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The search for a good cordless phone
Old 02-15-2007, 11:54 AM   #1
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The search for a good cordless phone

I tend to be a bit Rainman-obsessive about appliances If something works, I'll use it until it breaks or until about three generations of technology have improved it. (Our first computer was a PC XT, our second computer was a Pentium. For our 20th anniversary we upgraded our wedding-present microwave oven to a convection microwave.) Although we were happy with our old phone, unfortunately it hasn't been as durable as we hoped.

So we're looking for a good cordless phone. Our decent 900 MHz cordless model worked fine until the keypad's "3" conked out. We "upgraded" to a 2.4 GHz, knowing full well it's the frequency of our microwave oven but expecting that Uniden's modern electronics design would have figured a way around that.

Wrong. This phone has been a poor-reception interference-prone turkey since the day we plugged it in. Even without a magnetron radiating in our neighborhood we still have a very hard time hearing the person on the other end of the phone. Our DSL filters are installed with the correct orientation. I finally called the house from an outside (corded) phone and kept talking while spouse switched through about half the phone's channels and still couldn't get good reception. If she can't hear my Horatio Hornblower enunciation talking through a corded phone to that cordless then it's not worth further futzing.

It's not structural interference or distance. The reception is equally crappy whether you're five feet from the base station with a direct line of sight or 20 feet away on the other side of drywall & 2x4s. Even when our microwave's shut off there are directional reception problems, static bursts, & dropouts. Amplification sucks too-- when the microwave is running the phone is able to filter out the interference but the signal strength drops so low that the caller is inaudible.

So we're phone shopping again. Here are our incredibly demanding technical/user requirements:
- At lest two handsets (a base station handset and an extension at the computer desk). We only need one handset to be in use at a time.
- Ringers that can be turned off. Not just "low" but "silence".
- Reception approaching that of a corded handset. We want to be able to hear the other person muttering through our receiver.

Having the phone integrated with an answering machine would be an unexpected bonus, but I can buy a separate answering machine.

I don't think we're going to find what we want at Wal-Mart. We don't care about any other features, but if those other features are what it takes to get a high-quality phone then that's what we'll get.

Any suggestions on where to shop or what models to look for?
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Re: The search for a good cordless phone
Old 02-15-2007, 12:00 PM   #2
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Re: The search for a good cordless phone

I usually buy a new phone for $10-15 at walmart every couple of years (they are cheaper or the same price as new batteries). They have usually been GE's, 900 Mhz I think. No problems at all. Good reception, very clear sound. Zero bells and whistles.
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Re: The search for a good cordless phone
Old 02-15-2007, 12:14 PM   #3
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Re: The search for a good cordless phone

We've got just what you're looking for, but it is a couple of years old, so I'm not sure where to look for it. Great reception inside and out, ringer that can be turned off (but through a menu, not a single button push), two handsets, and a built-in answering machine. It is the Panasonic KX-TG2344. It still uses 2.4 GHz, but we've never had any interference with DSL, microwave oven, Wifi, or the neighbor's garage door opener. My office phone is a similar, more modern model using 5.8 GHz, but only comes with one handset (KX-TG5431). We've used Panasonic cordless phones for years and have always been happy with them. Replacement batteries can be a little pricey at retail, but eBay can fix that.
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Re: The search for a good cordless phone
Old 02-15-2007, 12:15 PM   #4
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Re: The search for a good cordless phone

We have a Uniden DXI386-2 that works perfectly, and meets your specs.

You might want to go to the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet, and pick up a few cordless phones for $2 each. Keep the one that works best.
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Re: The search for a good cordless phone
Old 02-15-2007, 12:17 PM   #5
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Re: The search for a good cordless phone

Here's the exact one we have:

Uniden Phone
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Re: The search for a good cordless phone
Old 02-15-2007, 12:22 PM   #6
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Re: The search for a good cordless phone

We have the at&t integrated 5.8GHz set. No interference. Very long range...I can walk across the street and up three houses while still talking, no problems. Comes in sets with 2, 3 or 4 extension sets, one of which is an integrated answering machine. If you put a number into the address book of one extension, its automatically entered into all the others. Independent ringers in the base and each handset can be set to different volume levels or turned off. You can page one handset from another, making it a half decent intercom system.

Our last set was a two handset 5.8GHz panasonic. Pretty much the same characteristics excepting that each handset has its own separate address book, although you can 'beam' entries or the whole book from one handset to the other.

I went with 5.8 phones, the regular 2.4 wireless lan, a 900mhz baby monitor, and avoided most of the conflict problems.

The other big plus is that not a lot of people use the 5.8 phones, so if you're in a congested area you'll have even less interference.

This: http://telephones.att.com/telephones...697&parent=510

We got one with four handsets for $99 at sams club a little over a year ago.

Several of these outfits also have "outdoor" model extension handsets that can take a little water and a few drops to the ground.

IIRC uniden wasnt well regarded in a lot of the ratings and the one uniden phone I owned many years ago didnt last long before I replaced it.
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Re: The search for a good cordless phone
Old 02-15-2007, 02:48 PM   #7
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Re: The search for a good cordless phone

Our cordless phones seem to have battery problems, after a year or so the charge barely lasts 2 hours anymore. I mean it'll be on the charger all night, then you get a call in the morning, then you set it on your computer desk for several hours and you go to make a call later and it's dead already. This is the second phone this has happened to.

Does anyone have any suggestions?
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Re: The search for a good cordless phone
Old 02-15-2007, 03:32 PM   #8
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Re: The search for a good cordless phone

Yeah, you have to let them fully discharge at least once or twice a month or the batteries lose the ability to take a full charge.

So take them out of the cradle and let them lay around a while before putting them back in the charger.

