The iDect X1 is one of those very welcome products that completely belies its price with a sleek and sexy design, and enough functionality to make you wonder if the spotty teen who served you in Argos had misread the price when you laid down your £30. But no, it appears that quite simply, the X1 is a bargain.
Black as night and cut using a steel rule, we pulled it from the packaging and were immediately struck by how much smaller it was than we were expecting. Granted, the circular base station is a little too ‘dinner plate’ for our tastes, but the phone is actually rather lovely. The keypad layout is simple and clean and the big navigational bars are a breeze to use, even for the chunkiest digits.
There’s no colour screen, just a two-tone white-on-black display; no polyphonic ringtones but six monophonic alerts; and no text, alarm or fancy Bluetooth apps. But you do get a 50-contact telephone book, 20-call log and 10-number redial, speakerphone, clock, key lock, call transfer, caller ID and iSound – the surprisingly effective technology that makes call quality simply jaw-dropping considering the price.
The X1 lacks many of the features of other DECT phones in this test, but then it comes in at a far more pocket-friendly price. If you’re looking for a phone purely and simply to make calls with, in our humble opinion you won’t do much better for the price, and likely quite a few pounds more.
Panasonic’s catchily named KX-TCD820 is a quirky looking beast. While Panasonic should be commended for its unique and innovative styling efforts we’re not quite sure it’s pulled it off here, thanks to a curious mix of angles and curves, metallic silver plastic body, soft backlit green keypad, and a distinctly odd overall design. It may well appeal to the lovers of the modernist movement, but for us trad types it’s all a little too severe.
Beyond the funny looks, though, Panasonic has succeeded in crafting an intelligent and simple-to-use DECT phone that echoes well enough the functionality of the common or average mobile. Included in the package we get a decent if not class-leading 15-minute digital answerphone - incorporated into the base unit as per the norm - caller ID, SMS, EMS, 50-number call log, a punchy 1.8in, 65,536-colour screen that was one of the best we tested, intercom functionality, and, handily, an IrDA interface.
The latter enables you to copy data like the phonebook info on your mobile direct to the Panny using infrared – no need for individual inputting of numbers, which is always a pain. And with three 200-name and number phonebooks built in, the TCD820 should be able to handle all your personal and business contacts with room to spare.
The included USB port offers up even more room for updating and customising. Hook it up to a PC and you can download ringtones and images as screensavers or attach them to caller IDs for some serious mobile-style personalisation, plus you can update your contacts direct from Outlook. Call quality is faultless and with five additional handsets able to run from the base-station, versatility is the key word for the very capable KX-TCD820.
Best for home and business
I have an iDECT X1 and find it to be excellent except that I am no longer able to display caller ID on incoming calls received via BT homehub,
I'm sure it worked initially but alas no longer.
Any suggestions apart from talk to BT who cannot communicate
Why review the Philips VoIP321 and no the VoIP841
You reviewed the Philips VoIP321 and criticised it because you needed to plug it into a computer that needed to be on in order to do Skype/VoIP calls. Would it not have been easier instead to review the VoIP841 which is very siimilar, but works without needing to be plugged into a computer?
Me too! (DECT interoperability)
I'm also very curious about this DECT interoperability business, and various other features that came 'for free' with good ol' analogue telephones.
In the shop where I bought my AEG phones (a 2 handset... set) I asked the sixteen year old 'salesman' about interoperability and he looked as if his boss had asked him whether loyalty was more important than obedience.
When he eventually came out of his trance he answered "er... no I don't think they be used together" in a fairly unconvincing way.
I've learned to disregard such tech 'know-how' from teenage staff at electronics retail outlets ever since one of them assured me that the MiniDisc was not digital but an analogue recording format - 'like a cassette'.
But... but... what's the deal. Does 'DECT' imply anything useful for consumers or is it just hot air? Can I buy some more DECT handsets from another manufacturer which will work with my existing DECT phones? Who can answer?
I also discovered that the handsets can have some numbers programmed into them. Great! Except you have to program handset A and handset B independently. No way of sharing the digital telephone book between handsets (pretty stupid). Watch out for that one.
Oh! One more point: When we used to have two analogue phones in our flat, we could use both phones simultaneously - I mean, both me and my girlfriend could speak to 'the caller' or 'callee' at the same time. (I believe this was called a 'Party Line' in the old days).
I naturally expected my DECT phones would offer the same functionality, but noooo.. Far too exotic. I really miss that sometimes when talking to relatives from abroad. Just a warning to you folks out there. This feature is not mentioned in the Reg review either.
How hard can it be?
Siemens Gigaset experience
I'm a very happy "work from home" employee of a "coffee" brewing, Hardware and OS selling IT company ... ;-)
3 weeks ago I bought this Siemens set and am very happy with it. Reception is brilliant, sound clarity both ways is impressive and the thing last a good while.
I used it constantly while in conference calls and indeed would like to "do the dishes" or "visit the dunny" while in a call ...
But ... the darn thing does not have a MUTE function !
Only serious drawback of this phone.
Siemens have got a DECT on the market with an ethernet port and a SIP client built in. Would have been a good one to review as it can be used with decent VoIP services like Sipgate and voip.co.uk, and doesn't require a PC to be on in order to use it. It's also available at a sensible price.