Lots of people seem to forget these days that a phone is just that - a phone and some people want a phone solely for the means of contacting one another through the age old technology of telephone wires. Some, of course don't. There are some people that want their phones to take pictures, send text messages and an perform array of little extras which mobile phones incorporate these days. But, what about your landline? Surely you don't expect that to be all singing, all dancing. With colour screens, changeable ringtones and the ability to send texts, it would seem that even the landline phones are in a constant battle for style. I, personally am happy with my trusty Panasonic...
I've been using this model for several years now and although it doesn't incorporate a colour screen or the ability to mow my lawn, its served me well over the years. This little gem cost around £90 when I first purchased it, however, now you can pick it up for the bargain price of around £37 at certain retailers.
*** Setting Up ***
The phone isn't part of a set unfortunately, it comes with a base which includes an answering machine and dual dialling. Setting up is simple enough, the box includes an easy to use instruction manual, although whether or not you'll find yourself referring to it is questionable. All that's really required is to insert the (rechargeable) batteries and plug in the all the wires which are clearly identified.
*** The Phone ***
Once the initial set up has been completed, it's advised that you insert the phone into the dock to allow for a good couple of hours charging time. However, if you're like a kid at Christmas and can't wait to test it out, the batteries will initially last only an or so. Despite this phone being rather ancient (it's at least 6 years old) it has some pretty decent features which should just about keep you in touch with today's technology.
The SMS text messaging option is a nice little touch to have at hand if you're ever in need of it, but, really, who uses their landline to send texts? If you are one of these rare breeds then you'll be interested to know that texting on this phone is a little like texting on a very early Nokia phone. It can be a lengthy process and you'll be unaware as to whether you'll make it through the process with the phone intact, but once completed you'll wonder what all the fuss was about. Buttons on this phone do have a tendency to stick and this isn't something that's happened with wear and tear, it's something that's been apparent in this phone since we bought it. When dialling a number this isn't really a problem, however, during texting the sticking buttons often rear their ugly heads, almost in a blatant attempt to make an already lengthy process even longer. One of the features I do like with the text messaging is the fact that you can create your own account. I.e if you're sending a very personal text to someone and you'd prefer if family members didn't see, you can set up your own texting account, meaning that you enter your name and a 4 digit password, enabling you to communicate privately. This option isn't available when calling though unfortunately.
An incorporated phonebook allows you to save up to 200 contacts. Creating a contact couldn't be simpler and works in much the same way that it would on a mobile phone. The top middle button of the handset accesses the menu and scrolling down 3 places will land you in the phone book set up menu. Here, contacts can be stored, deleted and edited all very swiftly. Also in the menu are options to edit the time (unfortunately the phone does not update automatically during daylight savings hours), date, keytones and pin codes. A pin code is another superfluous option, which, upon picking up the phone from the dock allows you to enter a pin to gain access. This could be a useful feature if you have young children, but not such a good feature in an emergency. This phone includes a ringtone changer, which incorporates the top of the range, brand new technology (sense the sarcasm) of... Polyphonic ringtones. Ok, so actually these came out about 8 years ago but it's a nice option to have, unless of course your 86 year Grandmother would prefer to have Dizzee Rascal banging out her landline informing her that he's 'bonkers'. There are 15 Polyphonic ringtones, along with a few standard ringtones thrown in for good measure. I'm all for MP3 tones on my mobile, but I prefer something a bit more iconic on my landline, so I opt for the standard 'ring ring'.
The phone comes with a clear LED screen and once a button is pressed, that, and all the buttons will illuminate green allowing for night-time dialling. The LED screen is crisp and clear and unlike some phones the screen isn't cluttered with so much information and numbers it would give Carol Vorderman a headache. On the screen you'll be informed of the level of signal you're receiving, the date and time and the battery remaining. In terms of battery you're looking at a good 10 days of standby without the need for this to be charged. If you're making and receiving regular calls then you're looking at this figure decreasing to a highly respectable 7 days of standby time. The LED screen will also make you aware of any missed calls, text messages and answer machine messages.
In terms of calling quality this phone is second to none. There are 10 volume settings which can easily be adjusted during a call with the use of the up and down menu buttons. The call quality is always crisp, clear and loud (even on a low volume), although of course your level of signal will undoubtedly affect this. A mute button is an extremely useful feature for those times when you're arguing with the other half and don't want your boss on the other end of the phone to hear! This is enabled by pressing the cancel button, which also acts as the mute button, located under the 'end call' button. To disable this feature you need to remember to press the green button and not the mute button again. The loudspeaker option is absolutely fantastic, the speaker is located at the back of the phone and covers a very wide area, making for optimum sound performance. The loud speaker always produces excellently crisp sound and unlike some, the person on the other end of the line, nor yourself will feel it necessary to shout to be heard.
*** The Base Unit ***
This is where you'd imagine things to become technical, however, surprisingly things are made incredibly simple here too. Setting up the answer machine is done with the press of a single button situated clearly on the base unit. Unlike some models you aren't able to change the voice to another recorded voice for the answering machine, however, you are able to record your own voice (something I shudder at the thought of ever doing). You're able to store 15 minutes of recordings, which doesn't seem a lot on first thought, but providing you delete messages after listening to them then this is quite sufficient. The clarity of the messages is where this phone falters somewhat and you may find yourself leaning over toward the base unit for you to be able to hear messages clearly. One thing that redeems that last point though is that you're able to set how long you want the phone to ring before the answering machine kicks in, which is a very useful feature especially if you're not in such a talkative mood one day!
*** Summary ***
Despite being more than a couple of years old and the phone being rather sizeable (think mobile phones circa 1995), the phone is surprisingly light, meaning that your arm isn't likely to become too tired after a long phone call. Everything is simple to set up and use, so simple infact that I bought my Nan the same model and unlike previous landlines, she doesn't find the buttons too small for her to see. For someone who's in the market for a cheapish landline that doesn't require all the usual features you'll find on today's handsets then this is a great buy.
Like a fine wine - this gets better with age.