Philips Telephone Reviews
Delving into our stock of Tesco Clubcard vouchers that we had stored away for a rainy day we counted £50 worth of vouchers. We weren't planning on taking advantage of any 4 x face value offers like RAC cover or day trips to Lego Land so we opted to use them at Tesco on something we desperately needed; a new set of house phones. At ... the time we purchased this twin handset pack it cost around £99 pretty much everywhere (only a few quid cheaper online) which was more than we were willing to pay for a decent house phone. We had searched through reams and reams of reviews for something that looked stylish but was also reliable and the Philips ID 937 seemed to fit the bill. With our £50 off we would only pay £49 which seemed a bargain so we went for it.
We were glad that this new model had contained Rechargeable Nickel Metal Hydride for its set of AA batteries so we didn't have to worry about replacing them. We had a problem with the batteries leaking on our old set rendering them useless so we wanted to be careful about putting the right batteries into the phones.
We simply couldn't wait to get this new model home and start playing with it.
Out Of The Box
After tearing open the box we instantly revealed the user guide, quick start guide and warranty card which we threw to one side (who needs manuals I thought?). Next came the 2 bases, splitter and power cables for the phones which act as charging units once they are plugged into an electrical socket. The larger one is the master unit which will need to be plugged into your telephone line and the smaller one is the additional handset which can be placed anywhere else in your home. The supplied black telephone cable can then be connected to the base and the wall socket to make a connection to your phones. 2 x AA rechargeable batteries were included which we put to one side. This is always nice to see as a lot of products make you buy them separately which is a cheek if you've just forked out a lot of money for the product.
Last out of the box were the handset units themselves which could be described as shiny black tubes of gel with flat round bases which allow for free standing. Peeling off the protective covers once out of their protective cloth, the phones were almost ready to be configured. It is at this point that you should leave the phones on charge for 24 hours, although we didn't bother doing this until we configured it. The charge indication is shown as a green battery containing bars in the top left corner of the phone. The bars will scroll across the battery indicator as it is charging so you know it is doing it correctly (not to mention the ding dong noise it makes when the handset is replaced).
Glancing at that user manual we discarded earlier we realised the first thing we had to do was install the batteries which were done by unscrewing the screw on the bottom of each handset and slotting the batteries in their place before sealing the bases back up again. We did this with a coin so no screwdriver needed!
Once the units came on we had to configure it for our country and set the time and date which only took a few seconds.
All the phone options were accessed using a Nokia style menu system which was pretty straight forward to navigate and self explanatory.
We were then eager to enter names for the phones using the keypad on the handsets. We weren't going to call them Bill & Ben or Sooty & Sweep, we had more meaning full names to give them, albeit boring; 'Living Room' & 'Bedroom' (this was more of personalised setting than a necessity). If you do have multiple handsets in this case then they have to be registered from the base station which is described in the user guide.
Apart from configuring your own personal settings in relation to background picture, themes, ring tones and volume settings etc you can now get on with setting up an answer phone message. There is an answer phone section that is accessed via the phone's menu which will give you various options on whether to set to Answer Only (no message will be recorded for the caller), Answer & Record (message will be relayed and recorded) or VIP Mode. The later is used if you have subscribed to Caller Line Identification where you can set a personalised ring tone for specific callers like you can do as standard on a mobile phone these days. Recordings for the answer phone can also be predefined if you don't wish to have your voice recorded.
This phone is so packed full of handy features that it will take you hours to test them all out, so I've included most of the better ones to discuss.
One of the best things about this phone was the ability for us to insert a SIM card from our mobile and transfer all our contact numbers to the phone. This is done by removing a cover from the main base and inserting the SIM into its designated slot. You can then access a menu on the phone to begin transferring which only took a few minutes to complete. This process will add the contacts to the phonebook on both phones but if you need to add individual contacts later on then they will need to be added manually to each phone or you will have different contacts on each handset.
