Cordless phones review 2008

Cordless phones remain a fixture in most Australian homes.
 
Learn more
 
 
 
 
 

01 .Introduction

Cordless phone

13 of the latest cordless phones from $40 to $199

See our latest test of cordless phones without answering machine.

In an effort to keep cordless phones relevant, manufacturers have introduced extra features, such as support for SMS, Bluetooth wireless headsets and even the ability to make calls over the internet (VoIP or voice over internet protocol). However, the standard landline phone still performs its main task well and remains a fixture in most Australian houses.

Please note: this information was current as of December 2008 but is still a useful guide to today's market.


Our testing

CHOICE subscribers asked us to find out which phones sound loudest when taking a call and set at the highest volume level, an important issue for the hearing impaired. In response, our testers measured the highest possible volume for each handset – and found significant differences in volume between the loudest and quietest models. They also conducted their usual tests on the phones:

  • How easy they are to use
  • Their range
  • Their sound quality
  • Their battery life

Models tested

  • Doro NeoBio 20
  • Oricom ECO50-1
  • Oricom slim8000-1
  • Panasonic KX-TG1811ALS
  • Panasonic KX-TG4381ALT
  • Sagem D15T
  • Siemens Gigaset 260
  • Siemens Gigaset E450
  • Siemens Gigaset L370
  • Telstra VSlim 300
  • Uniden DECT 2015
  • Uniden WDECT 3315
  • Uniden WDSS 5315

 

 
 

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The following models scored the best results in our test.

What to buy
Brand Price
Siemens Gigaset E450 $149
Siemens Gigaset SL370 $199
Uniden WDECT 3315 $80
Panasonic KX-TG1811ALS $50
Siemens Gigaset A260 $59
Panasonic KX-TG4381ALT $100

Results table

Full results for all models are shown in the table below.

Performance
Brand / model (in rank order) Overall score (%) Ease of use score (%) Range score (%) Sound score (%) Battery score (%) Talk time (hours:minutes)* Standby time (days) Recharge time (hours:minutes) Range (m) Price ($)
Siemens Gigaset E450
www.gigaset.siemens.com
79 75 91 84 60 11:45 7 4:45 70 149
Siemens Gigaset L370
www.gigaset.siemens.com
76 71 91 81 58 14:45 5.5 1:38 70 199
Uniden WDECT 3315
www.uniden.com.au
73 74 65 86 69 9:00 10 9:41 50 80
Panasonic KX-TG1811ALS
www.panasonic.com.au
72 73 59 88 72 14:00 8.5 4:51 45 50
Siemens Gigaset A260
www.gigaset.siemens.com
71 71 59 81 81 15:00 10 9:10 45 59
Panasonic KX-TG4381ALT
www.panasonic.com.au
70 80 52 83 69 9:00 10 3:51 40 100
Sagem D15T
www.dse.com.au
68 70 59 78 66 13:30 7.5 7:17 45 35
Oricom ECO50-1
www.oricom.com.au
67 66 46 86 83 16:00 10 8:55 35 49
Doro NeoBio 20
www.doro.com.au
66 70 39 83 82 15:30 10 6:00 30 40
Telstra VSlim 300
www.telstra.com.au
65 72 65 86 34 8:00 3.5 6:40 50 129
Oricom slim8000-1
www.oricom.com.au
64 69 46 80 69 15:00 7.5 6:41 35 79
Uniden DECT 2015
www.uniden.com.au
63 77 26 80 80 14:30 10 13:50 20 55
Uniden WDSS 5315
www.uniden.com.au
62 82 26 78 71 10:00 10 11:00 20 100


