Pros: One-touch emergency call buttons
Caller ID compatible
Variable ringer and volume settings
Cons: Call indicator light too small
Display can be hard to read at times
My mother’s vision began deteriorating when she hit her mid-80s. So much so that it was nearly impossible for her to use the telephone. This worried me just for the fact that she would be unable to even call 911 in case of an emergency. So, I went in search of a big button phone, which led me to Radio Shack and model #43-3901. The phone has a flat design with huge number buttons. Just above the number buttons are three one-touch buttons for calling emergency numbers. The police button has a blue shield on it, the fire button a red flame and the emergency button a green cross. This was the feature that sold me. These emergency buttons are big enough and clear enough for my mother to see even without her glasses. She now has one-touch ability to call for help if ever needed. The user manual contains step-by-step clear directions for storing numbers into the memory.
At the top of the phone is a liquid crystal display that shows three lines of information. The top line shows time and date; the second line shows the number dialed out or the number dialing in if you have caller ID; the third line displays the name of the caller if you have caller ID. Sometimes the display can be hard to read. I’ve noticed this more in the sunny afternoons – we have the phone in a west-facing room; so, brightness may be the factor here. I have no problems reading the display in the morning when the room is darker. Also on the face of the phone is a call back button, delete button, memory button, and up/down buttons used for programming the phone and also reviewing caller ID records. When a call comes in, the “new call indicator” light in the upper right hand corner flashes red. This may be a good feature for someone without vision problems; but it does not help my mother at all because the light is too small.
We set the phone up flat on a small table. The phone comes with a mounting bracket so that it can be mounted on a wall plate or a wall. I have never tried this; so, I do not know if this is a simple process or not. However, the user manual does provide step-by-step instructions. The phone requires four AA batteries which are not provided. Considering the price of the phone ($40.99), it would have been nice to not have to purchase batteries separately. There is an indicator light in the shape of a battery on the display that will let you know when to change batteries. We’ve had the phone almost a year now and have not changed batteries yet.
When initially setting up the phone, you use the up/down buttons followed by the delete button (to confirm your selection) to set up language, area code, time, and date. Selections are shown on the display as you progress through the sequence of choices. On the side of the phone are three switches to set handset volume, ringer volume, and tone or pulse mode. The handset volume can either be set to normal or high. I’ve used the phone when set on high and it really amplifies the incoming voice. For me, it was too loud and now when I use the phone I set it to normal; but high is perfect for my mother who can now hear and understand everything when she is on the phone. The ringer can be set to high, low or off. High is very loud and can be heard throughout the entire house.
Other features include caller ID compatibility, a timer which counts off-hook time up to one hour, a mute button, a flash button to use if you have call waiting, and a redial/pause button. These buttons are under the handset along with the store button and a rectangular area where you can record up to ten numbers. The phone stores up to thirteen numbers, including the three emergency numbers. Storing numbers was easy by following the step-by-step instructions in the user’s manual. It comes with a seven foot cord which I have found to be very useful. I can take the phone over to my mother instead of her always having to come to the phone.
The phone comes with a limited one-year warranty on parts and labor. The manual says to return the phone to your local Radio Shack if there are problems. We have not had any problems with this phone.
In the package:
· Phone base
· Handset and cord
· Wall mount bracket
· 7 foot line cord
· 7 inch short line cord
· User’s manual
I am very glad that I purchased this phone for my mother. It is full-featured; and we have not had any problems with it. I would recommend it for senior citizens or anyone with vision or hearing difficulties.