Loudspeaker is a must have for a house phone these days which can easily be activated using the loudspeaker button in the bottom left of the keypad. The quality of the loudspeaker is pretty good and you don't have to be very close to the phone for the caller to hear you (unless you speak quietly of course).
A feature I like about the phone is the time display which acts as a screen saver which you can clearly see in the dark. This is a standard clock (not a digital 24 hour clock) which will appear within a minute of replacing the handset.
Intercom will allow you to make internal calls from one handset to the other using the 'conf' key on the keypad. This is very useful in saving yourself from shouting upstairs to other members of the family or making a conference call. You can also use this feature to transfer incoming calls to the other handset but I usually screw this part up and cut the caller off! Maybe I should have read that manual after all?
Caller display is available if you subscribe to this from your service provider. This is great for identifying the caller and deciding whether or not to answer the call. Like your mobile, if someone calls from your contacts list then their name will be displayed with their number. If the caller is not in your list then you only see the number listed but if it is a call from outside your local area then you will usually see the words 'External Call' displayed on the handset.
If you have setup your contacts into organised groups then you can make good use of this with the Do Not Disturb feature. This will ensure that the phone will only ring if calls are made from a designated group of contacts otherwise it will simply show a caller on the display and light up or go to the answering machine.
If you have a baby sleeping in your home it is sometimes a nuisance when the phone rings and the baby wakes up (especially if the baby isn't well or over-tired). These handsets have the option to turn the silent mode on so that it will not ring but it will still light up and show the caller display. Silent mode can be activated for one unit or both, although setting to just the one unit will allow you to faintly hear the other handset ringing (upstairs in my case) so you can answer it in the room where it is muted.
Sticking to the subject of babies the phone has a babysit mode that will allow you to use them as a baby monitor. Of course you need to have 2 or more handsets to perform this function but it is a really cost effective way of combing your house phone with a monitoring feature which would otherwise have incurred additional costs. It works by placing one of the handsets in the baby's room and setting a sound level threshold so that once this is triggered it will call the number of other handsets you have set. This can allow you to hear the baby and speak down the line if necessary. Both myself and my partner tried setting this up but we had mixed results with it and did not find it beneficial so we ended up buying a video monitor instead. It is worth mentioning that this mode does not stop you using the phone as normal so you can still make and receive calls although these can be interrupted (like call waiting) when the sound level is activated so it can be annoying.
Other Useful Stuff
The freestanding unit is unique design for this handset so you can place the phone upright on any flat surface (such as a coffee table). This will prevent the unit from getting knocked over and damaged as most of us have probably left standard handsets on the arm of sofas where they can easily fall or be knocked over.
The Auto-answer feature will allow you to answer a call as you lift the handset from the charging base. We chose not to enable this function as we often have the phone off the base and only leave it charging over night.
Call baring can be used to block outgoing calls to specific prefixes particularly mobile phones. Very useful if you have older children in the house and want to make sure they are not making sly calls to their friends on premium numbers. By using a master PIN you can over-ride the block any time you wish.
If you wish to have the phone wake you up as an alarm in the morning then you can easily enable this feature and select the time at which the phone will emit one of three melodies and start flashing.
The call log display is great for looking through previous caller numbers and redialling called numbers. Both of these can be added to your phonebook from within the call log menu.
Games on a house phone I hear you question? You did hear me correctly, no need to proof check this again! Although these are not necessary, they are a warm addition to the handsets if you are ever bored enough to warrant playing.
There are 3 types of games available; the Memory game is basically 'Pairs' where you turn over cards and have to match pairs in the shortest possible sequence to gain more points. The Puzzle game involves moving pieces of a jumbled picture around to put them in order to make a complete picture with more points awarded for the quickest sequence. The Tetris game is just like the original version on the Nintendo GameBoy where you control and rotate falling shapes so that they fit neatly into horizontal blocks. Points are awarded for blocks that make complete horizontal lines across the screen where they disappear which provide level ups and subsequently faster falling shapes. The memory and puzzle games are pretty boring and would probably only require an attention span of 2 seconds, whereas the Tetris game is quite good and really addictive and could have you playing for hours. All games are in full colour and are controlled using a small selection of keys on the number pad.
