Nortel PowerTouch 390 Single Line Corded Phone Reviews

Nortel PowerTouch 390 Single Line Corded Phone

3 ratings (1 Epinions review)
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Apr 3, 2003 (Updated Apr 3, 2003)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:The wife paid for it.

Cons:Now she'll want to buy something else.

The Bottom Line: Call me.

"Honey we need a new phone."

After six months of wedded bliss, I'm now convinced the worst possible words a man can hear are "honey we need..."

Before I was married I lived in a hovel slightly smaller than a shoebox, which was optimistically called a one-bedroom apartment by the building manager. I naturally had a phone, a cordless model that seemed sufficient for my needs. I'd had several other phones before eventually settling on this one. At one time I even had two one for each outlet in the apartment before realising that was redundant.

I could only talk on one at a time and the cordless one meant I could move from room to room if I so desired to do so. Actually that translates into the phone's base unit being buried under a pile of dirty laundry in the bedroom, while the handset was lost somewhere under a pile of junk in the living room.

It's all irrelevant anyway as the only time the phone ever seems to ring is when I was in that one room in the place that didn't have a phone jack in it. Not that it would have mattered, as I was usually otherwise occupied with other tasks while in there.

While that seemed good enough while I was a swinging single, that's no longer the case. No sooner had we returned from the honeymoon than we moved into a slighter larger hovel that is actually bigger than a shoebox. It's along the size of a cardboard carton usually used to ship small appliances. This one has two bedrooms and naturally that meant yet more phone jacks. Three in total, at least as far as I've been able to discover.

The better half pointed out that we needed another phone. Actually we probably needed two, including one to replace my venerable cordless model. It is rather old.

In fact it turns out it's no longer made, and replacement parts and batteries and such are no longer manufactured for it. When I brought it in to the local Bell store the staff stared at it like it was long lost ancient artefact.

We compromised and decided to get one more phone. My initial suggestion was to go and get one from the dollar electronic stores that line Yonge Street. There are bins full of cheap phones there for under $10.00. Nope we ended up going to some high-end discount electronic store in the suburbs and wasting half of my precious Saturday.

The phone we got with all its bells and whistles and $30.00 on sale price tag was almost the same as the cheapie one in the bin. It worked about as well as one of those too as we discovered soon after. The warranty it also seems expires the second after the minimum wage sales clerk jams it into the bag and grabs your signed credit card slip with his pudgy digits.

Oh well we had two phones that worked, almost, and three jacks to plug them into, so I though that was the end of that. Hey It's not like we get a lot of calls anyway. Well I don't.

Elena does though. That's why she started on the phone campaign a couple of weeks ago.

Now I was shopped out to be honest. My VISA card is still recovering from the IKEA onslaught of the past couple of months, which has seen us acquire three new rooms full of furniture. Incidentally that involved the tossing out of two rooms worth of my old stuff to make room for it. However she said she would get the phone. That made sense, as she was the one who wanted it.

Elena was convinced; ok obsessed is a better word, about a particular model of phone that she wanted. She had a certain model in her old apartment that now belonged to her sister. She looked all over but it turns out that it, the Vista 350 is no longer made.

My suggestion to try the cheapie bins was met with an invitation to spend the night on the couch. While it was a new couch, and I'd bought it so it was nice to find out what it was like to sleep on.

Anyway she finally settled on the nearest thing on the market to the one she wanted, the Vista 390. Hey you were wondering up until now why I written 700 odd words in this category?

She picked it up at the local phone store and it was waiting on the dining room table (yes bought recently at IKEA) for we when I came home from work. I'm the man of the house, and of course barely passed shop in high school some twenty-five years ago, so naturally I get to put it together.

The Vista 390 is rather easy to assemble and program. I of course used the standard guy method, which involves unwrapping everything and tossing the instructions away without looking at them. Then you go and grab your toolbox and a six pack and hope that you'll need to use power tools.

Sorry guys everything snaps together with this one. However you have the option to mount it on the table with a stand, or on a wall. The later will probably require the use of a drill so all is not lost for you Bob Villa wannabees.

Once put together I began to program and test it. Nothing, the big LED display screen didn't even light up although we did have dial tone. Ok obviously it was defective so back to the shop with it. I took everything apart and crammed it back into the box. Then I went and retrieved the instructions from the garbage and tossed them into the box too.

Elena took it back to the store the next day. Poor girl that's two lunches in a row she skipped. Naturally when the smarmy clerk there tested it, the phone worked fine. So back it came that evening for round two.

