BT Granite slimline DECT cordless phone
Making a cordless more like a mobile
Review BT's new DECT handset, the Granite, introduced us to a genuinely new experience. Opening the box, it wasn't the phone that took pride of place under the lid, but its stand. The Granite itself was tucked away under a fold of card right at the back. Unbox the product too hastily and you might miss it.
BT's Granite: slimline
The DECT phone has always been the Ugly Sister to the cellphone's Cinders, lacking the grace, elegance and - more to the point - functionality of their less stay-at-home siblings. BT clearly hopes the Granite will change that, and while the handset isn't bad looking for a DECT phone - and is a lot slimmer than most - it feels depressingly cheap.
Out of the box, it weighs next to nothing, and inserting the slim lozenge of a lithium-polymer battery makes no appreciable difference. Now, not weighing a ton is generally a good thing, but here it only serves to reinforce the flimsy, plasticky feel of the handset.
That sensation is reinforced by the chrome-coloured sides and metal-hued back, the latter with a glossy veneer that does the exact opposite of what we think its designers intended. The (equally glossy) black front looks better, and at least the handset's dimensions have a candybar cellphone comfortable-in-your-hand size.
But back to the battery. BT's quick-start guide and the interior of the battery bay contain dire warnings that the power pack needs to be charged for whopping 24 hours before you can use it - or "YOUR PHONE MAY NOT WORK".
Do not touch for 24 hours... or else
Actually, the capitals are ours, but you still get the feeling this is not a warning you should ignore. Which is odd, given how 90 per cent of phone batteries require only a quick charge before they're ready. And this is a Lithium-polymer cell - not one of your old NiCads or NiMHs that you really did need to leave connected long after the charge light indicated they were good to go.
"late 1990's nokia"
I have just started using my old 8210, Its a classic design,
I forgot just how good the trusty little handset is. Just got a brand new 1300mah battery for £3 and a new cover for £2 Off ebay. I might even get another 10 years use out of it.
And the call quality beats my N95 hands down.
Flimsy a plasticky?
What do you expect as it is BT branded after all.
Same old, same old
So, let's summarise:
* A monochrome display that looks like the one on the first mobile I ever owned, ten years or so ago;
* No facility for using hands-free (wired or BlueTooth);
* An answerphone with only 12 minutes of recording time - the same as the original digital recorders years ago, and a sick joke given how dirt-cheap flash memory is now;
* As usual, no central phone book (so you have to program every bloody phone - and there might be four - individually using poxy 90s-style number-to-text keys).
Frankly, I think Tony was being lenient almost to the point of sycophancy, given the limitations of the thing. Yes, it looks pretty, providing you ignore the display, although the base station's huge in comparison with its peers. Everything else on there, apart possibly from (handset) phone book size, belongs to a mobile phone ten years ago, or a DECT phone 5-7 years ago.
Clearly, in this phone, function has taken a profoundly second place to form. It's mutton dressed as lamb.
BT, this device is iconic of your contributions to communications technology for the past decade or two. Desperately try to monetise what you've already got. "Manage consumer expectations" (in other words, try not to let them know they could have better). Don't roll out new technologies until the market's baying like a pack of starved hounds, or deserting you for the opposition.
similar GE DECT
I just bought a similar "super slim" GE (General Electric) DECT phone/answering machine. While the base isn't nearly so minimalist stylish as the Granite, the handset is much the same, thought perhaps a little taller (approx. 6" x 2" x 1/2"), with the same rather primative b&w UI. While most of the text in the display is on the smallish side, the phone numbers entered are quite large, making for easier reading. The handset is neither flimsy/light nor really heavy, having a nice, solid heft to it. One minor annoyance is there's no battery charge indicator on the handset display.
Best thing, though - it's shiny candy apple red, the perfect accoutrement for any respectable bordello. I guess that's what caught my eye.
You want a DECT phone? You either get a Panasonic that will be ugly but work great and have more features than to shake a stick at, or you get a B&O that will have hardly any features but work, look, feel & sound fantastic. You pay the price and don't look back (It's a shame B&O seemingly dropped answerphones from their portfolio, btw. — why guys, why?!). Anything else will likely be crap. The geek in you will make you lust after Siemens latest abominations, with "why this late?" features such as Bluetooth PC-sync. But then you will remember that Siemens builds only crap phones with slow shoddy interfaces while advertising features that are in beta at the most. Research will support this notion.