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Confused about buying a new phone
Old 10-15-2016, 10:10 PM   #1
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Confused about buying a new phone

I went shopping today for a home telephone. The choices are confusing since it's been years since I bought a phone (except for a cell phone) and let's just say what's available now is very different from the last time I shopped (maybe in the 90's). I could really use some guidance.

What I have now is a Panasonic model, corded, with an LCD display & built-in answering system. Alas, it's broken. (If it still worked I'd be happy with it ... but I think it's time to get caller ID.) I also have an old style Princess phone (remember those).

What I'd like is something simple to set up & use, a corded base with caller ID & voice mail capability & one or two cordless handsets.

Anyone buy a phone recently? I'd really appreciate any recommendations/advice.
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Old 10-15-2016, 10:18 PM   #2
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I went to Amazon.com and search for corded phone. Surprise, looks like they still sell them!

Maybe something like this? https://www.amazon.com/AT-Standard-A...s=corded+phone

Edit: Oops, I didn't notice you wanted a couple of extra handsets.

Never mind...
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Old 10-15-2016, 10:49 PM   #3
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This is the system I bought 5 years ago. It works well. I have a headset for teleconferences. It also dovetails with a few old corded sets that I have in different rooms. You can buy as many receivers as you want.

https://www.vtechphones.com/pd/3394/...D-Call-Waiting
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Old 10-15-2016, 10:51 PM   #4
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The caller id only works if you subscribe to it from the phone company.

We have an At&t model, it comes with a base station that charges a wireless phone, and it has 2 extra stations each charging a phone. Each phone has a LCD screen that shows the caller id of all the spam callers (as we subscribe to caller id).
The base station is also an answering machine, no tapes to mess with.
Only the base station has to be plugged into the phone line, so you can put the 2 extra stations anywhere you like within about 100 feet of the base station (out in the shed for example).

Ours is fine, but a few years old, so I'm sure there are newer models out there. There were lots of different models that all basically worked the same way.

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Old 10-16-2016, 10:09 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Meadbh View Post
This is the system I bought 5 years ago. It works well. I have a headset for teleconferences. It also dovetails with a few old corded sets that I have in different rooms. You can buy as many receivers as you want.

https://www.vtechphones.com/pd/3394/...D-Call-Waiting
I have a similar but older Vtech system with a base station and 4 handsets. I've been using them for more than 12 years and have replaced the batteries twice at $35 for 5 sets of batteries from Amazon.
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Old 10-16-2016, 10:44 AM   #6
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I have an older 5.8 GHZ Vtech as my main phone. But next time when the batteries dies, I may buy a Panasonic that uses regular AAA sized batteries.
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Old 10-16-2016, 10:46 AM   #7
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It has been a while since I bought a base station with handsets. One feature to look at is that all handsets share the same "phonebook"

Mine doesn't. The names of some callers don't show up when receiving a call, just the number, unless I have manually entered that caller's phone number in each of the 3 phone's phonebooks. It can be difficult for some callers (and us) since we generally don't answer the phone unless it is someone we know.
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Old 10-16-2016, 11:11 AM   #8
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Many thanks for your replies.

Some of these systems seem to have an answering machine in the base, which I kind of like. BUT would those systems handle voicemail if I decide to go that route at some point?
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Old 10-16-2016, 11:16 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Sunset View Post
The caller id only works if you subscribe to it from the phone company.

We have an At&t model, it comes with a base station that charges a wireless phone, and it has 2 extra stations each charging a phone. Each phone has a LCD screen that shows the caller id of all the spam callers (as we subscribe to caller id).
The base station is also an answering machine, no tapes to mess with.
Only the base station has to be plugged into the phone line, so you can put the 2 extra stations anywhere you like within about 100 feet of the base station (out in the shed for example).

Ours is fine, but a few years old, so I'm sure there are newer models out there. There were lots of different models that all basically worked the same way.

I've got a similar AT&T base with answering machine, and multiple cordless handsets. It's 8 years old, and still all handsets work perfectly (I may have replaced one or two batteries, but they are cheap on amazon). Model SL82X18 (the X is "1" through "5" for the number of handsets that come with it, but they can be added later).

Also bought one for my Mom a year later, that also worked well. I recently bought their latest version (very similar, a few new features) to use on our 'virtual second line' that is provided by our VOIP provider and the adapter they provide (Phonepower and a grandstream or obi-talk adapter) - With this, I was able to put another handset in the basement and garage and at my computer desk. The 'virtual second line' allows you to make and accept calls when the other line is busy, but it still uses the same phone number.

I actually bought these on a recc from CFB way back then - he said that it had 'hard' buttons that actually lasted, not those mushy rubber ones. And so far, so good. And DW is on the phone a lot to her family and friends, they get a lot of use.

I've also read good reviews of the V-Techs that people have posted.

Oh, I see the prevous post - yes, all handsets share the same phonebook, they are kept in sync by the base. And they make convenient 'walkie-talkies' inside the house - but of course, each handset must be within range of the base, they don't talk directly to each other.

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Old 10-16-2016, 11:18 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by lucky penny View Post
Many thanks for your replies.

Some of these systems seem to have an answering machine in the base, which I kind of like. BUT would those systems handle voicemail if I decide to go that route at some point?
You can disable the answering machine if your voicemail system is in the cloud. That's what we do... We have it forwarded to our google voice - and I can pull down the audible message, or get the transcript in an email.

Originally I had it forwarding to google voice after the 3rd ring... but I switched it to forward with no rings - since 99.99999% of the calls were junk calls. For the very rare legitimate, non-sales, call I get the google voice notification and can return the call.

