on February 25, 2008
When I say old fashioned, I mean, this is a great device from the 90's that nobody uses anymore because of voice mail. Since we purchased this handy device, I can once again screen calls, listen to messages without going through a tree of menus, or remember a passcode to enter the voice mail system. I say, bring back your old and tired answering machines! Regress, my friends, regress!
This machine in particular is very easy to use, thanks to an all digital recording system. It is fairly easy to setup but does leave something to be desired as far as sound quality. Good for the price though and small footprint.
on December 22, 2007
If you are still one of the few that use a stand-alone answering machine, this is probably as good as you can get. Sound is clear, and recorded messages are clear. You have 15 minutes of recording (14 after you record your message). My last AT&T machine had 40 minutes, so I'm not sure why they shortened the time, but it is not a problem for me. The reason I gave it 4 stars, not 5, is because of the strange setup procedure. When you hit the setup button, you have to press it again at an exact moment (detailed in the instructions), otherwise it just repeats itself. This takes several tries and is not well explained. So set-up could be easier, but overall it is a nice small, clean machine. I attached it to the kitchen wall (tiles) with Velcro. None of these machines have wall mountings anymore. So if you still like stand-alone answerers, this machine has basic features that you need. It also interfaces with caller i.d. and can say the caller's number as the phone is ringing.
on April 12, 2009
இ Fuzzy Wuzzy's Summary:
ѾѾѾѾ Recommended with warm fuzzies.
I bought this unit to replace an old AT&T 1710 digital answering machine that was still working okay, but I wanted its ability to record 40 minutes of messages instead of my old 1710 model's recording of only 10 minutes of messages. So much of this review is based on comparing the 1739 with my old, and far more basic, 1710 model...
ѾѾѾѾѾ Excellent 5-fuzzies feature ratings:
ѾѾѾѾѾ The amazingly unbeatable $18 low price!!! A lot of electronic features for far less than what some people pay for a few months of voice mail service (and far less than what many people spend at coffee shops during a single week).
ѾѾѾѾѾ Lots of features and configuration options for the low price. You can choose English or Spanish language presentation, the number of rings before the machine answers, a 3-digit user-defined remote access code (the 1710 only used an unchangeable 2-digit remote access code), whether to be able to listen to your outgoing announcement when the machine answers a call, whether the machine announces the caller's number when the phone rings, whether the incoming number is stored and announced prior to message playback, whether to accept blocked (private number) calls, and whether to have the machine audibly beep every 15 seconds when there are new messages.
ѾѾѾѾѾ Easy voice-narrated setup of all features. You just press and hold the [Setup] button and the machine guides you through all configuration settings. A recorded man's voice actually speaks to you and guides you through the setup process.
ѾѾѾѾѾ When you press the power button to turn it off, a voice speaks out, "The machine is off". And when you turn it back on, it tells you, "The machine is on. 40 minutes to record", telling you how much recording time is left on the unit.
ѾѾѾѾѾ My old 1710 model required 4 AA batteries to retain stored messages in case of a power outage. The 1739 does not need batteries to retain both the outgoing announcement and stored messages during a power outage.
ѾѾѾѾ Good 4-fuzzies feature ratings:
ѾѾѾѾ The machine does not record blank messages or messages consisting of just touch tone beeps. My old 1710 answering machine would often record my 2-digit remote access code touch tone beeps as separate messages every time I called in to retrieve messages, but this no longer happens with the 1739. Furthermore, my old 1710 used to record blank messages where someone (usually a wrong number dialed) would not say anything and just hang up. But with the 1739, I no longer have to wade through blank messages consisting only of silence on the other end. In addition, if the caller has not spoken up 6 or 7 seconds after the beep, the unit will disconnect the call, and not include the silence as a recorded message.
ѾѾѾѾ The 1739 has better phone keypad ergonomics when accessing the answering machine remotely. On my old 1710, you had to remember a non-intuitive layout of keypad commands, or carry the pocket-sized command reference card with you when you were away from home. Now with the 1739, all of the most common commands are placed between phone keypad numbers 1 through 6, and if you do not have your command reference card with you, you can always press the '5' number on your phone to get a narrated help guide that describes what all possible remote commands were available.
ѾѾѾ Average not-good not-bad 3-fuzzies feature ratings:
ѾѾѾ The clarity of both the digitally recorded announcement and incoming messages is not much better than my very old AT&T 1710 digital answering machine. I can still understand all words and phone numbers left by callers in the messages, but they can sound somewhat garbled or a bit muffled sometimes, requiring me to replay a message a few times every now and then. Perhaps a cruder digital recording approach was used in order to make the unit very inexpensive, but I would have gladly paid $20 or $30 more in order to get better sound recordings! If you are getting static on your recorded messages, you should try plugging the answering machine into a DSL filter; this will improve the overall sound quality, but, as mentioned, I had hoped that the clarity of both the outgoing announcement and incoming recorded messages would be noticeably better than what I had on my old 1710 model... instead, the sound quality between this new unit and my old model are about the same.
