Pros: Excellent Indoor Cell Reception, Full Featured
Cons: Minor Command Navigation Issues, Reliant Command Numbers, Not Quite Perfected...Yet
Technology has emerged as perhaps the single most facet of our society that’s revolutionized business, communication and recreation; there is no getting away from it. As a result, the world has become a vastly smaller place where there are scant few corners to hide. While we have enjoyed and prospered from the fruit of these technological advances, there many who long for the anonymity of days past when we weren’t so available to anyone who could dial your cell phone. Certainly, you can opt out but I dare say you’ll soon find your employer, spouse or even children will, present your best excuse to not be without one. I’d love to have a quarter for every person I see with a cell phone planted to the side of their head in my day to day.
While cell phones are instrumental in our lives, there are limitations. Granted, you can call anyone, anywhere however, staying connected can be an issue to many whose geographical proximity to towers or structural obstructions make it difficult to stay connected. Our home is one of those places where we often find our cell calls dropping unexpectedly. We’ve tried a host of phones/ smartphones to no avail. Our home has two steel beams that support a large roof span, compounded by masonry which makes for tricky cell use. So, imagine my curiosity when, at a local, warehouse store I came upon the Panasonic KXTG 155. The capability to send and receive cell calls by linking into this land line system appeared a viable solution to poor cell reception we were experiencing indoors. That the Panasonic KXTG 155 can be used as both a land line home phone system or simply a dedicated cell system, made it a good enough reason to take a hard look at this phone as we have been contemplating dropping our land line.
The latest of the 7600 series, the Panasonic KXTG 155 SK, modeled after the 7641, expands on features and call clarity from its predecessors creating a phone system that is more hit than miss. While the 7600 series has been on the market a while, the Panasonic KXTG 155 SK is the result of the 7600 series evolution offering more value for less money.
Out of the Box:
The Panasonic KXTG 155 comes with a base station; five handsets belt clips, cords, and 4 cradles along with 10 AAA-MH 1.2V rechargeable batteries along with a 99 page manual. This all comes packed into a freakishly large box, a product of marketing not eco- consciousness, I would assume to give you the impression of something grand. When it’s all said and done it’s the product not the packaging that will ultimately matter; I would rather see Panasonic pass down the savings in shipping costs to the consumer. That said; let’s explore the Panasonic KXTG 155
Cell Phone Integration:
What makes this phone unlike any other I have come upon is the capability to link up to two cell phones to your home’s hard wired phone system and communicate with that base via Bluetooth, for both incoming and outgoing calls alongside your land line calls or as a strictly dedicated Bluetooth cell system You’re restricted to two Bluetooth devices which can also include a headset; Though the manual recommends you be within 3.3 ft., you can realistically wander 25-30 feet, admittedly with less than stellar reception.
Establishing the cell link requires you register each cell to the base with a PIN. After setting your phone in discoverable mode, it will ask for a selected PIN to link to your cell. The utilization of a command number is essential in registering your phone, a process that takes a minute or so, requiring the manual as the process isn’t intuitive.
Once registered, the Panasonic KXTG 155 assigns cell#1 and #2 designations to either cell. Incoming cell calls to your hard line are simply displayed via caller id or with the appointed numerical designation requiring you pick up the call as any other. Calling out is a bit more involved requiring you either select a contact from your list or dial a number; both processes require you pick your outgoing call mode then elect the call function. I can see room for improvement by streamlining call selection process. The Panasonic KXTG 155 recognizes and confirms your cell is in range by lighting up cell1 or 2 designation in green from red, indicating the phone is out of range. It would appear that if the KXTG155 can recognize your cell is in-system you can do away with the added steps of initiating your call.
Incorporating enhanced error correction by a claimed 80x, transmission and range are greatly improved through a technology Panasonic hangs the Dect 6.0 Plus with Range Boost moniker, citing a 20% improvement on call clarity in open spaces compared to the previous Dect 6.0 version.. It’s further claimed that the 1.9 GHz frequency will interact autonomously with your routers and other household digital devices a necessity in today’s digital home.
Reception and transmission are exceptional, a leaps and bounds improvement over my previous Panasonic unit that performed flawlessly until it simply wore out. I found that I could actually use the landline effectively throughout the house without degeneration of signal on both land and cell calls including my basement a notorious dead zone. Placement of the base unit in a location where your cell can establish a good Bluetooth connection will make for better reception and transmission clarity. I experimented with this a bit and decided on a central location in my home, that further improved call performance. That I could hang onto a call anywhere in my house and utilize the phones features confirmed I was onto something with the KXTG 155.
