1717 Digital Answering Machine Reviews
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1717 Digital Answering Machine

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Simple and Functional: AT&T 1717 Answering Machine.

Nov 26, 2000 (Updated Nov 27, 2000)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:inexpensive, very easy to use, small, simple, good sound quality

Cons:nothing unique to this model

There are two appliances that I have never had any luck with. My toasters have a history of catching fire, mutilating innocent bread slices, and generally causing mayhem. And my answering machines either lose my messages or garble them so badly that it would be more humane to lose them entirely. I have learned to enjoy bread, untoasted. I can live without a toaster. But the answering machine is a different story. I need an answering machine.

I think of myself as having simple needs. Appliances that perform a myriad of tasks escape my appreciation. I'd rather have a simple appliance that does one task well. In that respect, high-end answering machines with attached phones, multiple mailboxes, and other bells and whistles simply don't impress me. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to get a simple answering machine that just answers the damn phone? Yes, my voice is getting strained, and that little vein is throbbing wildly on my forehead. I hate answering machines, all of them. That being said, I'm momentarily content with my AT&T 1717 Tapeless Digital Answering System with Time/Day.

I looked in vain for a good ol' fashioned answering machine that uses tapes, but all of the salespeople I spoke with assured me that nobody makes them any more. I'm convinced that they were more reliable and had better sound quality than digital machines. Then again, I prefer rotary telephones and real ovens, not microwaves.

Salespeople showed me answering machines galore, generally stressing one foolish "feature" or another. No one was able to comment meaningfully on sound quality, really the only thing that mattered to me. In a typical shopping moment:

"How is the sound quality?" (achoo)
"Excellent." (salesperson)
"Do you own this yourself?"
"No."
"Have you ever used this model?"
"No."
"Well, then how in the hell do you get off telling me that the sound quality is excellent?!?!?!"
"Um... well... I've sold a lot of them, and nobody has returned them?"
"How long have you worked here?"
"Two weeks."

I hate salespeople almost as much as I hate answering machines.

In any event, I finally took home an AT&T 1717 Tapeless Digital Answering System with Time/Day based strictly on the recommendation of a friend who has one. I think she was just afraid to continue shopping with me.

I've had this machine for a few months, and I still talk to that friend. She leaves messages, and I'm able to successfully interpret them and return her calls. That's really all I need in an answering machine, so I'm happy. Contrary to the experience of several epinionators, I find that the sound quality of this answerer is very good. I have a small business, so the machine has to work hard. Since acquiring the AT&T 1717, I have not lost a single message. I've had no problem understanding any message that's been left.

The AT&T 1717 is a tiny answering machine, so it takes up little desk space. It's extremely easy to use, whether recording an outgoing message or playing back incoming messages. Setting the day/time is easy as well. It's the kind of answering machine that your non-techie grandma would have no problem using. I don't use other features like any of the remote possibilities: room monitoring, turning the machine off/on, recording new messages. If I haven't made it clear, all I want is something that will answer the phone and record messages without mangling them or losing them.

The bottom line is that it is a very simple answering machine. It's easy to use and has acceptable sound quality. One can screen calls, selectively save or delete them, skip or replay messages, and attach a time/day stamp to messages. It's capable of recording up to 12 minutes (which would be an exhaustive amount of messages). Unless some one is unusually fussy or has special requirements, I'd recommend this as a solid little answering machine.


Recommend this product? Yes

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