Jan 23, 2007 (Updated Jan 24, 2007)
Review by zmgao
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:The appearance is very appealing, much better than most other cordless phones in the market
Cons:Seriously flawed phonebook and caller ID matching. Designers and software engineers dropped the ball.
The Bottom Line: They could have made it work but didn't. If you hate stupidity, don't buy it. It will bother you.
While returning this telephone model AT&T E5900B, I feel compelled to write this comment. Poor engineering has got to such sad point. I'm not sure if any of the engineers and managers responsible for designing this phone ever used it.
Recommend this product?
Blatant wrong design of a key feature: each handset has a separate phone directory which is completely separated from each other. There's absolutely no way you can transmit caller IDs from one handset to another. The base has its own ID list which cannot be edited in any way.
What's wrong with that? As a result of the flawed design, the phone book and the call ID of this phone are disastrously confusing. Because handsets pick up user names from its own phone directory, when a call comes in you'd have different displays of caller IDs on each handset and the base! And you can't do anything about it. How can you live with something like that in your home?
For a competent phone design, one would have expected that the registered handsets and the base share call ID entries in the phone book automatically. Even if that is too high an expectation, one would at least expect them to be able to do that manually. But this telephone shuts every reasonable possibility out. Worse yet, although the base does not even have an editable phone directory, yet it has its own caller ID list, adding to the mess.
Furthermore, if you are using VoIP services, often the caller ID is not recognized on the base but recognized on the handset if the phone directory of that handset happens to include the particular number of the caller. As a result, again you have confusing and self-contradictory displays on the base and the handset. So on and on.
And all these problems could have been easily solved by synchronizing the phone books among the handsets and the base. I don't think this is technically difficult to achieve. I think that the designers simply did not realize the problem.
That's why I don't believe the designers of this phone have ever used it. It's a shame they rush out all these new models every few months. What we need it a product that actually works and well thought out. Do a little bit of testing at least.
In addition to the above described problem, the overall user interface is not intuitive at all. I am usually able to quickly figure out how a fairly complicated telephone works without reading user manual. Not with this one. For example, there is no separate usual "go back" or "cancel" button. It is shared by the "OFF" button. If you have had experience of setting up a telephone, you will agree that the "go back" button is one of the most important ones because often you may have made a mistake and need to go back. This choice by AT&T is not understood, because intuitively you just don't press "OFF" button during set up. It just doesn't feel right, at least you would not have known that intuitively.
This review is for AT&T E5900B model. I can't speak for other models, but I would be surprised that the models in the similar series behave differently.
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