Hit the DECT: cordless phones on test
Ten cordless phones for your consideration
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.