To be honest I do not consider myself well versed when it comes to gadgety things but even I could sense that the last Binatone cordless phones we had and the Philips one before that were useless. I had taken upon myself to do a thorough background study of what is available in the market and which would be a good reliable phone , somewhat stylish yet wouldn't cost the earth to buy. I consider myself lucky at having picked the Panasonic KX-TG7321eg off the shelves of Tesco some seven months back. The price was reduced to half its selling price and three handsets at £45 was a big bargain which even my bargain-proof hubby could not negate , specialy as it had the brand-name Panasonic attached( we seem to be filling our house up with Panasonic these days) . . Not only did it save me having to plough through some hundreds of scientific jargon-filled reviews but in the last seven months it has proved to be the best set we've had in ten years.
I was dreading the installing bit but heyho! nothing could have been easier than that as it seemed that the instructions were user-friendly enough even for a dummy like me . I had to put the child-lock on as my little one has developed a strong liking for the handsets.
The handsets are very stylish in their silver getup , comfortably light(about 130gms) and slim , with good -sized lighting -up keypad for ease of use for people with all sizes of fingers ( elderly people would find this as a plus point) .Our last handsets had these really tiny fiddly buttons which my hubby had a tough time pressing.
The volume control button , which is quite big helps one adjust the volume through 10 levels while you are speaking and of course there is the additional mute , six levels of ringer volume control, enabling secrecy and hands-free speakerphone feature as well, however often the person on the other side have complained that my voice gets cracked up when on speakerphone at my end . Nonetheless the speaker phone helps me multitask.
The LCD screen is very clear and supports upto a three-line display at a time and has a protective film on it. The bases are small and the handsets fit in comfortably and can be wall mounted as well. The base of the main- unit is compact and has the flashing red-button associated with the answering machine. The answering machine can record messages for upto 20 mins . Missed calls also show up on the lcd-screen . It displays caller id , so gone are those dreaded days when I had to say to the teleseller 'sorry but I have no interest in buying whatever it is you are selling' . You can also subscribe for a call-waiting/on-hold service through your provider. The handset usually flashes when an incoming call is received(nice if it is dark).
The intercom system also helps one to search for misplaced handsets( ours usually ends up under a duvet or the kitchen counter) as you can call/beep from one handset to the other or even locate a handset by pressing a button on the base-unit. The base unit needs to be connected to a phone jockey/outlet and as per instruction should be placed away from the television or other electrical appliances as there could be a chance of interference ... I am guessing that this is a DECT phone.. ie the various handsets work on radio-signals from the base to the sets etc , and other waves from the telly or electrical appliances could produce disturbances.. saying which my own base unit is situated about 5 feet from the television and I have yet to have broken conversations... I often sit outside in the garden while calling international destinations and even then I have always had very good sound reception quality, this is what the manufactures stress on . The chargers of the other two handsets have to be plugged onto power sources wherever you want to place it.
It is compatible with both a telephone system plugged into an analogue extension and even a standard analogue telephone line. This makes the Panasonic KX-TG7321eg suitable for both home and office use. The standard package comes with three handsets but three more handsets can be added .
I have also seen that any information stored in any of the handsets is shared by all three phones with one exception..the ringtones.. The phone comes with 10 shared polyphonic ringtones and 5 tones on handsets.. I have left all of them on a single nice tone though there are both fast/modern and classical/slow ones to choose from . What I found innovative is that you can also set the tone setting according to a different set of people ringing from your phone-book ...now that is something I call genius , though my mother in law might just be wondering why she keeps getting the answer phone all the time, hehehe..what next I wonder. You could also alter the number of times you want the set to ring before the call gets transferred to the answer system( this wasn't the case with my last phone..where I was forever running the hurdle race to pick on time).
The base unit just need triple A Ni-Mh batteries( a set was included in the pack) that are again readily available and inexpensive .
The phone boasts upto 34% cut on standby power consumption hence adding the touch of eco-friendliness in your everyday life (I haven't noticed a huge difference in the electricity bill but that could be just because I have treated myself to several new appliances), provided you take the words of the company as quoted. Once charged the manual also says the batteries should sustain a 17hr talk time and a 150 hrs of standby time, I have yet to try these features out but the batteries have lived upto a day of the handsets being out of their bases.
The phone has a caller-list of the last fifteen people who have called , never get more than that may missed calls per day so that's good enough for me. The phone book stores upto 100 names and numbers in its built -in memory which can be categorized to some extent and funnily I still have a lot of empty spaces left to go, sad or what , just shows how many people like listening to my rants. The instruction booklet is easy to follow but I just had a play around with the handset and have learnt a lot by doing so and a favourite of mine is setting the alarm etc..call me paranoid ..but I need to have two alarms set-up at a time if I want a wake -up call .When not in use the hand sets display the battery-life, date and time(last two are easily set up) which is brilliant as I don't have any clock on my second floor.
Though I might not make a good reader of techy reviews I might just be a good writer of one. Despite all the grammatical errors I have made in writing this essay I hope this will be useful to someone else. I am sorry about the length but I wanted to say everything there was to say about it.
Summary of it is that if someone were to ask me to name one all-around good home phone I wouldn't think twice before recommending the set I have ..it is well worth and a bit more for the price I got it for and I would have no qualms recommending
buying it even at full price to any friend . These phones are value for money, have so far been reliable and have features that are easy to use as well as some trendy features of complexities beyond my knowledge which might appeal to many.
Please don't be bothered by the 4 star ratings I have given for some features ..it just means that I haven't exploited all the features to their most as I have just had the phone for 7 months and haven't had the need to use them ..yet.