the button on the top left hand side of the phone, you can then scroll through each menu till you get to text messaging, you select that menu and you are given the option to write text massage, inbox, templates, drafts and settings. Once you have selected write text message you ca then enter your message, there is no predictive text it is like using an old mobile from around 10 years ago, it is pretty slow going as the buttons do not make for gliding effortlessly letter to letter. Once your message is complete you can the press send, this opens up the option to enter the phone number manually or to go to the phone book and select one. Once the number is chosen you press send and your message goes whizzing off down the phone line. The phone also receives SMS and this is where the inbox comes into play, click on inbox and it brings up a list of all the messages you have received, you can then scroll through them and read, delete, reply or forward any messages. The draft part is where unsent messages go, templates has preset responses such as I am busy, please call my mobile etc... And the settings has the message centre number in and you can turn texting on or off in here.
The only time I have used texting is when I dropped my xperia in the washing up bowl and needed to communicate with the world my tragic accident, luckily the xperia dried out and all is right with the world again.
The phone has many features, you can set it as an alarm and easily access numerous BT services, I personally have only used the handsets for calls and texting, saving numbers to the phonebook, calling numbers from the phone book and just dialling numbers straight into the phone from my own memory.
Now for the answering machine, the machine digitally records up to 12 minutes of messages or up to 59 individual messages, unfortunately the maximum incoming message can only be 1 minute long so if someone calls you with a long message they will have to ring back and leave multiple messages.
All features can easily be accessed through the answering machine base and some of the features can be accessed through the handsets. The answering machine can be turned on through the handset in the answering machine menu, when switching the answering machine on you get the option to answer and record or answer only or turn off.
You can easily record your own answering machine messages through the handset menu, just scroll through the options till you get to record OGM and then press select and then put your best voice on and leave a message for your callers to hear, usually no matter how hard I try I end up sounding daft or I fluff it up, but luckily you can keep trying till you get the message you want. The answering machine message can also be set to answer without leaving messages, when you record this one just ask callers to phone you back later.
To scroll through your received messages is easy, you can press play on the handset or you can use the buttons on the base, the machine will then inform you that you (for example) have 2 new messages and 1 old message, using the buttons on the base or the shown options on the handset you can listen to your messages, skip through them, repeat them, delete them individually or as a group or just leave them on the machine, but remember you can only have 12 minutes worth otherwise the machine automatically switches to answer without leaving a message.
You can also choose how many times the phone will ring before the answer machine kicks in, this can be set anywhere between 2-9 rings. If like me you sprint for the phone set it to 9.
The answer machine base has a blue number displayed on it showing you how many messages you have received. 0 means you have no messages and 2 or more flashing means you have at least 1 new message on the machine.
The answer machine can be set up for remote access, personally have never used this but from what I have read in the manual it is a simple process, you need to set remote access up this is done by going to the answer machine menu on the handset, you then scroll to answer settings, remote access and then activate it.
Once activated you can then access your answering machine from any other touch tone phone, the default pin for all machines is 0000, I am assuming there is an option to change this pin when you dial the phone. Once into your machine you can then play your messages, delete messages or switch between answer only, answer and record or turn the machine off completely.
My own experience with this phone is that it is really easy to use, and once you have learnt the features it makes using the phone a much easier process. I don't think the phone set is suitable for the elderly as the buttons are flat and the phone itself is very smooth so could be difficult for someone with arthritis to handle. The glossy black finish is easy to keep clean but is unfortunately a dust magnet. I have had these phones for nearly a year now and the battery is still going strong. Occasionally I find the call quality a bit lacking as there is static or strange noises on the line. The distance I can potter around with the handset is really good even at the bottom of the garden, I had to squish myself in the hedge to get 60ft away and it was still good. The battery life is really good and I have on occasion left the handsets off the base for 48 hours before they needed charging. Another good feature is the page button, if you lose a handset you can press the page button and both handsets will beep until you find them and deactivate the beeping. The handsets can also be locked which is good when my nephew or nieces come as they like to play with the handsets and it is nice to know that they are not phoning the police while gnawing on the handset or using it as a hammer. You can also mute the phone while it is ringing, this helps if you have chosen to ignore the phone but flight of the valkeries is still wailing away in the background.
As far as the answering machine goes I have no complaints about the performance, I only use it on answer only now as I got sick of people listening to the outgoing message and then getting stage fright and putting the phone down without leaving a message, it is very annoying to get 5 messages of click bzzzzz, or the unfortunate message where my mother in law yelled at me "answer this phone, I can hear you don't think I can't".
My advices for this phone is don't be daunted by the big manual, get your hands on the phone and just find your way around it, it's only a phone it won't explode if you get things wrong. I have knocked a star off for the unessential features and the occasional patchy reception.
Thank you for reading my extra long review xx
For Christmas 2010 we got brought a new house phone a BT Stratus Cordless phone. We asked for a BT phone as it allows us to have caller id and since BT have been the leaders of the market for so long it only seem right they would have great phones.
It's a small cordless phone. The front of the phone is shiny black plastic with a black and blue screen. The screen is about 4cm x 3cm. The number buttons are flat with a raised line under each one. The back is silver with a small raised BT logo. Also on the back is a removable panel where the batteries sit.
The phone length is approx 25cm and sits well against your ear.
