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Gigaset AS185 Cordless Landline Telephone with Answer Machine
When we started having a few different problems with our old BT cordless, we started to look around for a new cordless telephone with answer machine. The Gigaset AS185 was a model that was getting rave reviews, so when I saw it was on offer for half price at Argos I took advantage of their click and collect service and ordered one, paying for it with my Nectar Points.
In the box:
The phone came in a surprisingly small box and when we got it home we were even more surprised to find that it only has a fold out leaflet instead of a user booklet. However, this was easy to follow and we soon swapped the phones over.
The box contained the Base Station a Mains Adapter, a Phone Cord, 2 batteries, the Handset and the leaflet. Everything was easily put together and we had to charge the batteries for 7 hours before we could use the phone, so the simplest thing was to charge it over night. However, the next step is to not use the base station/charger unit until the batteries are completely discharged. This took about 3 days of remembeing not to put the phone into the handset.
The phone and base are stylish in appearance finished in black, with the phone having an orange backlit screen and chrome finish schroll keys. The only adornment on the base unit being the Siemens logo. All in all a tasteful, understated phone.
The phone and base station are easy to clean and inspire confidence as they appear to be well built, as you would expect from a German product.
Using the Phone:
We chose a single unit device because we only have a small home, but the Gigaset can be bought with 2 or even 3 units at a very reasonable cost for those with larger homes.
Setting the date and time is very easy as is setting up the answer machine, retrieving messages and deleting them is a doddle as all the buttons have easy to understand icons on them.
It is also easy to set up and use a directory either by schrolling through or setting up shortcut keys. The directory holds 40 numbers and stores the last 10 phone numbers, naturally it has last number recall and caller display.
Making and receiving calls is easy and straightforward and again is simplified by easy to follow icons.
The answer machine has 12 minutes of recording time and flashes red when a message has been received.
Sound is clear most of the time, but I suspect any noise is down to our rural line and not the phone.
We do have a couple of gripes with the Gigaset though, as my husband works from home we did have two telephone numbers so that we could identify if a call was personal or business. However as we cannot change or add a ringtone to this unit, we have abandoned the second number due to loosing value to lack of identify the nature of the call. The other problem is that the phone is set for maximum length before the answer machine kicks in and frequently this is just not long enough.
Due to the lack of a handbook, it is necessary to mess around with the menu's to teach yourself how to use and set the phone.
I would recommend these phones quite happily, it has performed well in the approximate 2 years we have owned it and the 300m range is easily adequate for our needs, as is the 12 minute message time.
I would however, seriously take a look at other phones on the market and their prices and although I might buy this again I think I would probably buy another BT cordless.
If you do decide to buy a Gigaset AS185 I would suggest buying 2 units, so that you don't have the problem we do of the answer machine kicking in before we can get there. Whilst we could easily switch that function off when we are in, then we would only forget to re-set it when we go out.
Because of the reasons discussed abooce I award the AS185 4/5 stars.
Price & Availability:
We paid just £14.00 for ours about 2 year ago. I have just checked and although that was half price then they are currently available from around £12.99 for a single unit from Amazon and only £14.99 for a twin unit. So at those prices, discount what I have said about buying a BT! These are German engineered and at these prices represent excellent value for money. (December 2013)
Thank you for reading my review, I hope you found it useful?
When I was a lad, ours was one of the few houses in the street to have a telephone and there used to be a stream of neighbours walking through our living room, leaving tuppence on the sideboard for a call. Ok, it might have been sixpence. In those days it still seemed like a miracle that there was a telephone at all, so the fact that it was located in the front room (rarely used, only for best and always the coldest room in our house) wasn't a big issue. These days we're used to greater freedom. We expect to be able to use the phone when we're half way up a mountain. So when my fixed telephone gave up the ghost recently, I decided that the best thing would be to get a cordless one to replace it.
