|NEW AT&T 5.8 GHz Cordless Phone System
by Jim Hanks
As cordless phones have become more popular in the home and office, the 900 MHz
and 2.4 GHz frequencies have become congested. To remedy this problem, the FCC
recently opened up the 5.8 GHz channel. Due to the newness of this channel, 5.8 GHz
phones have much better clarity and range.
5.8 GHz Cordless Phone System is one such device. Equipped with a digital
answering machine and the ability to add up to 5 additional handsets, this telephone system
is excellent for smaller offices and larger households. For $239.99*, you can
have cutting-edge technology and exceptional clarity. And for just $99.99 each,
you can add up to 5
handsets to the same system and phone line.
up this system is very straightforward. Just plug the base station into the
outlet and charge your handset(s) overnight. Once fully charged, plug in your
phone line. If you purchased additional handsets, quickly register them with
the base station through the scrolling menus. Then, the last thing you need
to do is record an outgoing message for the digital answering machine. Thats
The stylish silver-and-black handsets are loaded with features, all of which
are easy to access through the scrolling menus. These menus are displayed on
a 3-line backlit LCD that is illuminated by a handsome neon-blue backlight.
This LCD also displays both analog and digital clocks.
If you decide to add additional handsets for co-workers or family members, you
will be able to conference call, transfer calls, or talk via intercom on the
same system and phone line. To avoid confusing the extensions, the different
handsets can be distinguished by varying the sound effect setting.
These settings are accessed by a button on the handsets face that adjusts
the bass and treble of the tones. Meanwhile, each handsets ringer can
also be customized with one of 8 alerts. Or, if youre in a meeting, you
can set the handset to vibrate modea very uncommon feature for cordless
Each handsets LCD also displays its own 50-entry phone book and 50-entry
Caller ID log. This means that you have to program (or erase) each entry individually,
but it also means that each person can choose which 50 contacts they want
in their directory. Separate logs for the last 10 numbers dialed are stored
in each handset.
But perhaps the best feature of the handset is its speakerphone. At the press
of a button, you can listen to voice mail (or music while youre on hold)
and free up your hands to get other things accomplished. You can also go hands free
by plugging a headset into the built-in jack.
Base station features
One of the best features of the base station is that it has a full-duplex speakerphone,
so you wont have to alternate your conversations during calls. Meanwhile,
the quality of sound output is excellentboth full and rich.
The base station is also equipped with a 15-minute digital answering machine.
Messages can be checked remotely from any of the 3 mailboxes; unfortunately,
if you are at home, you must listen to the messages from the base station, as
the handsets cannot access them.
One unique feature of the base station is a built-in backup battery charger.
This is especially useful if you have multiple handsets, as anyone can then
replace a dead battery on the fly. Also, the base station will use this battery
for power during a power outage.
Range and reception
Due to the interference found on the 2.4 GHz frequencycaused by wireless
networks and other 2.4 GHz phonesmany people are rushing to these phones.
But unfortunately, this system only reduces this problemit does not
eliminate it. This system uses 5.8 GHz transmissions from the base to the handset,
but the transmissions in the other direction are 2.4 GHz. The reason for this
is to conserve battery power in the handset, as more energy is required to transmit
on higher frequencies. So, because of this decision, you get a respectable 4.5
hours of talk time or 4 days of standby time from the handsets NiMH battery.
As for range, you should be able to walk about 200 yards away from the base
station before a warning tone is sounded.
Overall, this advanced phone provides a lot of functionality. You get 2 speakerphones,
a digital answering machine, and numerous other features. And if you add additional
handsets, you can create your own internal network. For $239.99, this system
is a good deal for people who dont need a second line, but require a system
with some versatility.
I Liked Best
I Didn't Like
- Clear calls
- Excellent range
- Digital answering machine
- Expandable to 6 handsets
- Full-duplex speakerphone
- Good battery life
- Not fully 5.8 GHz
- Messages not accessible from handsets
*A lower-priced model without the answering
machine is available for just $219.99. This model also has talking Caller