Features Specifications
Brand / model (in rank order) Ringer loudness (dB) Adjustable ringer volume settings Handset volume control settings Maximum volume for handset (dB) Number of ringtones Polyphonic ringtones Can use other rechargeable NiMH batteries Digital system (GHz)
Siemens Gigaset E450
www.gigaset.siemens.com
73 6 3 84 15 5 DECT 1.8
Siemens Gigaset L370
www.gigaset.siemens.com
76 6 3 76 30 20 (A) DECT 1.8
Uniden WDECT 3315
www.uniden.com.au
78 3 4 86 20 10 WDECT 2.4
Panasonic KX-TG1811ALS
www.panasonic.com.au
69 7 3 79 20 2 x AAA DECT 1.8
Siemens Gigaset 260
www.gigaset.siemens.com
73 6 3 86 10 DECT 1.8
Panasonic KX-TG4381ALT
www.panasonic.com.au
74 4 3 78 7 4 2 x AAA FHSS 5.8
Sagem D15T
www.dse.com.au
65 4 3 87 3 DECT 1.8
Oricom ECO50-1
www.oricom.com.au
84 6 5 79 9 2 x AAA DECT 1.8
Doro NeoBio 20
www.doro.com.au
70 6 5 77 10 5 2 x AAA DECT 1.8
Telstra VSlim 300
www.telstra.com.au
68 6 5 83 10 (A) DECT 1.8
Oricom slim8000-1
www.oricom.com.au
78 6 5 88 10 8 2 x AAA DECT 1.8
Uniden DECT 2015
www.uniden.com.au
65 4 6 89 7 4 DECT 1.8
Uniden WDSS 5315
www.uniden.com.au
70 4 6 86 7 4 FHSS 5.8


Features
Brand / model (in rank order) Backlit keypad Colour display GAP compatible Handsets supported Headset port Baby monitor Call waiting Phone book Speed dial numbers
Siemens Gigaset E450
www.gigaset.siemens.com
6 150 10
Siemens Gigaset L370
www.gigaset.siemens.com
6 250 9
Uniden WDECT 3315
www.uniden.com.au
4 100 10
Panasonic KX-TG1811ALS
www.panasonic.com.au
1 50 9
Siemens Gigaset 260
www.gigaset.siemens.com
4 40 10
Panasonic KX-TG4381ALT
www.panasonic.com.au
1 50
Sagem D15T
www.dse.com.au
4 30
Oricom ECO50-1
www.oricom.com.au
5 10
Doro NeoBio 20
www.doro.com.au
6 20
Telstra VSlim 300
www.telstra.com.au
5 50
Oricom slim8000-1
www.oricom.com.au
5 100 9
Uniden DECT 2015
www.uniden.com.au
6 70
Uniden WDSS 5315
www.uniden.com.au
8 70

 

Using the table

Scores The overall score is made up of:

  • Ease of use: 30%
  • Range: 30%
  • Sound quality: 20%
  • Battery life: 20%
  • Price: Recommended retail, as of November 2008

All phones in this test come with NiMH rechargeable battery packs, except for (A) models.

(A) These models include Li-ion rechargeable batteries and can’t use other rechargeable batteries.
* Rounded to the nearest 15 minutes.

How we tested

Ease of use Our CHOICE testers considered factors such as clarity of the instruction manual, the feel and comfort of the handset, if the screen is easy to read and any other special features.

Range They took the phones outside a brick house while the base still had a direct line of sight, to measure how far they could have an intelligible conversation.

Sound quality A panel of three users made calls in a moderately noisy environment and assessed speech clarity, speech loudness, line noise and background noise reduction on each model.

Battery life After fully charging each phone’s battery, our testers set the phones to talk and standby, and timed how long each setting ran. They also timed how long the phones took to recharge.

Profiles – What to buy

Siemens Gigaset E450

Siemens Gigaset E450

Price $149

Good points

  • Out of range warning.
  • SMS compatible.
  • IP54 rating (water and dust resistant).
  • Baby monitor.
  • Colour display.
  • Separate base station and charger.
  • Alarm clock.
  • Reduces power consumption by going into standby mode when phone is inactive for some time.

Bad points

  • None to mention.

Siemens Gigaset SL370

Siemens Gigaset SL370

Price $199

Good points

  • Bluetooth ability.
  • SMS compatible.
  • Colour display.
  • Out of range warning.
  • Separate base station and charger.
  • Alarm clock and calendar.

Bad points

  • No headset port (only Bluetooth as an option).
  • Most expensive model in this test.

Uniden WDECT 3315

Uniden WDECT 3315

Price $80

Good points

  • Out of range warning.
  • Clarity booster.
  • Baby monitor.
  • Two-way communications between handsets without the base station.

Bad points

  • Not GAP compatible.

Panasonic KX-TG1811ALS

Panasonic KX-TG1811ALS

Price $50

Good points

  • Out of range warning.
  • Call restriction to avoid dialling certain phone numbers.

Bad points

  • No headset port.
    Does not support additional handsets.
  • No mute function.
  • Not GAP compatible.

Siemens Gigaset A260

Siemens Gigaset A260

Price $59

Good points

  • Out of range warning.
  • Alarm clock.

Bad points

  • No headset port.

