Jacob Jensen T-6
Jacob Jensen was the former head of design for the fashionistas at Bang & Olufsen, who’s BeoCom 2 is checked out elsewhere in this almighty group test. The T-6 represents Jensen’s own stylistic vision and is testimony to his love of form and function in equal measure, but where the BeoCom is all about extravagance and flair, the T-6 is measured, simple and yet still cool in a consciously retro way.
The design and build are unsurprisingly excellent, the plastic and aluminium T-6 sitting comfortably in the hand with its convex back and concave face and those long, thin keys easily accessible yet unobtrusive. There's no colour screen on the T-6, but the phone’s black/red LCD and backlit keypad are brilliantly sinister. The wall-mountable base unit also has its own LCD, simplified keypad and speakerphone so you can answer calls without having to lift the handset. Attached to the wall it looks like something far more grandiose and important than a DECT phone, but we figure that was the point.
The weight and strength of design is carried effortlessly into the T-6’s call quality, which was without fault, crystal clear and crackle free, even on the one international call we deigned a necessary test. Navigating the menu system was equally successful, but with only a 40-contact telephone book, 30-number call log, message waiting and four quick dial SOS numbers it should be easy. Because when you look at the not inconsiderable price of the T-6, its features list seems to be pretty thin in comparison to, well, every other phone in the test, including the absolute budget models. As a device for calling people and as a style talking point in your home, the T-6 is an elegant if expensive solution, but for anyone with a technology bent, it will leave you cold.
Siemens Gigaset S455 Twin
The second entry from Siemens into the test arrives in the sleek and faux-titanium guise of the S455 Twin, a double dose of DECT phone action that has a couple of family friendly features up its sleeve.
That sturdy looking silver grey livery is not purely for looks though, because the S455 is designed to withstand the rigours of modern family living – as in kids chucking it around and generally abusing the heck out of, or the missus taking it into the garden and accidentally burying it under the begonias. In our pizza- and beer-oriented trial of destruction it withstood the best of what we could drunkenly throw at it with aplomb. And still worked afterwards.
Alongside that build quality, the S455 offers up a speakerphone function that easily doubles up as a baby monitor thanks to the secondary handset and base, handy for leaving the sprogs unattended while you service other needs. Family stuff aside, the Siemens features a swathe of ubiquitous add-ons for integrating its functionality as much as possible into your main-use mobile phone. Colour display, SMS, SIM card reader for transferring contact info to and from your mobile, 35-minute answerphone, caller ID, and mobile-style layout and menu all add to the appeal, while a 150-contact telephone book should take care of most of your friends and family. Unless you’re Hugh Heffner, of course, in which case you’ve probably got the Bang & Olufsen anyway, so no problemo.
Call-wise the S455 proved problem free – a decent if not outstanding example of a modern DECT phone designed specifically for the family household.
A heady cross-section of the world of the DECT phone, we’re sure you’ll agree, and with it ten shining examples of how and why your mobile shouldn’t be the only phone in your life. Huge and varied functionality, specific features designed for the home and family, convergence, and the burgeoning growth of VoIP enabling cheaper to free phone calls are all good reasons to update your DECT and bring home communication into the 21st Century.
And the best of the lot, the apple of The Register's eye, the cream of the crop, the crème de la crème, the top of the heap is... the iDect X1. Quite simply all the required features are here at a very reasonable price, and one of the most stylish looking too.
Hit the DECT: cordless phones on test
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.