Pros: User friendly, good range, looks nice, lots of features, expandable
Cons: Expensive! Poor battery life. See review for others.
We've had an older model Panasonic cordless phone for years, and decided to upgrade to a 5.8GHz to hopefully have enough range to reach our guest cabin which is about 800 feet away from our main house. The cabin is down a rather steep grade though, with lots of trees in the way, so I didn't hold out much hope. But the Panasonic KX-TG5100M also had the expandable feature, where you can add up to eight handsets, including the base handset. We needed an extension in our studio, and the garage, and hopefully the guest cabin, so this sounded like a nice feature. And we needed the answering system. In the cart it went, at a whopping $179.95. Plus we got one additional handset for $89.99. (Only one handset comes with this phone.) This was the most expensive phone at the time offered at Staples.
~ Product Description
Here are some of the main features of the Panasonic KX-TG5100M Cordless Phone:
~ 5.8Ghz Digital Technology
~ Expandable up to 8 Cordless Handset Stations
~ All Digital Answering System with 3 Mail Boxes
~ Call Waiting, Caller ID on Base and Cordless Handset(s)
~ Voice Menu and Time/Day Stamp
~ Flash Memory Message Backup
~ Memo Recording
~ Slow Talk Message Playback
~ 50-Station Caller ID Memory and Dialer
~ 50-Station Phone Book and Dialer
~ Dual Keypads and Digital Speakerphone on Base
~ Handset Speakerphone Capability
~ Wireless Network Friendly
~ Pulse or Tone Dialing Capability
~ Room Monitor
~ Selectable Ringtone (6 patterns)
~ Headset Jack and Belt Clip Included
The base unit and handset have an attractive, platinum-brushed stainless steel look. The base unit has two antennas, and its footprint is about 10" x 6". A wall mount adaptor is also included, should a wall mount work better for your situation.
~ So in Reality, How Well Does this Work?
Initial setup, according to my husband, was quite easy and rather intuitive. There is a quick set-up guide included in the manual. He had it ready to go in no time, and the answering message recorded. Of course the battery needs to charge for about 6 hours before using. So we let it charge overnight.
The next day we took the Panasonic KX-TG5100M for a spin, to see if the 5.8Ghz was powerful enough to reach our guest cabin. We used the handsets as an intercom, he at the main house and me walking down to the cabin. Nope - didn't work. But it's not the phone's fault. The cabin is down in a hole with hills, rocks and trees in the way. Oh well.
We can get good range though with a straight shot and not much in the way. Certainly enough for a handset station in the garage, and the studio.
There are six different ring patterns to choose from, all pretty much a standard type ring, but with different tones. No musical or novelty type rings. There is a volume control for the ringer, and also for the receiver/speaker.
I've found the comfort of the ear area not that great. When I tried it in the store it felt better than many other models, but long conversations become uncomfortable to my ear. The handset feels pretty good in my hand, and I don't find that I accidentally press buttons, which happened sometimes with our old Panasonic. If you hold the phone against your shoulder squeezed to your ear, you may get a bleep from accidentally pressing a button though.
The display on the handset and base unit are backlit when in use. When not in use it's hard to read.
The sound quality of the handset and message recording is decent, but nothing to get excited about.
Here are some things I like about this phone:
Speaker phone capability on the handset and base unit. I do use this many times.
There is a handy navigator key, the round button in the middle, which is easy and intuitive to use.
I do like the expandable feature for extra handsets.
You can copy all or part of the phone book on one handset to other handsets or the base.
Here are things I don't like about this phone:
You can't turn off the mailbox feature. We only use one mailbox. This means we have to press the Mailbox 1 button every time to hear a message.
Also, if you answer a call with the handset, the display will indicate "received call" on the base unit display. Of vice versa, if you answer on the base unit, the handset display will indicate "received call." Which means you have to clear both units. And since we have an additional handset added on, that one ALSO indicates received calls for the other two units, which means THAT needs to be cleared too. This is a royal pain in the rear! If you don't clear them, you won't know if you've had any new calls, or at least calls where someone didn't leave a message.
The batteries need to be charged OFTEN, I assume because of the more powerful 5.8GHz. But I mean like once a week. And we don't talk that much on the phone. You do need to let the battery completely discharge before recharging, because they are NiCd and have memory. The phone will beep when it needs to be recharged. Our old phone lasted WAY longer before it needed to be recharged, two weeks at least. Also, it's not recommended that you keep the handset on the charger, as this will drain it even faster.
~ Final Thoughts
For such an expensive phone, I'm not that impressed. I wish the battery lasted longer. The sound quality is acceptable, but nothing more. It's not that comfortable on your ear. You need to clear received calls from the base unit, and all handsets, which can get tedious if you've expanded to several handsets. I don't think it's worth the money.