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Panasonic KX-TG8524

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      29.12.2010 21:32
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      Great Buy

      At £90 from Tesco this has proved to be a good buy. Four handsets with individual chargers with a good range round house and garden. It is good looking too; the default screen is a big digital clock on a colour background with the date.

      I took advantage of the "double-up your points" offer at Tesco so actually paid with £40 of Tesco rewards plus £10 cash.

      The keys are large and are all illuminated with a fairly bright blue background. There are basically two soft keys which by default are top left for address book, top right for last calls made. The central rocker of four buttons and large central silver button access all the features. The surrounding four buttons are green phone to answer or connect call, red phone to end call, speakerphone and Eco-mode. The eco-mode is supposed to preserve battery power but will reduce range, however since the booklet says you can leave handsets on chargers all the time ECO-mode seems a bit pointless.

      The screen is very clear, two inches diagonally across and the displayed text and figures are one and half centimetre high which is pretty big. The clearest settings, which you can choose, seem to be a yellow background, the selected line of text or a name and number are then highlighted blue, good contrast, nice and clear for those short or long sighted amongst us.

      It is all plug and play. I inserted the batteries and left them all to charge over night. Distributing each around the house next morning they had all registered themselves to the base unit and all had dialling tones. I set the clock on one and they all sync'd. The first job was to copy all our names and numbers across from the old phone.

      The top left "soft key" accesses the address book and pressing again you enter your first name press ok and enter number, and to accept all the defaults, press ok again and again. You can do clever things like assign numbers into categories eg family and different groups of friends and give them different ring tones or different colour screen colours when they ring. All great if you are into that kind of thing.

      There are endless features but the three most useful ones are as follows:

      The address book holds 200 names and numbers, which are easy to find with two button presses, left soft key and scroll down.

      The re-dial memory holds the last ten people you phoned, to find the list press right soft key and scroll down. You will only see the numbers you called from any particular handset.

      For the list of all calls received you press centre silver button once and then again and scroll down. The calls you missed are not ticked. Once viewed the icon for missed calls disappears. You can view the same list from any handset.

      There are numerous options that can be set up including barring callers, restrict outgoing calls, set number withhold, alarms and a night mode. Night mode might be useful to some: you can restrict night calls to selected callers or none, and could set the night hours to be daytime if you a night worker.

      You can use the set up as an intercom between handsets. This is useful when you've lost and are trying to locate a handset. If one caller answers a call another can pick up another handset to join in, listen in or take up the call, which may or may not be popular amongst the family.

      It's a nice chunky phone to hold and with the belt clip even easier to grip; useless as a belt clip though, it just jumps off if you lean down.

      If you miss any calls then there is a symbol that shows on the screens of all the phones. If a message has been left then there is a bright red right arrow light on the answerphone base unit, which you just touch to listen to. So positioned by the front door you can immediately see it. Unfortunately there is no indicator on the base unit if you have missed a call but no message left, you have to check a handset as mentioned above.

      You can set the answerphone to be on or off with just one press of a button on the base unit. You can set it to cut in after 1 though to seven rings. Not longer than seven rings unfortunately so if you have a large house you need to be on your toes. You can use the irritating lady's default message or record your own. You can access the answerphone remotely when you are staying away from home and quite usefully you can turn it on remotely if you forget after you've left home, I don't think you can turn it off.

      Once you've set up all your names and numbers it is easy to transfer them to the other three handsets either individually or all together though you can only transfer to one handset at a time and there is no sync facility to ensure the phone book is the same on all handsets which is a pity.

      Each handset takes two standard re-chargeable Ni-MH AAA batteries so will be easy to replace when the time comes. The re-charge units are a bit light and flimsy but hold the phone steady though tend to slide off the table with the drag of the power lead. When positioned a light comes on at the top of the phone and the display says either charging or full charged.

      So this phone has a multitude of features, some useful, others fun but as a good solid phone with an outstandingly clear screen I would recommend it.

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