Pros: NiMH Battery, Unique Style, Low Price
Cons: Lack of Features, Construction Quality
The first thing to notice of this phone is of course the unique style. This phone definitely does not look like anything else. The base design is the key to its style. Although the base can also be mounted on a wall, it does look its best sitting on a desk. The handset is easy to hold, even though a little too light for my taste.
The construction quality is just OK. There are a few details that look a little cheap. The worst item is that thin rubber cover for the headset jack. I get annoyed every time I touch it and peel off the top. I plan to remove it completely now that I decided to keep the phone.
Helpful Features As A Bedroom Phone
I plan to use this phone as my bedroom phone. I noticed a couple of features that make it suitable for this job. First, the ringer can be turned off (a simple enough feature, yet missing on many good phones, including my Sony 900MHz). Secondly, even with the ringer tuned off, you can still page the handset from the base. I have not seen any phone that has this nice combination.
A Basic Cordless Phone
This phone is a basic model. It does not have fancy features. However, as a basic phone, it has all the necessities, includes 10 number speed dial, volume control, a mute button, and even a headset jack (with that flimsy cover). The signal quality is clear, although not as nice as a digital spread spectrum (DSS) phone. Such feature is only available on the PhoneMate 39xx series.
NiMH battery technology is getting so well developed that it is a crime not to use it. Yet it is amazing how many cordless phones, including most new 2.4GHz ones, are still using the old NiCd batteries. The old battery was known for its memory effect, which is the loss of battery capacity if you do not discharge it completely before recharging. This memory effect translates to poor battery life after a couple of year?s usage if you forget to ?recondition? the battery.
This phone uses the new battery. The NiMH battery not only solves the memory effect headache, but also is light, and compact compared to NiCd?s. The battery in this phone is rated 3.6 V, 600 mAh. A NiCd with the same rating found on my Sony 900 MHz phone is almost twice as large and heavy.
With the good battery, as well as the energy saving 2.4GHz technology, the phone is rated for 6 days of standby or 6 hours of talk time. I have performed a test to see if this claim is accurate. The battery lasted 6 full days plus half an hour talk time.
PhoneMate? Is it a Casio?
There is a lot of confusion of the brand name of this phone. Some of us might still remember PhoneMate as a Casio brand. However this phone is not made by Casio. It is made by TT Systems. TT bought the brand name from Casio in October 2001.
TT Systems were marketing their cordless phones under the IBM brand for a while. They are still making phones under the names of Bell Equipment SONECOR, Emerson (corded phones). Under the true name of TT Systems, they are making Tele-Recorders. Why they are using all these names is beyond me. But lack of good reputation comes to mind as a possibility. So I will be watching this phone and give you updates on how it is doing.
Price Paid: $20
I am putting this very important information in my review since Epinions has pulled this entry from the review form. The price of the phone is actually $30, with $10 manufacturer rebate.
The Secret Beep Code
The phone does not have a separate low battery light. It uses beep code to indicate problems. Unfortunately such beep code is not well documented. Here is what I have found:
Low Battery A short beep, followed by slow flash (once per second) for more than 10 times and then automatically turn off.
No Connection to the Base Quick flashes (indicating that the phone is trying to connect to the base), three fast beeps, and then automatically turn off. This can mean two things. One possibility is that you are too far away from the base (>200'). All you need to do is to move closer. The other possibility is that the security code is lost, probably due to a power outage while the phone is not sitting in base. In this case, you need to sit the phone back to the base and wait for a beep.