Top positive review
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Hands-on Review (from Phonewire.com)
on August 12, 2008
The good: The four-way directional button and center "Enter" button become your primary tool to quickly and easily select features without the need to remember codes or special key sequences. In fact, all too often, these "non-KSU" phones will have buttons with two or more functions -- not this new AT&T series! The buttons on the phone are self-explanatory and only serve the one function for which they are labeled. All related feature options appear on the blue backlit LCD screen when you are in a particular mode that offers more options. For example, when you lift the handset and press the Intercom button, the top half of the screen prompts "Intercom No.?" while the bottom half of the screen presents you to optionally "Page" a single extension (instead of simply ringing it) or to "Page All" and broadcast your announcement on all the phones in your home or office simultaneously.
Another improvement, which is why I suspect these phones aren't backwards compatible with earlier AT&T "non-KSU" phones other than the 1000-series: the Intercom audio is digital, crystal clear. No longer will your Intercom calls be subjected to interference from a nearby radio station transmitter or other nuisance! With two phones side-by-side, you can detect a slight millisecond or so delay as an Intercom page is encoded on your phone to be then decoded on the destination phone. The sound quality is truly impressive and worthwhile. If you are currently experiencing any issues with your Intercom on older non-KSU phones, you might want to give a pair of these a test run.
The bad: If you transfer a call from one phone to the next, the caller hears nothing. No music-on-hold, no tones -- nothing but silence. If they had offered an option to play a soft double-beep tone to the caller every couple of seconds, that would have been a worthwhile improvement over dead-air. (However, the ATT 1080 does play a "Please hold" recorded announcement every few seconds when a caller is transferring to an extension by way of the built-in auto attendent included on that ATT 1080 phone. But even that phone leaves the caller with dead air if they are put on hold or transferred by a human instead.)
One big disappointment was with regards to the system recognizing when a caller on-hold had disconnected. I tried everything in my "toolkit" of test equipment, but it seems these phones just don't recognize (or don't care) when a caller that you've placed on-hold chooses to hang up before you return to the call. The system will continue to keep that line blinking on-hold until you retrieve it -- often to the frustration of loud dialtone in your ear.
The ugly: When integrated with an ATT 1080 with the "SYS EXT" voice messaging feature enabled, trying to figure out how to listen to your messages on any phone except the ATT 1080 is a huge headache! For a phone system that is so "menu-driven" by that directional navigation and "enter" button arrangement near the LCD screen, it is irritating to have to dig out a reference card to use this ATT 1070 phone to listen to your messages in the mailbox reserved exclusively for your extension but actually recorded and stored on the ATT 1080 voicemail/answering system. It just seems to me this could have been better thought out!
My guess is that AT&T would probably "recommend" that you purchase an ATT 1080 phone for every person who needs a voicemail/answering system, instead of using one ATT 1080 to serve voicemail for multiple ATT 1070 phone users as their advertising suggests.
Conclusion: Overall, this is a great telephone. All features worked beautifully, each button pressed produced the expected result -- press the Transfer button while on a call, the LCD prompts "Transfer line to ?". By keeping one function per button, and also utilizing the navigation menu-driven options through the phone's display, anyone can easily figure out how to do anything on these phones without ever needing to read any of the documentation.
The speakerphone sounds nice, although the volume of the speaker could've been louder (in my opinion). Each phone allows you to control the ringing tone, volume, and delay ringing options for each line individually. Believe it or not, that level of control of line ringing assignments are usually reserved for KSU systems only! Intercom calling worked flawlessly. All-Page was loud and very practical for a busy home with office, or larger retail store.