Personally I just like a phone to be a phone but there are some features that come with this phone.
Phonebook - You can log 100 numbers in this phone which is more than enough for me. Easy to program, it's just like typing a text.
Speed dial - You can log 8 numbers on speed dial. From the phone book press and hold the number you want to save
Caller ID - When you phone ring the number calling appears on the screen. Automatically is set as a default so no need to set up.
Hands Free - At the touch of a button you can put the phone on hands free.
Send & Receive Text - Enter the phone menu and go to text setting and is simple to type text and send.
Answer phone - An answer phone can easily be recorded or you can use the phone's standard "The caller is not available pleas leave a message". You can retrieve the messages by wither pressing the play button on the base or via the menu on the handset. The answering machine only holds 9 messages approx 12 minuets...I'm yet to of had 9 messages left for me, they are easy to delete by pressing the "bin" button. When listening to the message the time and date are relayed to you and listening to the message is clear.
Alarm Clock - This is a god send as the phone is on my bedside table and I didn't want to clutter it with an actual alarm clock aswell so to have the function on the phone is great. It's easy to set and you can set the alarm as a one off or daily.
My main gripe with any gadget is the battery life...But this phone seems to be doing very well with battery it is yet to fail on me during a call but saying that I try to put it back on the chargers all the time. Mainly so I can find it when it rings.
Assigned to our main phone we have one additional phone which sets up automatically once plugged in. This is done by a roaming function. You can have up to 5 additional phones assigned to the base. You can make internal call by pressing the "INT" button; we have only used this function as a joke when one of us has wanted something (i.e. / cup of tea!! Lol)
I have had 3 types of cordless phones and these are by the best they have all the functions I require and is very simple to use with a good battery life. The only negative I have on the phone is every time you have a call the phone stores the number and even if you answer the call it's stilled logged as a missed call. You have to go into the previous call list. The number that has an envelope by it you have to click on to remove it as a missed call.
I would definitely recommend this phone, I'm sure there are better more technologically advanced phones on the market but for me it's simple and does the job very well.
I would give this phone a 4/5 as i'm sure their is better out there.
You will have heard the old adage that some things get better with age, but would expect it to refer to something like a wine or a cheese, rather than a telephone.
The BT Stratus 1500 DECT Telephone with Answering Machine is one lucky so-and-so, as many of its pals from the production line will have long since been discarded by impatient owners at the end of their tether.
So what made mine out-live the rest, I hear you ask?
I wasn't any luckier than the other rabied reviewers of this product that the internet seems to be awash with.
I had the lock ups where none of its keys would respond; I had the memory loss where it suddenly reverted to its factory settings and I had the moments where the phone went completely dead.
I also had its box out on the kitchen table, with the Tesco receipt alongside it, in readiness for taking it for a refund.
I'd like to say that I decided in desperation to strip it down on the work bench and re-solder this, that and the other...but that would be stretching poetic license a bit too far.
While many followed the troubleshooting advice to take the batteries out and put them back in to reset the phone, few it seems took the radical step of actually putting some NEW batteries in!
The phone came with some pretty obscure rechargeable batteries inside it, that were only 550 mAh in capacity and I reckoned these were the likely culprits.
I tried a couple of branded Ni-MH AAA's that were double the capacity and the rest is history...there has only been the odd hiccup since, where the display flicks to factory settings for a few seconds after a phone call.
I'm relieved because, despite its quirks, I really like this phone...and intensely disliked the corded, retro 1930's alternative being suggested. It has a shiny, black front which is pleasing to the eye and a contrastingly rugged silver back that gives it a sturdier look. It is just the right length to span from ear to mouth and its smooth contours are comfortable to the hand. Throw in some good acoustics and the talking experience is a pleasant one. Judging by the phone bill, far too pleasant for my wife!
Its 100 number phonebook is ample for the residential customer and it has a 10 number redial list that can act erratically, omitting some and repeating others. All the usual features are supported and some others besides, the two I use most frequently being caller display and call barring. I have chosen to bar some of the numbers not inclusive of my calling plan, namely those beginning 07 and 09, which might come in useful if you also have children who don't know the meaning of 'keep it short'. The ability to send and receive text messages is an interesting extra, which some may want to look into with their network provider.
Answering machine messages can be retrieved either from the handset, the base or remotely. I find it easier to manage the messages from the base unit, as navigation of the handset menu isn't quick enough when trying to delete the hang ups. Although there is up to 12 minutes of recording time, the numerical display on the base unit can only show 9 messages. This digit will flash when there is a new message.
We put the handset back on the base unit when we don't plan to use it for a while, so standby hours are difficult to confirm, but my wife puts the talk time through some rigorous testing and she gives it a thumbs up. The operating range is very good; we've never lost signal despite using it out in the garden sometimes. A total of five handsets can be acquired and assigned to the base unit, although we only have the one.
Recommending it to someone else would be going too far, but as the phone's problems seem to have been caused by its batteries, I wouldn't talk anyone out of giving it a try...with the proviso that they put in a decent set before using it and only buy with a 12 month guarantee. Its issues seem to manifest themselves with plenty of warranty to spare, so just keep the original batteries on one side in case the phone does needs returning. Using a higher capacity battery may give the retailer the excuse to renege on the warranty.
* I have also written this review on Ciao