We went with the Uniden 5.8 GHz that we found at a San Antonio Office Depot. Panasonic has a couple nice models already mentioned by other posters, too, although I don't know how well they work in practice. After a couple weeks' use the Uniden works fine and we don't even notice it. I guess that's what we look for in a good appliance-- invisibility.
The contrast with their 2.4 GHz model is amazing. An electronics engineer would have a fun time reverse-engineering the two to see why the 2.4 GHz can't detect a signal, let alone amplify it. I thought the 2.4 GHz would make a good interim phone at our rehabbing rental, but after the phone's been unplugged for a couple weeks I haven't even been able to get it to work and it's hardly worth the troubleshooting time. I'm about to let Goodwill foist it off on some unsuspecting buyer.
I think there's a market niche for a house phone that functions well yet doesn't try to do everything. Not everyone wants an ultimate Swiss Army knife. I want a volume control, a ringer control, and an answering machine... I don't really care about caller ID, personalized rings, customized phonebooks, message time limits, and all the other gazillions of features with our latest phone. (OK, admittedly the speakerphone feature is nice when you're on hold for a long time.) But apparently it's more profitable to overdesign and overcharge for a quality phone than it is to minimize features in a crappy cheap one. You can't seem to get one without the other-- once you develop a quality signal processor, the extra crap seems to be free.
It was interesting to try to figure out GE's DECT 6.0
product line. It doesn't pretend to tell you how it works-- it just admonishes you that it works better than anything else you could possibly buy. Even the number 6.0 seems to be chosen to appear "better" than 2.4 or 5.8, although (after some Internet research) I eventually learned that it operates on 1.9 GHz. (Hunh-- who woulda thought GE could claim that lower bandwidth is better.) The box and the product literature reads more like "USA Today" than "Byte".
A few other "lazy entrepreneur" comments for you aspiring tech titans:
- Now that we've finally bought a usable phone and can forget about it for a while, I can understand why the Jitterbug cell phone
is so popular with senior presbyopians. ("Sorry I couldn't listen to your call, I couldn't find my reading glasses...") I can only operate a phone without glasses by memorizing the major buttons.
- A phone installation is greatly complicated by fitting its transformer power pack and a DSL filter around the base station. Those phone transformers are getting smaller, true, but it'd be great to have one the size of the receptacle plug.
- I hate having to buy a phone without being able to try it out. An in-store phone jack that could provide a dial tone and let you hear the phone in use would be great.
- Phone shopping is too hard and no fun. It's ironic that we ERs had to be on vacation to take the time to shop for an appliance. Every time we tried to do this at home we were too busy or had too many higher priorities (like surfing and recliner-sitting). Only when we were "on vacation" and had nothing better to do could we arrange our lives to spend an hour in an office-supply store without pressure to just get it done and move on to the next thing on the list. "Whaddya do all day" indeed...