Points of Interest
Power Backup is a rather interesting feature on the Panasonic KXTG 155 allowing the capability to power the base unit from any of the charged handsets for up to 2 hours for each handset that carries sufficient charge during a power outage. While we really don’t suffer many power failures, I can see this as a real benefit for those who do; granted ancillary features are limited in this mode, however, you will have the ability to send and receive calls from any other charged handset. In addition, power consumption on the Panasonic KXTG 155 can be set to Eco mode, which essentially reduces unwarranted transmission resources when a handset is located near the base unit further conserving battery life, a feature that you can utilize anytime to extend battery life.
Call Block has been a feature on many phones for many years but at no time in recent memory have I utilized it more to fend off calls from international telemarketing firms, many with less than honorable intentions; the blocking feature is available to Caller ID subscribers.
Call Sharing facilitates up to three callers joining a cell call, yet another feature where a Bluetooth system like the Panasonic KXTG 155 shines, particularly in a small office setting or simply conferencing with friends and family.
Phone book access to contact numbers are separated into one of three categories, Home, Cell 1 and Cell 2. The phonebook is common in that anyone can access your telephone call list; however, you can quickly get you your intended entry quickly once your cell number is selected. There is no further capability to add or customize folders beyond the three groups, perhaps a feature Panasonic could consider.
Silent Mode provides a programmable suspension of the phones ring, allowing the ringer to sleep when you do and resume at a time determined by you. I don’t see this as a feature I would ever use as I need to be available for emergencies.
Alarm is yet another function many will appreciate as cellphones become our chosen timepiece. The fact that I can reduce some of the clutter on our night table by losing an alarm clock is not lost on me and no, there isn’t a snooze function.
Mute is activated via multi-function soft touch key located above the navigation ring and visible only after you are engaged in a call. Mute as well as most features available on the Panasonic KXTG 155 can be utilized on both cell and landline mode.
Talking Caller ID out of the box revealed an alarming choir of base and handsets all revealing your caller in unison, taking us all by surprise after receiving our first call. You can select which handsets and/or bases announce your caller or not. Either base or handset announcement is loud enough to be heard throughout my home. You can assign numbers to your handsets and further select which receive calls with or without call announcement.
Answering System capacity is limited to 18 minutes, nothing extraordinary there, yet functional. Access is remotely available on the handset as are any of the other features aside from Voice Memo, an audio post it pad of sorts, capable of three minute messages. You also have the capability to remotely listen to your calls including a toll saver feature.
Features Worth mentioning:
Adjustable display Contrast,
Extra-large display and readout
Wall Mountable w/ reversible handset mounting
What I don’t like:
While I appreciate the almost common sense approach the Panasonic KXTG 155 takes with menu navigation, I’m a bit puzzled at the necessity of scrolling to the initial settings menu to put a call on hold. Panasonic could have treated it like they do the Mute function via a multi-function button that only offers it as an option during a call, a one step process opposed to the two-step process to initiate a hold on a call. The Panasonic KXTG 155 commands are menu driven utilizing over 62 different command numbers that are essential for the simplest of tasks, like setting an alarm. The manual has them all listed conveniently making it essential to either keep a hard copy or PDF of the manual handy for future reference.
The one annoying shortfall is that you have to be keenly aware that your cell volume is turned up, leaving you to control call volume on KXTG155 generated cell calls, the only time you may experience transmission issues. This eliminates turning down cell ringers resulting g in both ringers going off, an unsettling annoyance.
What I Do like:
I cannot truly express the frustration of having had to go near a window or door to pick up or make or maintain a cell call in my home. I like to walk around when I use a phone an exercise that was sharply curtailed as I had to find a sweet spot and stand there, especially on business related calls. The Panasonic KXTG 155 has untethered me as I walk about freely, not having dropped a single cell call!
Reception is exemplary on both ends of the call. In fact, I find I often turn the volume down on the Panasonic when receiving cell calls, a minor inconvenience, thankfully, in the interest of great reception and transmission.
The fact that we can easily recognize whose cell is ringing by the ring tone is a strong feature that I hadn’t expected, but made sense. Along with Talking Caller ID, you’re always aware of who is calling.
Panasonic chose to make navigation around the Panasonic KXTG 155 a rather simple process, eliminating the multiple tiers that make some electronics more bothersome than not. That commands are so integral in the process are understandable but I would look for the company to make the process a bit more intuitive as many consumers don’t have the patience or desire to study manuals.
The Panasonic KXTG 155 accomplished what I hoped it would, we now can keep maintain a cell connection in our home without the aggravation associated with a dropped calls. Is it perfect, not yet, but it certainly is headed in the right direction. All things considered, for $129.00 street price, the Panasonic KXTG 155 is a landline/cell link phone system that should be on your short list if you’re experiencing frequent cell call failure indoors.