* Prices may differ from that shown
Apart from one thing below it was very easy to set up with the added bonus that the phone numbers you enter just appear on the second handset which before on earlier models were transferred wirelessly to the second handset through a menu. I also like the selection of ringtones so I can set it differently to the one you always hear on the television and you are not sure if it is yours. The volume of the ringtone is also adjustable. I dont know how many ringtones there are as the list goes on for ever. I would have preferred a wall mounted cradle but it does seem to be stable emough. Only thing I dont like is the glossy black upper half (like almost everything at the moment) which soon gets covered in fingerprints. Initial setup was a bit confusing as I was looking for the grid like settings button in the guide on the phone but this is actually an onscreen icon that is only visible when the handset is removed from the cradle and disappears in the cradle. The set up guide is telling you to charge it first and the handset is telling you do the setup first. Once i found this out is was easy. I like the push button "find the misplaced handset" feature. I could do with that on my TV remote. There are less buttons to cause confusion than my previous Panasonic so a pleasure to use.
Home phones are pretty unused, unloved little things these days. But I, like many, still feel the need to have one. I was never going to spend a fortune on one that's for sure, so to get a good brand like Panasonic for a smidge over £20 was brilliant.
Basically, all I look for in a phone is a decent design, good battery life and good brand, and this phone covers all of those.
Its a nice looking little base unit, sleek black design that looks good in my (and anyone's I'd imagine) living room. The handset itself is a pretty standard looking silver/black design, but it feels really decent quality. The display is nothing too flashy, just a simple digital display which is easy enough to read and scroll through.
It makes phone calls, hurray! And all the usual phone number memory, caller ID etc etc. It has some kind of "clear sound technology" but to be honest if it has I can't tell the difference. One really useful little function though is the "Night Mode" feature. You basically program in times that you don't want the phone to ring, and it will silence your handset and give a flashing display when someone calls you. Seems pointless on the face of it, but during that lets say "special" time of night when it comes to putting the kids to bed, it comes in handy.
Overall I'm more than pleased with this phone. Considering lesser brands are charging around the same price, I'd tell anyone to go with this.
Four years ago I had the pleasure of finding a rather simple DECT phone that very early on proved to be utterly reliable and very simple to operate. Though my Siemens DECT phone is now beginning to lose power despite new batteries being fitted, one of other signs that is perhaps on its way out is the fact that it is taking a lot longer to dial in numbers on its keypad and the orange backlit screen is beginning to fade, despite it always being locked into its highest setting. Four years isn't that bad for a DECT phone in my home and I was quite happy to go and find another Siemens phone again, given that my Gigaset AL180 has been simple and reliable. Though not of the mind to throw it out, I have passed the phone hand set to a friend of mine who repairs phones to replace the backlight on the Siemens until I could find a suitable replacement, and to keep the Siemens at home when it is repaired. Sadly though no longer to available to buy Siemens phones at John Lewis at cheap prices, I spotted a few Panasonic DECT phones instead and priced competitively, around the same kind of pricing I had in mind when I bought my original Siemens phone. However, as a brand, it has been quite a year for Panasonic and I, not just from two compact oven purchases to an upright vacuum cleaner, a nose trimmer and a ghetto blaster, Panasonic in my home and life is certainly making a name for itself.
Released in May 2012 (or by going by the date of the original English user manual,) the Panasonic KX-TG6811 acts as the basis of two other models either sold in single, double or triple hand sets as well as five other hand sets acting as DECT cordless answering systems with phones combined - all of course with different prices to suit a budget. The KX-TG6811 single DECT landline phone handset has a general market price of £30, with the purchase I made at John Lewis naturally being the option of choice where I first bought the Siemens DECT phone and cost £29-95 - around the same price that I paid for my Siemens phone!