Even with the call forwarding with no rings - the handsets work for outgoing calls.

As someone else pointed out - Caller ID is a paid for option for most traditional baby-bell phone operators... But usually comes free if you are using a VOIP option for your landline.
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Old 10-16-2016, 11:22 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by lucky penny View Post
Many thanks for your replies.

Some of these systems seem to have an answering machine in the base, which I kind of like. BUT would those systems handle voicemail if I decide to go that route at some point?
Yes, I have ours set up to answer on the 4th ring, and the VOIP system voicemail set to pick up only after a longer time (30 seconds I think - VM is in 'seconds', answering machines are in 'rings').

This is the best for us. If the phone is busy, and no one picks up the virtual second line, we still get the voicemail. But I find answering machines to be far more convenient for us - I can screen the call and let it go to the answering machine if that is the best for everyone - if it a call for DW, it's usually better for them to leave a message for her, than to get me and play 20 questions and have me dictate some long twisted conversation that I know nothing about. And if I hear that it is something time critical, I can pick up, or call DW immediately to let her know.

If it goes to VM, no way that I know to do that, you need to check it first (or maybe some newer VM have a 'call screen mode'?).

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Old 10-16-2016, 11:57 AM   #12
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I have bought 3 Uniden sets and I replace the batteries for 8 @ $5 at a local fixit guy (special order). Only one handset has failed (phone works but display doesn't) in 8 years.
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Old 10-16-2016, 11:59 AM   #13
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What's a landline?
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Old 10-16-2016, 12:12 PM   #14
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What's a landline?
+1
Lost the landline last year and haven't looked back. Cell phone does everything a landline can do and more. I cannot justify the expense and added complexity of a landline in addition to a cell phone.
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Old 10-16-2016, 12:13 PM   #15
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What's a landline?
It's what one uses when cell phones don't work reliably, as is the case here.
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Old 10-16-2016, 12:19 PM   #16
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Keeping a landline as a backup - for now, anyway. More reliable if there's a power outage. Faster response with 911, I think. And I admit it, I'm not quite ready to cut the cord.
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Old 10-16-2016, 12:25 PM   #17
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It's what one uses when cell phones don't work reliably, as is the case here.
At least with newer iPhones, they can use your home WiFi to make calls. We use this since we get terrible cell reception inside our house.

Previously there was a solution called a picocell, but they were often finicky to get working. We had one of these before WiFi calling became a thing.
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Old 10-16-2016, 01:00 PM   #18
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I've got a similar AT&T base with answering machine, and multiple cordless handsets. It's 8 years old, and still all handsets work perfectly (I may have replaced one or two batteries, but they are cheap on amazon). Model SL82X18 (the X is "1" through "5" for the number of handsets that come with it, but they can be added later).

Also bought one for my Mom a year later, that also worked well. I recently bought their latest version (very similar, a few new features) to use on our 'virtual second line' that is provided by our VOIP provider and the adapter they provide (Phonepower and a grandstream or obi-talk adapter) - With this, I was able to put another handset in the basement and garage and at my computer desk. The 'virtual second line' allows you to make and accept calls when the other line is busy, but it still uses the same phone number.

I actually bought these on a recc from CFB way back then - he said that it had 'hard' buttons that actually lasted, not those mushy rubber ones. And so far, so good. And DW is on the phone a lot to her family and friends, they get a lot of use.

I've also read good reviews of the V-Techs that people have posted.

Oh, I see the prevous post - yes, all handsets share the same phonebook, they are kept in sync by the base. And they make convenient 'walkie-talkies' inside the house - but of course, each handset must be within range of the base, they don't talk directly to each other.

-ERD50
We also have a similar ATT that came with base and 3 remotes. I think its about 4 years old and works very well, although I suspect its made by someone else for ATT.
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Old 10-16-2016, 01:01 PM   #19
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+1
Lost the landline last year and haven't looked back. Cell phone does everything a landline can do and more. I cannot justify the expense and added complexity of a landline in addition to a cell phone.
And I can't justify the expense of all those minutes on a cell plan.

It's not one size fits all. We use our cell phones very lightly, but use our VOIP 'landline' many hours each week (mostly DW checking in with relatives). The VOIP is cheap compared to the extra cell minutes. And I like having the answering machine over voicemail (described below). And I like having extensions all over the house, a phone is always nearby instead of running to find the last place I left my cell phone.

And I've been on hold long enough to have a battery give a warning - no problem, just walk over and pick up one of the other extensions. With the cell phone, try to find the charger, and then you are tied to a cord, like the 1970's

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Old 10-16-2016, 02:26 PM   #20
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And I can't justify the expense of all those minutes on a cell plan.

It's not one size fits all. We use our cell phones very lightly, but use our VOIP 'landline' many hours each week (mostly DW checking in with relatives). The VOIP is cheap compared to the extra cell minutes. And I like having the answering machine over voicemail (described below). And I like having extensions all over the house, a phone is always nearby instead of running to find the last place I left my cell phone.

And I've been on hold long enough to have a battery give a warning - no problem, just walk over and pick up one of the other extensions. With the cell phone, try to find the charger, and then you are tied to a cord, like the 1970's

-ERD50
Absolutely one size does not fit all. I didn't drop my land line until cell coverage got better at my house (that we just sold). DW didn't want to drop it until she added up the yearly cost. And for us, if we can't get to the cell phone, that's what voice mail is for. If I don't recognize a number and they don't leave a message, then heck with them. (we once lived without any phone for a year and survived so we have sort of a lackadaisical attitude about phones)

When we gave away our land line phones, we did keep one set just in case we ever need it sometime. It will probably be obsolete by then.
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