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The AT&T CL4940 is a single-line speakerphone with answering machine functions and caller ID, which makes it one of many similar phones crowding the market.

What sets this phone apart is the large, backlit, tiltable display. Why every landline phone doesn't have a display this nice is beyond me. Most everything else about the phone is typical, but it does add further functions to help those of us who are growing older:

* A large keypad for easy dialing
* A four-setting equalizer function to tweak sound
* "Audio Assist" to temporarily boost receiver volume
* Relatively intuitive functions that can be set up easily

That said, one of the failings of this phone is that--for all its audio-altering capabilities--it does not have a rich sound compared to a cheaper AT&T phone I used to own. This seems odd given this phone's equalizer and Audio Assist functions, but the duller sound quality is obvious in comparison. Another quirk is the dial-back feature; there seems to be no way to program it to add a "1" automatically when dialing outside a set of local area codes, reducing the function's usefulness.

If all those sound bells and whistles had worked as advertised, this could have been a five-star phone. As it is, it's okay, but that still makes it better than many phones out there. And did I mention how great the display is?
1212 comments393 of 409 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 10, 2012
UPDATE April 2015: A few more lines of dots on the LCD display have failed, making one character position on the display almost unreadable. All other phone functions working fine . 2 1/2 years service from an LCD display that's on 24/7 is pretty good! I've ordered the same model again to replace it.

UPDATE October 2014: After two years of trouble-free service a couple vertical lines on the LCD display stopped working -- each vertical line is only about 1/4 of a text letter wide so the affected text characters are still easily legible. All other phone functions are working well. I intend to replace with the same unit when the time comes, even with the minor display issue after two years this unit is still a 'best buy' IMO.


I purchased my AT&T CL4940 locally because I needed a that-day replacement for a long-time-in-service Nortel.

I'm writing this review based on initial quality as I have only owned the phone for 24 hours. Thus far I am impressed by:

1. Sound quality through both the handset and speaker. This is adjustable with a 4 setting equalizer, I'm using the default 'Natural' setting, there are two treble boost settings and one bass boost setting available.

2. Volume available through both handset and speaker is individually adjustable and can be made very loud on the highest settings.

3. Answering machine ease of operation.

4. Total message+announcement recording time of 25 minutes -- these days that's good, many answering machines have less than 15 minutes of audio storage. 60 minutes is still the target amount for manufacturers in my opinion -- the problem is that like most answering machines, this one will stop taking messages once the memory is full -- and a busy business day or some political robocalls can fill things up pretty fast and shut the system down.

5. Good human interface -- big buttons, readable and backlit display, clealy labled control buttons -- you do still need to look at the manual just a bit to see how the menu and control system is set up but it's about as simple as it can be made, IMO.

The one disadvantage is the index in the user manual which has way too few entries -- I downloaded the .pdf version of the manual just to search for info on the 'equalizer' (it can only be set while you are listening to something) -- and how to reset the 'missed calls' counter (press and hold the CANCEL button). Other than the lack of a complete index, the user manual is clear and explanatory.

At the time of this review there are two 2-rated reviews. The one mentioning the need for a DSL filter if you have DSL service applies to most phones and fax machines. Although I did not try the included wall mounting bracket, looking at it I would agree that this phone is not well suited for wall mounting -- I don't know of any larger desktop type phones that include an answering machine that are.

Overall I give this phone high marks for design, execution, and value, with durability being the unknown factor.
1010 comments267 of 277 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 27, 2012
I got this phone to replace the one my father had as the old phone caller ID would not read. Everything about this phone was great for my father. Large buttons, a lighted caller ID screen, great volume, clear sound. We do not use the answer machine as they already have one. Everything about this phone is very good but there is one small issue that drives me and my father nuts. When you get a missed call it will display the number of missed calls. Sounds good so far. Then all you need to do to clear the number of missed calls is hold down the clear button and a tone will sound clearing all missed calls. However here is the issue. One day one we had 2 missed calls. We cleared the count and on the next day it had 3 missed calls. However we found out that 2 of those calls were from the day before. Again we reset to zero. The problem is that everytime you miss a call it totals the full amount of missed calls. When you come home and see 56 missed calls (you have no idea how many are new) you start to think that someone needed to really get a hold of you. Again we clear and after the next missed call it shows 57. Annoying. If I can fix this or if someone knows how to fix this then I will give it 5 Stars.
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on January 16, 2013
Bought this through Price and delivery were very satisfactory. The phone has nice features like the amber back lighted display with large characters in addition to the large dial buttons especially good for older folks with less than perfect vision. The speaker phone works in a satisfactory manner.