Where general design and quality is concerned, it is easy to see where there have been improvements with a single handset like the Panasonic compared to my old Siemens phone, even though the two share a very similar eco-friendly power pack with Panasonic increasing the eco-friendly aspects by offering a button on the phone that allows a claimed energy saving up to 78%. The first, positive impressions continue when taking the phone out of the box. Even the box itself is very compact with accessories consisting of the single cradle mount, two cords for connecting the base station up to the desired mains BT or similar phone socket and an additional UK plug and cord.
A user manual is also added and can be found it in its own pull out partition within the box. The handset itself has a lovely smooth and glossy black and silver design where it is most obvious that silver is the colour of choice for most homes in the UK. The cradle has a large page button located on the right hand side of the phone and has a silver bezel perimeter around it, adding to a further touch of class for this budget single handset phone. Certainly over so many rivals on the market, what appealed to me about this phone over rivals from BT is the simple fact that the phone has well spaced out buttons and that the decals on this phone are far easier to spot without the feeling of everything being crammed or crushed in.
Nar2's Quick Skip Product Spec
* Brand & model: Panasonic KX-TG6811 cordless DECT single handset.
* Power saving ECO button able to save 78% of power.
* Speakerphone facility & 300m maximum range.
* 120 number memory capacity.
* 30 ringtones available & 50 memory caller ID numbers.
* Handset weighs around 139grams.
* 15 hours maximum talk time, 170 hours standby.
* GAP compatible - can be used with multiple handsets elsewhere in home.
* Last number redial with multi function display on 1.8" display.
* LCD display with white light background & thick black LCD numericals/lettering.
* Back lit LCD screen and additional back lit silver keypad.
* Comes with 2 rechargeable batteries, cradle with page button and user manual.
* Average price £30, my price £29-95 from John Lewis & 2 year guarantee.
From the moment I installed the two high power rechargeable batteries into the back of the KX-TG6811 I was pleased to find that there is already some power available on the phone, in so far as accessing the built in menu it has and able to view it on the very large LCD screen. Outwardly, the Panasonic sprinkles with good design sense, somewhat belies the price of £30 for what you get here and puts my old Siemens AL180 in the shade. From a very bright white-lit screen with thick black LCD numericals and letters on the screen to a much more improved general clarity over my older DECT phone, Panasonic have moved the game on here and the thickness of the numbers are far better to rely on to see for those owners like me who may well not have put their glasses on whenver the phone is used.
The second aspect that appeals to me is the easy to use central push menu button that pretty much mimics the same kind of action from a scroll function on a mobile phone, only the with four clear options to access the phone book, last number redial, general settings and Caller ID, if you have already paid to have that through your main phone landline.
Outwardly though, from the moment the phone is handled, the key pad is more impressive with soft touch rubberised buttons that return to the Siemens idea of orange back lit illumination but this time with the Panasonic, the entire keypad panel illuminates with a pleasing bright orange back lit colour as opposed to just the LCD screen on the Siemens - not only helpful to see all the buttons lit up - but it would minimise the need to switch on your main lights just to use the phone in the first place! The screen is also narrower with the Panasonic KX-TG6811 but taller with a crystal clear display with bigger details for those whose eyesight might not be very good.
General Performance & Downsides
When it comes to general use then, the Panasonic KX-TG6811 is fast and efficient with its delivery and has a fantastic reach of 300 metres outdoors and 50 metres indoors - similar to my old Siemens phone. Speech clarity and listening to speakers is relayed with a crystal clear clarity, void of crackling and pretty much carries on the same trait that my old DECT phone used to do -with a difference. What I find with the Panasonic KX-TG6811 is that despite the variable microphone setting in general, this phone can pick up infinite noise, from handling coins or holding a drink when I'm holding the phone in the other hand and speaking, able to hear the noise of the object in my hand the moment I place it on a nearby table. I have been quite amazed by this aspect as both processes occur if the phone has been set in Eco mode or not.
