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I purchased the Siemens Gigaset C385 Trio over a year ago to replace a faulty Panasonic Trio handset. Although the description mentions a review for the double set I have the trio, which provides an additional handset. I was looking for something simple and easy to use and ideally a triple wireless handset as the house is quite big so it is nice to have a few handsets dotted around the house, so if you are upstairs there will be a phone handy if you need it. This Siemens handset fitted the bill perfectly and from other reviews I had read that Siemens was a very reliable brand when it came to home phone handsets. Furthermore, this set was very well priced, only £69.99 for three wireless handsets and answering machine with 25 minutes recording time seemed like a good buy. I purchased this from Argos when this price had been reduced from around £80, but with a little shopping around on the Internet I've found you can get this for as little as £39.99.
First Impressions and Overall Appearance
Out of the box this trio of identical handsets doesn't look too bad. Clearly they aren't the most fashionable and best looking of phones but nonetheless, they are very solid and well designed. I've bought these handsets with the Titanium finish which unfortunately is the only finish available, but they do look good around the house I have to say. The front of each handset has a titanium finish and the back has a dark matt black finish. In my opinion this is great and makes cleaning the phone easy, I did accidentally cover the back of one of the handsets in paint whilst painting around the house and cleared the paint off after an hour with a dry towel. There aren't too many buttons on each handset and each button has a picture on it showing what it is for. The keypad isn't the biggest, but this is something I wouldn't worry about at all, however for elderly people with sight problems it may be difficult to see all the numbers. There is one main base station which is where the answering machine is located, this is probably best kept in the living room or the most commonly used room in the house with a telephone connection socket. The other 2 handsets are significantly smaller and only have charging cradles with them, so they can be placed elsewhere in the house, I personally have one in the kitchen and one in the upstairs bedroom. The handsets do fit nicely in each of the cradles' but I have on a number of occasions accidentally knocked them over with a little knock, so they don't seem to stable. Each handset is identical so you can easily switch them around the house if you wish. It's important to note that only the main base station with the answering machine needs to be connected to via phone cable to you telephone socket, the other 2 handsets only require mains power to use which is handy. Setting everything up the first time is simple, all the relevant cables and rechargeable batteries are supplied. There is a well-detailed instruction booklet provided which clearly explains how to set everything up, with plenty of pictures too making it easy to understand. We had all 3 handsets set up in the house in around less than 10 mins, it's as quick and simple as that. After each handset has been plugged in all you need to do is set the date and time and the booklet explains this very well so you have no problems in doing this. Initially it will take around 11 hours for each handset to charge fully, but after around 2 hours I was already using it around the house. The 1.5 inch LCD screen on each phone has a simple black and orange colour theme which makes everything easy to see. Being light each handset is easy to carry around, but they are a little big at around 5.5 inches long but will easily fit in pockets.
Basic Phone Features and Operation
Probably the most important thing about these handsets in my opinion is that they are completely cordless. In this day and age it's so much simple to have a cordless phone rather than a wired one and trying to move around the house with a wired telephone in your hands. Each of the handsets have a 50m indoor range and a 300m indoor range so you can easily pop down to the corner shop to fetch the milk and still keep talking on the phone. Otherwise this great to use around the house and in the garden and moving around does nothing to affect the sound quality whatsoever. The standby time for each handset is around 700 hours and talktime is for around 28 hours. Charging time will differ between the main base station handset and the other handsets around the house. The main station handset takes a little longer to fully charge, around 12 hours whilst the other handsets take around 9 hours. The reason for this is because the handset which is on the main base station uses a little more battery than the other handsets around the house because it is the handset through which the rest of the other handsets operate. Saying this, I usually use each of the phones regularly and forget to charge them for at least a day or so and they still work fine the next morning. Making calls is like any other phone as it has a button for calling (green) and a button to terminate calls (red). However, you can easily set the phones to start answering a call as soon as they are picked up from the cradles, which is handy and stops you from having to press a button again and again when answering a call. You can store up to an amazing 150 phone entries on each handset, which is ideal, I have only managed to reach half of this after one year! As I said it is very simple to add new entries to each handset and takes less than a minute, but what I found extremely handy was that when you save an entry on 1 handset you can easily send this entry to the rest of the handsets in the house or even send a whole group of numbers, which saves you having to save the same number on each phone. The phone has the usual redial button and you can easily view your call history through the touch of a button, allowing you to view the past 25 outgoing and ingoing calls. There is also handsfree mode on each handset so instead of holding the phone to you ear you can it put it down if front of you and is great when you want other people to participate in a call. You also assign up to 10 speed dial numbers too if you wish. There are 15 different ringing melodies to choose from and they aren't too bad either. When not being used the LCD screen of each handset (standby mode) will simply display the time only, but in the main screen it will display the date, time, battery remaining, signal strength and the number of the handset. The is also a button on each of the handsets which lets you call the other handsets in the house. This is a much needed feature especially when the kids have misplaced one of the handsets around the house somewhere, it can be vey easy to find. I've also used this to wake them up in the morning and rung the handset in the bedroom letting them know they need to get up!
