Inexpensive, durable, long-lasting telephone.
Written: Jun 26, 2006 (Updated Jul 7, 2006)
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Good clarity, modest range, simple interface, comfortable receiver, small footprint for base/charger.
Cons:"Messages Waiting" obscures clock when messages are present.
The Bottom Line: It does what it's meant to do, is easy to operate, and stands up to the use I put it through. Nothing special - it just works.
I purchased this telephone several years ago in college after my VTech 900Mhz phone (of a model I don't recall) died.
I was impressed with the relatively small footprint of the base, non-hinged antenna (the 900Mhz one had a hinged antenna on the base which was annoying), good clarity, and modest range (certainly more than adequate for going about one's business in college).
This phone has survived various use and abuse over the years, yet has survived not only unscathed, but undamaged. Considering how hard I can be on electronics (most cell phones don't last a year), I've been extremely impressed.
The phone has some desirable features, which I'll enumerate below:
Caller ID - Like most modern telephones, this phone supports Caller ID, including Caller ID-on-Call Waiting, so you can tell who's calling you when you're already on the phone.
Date/Time - Most phone companies, including SBC and Vonage, will send the date and time with each call. This phone has a built-in clock that will be adjusted to the proper time with each incoming call (over a period of weeks without any incoming calls to re-sync it, it may be slightly off, but that hasn't been an issue).
Phone Directory - I believe the phone can store a directory of 50 entries, but I haven't yet filled it with more than 15 or so. Accessing the directory and the other options on the phone is quite simple.
Voicemail Compatible - Assuming the phone company sends the right signal (Vonage does, at least), a small blinking light will display on the base, and the handset will display "MESSAGES WAITING" instead of the clock when a voicemail is ready for pick-up. This saves time, as one need not call the voicemail service if there isn't a message pending.
The battery is rather small and has a capacity of 400mAh, meaning it'll last about two hours of talking between charges in my experience. As the battery ages, it lasts less and less between charges (this is common for all rechargeable batteries). A RadioShack 23-197 battery, available for about $10, holds 350mAh, and replaces the VTech one when the original one no longer holds a charge.
Energizer ER-P107 batteries are also available, hold 600mAh (higher capacity), and are compatible. I recently ordered one from Batteries.com. The battery is advertised as one of Energizer's "generic cordless phone batteries", and has two separate power leads rather than a single matched plug. Attaching this battery is simple, though the black cord is almost too short (it fits, but I wonder if the variation between identical batteries would cause it to be too short on other ones). The new battery charges just fine, and talk time is noticeably improved over the RadioShack battery.
I've been able to make and receive calls with perfect clarity through three hardwood floors in a large house. Obviously any cordless phone will be affected by objects in the line-of-sight between the base and handset, and this phone is no exception. Substantial obstacles like refrigerators, large pieces of steel (a stove, exhaust hood, etc.) cut back working range to a certain degree.
Longer range calls (through two hardwood floors to a mailbox maybe 75 yards away) are possible, but static is definitely present. Take into consideration the fact that the base is sitting on top of an aluminum PowerMac G5, sitting right next to a steel PC case, in a room filled with electronics.
While not an "armored" phone for heavy-duty use, this phone has survived years of faithful service with only minor and superficial wear. Some of the chrome-looking plastic on the earpiece is wearing off, and there are some scratches on the body of the handset. I sometimes gnaw on the antenna (don't ask, it's just one of those weird habits like biting pens), so there's some teeth marks on the antenna, but it still works fine.
While I am a frugal man, I seriously consider replacing exhausted rechargeable batteries on many electronics, as replacement phones (such a GE 5.8Ghz cordless) are available for $18 or so at the local Sears. Still, I can get a high-quality replacement battery for about $10 delivered to my door from an online vendor, and continue to use the same phone. Why would I throw out a perfectly good, working phone when all it needs is a new battery?
Unlike other reviewers, I seem to have received a very good VTech phone, and have been quite satisfied with it. While your mileage may vary, I've found it to be a durable, long-lasting, and reliable telephone and strongly recommend it to anyone looking for such a phone.
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