Advantages Cheap price, 2-pce basic corded slim line telephone, LCD screen, v.loud ringer
Disadvantages Short cord & short handset cord. It's a Binatone with JL badges on it, v.loud ringer, cord tangles
|Reception & Clarity of speech|
|Range of reception|
|What is the durability of this product?|
|Range of features|
|Value for money|
When it comes to telephones in my home, I tend to buy a product and hope it lasts a long while rather than sticking with the fashionable marketing and replace my telephone every couple of months! I know a few people like that - but for me, a telephone has to offer basic features that everyone can use without being overly complicated. Depending on the age of the property you own or need to move into, it can be frustrating when the prerequisite need for any cordless telephone you buy needs its permanent charger in place in order for the phone to function! As such, when I moved into my flat a year ago, what I needed was a cheap-corded telephone for the main part of my calls and to put the Siemens to one side regardless of its great function of being able to be used in the garden outside with strong signal back up. This was simply because there was an apparent lack of plug sockets in the hall where a telephone should naturally go, or in the living room where I can usually be found working.
First of all if you look at John Lewis' website there is very little information now later on in the year of 2011, with the phone only appearing when John Lewis feel like it - but more to the point you'll find it in-store as they sell the last of their stock. Compared to the "button happy" BT phone that was priced a bit higher, the John Lewis phone has something the BT phone lacks - a LCD panel that brings up the numbers you dial as well as redialling facility and a 10 memory number phonebook file that can be set through speed dialling from any single number on the rubberised key pad. John Lewis' corded telephone is also produced by Binatone but it feels and looks much plainer yet nicer than the cheaper phone sold in Argos.
The trouble is that these days, the slim line corded telephone is extremely hard to find thanks to analogue and cheap digital DECT phones that have taken their place, not least the budget company love/loathe Binatone who up until now have sold a lot of their products in catalogues and old faithful chain store, Argos. I very nearly bought a Binatone at Argos for £4-45 until I remembered the last of John Lewis vouchers I had and upon finding a self branded John Lewis telephone in their store recently, wondered what it would be like against the BT corded phone that costs just under £10 when this telephone is 3 pounds cheaper at £7-95. Binatone's own model costs twice the price on Amazon (2011) at £14-98, £7-50 at Marks & Spencer and £8-99 at Sainsburys.
Certainly whilst the handset doesn't feel brittle, the cradle part is very lightweight and has an easy to pick out 10 number menu you can write on after removing the plastic acrylic insert window. On the cradle itself there are no other settings or switches aside from a tiny black slider control on the base that controls the ringer volume from low to high. This telephone however, has a very loud ringer and even on the lowest setting, it is quite loud and sounds too high tone in its analogue mono electronic process, which puts itself both on design and audible quality back into the 1980's rather than 2011.Quality wise for the price, this phone is middling to average. Whilst it doesn't have any tell tale signs of cost cutting, the biggest problem that this phone has is a poorly made ribbed cord that goes from the cradle base to the telephone handset itself. After the first couple of days where the cradle and phone got to settle, the cord soon became tangled very easily, especially when trying to stretch the handset from the cradle base. The Wild n Wolf Retro Trim phone I bought a couple of weeks earlier has a ribbed cord that hasn't tangled so it points to poor quality on JL's corner.
The user manual leaves a lot to be desired too! It took me quite a while to figure out how to do insert numbers into the 10 number stored memory facility and to read the instructions a couple of times before the numbers would take. The manual itself (a paper booklet) is poorly written despite diagrams. There are two options for memory on the phone that really translate into one - whilst the phone has the 10 number capacity, you need to dial the number in and hold down the memory button and then press a button to activate speed dialling. When all is finished the phone's main memory button can be confusing because there are two buttons - "Mem," which activates the speed dialling when one of the numerical buttons have also been pushed afterwards to dial the saved the number you've put in (and it comes up on the LCD screen to confirm what the number is) and "M1" which seems to redial the last number in memory. If that wasn't confusing enough, there is also an additional redial button on the bottom of the phone's handset buttons and further more another button marked "LNR," which means "Last Number Redial." Confused? I've certainly been confused to the point that I didn't use the facility for a number of weeks before I colud get my head around it!Another problem that this phone seems to suffer from is a poor crackling line. At times it does have a good quality depending on whom I'm calling such as long distance or national calls. On local calls however the quality has been particularly poor. I've since replaced the phone with a new one from John Lewis and although the quality of service has improved; it doesn't bode well for a model with the John Lewis name attached to it.
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