This handset has the answering machine built into the main station as with most handsets with answering machines. The answering machine on this handset has up to 25 mins recording time, this may not seem a lot but we have messages stored in it before Christmas and there is still plenty of time left which is a real advantage. Listening to old plays and playing new ones is very simple. The message light on the base station will flash red continuously showing that you have a new message and you just press it to hear the messages that have been left. Deleting messages is also easy, just the click of a button and you can either delete many messages together or individually. The machine also lets you pause during playback of a message, go back to the previous message or skip to the next. This is extremely handy and reminds me of my Sky HD box! As with many home phones you can also record your own announcement if you wish. Another very useful feature is that you can listen to any messages left on the machine via any handset anywhere in the house. This saves you having to go back to the main base station to hear a message that has been left. The playback from each message is very clear and even when listening to messages from individual handsets instead of the answering machine, none of the clarity is lost. For privacy you can even programme the answering machine to be protected by PIN so when you enter that PIN only then will your messages be played back. Another useful of the answering machine is the protection of recordings against power failure. I can only say this has happened once last year where there was a minor power cut in the area, and everything went dead for a while. However, after everything was up and running again we'd found that the answering machine hadn't lost any of the saved messages.
The Gigaset C385 also boasts integrated High Sound Performance (HSP) technology that provides higher sound quality to normal analog land-line phones. I can't honestly say I know how this technology works or how, but the sound quality on this set is superb. The sound is clear and crisp and even when I have used the phone in the attic, your conversations are just as clear as if you were using the phone outside. This probably has to be one of the best set of phones I have owned in terms of sound quality and it is clearly an area where Siemens know their stuff.
The Siemens Gigaset C385 has a whole host of other features it has to offer. The first of these is that you can send SMS messages and receive them too. I can't say I've used this feature too much but on the few occasions that I have I can say it works very well and messages are easy to read on the screen. However, if this feature isn't to your liking you can simply deactivate it if you wish. The phone can also be switched to the ECO Mode+ which reduces the transmission power significantly helping to save electricity and the environment. I have used this feature myself and I find it no different to having the phone on normal mode, so it is definitely worth bearing in mind to use. However, having the phone in this mode does reduce the range of each handset, so I wouldn't use the phone more further than the garden if this mode is in use. There is also an alarm you can program on the phone, which although is pretty basic has eliminated the need for the bedside clock. You can also listen in to an external call known as making a Conference call, a feature which seems to common in such phones. This enables someone else in the house, who has access to a handset to listen in or take part in your conversation. Personally I have deactivated this feature because of the numerous times the kids have tried to listen in to my conversations, so something to bear in mind. The Siemens also supports CLIP or Calling Line Identification Presentation which means that when you receive a call, the caller's number and name is displayed. However, this feature will only work if you have this enabled with you telephone provider, something I only found out recently. Some companies will charge for this privilege, normally around £1 a month, whilst others offer it for free, so this definitely worth looking into and checking with you telephone provider for. As well as 30 different languages available and the ability of being able to mount any of the bases to a wall, the Gigaset C385 is certainly worth every penny.
Ease of Use
This phone is extremely simple to use for almost anybody. The buttons on the handsets are few and easy to understand, however it is the silver Navigation key which guides you through to the main menu where you can make changes such as increasing ringing volume and changing ringing melodies. The orange and black colour scheme on the LCD screen works well during the day and the night. If you're looking for something that will easy to use for you and the family I would strongly recommend this. From the moment you take this out of the box, you will not have any problems with operating and using the phone and if you do happen to the instruction booklet is very helpful.
Overall, I honestly think this is the best home phone I have had to date. The Siemens Gigaset C385 is packed to the brim with features and although there are some you will never bother to use, the ones that you will do will perform very well. It's great to use within a family home and well worth every penny you spend on it and you can be sure that this phone will last you a few good years and not something that will go faulty a year or so after it is bought. Every home should have a phone like this and if you looking to buy a home phone seriously consider this as Siemens have definitely made this an amazing product.
This phone has been a solid performer for well over a year now, it replaced a flashy i-DECT phone which sadly didnt live up to its polished exterior.
I was primarily attracted to this set by two things, the price, and the brand. I paid an amazing £35 for this Duo set, it was refurbished but at £35 worth the punt. Having been disappointed with the flashy i-DECT i wanted to go for a reliable manufacturer, having read reviews Siemens were up there with the best.
The Siemens certainly isnt the best looking phone on the market, it won't turn heads. But, that said, it doesnt look cheap like some of its low priced rivals and looks subtly classy in its own simple way.
The handsets are reasonably solid and the buttons however are very responsive and easy to use.
The menu graphic are a bit basic, certainly not one to rival the lastest offerings from the likes of BT. But then with the basic icons comes a simplicity of use. Much like a Nokia operating system (non-smartphone) this menu is pretty simple to navigate with a the arrow buttons below the screen on the keypad.
This has a digital answerphone, i havent played with this extensively as i primarily use BT's 1571 function for this but when there is a message on the phone there is a button with a Play/Pause logo on it which flashes red. Press this button to replay any messages via the handset...simple.
This has all the standard features you'd expect from a Wireless DECT handset. Phonebook, SMS, Alarm, Voicemail, paging/intercom, Speakerphone. Sound quality is pretty decent, couldn't fault it. I have been impressed with teh quality of the speakerphone, a function i use alot. Speakerphone, messaging, volume and phonebook all have shortcut keys on the main handset making them easy to access quickly without scrolling through the menu.
In terms of installation, it just plugs in and works! Additional handsets can be added if needed.
To summarise this is a decent dual handset cordless phone. Reliable, well priced, well made.