Home telephones a buyer's guide

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Home phone buyers guide. By Hoart Telephones click to visit My store

When buying a home telephone there is a whole range of phones available, gone are the days when BT used to assign you a phone. There are some key considerations:

Price: Phones range from 3-4GBP for a bog-standard corded to well over 100GBP for a feature rich cordless. You should set yourself a price-range and try to stick to it or else you may find yourself buying something you do not need.

Features: Phones are available with an array of features, ranging from caller display and speakerphone through to sms messaging and email. It is important to consider which features are important to you, some people do not want a colour screen and games on their home phone so it is not necessary to pay the extra expense.

Reputation: There are a range of manufacturers in the market at present, most of them make very reliable equipment. It may be worth looking at some of the market leaders, Panasonic, Philips and BT (often work together) and more recently Motorola and Binatone have proven they are innovative and reliable brands.

Basic Types of phone

Corded phones - are available in a wide range of colours and styles and because most are wall mountable they are ideal for kitchen, bedroom or home office use as long as they are located near a compatible wall socket.  Key features: Cheap, most will work during a power cut.
Useful features such as last number redial and name/number memory are fairly standard but there are also models with hands-free speakerphones and, if you subscribe to the service, caller display facilities (a quarterly fee is payable to BT).
You can also send and receive email via the built in keyboard with some models.  E.g. Amstrad emailer plus.
Cordless phones - give you the freedom to make and receive calls up to 300 metres (outdoor range in optimum conditions) from the phone's base station in your home. When considering a cordless phone you will have to choose between a standard (analogue) model and a more expensive but better digital version.

Standard Cordless Phones - provide a cheaper alternative to a digital phone and tend to work best when used around the house or with an outdoor range of up to 100 to 200 meters from the base unit. 
 Key features: Practical, versatile, relatively cheap
 Digital Cordless Phones - with an outdoor range of up to 300 meters from its base unit they are ideal for those with a big garden. A digital model will also give the crackle free speech quality of a corded product.
Key features: Digital quality sound (DECT), Long range, secure,compati ble(GAP)

Additional handsets can be added to most cordless phones by simply plugging them in to a convenient power supply, and with no need for extra phone sockets or wiring. You can add up to two handsets to a standard cordless phone. Allowing you to make internal calls and transfer external calls between handsets.

GAP compatible Digital phones enable you to include between four and six additional handsets to one base station. You don't have to keep to the same brand either as most digital phones let you mix and match handsets to suit your needs.

Glossary of terms:

Answering Machine:
Other types of cordless phones come with audio cassette tapes that are used to record your greetings and incoming messages. Not as convenient as digital, but additional tapes can be purchased if you want to save all your messages.
Auto channel scanning:
Cordless phones select the best channel, one that is not in use or otherwise subject to interference so that you can have crisp clear calls that won't be interrupted.
Backup power supply:
Some cordless phones have base units that provide a recharging port, taking over when the phones batteries die.
Base Keypad Dialing:
This feature allows you to dial the phone while it is still on the port.
Cordless Phone Batteries:
Cordless Phones use the NiCd or NiMH battery packs which have the abillity to be recharged, some of the newer more expensive models use Lithium.
Cordless Phone Headset:
Headsets allow you to use your cordless phone hands free.
Built-In Caller ID/Call Waiting Caller ID:
Most cordless phones come equipped with Caller ID which is a service many phone companies offer that identifies the name and phone number associated with an incoming call.
You can use your Cordless Phones Flash button to answer a call-waiting call or to get a new dial tone after your caller hangs up.
Hearing Aid Compatible:
Cordless Phones are designed to function with hearing aids.
A cordless phone feature which allows you to put the caller on hold.
Most cordless phones come equipped with a screen that shows the number you dialed and sometimes the caller ID/call wainting caller ID.
Lighted Keypad:
Cordless phones with a lighted keypad are designed to be operated in the dark.
Programable Ring:
The ring on most cordless phones can be programmed to ring louder or softer. Some cordless phones have the ability to be programmed to ring differently.
Sms messaging: Many handsets now allow you to send text messages from your home phone.
Speakerphone: This allows you to make a call through the loud speaker of the phone thus allowing you to have your hands free.

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