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BT home hubs are central units distributing a variety of different services to the home - broadband, wireless, and phone being the main three. In collaboration with this useful unit I have connected a Philips CD1551B which has a hub of its own. The CD155 is a user-friendly home/office phone with all the features required to run a successful place of every-day life, or the workspace of a small business. Making/recieving calls, leaving calls to the answer-phone, storing contacts, listening through enhanced sound, sending text messages, making notes, and recording sound - All of this can be achieved with the CD155 very easily and efficiently through use of its fully developed user interface and detachable wireless hand-held.
I think the most striking feature of this product is its all encompassing blandness; it looks identical to most models forwarding the same basic functions, and why shouldn't it. Who needs fancy asthetics when you have straight-forward practicality instead - and usually the two (good looks and useability) don't go together very well anyway, so go for the option that screams out reliability! I think that's probabaly the problem with the BT home hub, it focuses too heavily on looks. Saying all that I don't think the CD155 is a particularly ugly contraption, it has clean (sometimes curving) lines, the right spacing of buttons for its size, a neat black finish, and a few areas that light up orange (more for finding the thing in the dark than anything else). I feel the overall look of the product is sufficient.
The phone and hub are made from similar materials. The plastic of the hub is courser and duller than the phones, which is smooth and shiney, but the buttons are all of a slightly higher quality and seem to fit very well into the body of the two parts. The hub seems to collect dust and dirt far more than the phone, probably due to the amount that it is touched (but I think the quality of plastic has something to do with this as well). All the components are robust and durable, fitted together with good attention to detail whilst remaining rugged and strong. when dropped onto hard floor nothing spectacular occurs, and the whole product seems to remain in tact without scuff or scratch to any bodywork.
The phones interface operates through its small (1.5 inch, ish) LED screen which has an often offputting orange background glow - offputting because its slightly too bright in my opinion. When no buttons are pressed the screen dims to a black and white standby setting which uses vertually no battery life -(the battery is rechargable and charges when stationed properly on the hubs stand - I find the phone can be off the hub for 2 - 3 days without needing to be recharged). There is a permanent message on the screen which reads 'philips', and this is customisable. Using the buttons you can flick through to your contacts (which appear in list format) or write notes, this is all done by pressing the central 'home' button. Other buttons, such as 'MENU', 'OK', 'BACK', and 'EXIT' are used at various points throughout use. It's all very simple and straight-forward, anyone can get the hang of it in a few minutes without instruction manual assistance (something which is included). A 'PLAY/PAUSE' button is on the hub (one of the ones that lights up) which can be used to play back recorded items or listen to answerphone messages.
The sound quality from the ear speaker is excellent, very clear and concise. But the volume and sound quality from the loud speaker (positioned on the hub [top right]) is not so impresssive. It has a crackly, trebble dependant sound which makes even the kindest voice sound scratchy and unappealing in every way! I've never had any issue with connection breakage with this phone which is some feat - I have with CD155 to mobiles, just not from CD155 to other home phones.
All in all I'm extremely pleased with the performance of this aging, old-fashioned seeming, button operated home phone. Philips have a sound product here which doesn't go overboard on looks and features, but which does keep it simple and practical in a way that I respect and am glad to have in my home. A 5 star product which is still a no-brainer when it comes to home/small office placement.
AVAILABILITY: You can get the quad or duo sets from ebay refurbished or new at variable prices. Online stores like Bargainstock amongst others also stock the CD155 refurbished for cheap. They're hard to come by but worth it in the end.
PRICE: £20-50 (low end: duo, high end: quad) is my estimation at this time.
Thanks for reading!
I bought this phone shortly after I had moved as buying one saves the equipment rental charge from your phone line supplier. I bought it from Amazon for the reasonable price of £25 including p+p. I was slightly disappointed when it arrived as it looked better in the picture than it did in real life. If I had seen it in a shop it is unlikely I would have bought it. That is only on it's aesthetic qualities the looks don't matter too much as long as it does the job it is meant to do.
Setting up the phone for use was very simple. It was just plug in the phone wire and the adapter and then select the country you live in from the list and it is ready to go. The phone can also be used as an alarm clock which is also easy to set up. The handset does have the annoying 'key beeps' set to on as the default. This was the first thing I changed when I got it working.
The handset is quite small maybe a bit too small and although it does fit in the had quite well anyone who does not have good dexterity may struggle to use it. The base unit is also fairly small and holds the controls for the answer machine as well as the recharger for the batteries (included). You are advised to charge the batteries for 24 hours before using the phone for the first time but this is standard with many cordless phones. The battery life is good and it will last for around 6 days on stand-by. The actual battery life will naturally depend on how much the phone is used. The claim is that it will give a call time of 12 hours - but who is on the phone for that long?
The range of the handset is up to 300m but I have found that it becomes less clear in the garden even if this is within the 300m range. I put this down to the number of walls the signal has to get through. The phone does come with a choice of ring tones some are fairly standard basic tones whilst others I have found to be really annoying. The volume of both the ringer and the ear[piece can be easily controlled as well from the hand set.
The phone has the ability to be expanded up to 4 handsets which can be useful for large houses or offices etc. This also gives you the ability to make internal calls between handsets as long as you have pre-programmed them with numbers. So no more excuses for people claiming they didn't hear the call of 'dinner'. This feature also allows for conference calls. This phone can be initially bought with up to 4 hand sets in the box I just went for the one with the one handset.
The actual use of the phone is easy enough and the earpiece is well made and nice and clear. The microphone is on the front of the handset so there is no way you can accidentally cover it with your hand whilst making the call. This is a problem I have had with many mobiles where the mic is on the side. There is an inbuilt caller ID so you can see who is calling you as well as a list of calls you have missed. The inbuilt answerphone also allows you to screen calls so if it someone you don't want to talk to at that time you don't need to.
It may just be me who has found this but I have had other phones where the base unit has to be plugged in to charge the phone but you don't need to leave it plugged in 24/7 to keep the phone working. With this phone you do. OK so it doesn't exactly use a lot of energy (800 mW in idle mode) but every penny counts these days. However, you shouldn't leave the handset permanently on the charger if it does not need charging as this does not do the batteries any good and over time it will reduce the battery life considerably.
Another minor problem is the fact that your phone socket will have to be fairly near a plug socket in order to avoid having to use an extension cable for one or the other as neither the phone wire or adapter wire are all that long. The answer phone does come with a standard message built in but this is easy to change to your own. The answering machine can hold up to 10 min of messages which isn't too bad as long as you delete the old ones fairly regularly. As with many modern phones you can access the answering machine messages by simply calling your own number from another phone.
The keypad lock key is a good idea but this is a simple one button press on and off thing. Perhaps a pre-set code to turn it off would be a good idea as this would make the phone that bit more secure. The base unit can be attached to the wall by simply detaching the base, turning it around and attaching it.
In all despite the aesthetics of it it is a good phone and as it is from Philips it should last a long time. As I have only had this phone for around a month I can't really comment on how long it will last but it looks solid enough and as long as it doesn't get dropped on the floor or in the bath (lost a couple of mobiles that way) or chewed up by the family dog then it should last a long time.
I have also have a much shorter review of this item on Amazon under my real name (M J Collins)