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REASONS FOR PURCHASE
During the early part of this year our trusted trio of Philips digital cordless phones decided to pack in one after another. Consequently, I carried out a little research for a suitable replacement where we had a number of requirements; the most important of which were an integrated answer phone, at least two handsets, easy to use key pad, caller ID facility and a speaker phone. I find the world of digital phones rather overwhelming, as there are so many choices with endless lists of specifications. However, I eventually stumbled across the Panasonic Digital Cordless Answering System with its two handsets, which appeared to be perfect for our needs and our purchase was made. My husband and I have now owned the phones for a good length of time to enable us to form an opinion with this review discussing my thoughts.
APPEARANCE AND SETTING UP
Over the years we have owned a number of digital phones manufactured by a variety of manufacturers and I have noticed that their size has gradually reduced whilst not compromising on specifications and a wide range of features. Whilst this model is available in a choice of three colours, namely black, white and pearl silver, we opted for the black as it blends well with our décor. The sleek and contemporary looking lightweight system offers a high quality appearance with its glossy finish and its main base is fairly neat and compact in comparison with our previous phones. Setting up is extremely easy and supplied in the box is a Panasonic AC adaptor, a 51 page instruction book, which displays helpful images of the set up process and four AAA batteries with two being required for each of the handsets. Once assembled, the phones require seven hours of charge on their respective bases prior to using and the battery level is clearly indicated on the easy to read display screen. Each of the bases offer a good length of cable as does the AC adaptor, so we did not need to use extension leads. I feel an important point is the good sized screen, which is an easy to read bright shade of blue when in operation together with large bold text.
USING THE PHONE AND ITS FEATURE
An extremely useful feature is the one touch eco mode, which enables the user to reduce the base unit transmission power by up to 90% when in standby mode. I am impressed that Panasonic have considered the reduction of energy consumption and I cannot recall having seen this facility on any of our previous phones. Once charged, the phone will offer a maximum of 18 hours of use and 170 hours in standby mode. The main base unit is uncomplicated and accommodates a handful of simple buttons although I believe that those people with mobility issues in their hands and fingers may experience difficulties, particularly as the buttons are situated fairly close to one another. The handset is very similar in appearance to the older style mobile phones with fairly large buttons for the main keypad and a section that enables the user to scroll through the various features. A problem I often encounter with small buttons is that my long nails catch on the adjacent ones, but I cannot report any problems when using this phone, as the buttons are easily pressed with my finger tip as opposed to using my nail. It was rather daunting when I initially referred to the handbook to familiarise myself with the handset display features, particularly as there are so many. However, they are well explained without the use of endless technical jargon.
I found it easy to set up all of my contacts in the handset phonebook, which holds 100 names and phone numbers and this enables me to make calls at the touch of a button. Whilst the instruction booklet states that phonebook entries can be copied from one hand set to another by following a few simple steps, for some reason all of ours automatically transferred. I find the answer phone extremely easy to use, as unlike our previous phones where we needed to press various buttons on the handset to switch it on and off, there is a single press button located on the main base unit. The phone offers a choice of 15 different ring tones although some of them are a little deafening and we needed to significantly reduce the volume. I cannot admit to being unable to hear this phone when it rings, which is often the case with some ring tones.
We rarely turn off the answer phone, which has a maximum record time of 20 minutes with ours being set on the maximum number of 7 rings and as we subscribe to caller ID we can ignore any unrecognisable numbers where the callers simply hang up once the answer phone kicks in. As with the majority of answer phones we can choose to record our own message or opt for one of the two pre-set greetings where one will simply answer a call and give an announcement to call back later with the other enabling the answer phone to kick into operation. When messages have been left a small light on the base unit will flash and the answer phone symbol located on the handset will display a number next to it to depict the number of recorded messages. What I particularly like about this phone is that messages can be played back through either the base unit or the handset whereas our previous phone would only play through the base unit. A handy feature that I was totally unaware of until after our purchase is the remote control access facility, which is by way of three unique numbers together with voice activation.
The sound quality of all of our calls are clear and crisp with the system's frequency range of 1.88 GHz to 190 GHz and we have not encountered any interference. I like the fact that calls can be made between handsets, which is a useful feature when I'm upstairs and I'd like my husband to bring me a cuppa! Unfortunately, it works both ways though! Calls can be transferred between handsets and a facility we have used quite a lot is call share, which allows us to each have a handset and participate in a conversation with an outside caller. A feature that I've had a lot of fun with is the "call hold", which springs into action when I accidentally answer the phone to a nuisance caller, so I just pop them on hold for a few minutes to really annoy them!
It would be impossible for me to discuss each and every feature of this phone, but I will run through the remaining ones that I feel are useful, such as incoming call barring where the phone has the capacity to store 30 numbers. However, this facility is only available when subscribing to caller ID from your telephone provider. Other features include an alarm function, date and 24 hour clock.
The system can be expanded with additional handsets up to a maximum of six and these can be customised to the rooms where they are placed. The charge contacts should be cleaned on a monthly basis with the aid of a soft and dry cloth. The system is guaranteed for 12 months from the date of purchase.
Both my husband and I are completely satisfied with our purchase with both handsets looking as good as new despite considerable use, as it's good to talk! We have not experienced any problems and when compared with other brands, we found that this Panasonic model rated highest with its wide variety of features together with its price. The phones are hard wearing despite having been dropped on the floor on a few occasions and they come with my full recommendation together with 5 stars.
A FEW BORING SPECIFICATIONS AS TAKEN FROM THE INSTRUCTION BOOKLET
RF transmission power: approximately 10 mW (average power per channel)
Power source: 220 - 240 V AC, 50/60 Hz
Power consumption: Base unit - standby - approximately 0.5 W, maximum - approximately 3.8 W
Charger: Standby - approximately 0.2 W, maximum - approximately 3.0 W
PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
It seems that dependent upon where you shop the model number seems to slightly differ with some stores using KX-TG5521 and others using KX-TG5521E. At the time of writing, the Panasonic Digital Cordless Answering System can be purchased from Tesco stores for £50 or Amazon for £49.99 plus postage and packing.
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I hope you found my review useful and thanks for reading.