No! Don't hang up on me!

Oct 14, 2011 (Updated Oct 14, 2011)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Inexpensive...at least until the battery pack dies.

Cons:Dropped calls, lack of features.

The Bottom Line: More interference and dropped calls than my cell phone.


After running out of minutes numerous times we decided we needed more daytime minutes than our cell phone plan could accommodate.  We found it more cost effective to go old school and get a home phone. We haven't had a land line phone in our home for over a decade so we were just looking for a basic phone that rings. 

We chose a very inexpensive set just to get the job done. The Uniden D1660-2 was only $35. It comes with a base that plugs into the telephone line with a handset and also an additional headset and charger that does not get plugged into the telephone line (basically 2 phones, 1 line).  Additional handsets can be purchased separately. 

Phone features

- Back light on display and keypad  
- Display reading of phone number and name associated with it
- Phone book with up to 100 names/numbers
- Caller ID with 50 stored names/numbers
- Personal ring tones
- Speakerphone
- Intercom between 2 handsets 
- Increase/decrease ringer or turn ringer off
- Increase/decrease volume of call
- Message/mute button (to access voice mail service or to ignore a call)
- Call waiting - Shows date and time on display
- Digital DECT 6.0 for superior clarity, security and range (cough)
- Explandable up to 12 handsets using 1 phone jack
- Compatible with Uniden DRX100 range extender

Battery

The phone comes with a NiMH rechargeable battery pack for each of the handsets. The instructions say to charge the handsets for 15-20 hours before using them. Unfortunately, the life of the battery pack, according to the instructions, is only about a year. This isn't an everyday rechargeable battery so a replacement pack will need to be ordered from the manufacturer for $18 each. When one goes, the other will soon follow I'm sure. It seems like a disposable phone because it's cheaper to buy a new phone rather than replace the batteries.  

The phone does have an eco power save mode and has the energy star rating.  The display has a visual of how much battery life is left.  I have been pleased with the battery life but we do place the handsets on the chargers each night.  The handset should last on standby for 7 days.       

Who is calling?  

Should I answer the phone or let someone else get it.  Ring tones can be assigned to phone numbers to distinguish who is calling without looking at the caller id.  The phone also displays caller ID information when available assuming the telephone provider has enabled the feature.    

One of the features of the phone is being able to answer the phone by pushing any of the 12 buttons on the keypad.  That's kind of nice under pressure.  The keypad is somewhat color coded with the numbers under a clear button (glows so you can see them better), and the features are under black buttons.  The Talk is in green, and End is in red.  The spacing of the buttons is wide enough that one will not be pressed accidentally and the numbers and words are large enough that I don't need to put glasses on to make a call.       
The phone does not come with a built in answering machine, but an answering machine can be purchased separately.  it does have the features for using an answering machine such as the message light and the message retrieval button.  Even without an answering machine the phone does save the numbers of the last 50 calls. 

It has a modern day dinner bell.  One of the cool features is the intercom.  When the phone is not in use one handset can page the other one and the handsets can be used as an intercom to talk to each other.  My kids really like this.  If a call comes in while your playing around the phone defaults to the ringing line.  

My thoughts

Sometimes electronics require a training course to operate.  This phone does not have any unneeded features in this model and the phone is very easy to set up and use.  

The phone is inexpensive and sometimes seems cheap.  The handset has a very flimsy feel to it and I have dropped it out of my hand on several occasions while using it.  I also don't like how the ear speaker projects the conversation so others around can hear every word without it being on speaker phone.

After having this a short while I realized I really needed an answering machine because it is confusing for the caller.  The caller does not know if they have reached the correct number and they can't leave a message.  I found that it costs about the same to buy a freestanding answering machine as it does to purchase a phone that has one included. 

I didn't hear buzzing or static in the phone so I thought the phones would be fine.  The voice quality of the caller always sounded like they were long distance even if they were just across the street but it was consistent each time and didn't bother me.  The problem I had happens throughout the conversation where sometimes I could not make out words that were said.  I found myself asking people to repeat what they said a lot because I could not hear all of the words in their sentence.  What was even worse was not being able to hear it the second time either.  The ability to hear the person on the other end did not get any better standing in the same room as the base or even next to the base.  One room over and I lost reception completely.  I suppose the voice quality was okay for those on the other side as I had no complaints or requests to repeat.  My mom said she didn't notice that I was on a different phone.  Many times, many many times, my phone dropped and the callers all indicated it was from my line.      

This allegedly has some special technology called the DECT 6.0 (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications) but it didn't impress me at all.  It doesn’t say anywhere in the instructions how far or close it should be placed to the base.  I kept moving it closer and closer until it was pointless to have a second handset. I became frustrated with how many calls were dropping.  Sometimes I would get disconnected 3 times in one conversation.  I certainly wouldn't recommend it for a home office with clients.  It seems the location of where the base unit is also has to do with the reception and if the calls drop or not.  Our home is full of electronics and the interference was too much.  Calls were dropped even when I stood in front of the base.  If the handset is too far from the base, it won't even ring.  A range extender can be purchased separately for $35 to increase the range between the base phone and the accessory handset.  I can throw something between the base and the and the accessory charger so I'm not sure exactly how close they need to be.  I purchased another brand phone that had the same type of base and second accessory handset and placed them in the same location as the Uniden was set up and I didn't have the drop off problem with the Panasonic brand so I concluded it was the phone and not the location.  

Overall


Ultimately we ended up getting a different phone because we found we really did need the extra features that similar phones have and I couldn't take any more dropped calls.  I'm glad I upgraded to a different phone because I like our replacement a lot better.  


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