The menu function also allows me to add in favourite numbers, speed "one button" numbers as well as other features that make life really modern combining the similar kind of features one would expect with a digital mobile phone, though outwardly this kind of DECT landline doesn't offer SMS texting facilities.
The biggest feature of convenience that this single handset offers that surprised me is the fact that it also has a speakerphone function - so handy and so quick to check for the messages as well as a godsend to be able to multi-task when holding on during call centre phone calls and constantly being put on hold. Originally limited to just large and bulky corded two-piece telephones confining me in one place, the speakerphone facility is a boon and a bonus to have on a cordless DECT phone. Panasonic offer 6 levels of volume for this microphone, which also acts as the same volume control for the phone in general.
When it comes to ringtones though, Panasonic have tried to play it safe, offering a few unusual sounds as well as generic types. On the one hand you have 30 different ringtones on offer but they're worlds away from the polyphonic tones that feature on Panasonic's similar mobile phones, though five of the tones available are jingle based, they're the closest ones to polyphonic tones available. The rest are made up of monophonic tones, a few alternatives to "ring" type sounds and some rather tacky 1980s-esque analogue mobile phone ringtones that you'll either love or loathe.
Though the front panel of the Panasonic KX-TG6811 is smooth, glossy and tactile, it is the rear of the phone that offers PVC black plastic that is neither grippy nor ribbed. Generally though the phone has a general size measurement of 15.8cm by 4.8cm, the phone is quite narrow and tall and as such a grippier texture on the rear could make it far less likely to feel slippy.
Another aspect that I'm not keen on is that this phone doesn't seem to be able to function if it is set into the cradle. Unable to make calls, access menus, receive calls and use the speakerphone, the Panasonic KX-TG6811 seems to be restricted until it is unlocked from its base unit and used in the hand. Being so slippery smooth and curved also prevents it from standing up upright too, and must be placed in the cradle to obtain this. If the phone gets lost in the home, the page facility allows the phone to emit an electronic ring alert and can be independently switched off the moment the phone is found and any one of its buttons are pushed to confirm the phone has been found.
Lastly if there is one other downside, it is the lack of option facility to use the key fob that comes with one of the higher priced handsets that also has a cradle built-in answer machine. Unhelpfully Panasonic included a sales leaflet in the box for the KX-TG6811 despite the fact that this phone can't use it as the key fob is pre-registered to the phone. The key fob offered by Panasonic would be a handy addition to have since it allows you to find your keys if you lose them - provided you attach the fob to the keys in question - I love the concept and idea, but sadly it isn't even an option with this handset.
Other Sorts & Final Thoughts
The Panasonic KX-TG6811 starts the range off acting as the single handset phone available in this newish range. Other phones and handsets consist of the following:
* Base-line Panasonic KX-TG6811: Single handset.
* Base-line Panasonic KX-TG6812: Two handsets.
* Base-line Panasonic KX-TG6813: Three handsets.
* High end Panasonic KX-TG6821: Single handset.
* High end Panasonic KX-TG6822: Two handsets.
* High end Panasonic KX-TG6823: Three handsets; KX-TG6824 Four handsets.
* Top end/flagship Panasonic KX-TG6891 includes the key fob for keys (KX-TGA20EX).
To conclude, whilst it may well appear that the Panasonic KX-TG6811 moves the game on a little if you have owned a Siemens Gigaset AL180 or higher phone from this company before, the Panasonic KX-TG8611 DECT single handset is a bit more advanced than I thought it would be. Coupled with a large screen, flush fitting buttons that are very well marked, beautifully lit with contrasting bright colours and a speakerphone button not just an excellent Eco power saving setting, the KX-TG6811 is not left wanting even though it is a pity that it lacks the extra key fob addition that could give this phone a wider appeal. Notwithstanding its slippery smooth finish and good sound quality, the Panasonic KX-TG8611 as a single DECT phone in a home is well worth considering and at £30, its a good price to have the bonus of some of these built in features. Thanks for reading ©Nar2 2013.