In fact, I already had one cordless telephone, but that was upstairs. This was a further sign of the modern malaise. I couldn't possibly be expected to carry the phone up and down stairs,could I? So I needed one up and one down.
The manufacturers and shops, of course, have caught on to and in fact encouraged this trend. It is assumed that most people will want a suite of phones, possibly one for each room, with the facility to act as an intercom system, answer machine, alarm clock, tea maker, personal secretary and goodness knows what else. I just wanted a phone. A single phone. On its own. I didn't necessarily want or need lots of functions, but something that would be reliable, offer good sound quality, not cost the Earth, and bounce when I dropped it, as would almost certainly happen at some point. I didn't regard this as an unreasonable list of requirements and I'm very pleased to say that the Gigaset AS185 answered my call.
THE GIGASET AS185
This telephone is one of a number that can be bought as a single unit as well as with additional handsets if required (they offer a duo and a trio package). The brand has a good reputation and I felt that I would be buying a solid and reliable piece of kit with enough functions for what I would need. I still tend to be impressed when I see that something has been made in Germany. Unless it's a holidaymaker, of course. (joke) The price at the time of £14.99 from Argos (currently £17.99 from there) made this a very attractive and competitive buy.
It just seems to come in black and has a slightly chunky look to it. These cordless phones all look pretty much the same to me, and frankly I'm not someone who is overly bothered about the appearance, but more about whether it works well. Something that might attract those environmentally aware consumers is the fact that the power saving adaptor uses less electricity. The handset also automatically reduces its transmission power according to how far it is from the base station. You can reduce the transmission power of both the handset and the base station even more by choosing Eco Mode. Nice to know.
The power and telephone cables (both provided) fit snugly underneath the base unit and the handset takes two re-chargeable AAA batteries (also provided). The phone needs to be charged for at least seven hours before use; then you use it without replacing it on its base station until the batteries have fully run down again. That's just for the first time. Then you can use it in a normal way.
They reckon you can get 25 hours of talk time and 210 hours of standby time and it has given me no reason to doubt this. Certainly it was about a week before I put it back on its cradle on that first occasion, and that's with some talk time.
The phone has a built in answering machine which can be activated if required. It has a total of 12 minutes recording time and a maximum of 170 seconds per message. Messages can be accessed remotely by using a pin from a touch tone dialling phone.
The directory stores 40 names and numbers and the last number redial facility allows you to scroll back through your previous ten calls. Numbers in the directory can be linked to shortcut keys. The handset will also display the number of a caller if you have this arrangement with your provider.
From the menu you can set the alarm clock, change the ringer tones and volume, check voice mail, adjust the date and time and check other settings.
On the handset, there's a mute button and also a button for switching to speaker and back again.
If you want to add other handsets, the directory is transferable and there is the facility for making and sharing calls with other internal handsets.
EASE OF USE
I found this a very straightforward phone to set up and then to use. I was a little confused by the black bar on the display window of the handset until I realised that it was a protective plastic shield that needed to be peeled away. The one thing I find about the phone that is a little tricky is the talk key. If you press it once, briefly, you see the last number you called. Press it again and that number will ring, or you could scroll through other recently used numbers. To access the dialling tone, you have to hold the talk key down for a couple of seconds. Until I got used to this I found I was calling the last number by mistake. I think I've pretty much mastered this now.
A useful information leaflet comes with the phone. It was nice to have something concise with pictures and not several small tomes in every language imaginable - surely not environmentally friendly. Further info is available online.
COST AND VALUE
As I mentioned, this is currently £17.99 at Argos and as such I would consider it to be very good value indeed. Obviously I'm feeling pretty smug that I managed to pick it up three quid cheaper, but it's still a good deal. It's a sturdy little number from a firm with a good name; its functions are surely more than adequate for most needs; it is sold singly, but can be used as part of a suite; and perhaps the most important factor is that the sound quality is excellent.
I can't think of a good enough reason not to give it five stars.