At one end of my new house I have my trusty Siemens cordless telephone but upon moving into a new property it seems there just aren't enough plug sockets because this is a prerequisite of any cordless telephone that needs its permanent charger in place in order for the phone to function! As such, what I needed was a cheap-corded telephone for the main part of my calls and to put the Siemens to one side regardless of its great function of being able to be used in the garden outside with strong signal back up.
The trouble is that these days, the slim line corded telephone is extremely hard to find thanks to analogue and cheap digital DECT phones that have taken their place, not least the budget company love/loathe Binatone who up until now have sold a lot of their products in catalogues and old faithful Argos. I very nearly bought a Binatone at Argos for £4-45 until I remembered the last of John Lewis vouchers I have and upon finding a self branded John Lewis telephone in their store recently, wondered what it would be like against the BT corded phone that costs just under £10 when this telephone is 3 pounds cheaper at £7-95.
First of all if you look at John Lewis' website there is very little information given on this telephone compared to the "button happy" BT phone but let me tell you now - thankfully this corded telephone has something the BT phone lacks - a LCD panel that brings up the numbers you dial as well as redialling facility and a 10 memory number phonebook file that can be set through speed dialling from any single number on the rubberised key pad. John Lewis' corded telephone is also produced by Binatone but it feels and looks much plainer yet nicer than the cheaper phone sold in Argos.
From a distance though, the handset looks like a body massager. There is no kind way to put it, since the earpiece is rounded and has a jutting out part that thankfully feels soft to my ears. The rest of the handset in clean white plastic is soft and moulded to the touch and the keypad is made out of rubber keys that have white decals/numericals on them. On top of the keypad there is a thin LCD strip that gives up to 10 single numericals but it is unlit and in grey, can be difficult to see in poor light. Certainly whilst the handset doesn't feel brittle, the cradle part is very lightweight and has an easy to pick out 10 number menu you can write on after removing the plastic acrylic insert window. On the cradle itself there are no other settings or switches aside from a tiny black slider control on the base that controls the ringer volume from low to high. Let me tell you now - this telephone has a very loud ringer and even on the lowest setting - it is quite loud and sounds too high tone in its analogue mono electronic process.
Quality wise for the price, this phone is middling to average. Whilst it doesn't have any tell tale signs of cost cutting, the biggest problem that this phone has is a poorly made ribbed cord that goes from the cradle base to the telephone handset itself. After the first couple of days where the cradle and phone got to settle, the cord soon became tangled very easily, especially when trying to stretch the handset from the cradle base. The Wild n Wolf Retro Trim phone I bought a couple of weeks earlier has a ribbed cord that hasn't tangled so it points to poor quality on JL's corner. Another downside is that the cradle itself is hopelessly too lightweight, which means the moment you make a call, the cradle base tips up and often tries to come with the handset the moment I lift it up to dial. In this respect and thankfully, there are two Plasplugs and screws that come equipped with this phone where the cradle base can be wall mounted. There are two corresponding holes on the back of the phone cradle base for this very purpose. I've since had to put blu tac down to permanently stick the base to the table from travelling!
The user manual leaves a lot to be desired too! It took me quite a while to figure out how to do insert numbers into the 10 number stored memory facility and to read the instructions a couple of times before the numbers would take. The manual itself (a paper booklet) is poorly written too despite diagrams. There are two options for memory on the phone that really translate into one - whilst the phone has the 10 number capacity, you need to dial the number in and hold down the memory button and then press a button to activate speed dialling. When all is finished the phone's main memory button can be confusing because there are two buttons - "Mem," which activates the speed dialling when one of the numerical buttons have also been pushed afterwards to dial the saved the number you've put in (and it comes up on the LCD screen to confirm what the number is) and "M1" which seems to redial the last number in memory. If that wasn't confusing enough, there is also an additional redial button on the bottom of the phone's handset buttons and further more another button marked "LNR," which means "Last Number Redial." Confused? I've certainly been confused!
Another problem that this phone seems to suffer from is a poor crackling line. At times it does have a good quality depending on whom I'm calling such as long distance or national calls. On local calls however the quality has been particularly poor. I've since replaced the phone with a new one from John Lewis and although the quality of service has improved; it doesn't bode well for a model with the John Lewis name attached to it.
Do I therefore suggest this telephone? Not particularly. Whilst it has an LCD screen, which makes viewing numbers a bit easier, in general day-to-day use, it just manages to serve its purpose but only becomes annoying if you don't blue tac the base to whichever surface the phone is intended to sit on. Otherwise the base will just come off and tip up to the angle that the short cord to the wall socket sprouts out from the cradle base which means you may well need an extension cord for more travel. For a telephone that has a John Lewis name attached to it, I found this model to be very disappointing. I strongly recommend you not to buy it! Thanks for reading. ©Nar2 2010