Process of elimination determined that if the phone worked, and the phone jack worked then the electrical outlet didn't. Sure enough and one trip to the corner store for an overpriced extension cord (the dollar bin stores were closed) and we were back to the testing and programming stage.

This turned into a fun little game as I first called my cell phone from the new phone and then called the new phone from the cell, then called the cell again just to double check. I could have played that all night, but then I'm easily amused.

Elena of course is not and soon took over the programming. The Vista 390 is full of features most of them idiot proof, which was good as the instructions were now at the bottom of the garbage bag and the supper leftovers were on top of them.

You of course can adjust the ringer, both type of ring and volume. Options include a tiny little purring which is guaranteed not to be heard even if you're hovering over the phone. That can come in handy along the lines of "sorry honey I didn't hear it..."

At the other end is a piercing siren that coupled with a 3:00 AM incoming call will have you bolting upright in bed thinking the Yanks finally dropped the big and in the wrong place as usual.

There is an oversized LED screen that displays the features and the number/name being called or conversely where the call is coming from. Unlike some smaller phones this one is actually big enough to display all the pertinent details, like the full name. Gone are the days of trying to figure out who "CRT" or "WVS.SM" is and whether we should be picking up or ignoring it.

The directory holds some 200 names and numbers plus the 100 that can be temporarily stored in the caller’s section. For the literarily challenged there are little pictures of a phone and a phone book so you can know which is which.

Now on all my earlier phones the memory/directory was usually 10 or so names maximum. I pointed out that this was more than sufficient for our needs. "Honey we don't even know a hundred people."

Well it turns out I'm wrong. After a merry evening with her phone book the damn directory is almost full. I seriously doubt we'll ever need to phone half the peoples whose names and numbers are recorded more than once a decade, but it's nice to know we’re prepared for when we have to.

There are of course all sorts of other features, or more correctly the capability of having all those extra features that are available from the phone company added to our bill, and yeah we have. Call display, call waiting, caller ID, last call redial, conference caller ad infinitum.

The wife claims that I can do Internet banking with it if I want to. I’ll take here word on that. I’m one of the techno Amish remember. I have a hard enough time doing my Internet banking on my PC. I only resrot to that because tellers are extinct.

It can also be used to check local movie listings according to her. I can’t understand why though. When I want to see what’s playing I grab the daily paper and flip to the entertainment section. Hey it’s worked for me for over four decades so why should I change it now.

Supposedly I can also make airline reservations too. I’ll pass on that option though. The last thing I want is my travel agenct showing up at my door, bitter and unemployed. It can also be used for stock quotes, but again I’ll pass. Check the manufacturers name, Nortel. Anybody remember how their stocks been doing lately.

It even has a speakerphone option. I personally think if we ever start entertaining again then this might come in handy. Otherwise I don't see much need for it.

Then again I could go sit on the new couch (surprisingly not from IKEA) at the other end of the room with my cell phone and see if the wife's into a little phone sex while she’s setting the dinner table. She could even use the mute option if she’s not in the mood. Naah that's not gonna happen.

Like a lot of other things in the apartment the new phone has a lot of options, bells and whistles, and assorted other shiny gadgets that will never get used. It does however look impressive, with all its flashing lights and buttons. Someday I might even sit down and figure out what half of them do.

It's big too. It takes up half the end table (IKEA again, part of a set) it sits on. I've even heard that the other two phones, banished to the bedroom and den/guest bedroom, are jealous. While you know how siblings can get with new arrivals. They've begun to show their displeasure by not ringing, or flashing, or generally not working.

I spend a lot of time in those two rooms now. It's quiet in there.

Incidentally I've finally solved that little problem of the one little room without a phone jack. I've taken to leaving the cell phone the better half fostered upon me in there to charge the battery. Now there is no place where I can't be reached.

Brand:Nortel Cost(on sale:$175.00 Cdn (+ tax this is Canada)
Caller ID:Yes
Display/Type:LCD display
Handset Depth:7in
Handset Height:4.5 in
Handset Weight:32 oz
Handset Width:4.5 in
Manufacturer:Nortel Network
Manufacturer Part Number:A0780622.A0780631390
Multiline Operation Capability:Single-line operation
Product Line:Nortel Power Touch
Service & Support/Type:1 year warranty
Telephone/Dialer Type:Keypad
Telephone/Header Features:W/caller ID
Telephone/Type:Corded phone
Voice Mail Capability:Yes
Assembly Instructions:Yes but not really needed
Power tools needed:Not likely
Extra parts left over after assembly:Probably
Lots and Lots of shiny lights and buttons:Yes
Toilet and Toilet Paper:No
Continental Breakfast:No

Recommend this product? Yes

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