Uniden 4096 2-Line Phone - Cost Effective, Good Sound
Oct 11, 2010 (Updated Dec 30, 2011)
Review by KAR120C
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Phone book shares numbers between handsets, good sound quality, excellent range
Cons:Flat, smooth keypads on handsets, lame ringer tones. Irritating voice mail system.
The Bottom Line: Excellent value. Good sound quality and excellent range.
We had been using a Panasonic 2-line 5.8g phone for the past 6 years. It worked fine, but had a few bothersome limitations. Finally, I was getting complaints from my mother about the volume level when using our old phone. After a few months of complaints, I did some research and selected the Uniden 4096. The price was reasonable and its features sounded strong.
Recommend this product?
The base unit is fairly well built. Panasonic tends to use thicker plastic when compared to this Uniden phone, however the Uniden doesn’t feel cheap. The corded handset on the base is a must for business users who need a corded phone in the event of a power outage. The base comes with parts for desktop use and wall mounted installation. The numbers on the keypad have a modern look which is slightly hard to read. The controls are however well marked and simple to locate. The base LCD screen lights when a key is pressed, but there is no key lighting.
The cordless handset is about ½ the thickness and the same height and width of the Panasonic handset. The Uniden also has no antenna making its overall size smaller than the Panasonic. The same plastic is used on the handset as on the base. The handset doesn’t feel cheap though. The build quality feels on par with the Panasonic. The handset transparent, flat plastic keypad and LCD screen light up when pressed. The keypad is well laid out with one exception, that being that the phonebook rocker button is located to close to the Flash/Answer button. Furthermore, the rocker button is flat and smooth. I find that these up/down, right/left type rocker buttons work best when they are textured and contoured. As it I, one has to really position your finger just right to activate the phonebook rocker button. The numeric keypad is also smooth and non-textured. You need to look at the keypad to make sure you press the right numbers. Again; raised and textured buttons are way nicer than smooth buttons. I personally love the feel of rubberized keys, especially when compared to the hard plastic feel of this phone and others. The old Panasonic phones had rubberized keys and my old 5.8g 2 line Panasonic had 5 rubberized buttons on the handset.
The resolution of the handset and base unit LCD screen is OK, but not great. Adjusting the LCD contrast on the handset does little to improve the eye appeal of the screen.
Setting up this phone was a quick and easy process. Even the answering machine was a 10 second task. Installing the rear plate for desktop use was easy, but fairly cheesy s the wire routing is weak. Snap the rear plate on for desktop use and then plug in the power and phone line cords. You then route the wires through grooves in the bottom plate. These groves don’t hold the cords very well, so hopefully you won’t reposition your base unit too much once it is set up.
Charging the handset was simple. Just install the battery, and place the handset on its charger. The handset was already registered to the base unit, so once it was charged it was ready to go.
The Uniden 4096 is a 2 line phone. The base unit has a corded handset which is great for business users because you always know where a phone is! Also, the corded handset allows for phone use during a power outage.
The phonebook can store 100 names, each with 2 phone numbers. A speed dial can be assigned to 9 one button locations. A distinct ringer can also be set for phonebook entries. A cool feature of the 4096 is that the phonebook can be copied to other handsets and the base unit. This is very nice! When adding a number to a handset, just press copy to send the number to other handsets or the base unit.
Ringer selection on the 4096 is regrettably poor and flawed. Only 2 of the ringers are useable, with the other 5 ringer selections sounding totally lame. To add to this problem, only the handsets allow you to change the ringer. The base unit has a different ringer for each line, however they cannot be changed. So, you can change the handset ringer, but the base will sound with its preset ringer. This can make it hard to determine which line is ringing. It is best to just leave the handsets at the default ringer. As the default ringers are the only decent sounding ring tones, this is really not a problem.
Battery charge time appears to be very good. I have left these handset out for days and they are still well charged. They charge quickly too.
SOUND AND RANGE
This is a phone for crying out loud, and this is where the 4096 does well. Callers can hear me loud and clear now. Even a friend in Thailand said it sounded very clear, much better than the Panasonic. The acid test; my mother can now hear me just fine! On the down side, the sound quality and output when on speaker phone on the handset is not as clear as the Panasonic.
The answering machine message playback sound quality is OK. The Panasonic offered better message quality. Playback is possible from the handset and is fairly straight forward. The voice message prompting is a bit slow and repetitive, but it works well.
The range has proven to be very good. The Uniden 4096 can maintain a call even through 2 glass doors and a couple walls100 feet away. The Panasonic could not do this. As I expected the 4096 to be unable to achieve this range, I also ordered another Uniden handset with a range extender. I was pleased to discover that the 4096 was able to maintain its connection without the range extender. I will review the range extender separately.
Where it counts, in call quality and range, the Uniden works well!
WISHLIST (listening phone makers?)
- Light up keypad on handset when touched or picked up.
- Allow “Do Not Disturb” function to turn ringers off on individual handsets.
- Set time window that ringers can sound to avoid late night or early morning phone calls.
- Count down timer. This would be handy in the kitchen!
Overall the Uniden 4096 2-line phone is a good value. The purchase cost is much less than the Panasonic phone I replaced. It’s sound quality and range are superior to the Panasonic. While it’s build quality is good, its keypad is lacking. The smooth, flat buttons lack tactile feedback making operation not as easy as it could be.
I have found some irritating things about this phone. Retrieving voice mail messages is irksome. The voice system repeatedly states the obvious; "message 1 in mailbox 1, first message mailbox 1". It drives me bonkers!
There is also an apparent delay from the time you answer the phone and the connection actually being made. You need to answer and wait about 1 second to say "Hello." If you don't delay, the caller will not hear your greeting.
The non back lit desk unit is inconvenient; you will need a good lighting source to place a call.
Overall the phones menu options and functions are not as simple to use as they could be. Added to the fact that the key pad is hard to operate and your frustration will be tested. You really do have to look at the buttons to find the right one to press.
Overall for the price this is a good phone. Its range is great and the range extender really makes this a winner for a larger home. If they just fixed some of the usability problems, this phone would be great! I have to knock a star of my original 4 for the clumbsy interface.
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