Landline Phones Buying Guide

Landline Phones Buying Guide

Phone Type

The major divider between landline phones is corded vs. cordless, although it is not really a contest considering the vast majority of new landline phones will be cordless. There are some obvious features that separate these two styles of phone the main one being the ability of cordless docks to support more than one handset whereas corded phones are restricted to the one line. Apart from this, the main attraction of a cordless phone is that they offer greater mobility. As technology advances you will probably see corded phones die out over the next 10 years. When you consider that it is now possible to buy phones that act as household phones inside but revert to mobile phones when out side the home all under one number, then it will not be long before the line between mobile and home phone disappears.

Phone Type:

Answering Machine

As standard most phones will come with a built in answering machine, the possible exceptions being very old models or the cheapest phones on the market. It is not really adequate to call them machines, as the days of having a separate unit with fiddly little tapes to change are long gone. Modern answering machines are simply a built in feature or chip with the phone, providing an answering service. Another advantage of these systems is you can usually gain access from anywhere in the world by dialling in remotely to retrieve your messages. On average you will get around 15-20 minutes of recording time before messages need to be deleted to create more room.

Recording Time:

Caller ID

The majority of phones will have a display that will show you the number that is calling you but this depends if you have caller ID services from your phone company but practically all do. This will let you set names against your numbers so you can see exactly who is calling you. Along with this function phones often have call waiting so you can receive more than one call at any one time. These two functions are often used in conjunction with each other so you can view the number calling you and decide if you want to switch calls. Your phones memory will store a certain amount of numbers and names (around 50) in order for you to view your missed calls.

Caller ID:


A very popular feature of cordless phone sets is the use of multiple handsets. This features only requires on base unit that is plugged into a single phone line and then multiple handsets can then be placed around the home in rooms that may not have a phone connections. You will also be able to transfer calls from one handset to another, also doubling up as an intercom, allowing you to communicate with other people around the house. If you require the use of more than one handset then check for how many phones the system can support. This is not always the number of phones that comes with the set, you are able to buy extensions for some models but not all, so if you buy a dual set for example then it will only ever support two phones. A number of phones will also come with a speakerphone, so you will be able to talk with more than one person in the conversion or more if you need use conference calling, with an intercom you can talk between different handsets in the same system allowing multiple people to be on the line at once.

Handsets Supported:


As landline phones try to keep up with the ever-expanding advances in mobile communications they have started to adopt some of the same features. One fairly basic example of this is SMS text messaging from your home phone. This provides the same function as a mobile and so will sent text messages to other phones. Be aware that this feature is only available on cordless digital phones. It is even possible to download ring tones onto these handsets much the same as many people do with their mobiles.

Message Function:


Cordless phone handsets work by transmitting a signal between the base units through radio frequencies of varying ranges measured in cycles per second called hertz (Hz). The more cycles per second the better the sound quality and the further the range, meaning you can be a greater distance away from the base unit and still receive a clear signal through your handset. There are three frequency ranges that most landline phones will operate at; 900MHz, 2.4GHz, and 5.8GHz. Being the weakest 900MHz occupies the bottom end of the market, found on the cheapest phone sets, by and large not very widely used any more due to its poorer quality. The next step up is to 2.4GHz, more widely used but again models operating at this level will still be affordable and still be open to interference from other devices using similar frequencies form example radios. For the clearest signal 5.8GHz is the best option, as this will offer very little if any interferen

Another consideration when choosing a cordless phone is the kind of transmission you want to use i.e. analogue or digital. Analogue uses electronic signals to transmit, whereas digital uses bits, this means it stream the signal, as a series of 0’s and 1’s to form the transmission. The main difference is that digital signals provide a clearer sound and they also make it a lot harder to listen in on your calls. With an analogue phone there is a tendency for other signal (e.g. from a radio) to interfere and reduce the sound quality of your call, digital systems reduce this.

To further increase security and reduce interference the use of a Digital Spread Spectrum (DSS) can help. This system works by continuously changing channel, not staying on any one channel for more than a split second. It distributes the signal over several different frequencies and so makes it almost impossible for anyone to lock onto your signal and listen in. Also by changing from channel to channel it significantly reduces the chances that other frequencies can interfere with the quality of your conversation.

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