Not so much fun if the battery finally runs down at 3am and its one of the phone models that wants to beep at you to tell you that its about out of juice...
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Re: The search for a good cordless phone
Old 02-15-2007, 03:42 PM   #9
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Re: The search for a good cordless phone

We went with Uniden 5.8 GHz. They don't make this particular model anymore (Tru 800 or something like that), but they do make very similar models. They replaced a couple of different cordless models (Pansonic 900 and a different brands 2.4Ghz). The differences in quality were stunning. We have one base that sends a signal to all the cordless units and serves as an answering machine. It has a corded handset but they also make the same kind of base with a cordless unit as the handset. All the other bases are just chargers for the batteries.

They stay charged for days, the quality of the signal is just amazing, and we've never had any interference problems with either our microwave or our wireless internet.

Up to ten cordless handsets can work off one base.

Ringers can be turned off manually, or you can specify a block of time as "quiet time" and the phones won't ring. The answering machine can also be silenced so that it will still work but you won't be disturbed by the sound of the caller leaving a message. Voice mails can be heard from any handset and you can also screen an incoming call from a handset as well.

You can have personalized ring tones for incoming calls from certain numbers.
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Re: The search for a good cordless phone
Old 02-15-2007, 04:37 PM   #10
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Re: The search for a good cordless phone

I'll look at mine tonight. It works like a charm, and I have kept calls when I am almost a quarter mile from home..........

I'll give the model number tomorrow...........I think it's 2.4GHZ
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Re: The search for a good cordless phone
Old 02-15-2007, 09:28 PM   #11
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Re: The search for a good cordless phone

We have this http://www.uniden.com/products/produ...roduct=TRU9485

two handsets
speaker phone
silenceable ringer
integrated answering machine
great sound - better than the corded phones
5.8GHz - no interference with any other device in the house

It works like a charm. We bought it last summer at Circuit City
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Re: The search for a good cordless phone
Old 02-15-2007, 09:29 PM   #12
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Re: The search for a good cordless phone

AT&T E2725B 2.4GHZ and answering system...............
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Re: The search for a good cordless phone
Old 02-16-2007, 12:30 AM   #13
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Re: The search for a good cordless phone

We have a Panasonic KX-TG2431. This is a two phone/two base set with answering machine. We've had it about a year with a microwave oven and had no problems. It's a 2.4 GHz set.

We had a GE phone/answering machine prior to this that ate batteries at an alarming rate. The rechargeable batteries were not cheap.
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Re: The search for a good cordless phone
Old 02-16-2007, 06:58 AM   #14
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Re: The search for a good cordless phone

We recently got the Panasonic KX-TG5633B 5.8 gHz with 3 handsets plus answering machine in the main base. Reception seems excellent. Can't speak about batteries since it's only a few months old. No microwave so no idea about that.

What I don't like about it is that the "low" ring is still quite loud. You can shut it off but you can't make it ring softly.

I also don't like that the handset is kinda small.. I'm the kind of person that likes to be able to walk around hands-free with the thing between my chin and shoulder...do models you can do that with easily even exist anymore?
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Re: The search for a good cordless phone
Old 02-16-2007, 07:02 AM   #15
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Re: The search for a good cordless phone

At Christmas we purchased ourselves a Panasonic 5.8 with an extra phone which needs no Telephone line. I don't have the model number at hand but I didn't get the answering machince function since we already had that seperate. No issues with microwave, and it's a talking caller ID.

Happy with it.
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Re: The search for a good cordless phone
Old 02-16-2007, 08:26 AM   #16
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Re: The search for a good cordless phone

I use a UNIDINE 900MHz right next to me and I get another one if I needed a new one. That's the best that I can offer.
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Re: The search for a good cordless phone
Old 02-16-2007, 04:00 PM   #17
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Re: The search for a good cordless phone



Don't know if you have 1 or more cell phones. Or if just abandoning the land line altogether is an option. We're considering it. The only practical use for us is the once-in-a-blue-moon fax we might need to send or receive. Otherwise the cells could do just fine.

Just cut the cord, man!
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Re: The search for a good cordless phone
Old 02-16-2007, 06:01 PM   #18
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Re: The search for a good cordless phone

Quote:
Originally Posted by BUM
Don't know if you have 1 or more cell phones. Or if just abandoning the land line altogether is an option. We're considering it. The only practical use for us is the once-in-a-blue-moon fax we might need to send or receive. Otherwise the cells could do just fine.
Just cut the cord, man!
Nope, won't cut the cord. We lost a lot of cell service when the earthquake took down the power grid, and who knows what a good hurricane will do to those tall pointy objects with a lot of wind area (last hurricane was Iniki in 1992).

I don't know if the local telcoms have good 911 locator data. They probably do, it's a small island.

We can't get a bare DSL service, anyway, and our local cable network floods/grounds out too often. Oceanic Cable has me on the same list that GE uses for TH.

I like what I'm hearing, and we're leaning toward the 5.8 GHz Unidens. (More bandwidth!) Thanks for everyone's input...
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Re: The search for a good cordless phone
Old 02-16-2007, 06:52 PM   #19
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Re: The search for a good cordless phone

We'd given up on cordless phones when the last one died 6 months ago--the voice quality and the reliability have never been good. I'm ready to try again with a recommended model. Thanks to all for the comments.

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Re: The search for a good cordless phone
Old 02-16-2007, 07:47 PM   #20
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Re: The search for a good cordless phone

We recently bought a GE: 5.8 mhz, two hand set, built-in answering machine. The feature that I like best - it has a speaker phone. So, when I get calls while working in the kitchen, folding laundry, etc. I can talk and keep on task.
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