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Simple business phone -- nice features
Written: Nov 4, 2006
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Sturdy, feature packed and functional design, inexpensive for the feature set offered
Cons:Poor speaker phone. somewhat complex operation
The Bottom Line: If you want a professional phone system, with Centrex like features without a Centrex price, these phones are a good choice.
In looking for a simple POTS (Plain Old Telephone System....) multi-line phone for home-business use, I stumbled across the AT&T 964 (see companion review), and it's 'sister' phones the 955 (with caller ID but lacking the DTAD functions of the 964), and this phone, the 944 (lacking caller ID or the DTAD functions, but with other plusses like a 'matrix' of buttons for speed dial memory).
Together these phones provide a flexible, low cost alternative to a 'key'/'centrix' telephone system, and provide:
intercom (12 stations)
multiple lines (up to 15 lines in the system, 4 available at any one phone)
autodial/phone number memory (speed-dial), redial last number
tone or pulse dial
LED display of number dialed, etc.
conference calling capabilities
speaker phone / headset operation
and many more features
These phones are designed with a small business in mind. If you want a simple corded phone, this is not it. If you want a replacement for a multi-thousand dollar 'key' system with auto-attendant features, this is a serious contender for your business. The 944 is the 'cheaper / smaller / easier' phone for the back room as opposed to the main phone at a receptionist desk or in the CEO's office....
No special wiring or a fancy 'key' system in the telephone cabinet required, just plug the phones into standard phone jacks, do a few simple programming steps, and you're in business.
The phone can be used either as a wall or a desk phone (either mounting on a standard wall jack or plugging into two RJ-11 jacks for use on a desk. (One jack is for lines 1/2 the other for lines 3/4).
The 'system' you install can consist of up to 12 'stations' and up to 15 phone lines, three of which can be available to all phones, the fourth of which can be used as a 'private line' or a 'call group' (each station can access only 4 lines, but the SYSTEM can have up to 15....) Each station can be either a 944, a 955 or a 964 phone, but at least one station SHOULD be a 964 so you can take advantage of the auto-attendant and voice mail features.
There are also 'accessory jacks' for lines 3 and 4 so if you want to connect a fax machine or modem through the phone you can.
what's missing, what's added
This phone phone lacks the auto-attendant and caller ID features of the 955 and 964 but will coexist on the system with the more expensive phones nicely. The 'what's added' is a NICE visual matrix for speed dialing. Rather than having to remember or scroll through a list of speed dial numbers, you can program a 3x4 matrix with up to 24 frequently dialed numbers, and there is space on a paper insert to write who's number is which button. Very handy, and a much more visually pleasing way to access stored information to my mind, than the system used in the more expensive phones!
WELL worth the time and cost if you want a professional quality system for not a lot of money. These phones are available for less than $110 each, which is FAR less expensive than a key/centrix system, and they will do nearly everything that more complex phone type will do. There is a bit of a learning curve, but even my kids picked up on basic use pretty quickly.
The one real 'con' is the speaker phone is pretty marginal. The AGC is flakey meaning you will often miss the first few words someone on the other side says and it cuts off what you say as well. Since I use a speakerphone mostly as a 'let me walk around while I wait on hold' feature, that is not a big deal for me, but if you rely on a speakerphone, this won't make you happy!
Overall, nice price, decent features, reliable and handsome styling. I recommend it for small businesses on a budget.
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