Both my partner and I had great fun setting this up and found it very easy and straight forward to navigate through all the menus. We particularly had fun testing all the ring melodies which contained a good selection and were decent quality (especially when set to HD mode).
The reception on this product which spans to around 50 metres has been great around the house and usually has full bars no matter which room you are in. With outdoor coverage it hasn't been a problem taking the phone outside the house in the garden and maintaining a good quality line.
Durability is a key factor when you spend £100 on a house phone and we've had no complaints with these so far and they've been great for the past 2 years. We have accidentally dropped the handsets onto hard laminate floor occasionally without it affecting the use of the product. With the battery compartment locked away on the underside of the phone we haven't been left picking up the batteries off the floor once it's been dropped. Cheaper products may well have disintegrated or gone to phone heaven!
There was only a couple of gripes we had with the phone with the first being the lack of an emitting tone or beep from the phone once someone has left an answer phone message. You only know if someone has left a message if you pick up the handset and check for the answering machine icon in the top right of the screen (with the number of messages listed numerically next to it). This is fine but I'm not one for checking the phone every time I come home so I often miss messages if I forget to check the phone. A regular beep would have improved this as you would instantly know that someone has left you a message.
The only other minor problem happens occasionally if you've let the battery run down too low. If the unit is almost out of battery life the battery icon will flash but even if the battery life indicator is not flashing but just very low then sometimes you cannot make a call on the handset until you dock it on the base for several minutes. I've said this is minor as we normally replace the handsets to the base every evening so this is hardly a problem.
We both love the style of this phone and it certainly wouldn't look out of place in any home and with the features it has to offer it is very good value for money. Baring in mind you have an all in one unit for telephone, clock, alarm and baby monitor you'll soon see why. Highly recommended.
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The ID555 phones are partof Philps "Design" range and therefore we did a bit of research to ensure that they wouldn't suffer from the age old problem of form over function. We were tired of old BT handsets which (despite having changed the rechargeable batteries) failed to retain their charge for more than five minutes and ... sometimes failed to work entirely - so wanted a good quality phone that would last us some time.
Although comparatively expensive (we paid £80 for two handsets including the base which holds one handset as well as acting as an answering machine), we loved the design of the bases and handsets - truly glossy black - as well as the feel in the hand and against the ear and the buttons.
Although the buttons are flat (forming the face of the phone), they are a reasonable size and because they are backlit in blue, they are easy to see. As buttons are pressed, the number dialled appears on the screen (black type against a blue backlit background).
The handsets are relatively light and are comfortable to hold. The batteries hold their charge well - certainly able to make two consecutive huor long calls with capacity to spare.
Various functions can be accessed from the handsets, including the answering machine, changing ring tones etc. A good feature is that the number of rings before the answering machine kicks in can be selected rather than the default 6 rings we've had on previous machines.
Call quality is very good even at a distance from the base, although when moving away from the base there is a momentary lapse in quality as the signal stregnth is increased - in an effort to reduce power consumption, the signal is only as strong as it needs to be.
Very easy to install - the base requires power and phone sockets while the additional handset just needs power.
The answering machine has plenty of capacity for domestic use (we've had up to 7 or 8 messages stored following holidays).
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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)
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Manufacturer: Philips / Telephone / Answering Machine: Yes
Manufacturer: Philips / Telephone / Answering Machine: No
Telephone / Cordless phone and answer machine.
Brand: Philips / Telephone / Type: Cordless Digital - The Philips CD1751 provides you with all the essentials of modern telephony in an incredibly easy to use handset without compromising on talk time / It comes with XHD for unbelievable sound quality in every phone conversation / Additional features ...
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