ѾѾѾ My old AT&T 1710 answering machine used a less-bright LED digit to display the number of incoming messages. But 1739 uses a much-brighter red LED display and, in addition, has a red On/Off button that always glows red when the unit is turned on. Depending on where you place this unit, the amount of red glow that emanates from this machine can be annoying in a darkened room, especially if this machine is placed in a bedroom. You can turn off both the LED display and glowing On/Off button by turning off the unit, but then you no longer record messages. It would have been nice to be able to either turn off the two sources of red light but leave the unit turned on or, better yet, have a dimmer option to reduce the glow that comes from the unit. Of course, you can always place something over the unit to cover up the red glow, but...
ѾѾѾ My old 1710 had two phone jacks for connecting the unit to the phone with one phone cord and connecting the unit to the wall jack with another phone cord. But for some odd reason, AT&T decided to use a non-removable telephone cord to connect the unit to the wall jack. This is okay if the supplied 5-foot cord is long enough to reach your wall jack, but you will need an extension cord if you need to place the unit farther than 5 feet from the wall jack.
ѾѾ Bad 2-fuzzies feature ratings:
ѾѾ As a test, I tried calling into the machine and leaving five kinds of short messages: "ET call home", "This is just a test", "Just a test", "Call James", and "Call me". The machine properly recorded "ET call home" and "This is just a test", but it did not record the "Just a test", "Call James", and "Call me" messages. I repeatedly tried these short 2, 3, and 4 word messages and it consistently did not record them as messages. This is bad! You may thus never receive messages left by callers who only say a few words and then hang up. There appears to be some minimum syllabic threshold required in a message in order for it to be recorded. This may present a problem if you have someone who quickly and tersely leaves a message of "Call me" and hangs up, resulting in the machine not recording the message and you not getting such a message. But, overall, I myself would consider the risk and consequences of losing such brief messages to be small since I expect most callers will leave at least a full sentence as a message, but it is definitely a potential problem with this product and I do wonder if I ever lose any quick short messages left by someone.
ѾѾ When the machine announces the time-stamp for each message, it only announces the day of the week, time, and year. During Setup, you can only configure the unit's clock for these attributes also. But knowing that a message was recorded on "Monday 3:36PM 2009" or "Thursday 6:03AM 2009" only means something if (a) you check your messages on a weekly basis, and (b) you do not keep old messages stored on the unit that were phoned in over one week ago. Otherwise, you may not know which "Monday" the message is referring to! This is a huge blooper of a design flaw that the AT&T engineers chose to track the day of the week but not the day of the year. I would have much preferred the unit to say "April 12 2009 3:36PM" instead of the far more vague "Sunday 3:36PM 2009".
on July 4, 2008
As with another reviewer, I got fed up with fancy voice-mail systems (requiring a monthly fee). So I ditched v-m and got this machine. It's small, it's reliable, and it sounds fine. It doesn't interfere with our phone which announces the caller, so now I can ignore "Number Not Provided" calls, get my messages without fuss, and quit paying monthly fees. The machine was very easy to set up. All I needed was a little gizmo that converts the one-jack connection at the wall into a 2-jack connection. Maybe the machine won't last a year (I've had for only two months), but if so, I'll buy a new one and still be in money!
on June 1, 2008
I purchased this AT&T 1739 answering machine 6 weeks ago and, unfortunately, didn't bother to set it up until yesterday which means my return privilege has expired, otherwise it would have gone back in a flash.
The unit is easy to set up, logical in the way it functions, and takes up very little counter space (though I don't like the way the telephone line connector cord is hard wired into the unit, itself, so you'll have to replace the entire machine if the line cord ever becomes damaged).
The real problem with this machine is that the message record/playback sound quality is absolutely horrible. It is nearly impossible to identify callers by the sound of their voice because this machine alters and distorts the voices so much. All messages are recorded with a very poor "digital-like" electronic sound quality which is very choppy and unnatural (like a very bad 'futuristic' movie from the early 60's). It's almost as if little bits of the digital data are being discarded instead of recorded in order to save memory space. It also severely limits the audio frequencies of the recording which makes words muffled and unintelligible ("S"'s sound like "F"'s, etc.).
For example, she might have left you a message that said "last night was just heaven", but you might have thought she said "last night was just a seven" -- not exactly a confidence-builder, if you know what I mean. The sound quality is so poor it's almost as if the caller were holding a cloth over the phone to disguise their voice. (Then again, maybe those ARE blackmailers who keep calling me. It's hard to tell.)
What that all means to you is that if someone calls and leaves a message like "Honey, don't bother to pick up the kids this afternoon because I'm going to do it on the way home" you just better hope it's not a wrong number because you will have no way of knowing that the voice on the other end wasn't that of your wife.
It's too bad because AT&T used to make very high quality products. Now I suppose they just license their name to anyone who will pay them to use it. I know choices are limited for answering machines, but my recommendation is to stay far away from this one. Unless, of course, you're into blackmail.
on July 1, 2008
After a job change, I now work exclusively from home. I already have a second phone number for work purposes, but needed an answering system. Phone company is not yet able to provide voice mail on the second number (distinctive ring, not a separate line), so I opted for a physical answering machine. After some research, I decided on the AT&T 1739.
It arrived quickly, and set up quickly. Its biggest drawback is the poor sound quality when recording the outgoing message. You are told to speak over a minuscule condenser mic, and it took a good 4 attempts before I was remotely happy with the sound of it. You get some snow and static, no matter where you are when you record.
Other than that, it works just fine. I don't expect to use it all that much, so for the price, it was a good buy.