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I need some help choosing landline telephones please; I no longer know what they do

(13 Posts)
KatyMac Mon 11-Jul-11 22:37:46

I need 4 handsets (I work from home)

I might consider:
a headset (if I can get one that works)
a phone that vibrates instead of ringing
that thing where it takes all the programmed numbers from the SIM of my mobile
transferring calls internally

I might also have a second line put in (to remind friends/family I am actually at work)

Is there anything else clever phones can do now (apart from the whole speaking to people a long way away)? wink

NetworkGuy Tue 12-Jul-11 02:04:20

I understand Plantronics headsets are widely recommended.

If you use BT for line rental you could consider 'Call Sign' (one of the network services) which will give you a different number with a different ringing type (single, longer riiiiing rather than the usual ring-ring) so you can answer business calls a different way.

Only downside is that only the 'main' number is sent for caller display purposes. So if your main number is 612345 and Callsign number is 654321 then you can call someone who normally rings 654321 but they see 612345 on their display. In my case I use the CS number as the destination for my 0800 number, so can tell if the call will cost me money, before I answer.

An older model corded phone from BT has caller display, address book, and has 2 lines and offers hands free, so suitable for a static position in an office if you have one particular place used for paperwork/ computing etc. Has flashing LED to show when you've missed incoming calls, but also has (smaller) flashing LEDs to show if a line is busy (so you can pick up on the line which isn't engaged by someone else in your home). I will check the model number for you if you wish (mine is downstairs, bought as a refurbished phone for about 20 quid, which in my view was a bargain for the functionality).

If you choose to have 2 lines, you could have broadband from different firms on each one (so if you have one of the more expensive Sky packages, eg paying for Sports and films, you may be eligible for cheap/free broadband) so you could have one as prime supply for your business and the secondary for use if the first is down. Sorry - drifting away from plain old telephones now!

KatyMac Tue 12-Jul-11 07:28:02

Do you know, I now realise I know less than I thought I did when I started

I have a bluetooth headset but I can't get it to work sad [thick]

My office doesn't have a telephone point so I couldn't do that & despite replacing rechargeable batteries the current handsets we have consistently lose their charge

I think I need to learn more

NetworkGuy Tue 12-Jul-11 10:02:13

Most bluetooth headsets are intended to link with mobile phones (AFAIK).

Probably best to get some of those digital or mechanical timers and turn the power off for around 12 hours a day from the phones, because
a) you will save on electricity bill
b) the wall adaptors may be a fire hazard
c) keeping the charge on 24x7 will do the batteries no good.

It would probably also help the batteries last for any future cordless phones you buy. I have tried phones from Uniden, Binatone, and BT (some were given me, the BT ones were bought as new items via Ebay) and few have had great battery life (apart from one of the BT handsets which can also accept and send SMS messages). Do you ever get those 'voice' messages reading a text to you? This type of phone will accept the message as a text. Sending via BT is 10p, but allows you to send for 3p and put any of your phone numbers as 'sender'.

A friend with a hi-fi shop has been using Panasonic and some of their range include 4 handsets. The guys in the shop are constantly answering calls and carry the phones around (listening rooms upstairs, and a big store room at the back but only charge the phones overnight), so worth considering.

niceguy2 Tue 12-Jul-11 10:16:49

Hi Katy

I've worked from home for years now. I have to say that I would heartily recommend putting in another line. You can get a BT engineer to actually put you a new phone point in your office but obviously it will cost you. My company paid for this though. Not sure if yours will.

This solves the issue of your kids answering the phone or it being engaged cos they are using it for whatever.

The other thing which I think is ESSENTIAL is a wireless headset. I have one like this Plantronics C65 although I spotted this but not used so no idea if its any good. Panasonic

Basically with the Plantronics you plug it into a normal phone and for that I bought a cheap BT one from Argos. Obviously with the Panasonic you wouldn't need it.

If you are working from home then chances are you'll be typing and talking most of the day so a headset helps you keep both hands free.

I also recommend the above combined with a normal phone because if you have noisy kids like me, you will need quick access to the mute button whilst you scream SHUT UP!!! remind them you are working!

KatyMac Tue 12-Jul-11 14:18:38

Goodness lots of info

I'll look at the panasonic & I'll look at the timer switches as well (maybe 10-10) as I work 7:30 - 6

I wonder if I should rotate the phones & use a different one each day

I would love to be able to send text messages on my landline tbh

I have a plantronics C65 but I can only do incoming calls (not dial & switch to it)

niceguy2 Tue 12-Jul-11 14:53:15

Most DECT phones I've come across use AAA batteries. I've recently replaced a couple of mine as they were losing charge. They're cheap enough via eBay.

Text messaging from landline in my opinion would be a problem since someone may reply and how then do you pick it up? There's nothing worse than when a friend has sent me a message to my landline as I can never understand the robotic voice.

As for energy saving, I have one of them extension leads that power everything off when my computer is off. That helps as it cuts the power to monitors, phones, everything. The computer is first thing on, last thing off.

NetworkGuy Tue 12-Jul-11 16:32:30

niceguy2 - text to the landline is displayed as a text on the handset (when you have a compatible DECT phone). It is part of the BT caller display system that data can be sent to the phone without any ringing (whereas the US system sends 'ring' 'data' 'ring', BT sends 'voltage pulse' 'data' ['ring-ring'] - the ring-ing is optional, so SMS can be sent in the data, or if you have a smart meter, the data from the exchange can say "tell me your electricity meter reading" and meter sends back the reading).

NetworkGuy Tue 12-Jul-11 16:33:48

For most people, the data is the calling number, of course, and ring-ring is to tell you someone wants to speak to you.

NetworkGuy Tue 12-Jul-11 16:36:28

KatyMac - sending SMS using is done by keying message into box and the destination (mobile) number . Easier than clumsy "hit 7 three times for letter 'R''" and cheaper too, than BT, so
you might find others send texts to your phone but you send from computer / notebook / iPad smile

KatyMac Tue 12-Jul-11 21:52:36


I know I post on Geeky stuff but I'm really not that Geeky & I'm lazy

This all sounds waaay complicated wink

NetworkGuy Wed 13-Jul-11 02:02:04

"I wonder if I should rotate the phones & use a different one each day"

Do make sure you take the phone out of the 'master unit' (one with the phone line attached) as that will need mains power all the time. Rotating use can do no harm.

Also, for emergencies, you should have one phone which doesn't depend on electricity, as it will work from battery power at the exchange even if the whole house has no power. A mobile is 'OK' but dialling from a landline means the number can be easily traced to a fixed address (where many mobiles may have no address associated with them, if PAYG, for example).

KatyMac Wed 13-Jul-11 07:17:31

Mobiles all have addresses attached
I have a fixed landline upstairs ICE - it would be nice if it were downstairs actually I wonder if I should move it into the porch........<thinking> can I transfer from that phone to a different one? Hmm lots to think about!!!

Rotating is a great idea as is the timers; I wonder if our existing phones have been over charged

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