Panasonic KX-TG4381ALT

Panasonic KX-TG4381ALT

Price $100

Good points

  • Clarity booster.
  • Night mode allows for a time span during which the handset won’t ring for outside calls.

Bad points

  • No out of range warning.
  • Does not support additional handsets.
  • Not GAP compatible.

 

Profiles – the rest

Sagem D15T

Sagem D15T

Price $35

Good points

  • Out of range warning.
  • Auto talk.

Bad points

  • No backlit keypad.
  • Hard to read manual.
  • No headset port.
  • No handsfree feature.

Oricom ECO50-1

Oricom ECO50-1

Price $40

Good points

  • Out of range warning.

Bad points

  • No backlit keypad.
  • No headset port.
  • Small display.

Doro NeoBio 20

Doro NeoBio 20

Price $60

Good points

  • Out of range warning.

Bad points

  • Poor range. 

Telstra VSlim 300

Telstra VSlim 300

Price  $129

Good points

  • SMS compatible.
  • Out of range warning.
  • Comes with cordless headset.
  • Alarm clock.

Bad points

  • No headset port so you’re restricted to using only the headset that is provided.
  • Not GAP compatible.

Oricom slim8000-1

Oricom slim8000-1

Price  $79

Good points

  • Out of range warning.
  • Baby monitor.
  • Alarm clock.
  • Clear display screen.
  • Has call barring to prevent certain numbers from being dialled.

Bad points

  • No headset port.

Uniden DECT 2015

Uniden DECT 2015

Price  $55

Good points

  • Out of range warning.
  • Privacy mode.
  • Auto talk allows answering the phone simply by picking up handset from the cradle.

Bad points

  • No headset port.
  • Poor range.
  • Not GAP compatible.

Uniden WDSS 5315

Uniden WDSS 5315Price  $100

Good points

  • Supports up to eight handsets.
  • Privacy mode.
  • Out of range warning.
  • Clarity booster.

Bad points

  • Poor range.
  • Not GAP compatible.

Essential features

  • Close-up of phoneLarge, clearly marked keys and a backlit keypad can help when making calls in low light.
  • A colour display screen can be useful to read favorite contacts.
  • Handsets supported This shows how many extra handsets of the same model can be used.
  • A Handsfree feature allows you to hear a conversation when holding the handset away from the ear. All models we tested apart from the Panasonic KX-TG1811ALS and the Sagem model have this feature.
  • If a model supports Generic Access Profile (GAP), you can use another handset that also supports GAP with your phone from any other manufacturer by simply plugging the handset into a power point. However, GAP compliance extends only to the basic specification of the product, which means added features such as phonebooks may not work.
  • A headset port can be handy if you make long calls and want to continue a household task or jot down notes while talking.
  • Baby monitor: Some models allow you to put the handset in another room and set it to monitor sounds such as a baby waking up.
  • Phone book allows you to store your favourite contact numbers and dial the number by selecting the contact.
  • The ability to page from the base to the handset can be handy, particularly if you leave the phone lying around the house. Alternatively, you can look for a model that has a dial pad and speaker on its base, so you can also make calls from there.
  • While all cordless phones should come with rechargeable batteries, some models can use other AAA NiMH rechargeable batteries which are less expensive and more readily available.
  • None of the models we tested include a telecoil that can couple with the telecoil in a hearing aid.
  • If you are hard of hearing, look for models that provide extensive volume adjustment on the handset and a high handset speaker volume. All the Uniden models as a group produced significantly higher volume than the other models. Of the models included in the What to buy list, Siemens has some of the loudest (E450 and A260) and quietest (SL370).

Digitally Enhanced Cordless Technology

Cordless phonePhones marked as DECT (Digitally Enhanced Cordless Technology) run on the 1.8GHz - 1.9GHz band, which no other appliances use, which may be important to consider if your house is full of wireless gadgets. Most of the models we tested use this band.

Aside from appliances such as microwave ovens and vacuum cleaners interfering with the performance of your cordless phone, the introduction of wireless networking within the home has created another potential source of interference, particularly with models operating on the same 2.4GHz band as most wireless networking devices. Therefore, if you have a lot of appliances in the house the Uniden WDECT 3315 may not be the best option.

Other strategies introduced to deal with the increasingly crowded airwaves include Frequency-Hopping Spread Spectrum (FHSS) where the phone constantly flicks between different frequencies to find the clearest channel within which to operate.

Your say - Choice voice

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