Even with the arrival of the NBN, cordless phones continue to be an important communication option for many homes and our testers find out which models work best for sound quality, ease of use and answering machine.
Our testers assess all cordless phone models with an extra handset. Models that are only available as a single handset are tested using an additional handset of the same model or brand.
Models chosen for testing include the most popular landline phones based on past sales as well as new models as they hit the stores. The most dominant brands in the Australian market are Panasonic and Uniden, with these two companies producing a wide variety of models with different features and functions. When we find a model that is widely available we include it in our test.
Ease of use
Our tester considers factors such as quality of the instruction manual, feel and comfort of the handset, whether the screen is easy to read and any other special features.
A panel of users receives calls in a quiet environment and assesses speech clarity, speech loudness, line noise and background noise on each model. Sound quality is assessed for receiving and making a call.
We time how long each phone takes to run out of charge while in talking use, and also record the claimed standby time. After fully charging each phone's battery, our testers set the phones to talk, and record how long each takes to go flat. A perfect score of 100% is awarded to a model still operating after 24 hours.
Maximum volume measurements
Volume levels are measured using a decibel meter, placed one metre horizontally away from the base of the phone. We measure the volume of the handset and base ringer, the speaker in the handset and the earpiece.
Answering machine score
Our tester looks at ease of use and set-up when creating a message and managing calls, as well as sound clarity and quality for the machine message and the caller message.
- The overall score is made up of sound quality: receiving sound quality (20%) and sending sound quality (20%); ease of use (40%) and battery life (20%).
- Charging times are rounded to the nearest 30 minutes.
- Answering machine performance is scored and shown in the table, but does not contribute to overall score. This allows direct comparisons to be made between landline phones with and without an answering machine.