Product Type: Siemens telephones
Newest Review: ... at the back. If you're after an inexpensive basic cordless phone, I really think you can't go wrong with the Gigaset AL180.... more
A Perfect First Time Buyer's DECT Phone
Siemens Gigaset AL180
Member Name: Nar2
Siemens Gigaset AL180
Date: 21/10/09, updated on 21/10/09 (1683 review reads)
Advantages: Well made, great quality sound/speech, good range, good price, handy features
Disadvantages: No speakerphone; some tones are tacky.
** This is a long review! **
It pays to know what you are looking for and honestly declare it. After I got the phone home I was delighted to find that the Gigaset AL180 isn't as basic as it first appears. Although the buttons are mainly white numericals on black, there is a central scroller key with a metallic frame around it that adds a little class and grey LCD numericals on a pleasing orange-lit background. The buttons push finely with a spongy yet precise feel and all the decals are easy to read. Still, for the price I wasn't expecting very much but in actual fact the Siemens experience has so far been a positive one.
Firstly, the quality experience starts right from the moment you open the orange box and I was presented with quite a large user manual, the phone itself, the charger base, the charger adaptor, a wall mount, 2 screws, a phone clip, loose battery cover and what I wasn't expecting, two rechargeable long life AAA batteries of which this phone uses. My last DECT phone (BT) had short life non-rechargeable batteries so this is a welcome surprise generally. Everything is packed in neatly and doesn't scream "cheap," either despite the UK price.
Although the phone looks rather plain, it doesn't feel it from its initial light weight or its slightly speckled plastic. Despite the added black/grey colour contrasts and soft grain my initial experience made me drop it a number of times when it slipped out of my hand but surprisingly, the handset hasn't cracked or broken in any way and it feels slightly bigger than a mobile phone coming in at 14.8cm (height) by 4.9cm (width) and 3cm diameter. The base for the phone is easy to assemble in terms of aligning the adaptor cord through it and it has been of good advantage to see a page facility located on the base itself should the phone get lost. For £20 the features and quality don't just stop there; the phone cord you get from the socket to the base and the plug adaptor itself are slightly longer than average so there's no worry to have to place it close to wall socket.
Despite my love for checking out features the moment I get a product, I had to use the phone straightaway when I purchased it. The moment I plugged it in I was unsure as to whether the batteries would take straight away but I was surprised to find that there is some power in the phone that can be used even though the batteries may well be fresh. The call lasted a minute before the phone shortened out but I was happier that my mum could hear me and that the initial quality of the speech and signal was quite strong even as far as one room away from where the base was located. The phone however should be charged continuously for at least 7 hours before first use.
With an outdoor range of 300-metre range however, for some buyers this could be an advantage in terms of the actual maximum range that the AL180 offers from the home charger/base. However the range drops to just 50 metres if used indoors. However I've found no downside as the clarity of speech and the quality of volume is extremely clear with little interference from other appliances and that's from the kitchen, three rooms away from the home charger/base. This seems to be an important advantage for this phone as Siemens claim that the phone will reduce transmission power automatically if it used further from the home charger/base. As such battery life is well marked on the screen and generally clarity from the main LCD panel is well achievable. If however you take or make calls from the AL180 sited nearer to the home charger/base battery life can be extended and I've been delighted to find that this phone in particular has 2 ECO modes (including one that is claimed to be radiation free) that substantially lengthen the strength and longevity of the batteries. Not only this but Siemens claim this phone has the ability of being left on standby at 210 hours and a total talk time of 25 hours. My longest call in one use has been around two hours and that was to a call centre following a dispute with a certain mobile stick broadband Internet company. In that instance, the handset does become warm but it isn't any different from other DECT phones I've used in the past in this respect and the sound quality from the call centre was fabulously clear - which may agree with Siemens High Sound Performance (HSP) components built in. There are also some other surprising features such as an alarm clock built into the phone, the ability to receive the call openly once the handset is lifted from the base automatically or manually having to press the green accept-call button to standard features that I've seen in my other phone such as time/date/day. For different languages, the AL180 has 28 different language options including Arabic.
The Gigaset AL180 isn't that far away from a standard mobile phone in terms of menu display or its basic functions either. Everything is accessed through the central scroller key and then additionally as the fonts show up on the orange back lit screen, there are two buttons on the top that can further access the Menu or go back function. In terms of memory however, the AL180 impressed me in the store as it has a 10 number last dialled memory capacity outside of its 40 number memory. I tend to use the Internet for keeping in touch and don't keep forty or so many telephone numbers anyway. What I do appreciate more however is the fact that it shows up to 25 last calls received or missed and if you work long hours during the day as I do, it often helps to see who has called. The AL180 also has SMS capability and is fairly easy to set up without having to call the phone company you are with.
That aside the AL180 has a wonderfully easy and intuitive way about it without reading much into the heavily Germanic user manual. I say Germanic because it reminds me of our old Bosch oven and dishwasher user manuals (the fact that Siemens and Bosch are one company could well have something to do with it) and if you don't like logical bullet points crammed into bold paragraphs and then line diagrams, you won't appreciate the strictness of the user manual. It is easy to understand eventually but the constant wording on the starter pages easily put me off and it is written in tiny font size such as size 8 from Windows Microsoft office document if you want a comparison.
The downsides to this phone are very few and far between however; for the price it won't vibrate on alert and bar one key button, the numerical keypad does not light up in use. Externally the ring tones however are slightly tacky, ranging from just 10 in total, which are all monophonic and have 3 to 4 levels of volume. You'll get classics such as a Mozart Piano sonata to low sounding tones that are enduring rather than endearing! The volume of the tones are also soft to loud and on the highest setting the Siemens does have quite an output. Another downside and one that I greatly miss is that there is no speakerphone on this model so hands free just isn't an option here. Those points aside, I'm relatively happy being the owner of my first Siemens phone where normally I've chosen cheaper brands in the past that have wowed me on feature rather than known speech/call quality issues and power problems. One final fact is that you can add up to 4 other handsets with this phone.
For the price then, the quality and thought that has gone into this single DECT Siemens AL180 is refreshingly different, environmentally friendly and very well thought out. Tie in the long battery life, good call signal/quality and a wonderfully easy to set up system and it is almost the perfect budget priced DECT phone around. Thanks for reading. İNar2 2009
Summary: An excellent first time buyer's DECT phone that doesn't cost the Earth.
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