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Bought the 5500 trio in black about 6 months ago having previously been used to a single corded answer phone. The changeover to cordless has been a very pleasing experience. This system was simple to set up and the easy to follow settings has provided excellent performance in every day use. Now the not so good observations .... Curiously the answering system does not allow a personal voice message recording which seems out of step with most answerphones on the market. The second criticism is with average daily use after just 5 months the symbols on the handset buttons have faded badly and in time will disappear completely. No doubt these comments are not new to BT. Apart from this I consider the Synergy 5500 product a good buy especially with excellent price discounts from stockists such as Amazon etc.,
As we a part way through a house renovation, one of the things we wanted to avoid was running telephone cables to the rooms which we wanted phones in. We set out looking for a set of DECT telephones which we could put in the rooms without the need for a physical telephone connection. I reviewed many handsets, Panasonic being one of the leaders in the DECT market, but the handsets appeared too large and clunky.
I found the BT Synergy 5500 Trio on Amazon.co.uk for £49.99 - and having £30 in vouchers I got them for less than £20.
WHAT'S IN THE BOX
1xMaster base station incorporating answerphone (requires telephone and power point)
2xSlave base stations (requires only a power point)
3xHandsets (all identical)
3xPower adaptors (note the colour coding as the master base station uses a different power adaptor)
1xUK telephone cable
6xAAA rechargable batteries
1xQuick start guide
To BT's credit, all the items were wrapped in tissue paper rather than plastic, so far more eco friendly in terms of packaging.
250 name/number memory per handset
Polyphonic ringtones (all frankly terrible)
LCD display including caller display (telephone provider dependent)
Internal call functionality (make calls between the three handsets in the house)
Phone book sync (set up numbers on one handset and send them to the other two)
Master base station incorporating digital answerphone (up to 12 minutes recording time)
Integrated SIM card reader for loading contacts from a mobile phone SIM card
Not being one for reading instruction manuals, I found the BT Synergy 5500 a breeze to set up. The master base station needs to be plugged into a telephone outlet as well as a power outlet. The tips of the power supplies are colour coded as the slave base stations use a different type of power supply to the master base station. They are also slightly differently shaped so there is no way to get them wrong.
Inserting the batteries and plugging in the base station caused the first handset to pair with the base station and assign itself the name "SYNERGY 1" (this can be changed on each handset). Similarly, inserting the batteries into the other two handsets and plugging in the power supply caused them to pair and assign themselves numbers 2 and 3 respectively.
That's it in terms of basic setup - the phones were now ready to make and receive calls so I made a test call from and to the phones to ensure all three units rang, which they did.
My next job was to begin entering my contacts. I couldn't use the SIM card reader as I have an iPhone 4 which uses a stupid Micro SIM so I had to enter my contacts manually. This is a return to retro text-messaging as you enter characters by tapping on the number keys multiple times to achieve the desired character. The name field is limited to 12 characters (including numbers and punctuation) so some shortening of names will be required. On entering the number, you are prompted to choose a ringtone to assign to the contact.
The contacts in the address book will be used to display the name of the caller if you subscribe to a caller ID feature with your provider (if you are with BT - ask them to enable BT Privacy at Home as this will give you caller ID for free!).
Once my contacts were set up - I then wanted to sync them to the other two handsets. This seemed easy at first, as there is an option in the address book to send the contacts to another handset. On choosing a handset, the contacts appear as if they are sending, but they aren't...you need to accept the transfer on the other handset. I'm sure this would have been mentioned in the manual, but as I said above, I tend not to read those...
The buttons on the handsets are fairly chunky and tactile which I think is a good thing - there is no mistaking whether you have pressed a button or not. I made a test call between internal handsets to test call quality and found it to be very good. The default volume is very low so you'll need to adjust that to your liking - simply a matter of pressing the up/down keys on the handset during a call.
The speech quality was very good with no echo, lag or discernible background noise. Compared to the old handset I was replacing (which it was to be said was not DECT) they are crystal clear.
I made a test call from my mobile to the handsets which now had my mobile number stored, and my name duly popped up as an incoming call. Again, remember this is provider dependent.
The ringtones are hideous - they are reminiscent of old Nokia handsets when they first introduced polyphonic tones. I have opted for the rather boring "ring ring" tone but because it is polyphonic, it still sounds hideous.
There are some features which I haven't/won't try;
SIM card reader - as above, if you have a Micro SIM, don't bother
Text messaging - it is possible to send and receive text messages to the handsets, but you need a service provider that supports this feature (and will probably pay for the privilege)
Network services - this menu on each handset allows access to BT's services. If you are not on BT, these can be renamed and new numbers entered, but you are stuck with the BT branding
Answer phone - as we use Vonage (an internet telephone provider), we already have voicemail so won't be using the built in machine but it allows you to record your own greeting, or set message only mode, or disable it altogether.