Now for what I think may need some improvement:
- when you record a voice greeting you have speak to the phone approximately 9 inches away from the phone. There should be a way to record your greeting on the handset. The resulting recorded greetings were not as good as they should be in this day and time - I would not let this keep me from buying this phone at this price point.
- our mounting location in the kitchen is under a high cabinet but lower than what many wall phone elevations are. The display on the phone is ok if you are sitting or kneeling down, but if you are standing the ability to read the display is diminished. The display tilts down, but I think the manufacturer should consider giving the display more range of tilt to include a few degrees up tilt.
- the small recording controls buttons at the top of the keypad could be a little larger to accommodate larger characters so they would be more readable by the visually challenged.

Overall this phone is very nice and I recommend its purchase - it just could use some improvements.
(Some reviewers complained about a flimsy wall mounting bracket that comes with the phone - I have had no problems with the phone coming off the wall even with small jerks on the handset cord.)
0Comment121 of 129 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 6, 2013
I really like this phone so far. I like that the display sets up at an angle. Love the big buttons. People hear me clearly. I like when someone calls and leaves a message, you can actually hear them leave you the message and can pick up if you want too. .

The only complaint is when you have to record a greeting. You have to do it through the speaker part of the phone which makes you sound muddled.

I haven't tried some of the advance functions, so I can't give a review on those as of yet.

Edit: February 19, 2013. I've had this phone for 2 months. At first I loooved this phone. However, after month one, I noticed static on some of my calls. On the two month mark the speaker phone no longer works. Also, the date and time someone calls you and leaves a message is never correct.

This is a huge disappointment. I originally gave this a 5 star. Now, I'm downgrading it too 2 star. This is not quality.

Edit: February 19, 2013. Well, later today my phone just went bezerk! Any button I pushed on the phone whether it was a number or delete button, or anything, showed up on the display as a "6" and made a long beep. So, I could not longer dial out. I tried turning it off by un-hooking everything and turning it back on. Again, it wouldn't allow me to dial anything but the number "6" with a long beep sound. Any button I pushed whether it was 1, 3, 9, delete, mute, etc ALWAYS showed up on the display as the number "6" and made a long beeping sound. I really loved this phone until today. I have no idea as to why it would malfunction the way it did.

Contact Amazon and PURCHASE a warranty. That's what I should have done. You can't return it after thirty days.

I've downgraded this to a 1 star.
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on January 12, 2013
The phone is well designed, except for one major flaw, which I discuss later. The basic controls are easy to use. It has some clever features, like the redial format selection, which allows one to select the format the phone uses to redial a number from the phone log. After selecting a number from the caller ID lot, you can select whether the phone dials seven digits, 10 digits, or 10 digits preceded by 1. The major flaw goes to the heart of the product, the large display. It is large. It is not backlit. An LCD display that is not backlit appears black on gray. It can be read only with strong direct light on it. It is all well and good to see the new message light blinking, but I wish I could glance into the kitchen as I pass and read the text display of how many calls I'd missed, or be able to review the caller ID log without turning on the brightest light in the room. While I'm at it, it is grossly misleading to market this phone with a picture of a backlit display. That is not what the phone looks like when installed.
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The manufacturer commented on the review below
on May 22, 2012
I bought this phone to replace an AT&T CL4939 which failed just three months after the warranty expired. While the phone has many nice features, when I hooked it up, the phone would not ring when a call came in. It took two different techs at AT&T customer service to figure out that I needed to upgrade my phone line to a digital signal box. This was nowhere disclosed either on the box or in the owner's manual. It should be. So, before you buy this phone, make sure you have the correct line coming into your system.
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The manufacturer commented on this review (What's this?)
Hello GK61. Thank you for your review. I believe the "digital signal box" to which you refer is most commonly known as a DSL filter. These simple, in-line filters are usually provided by your telephone service carrier when you subscribe to DSL Internet service, which is carried over your telephone line along with your normal phone service. DSL filters are recommend for ALL telephones you may have, to trap potential interference which may bleed over to your telephone service, since your phone line is carrying both dial tone and internet. Without DSL filters, you may experience performance issues such as static and noise on the line, loss of Caller ID data and ringing problems. These filters are typically provided by your service provider for free; all you have to do is ask. Thanks!
on February 16, 2013
This phone wins in a landslide. The best landline phone I have ever owned. Huge Black on Orange Readout Screen, I can finally toss the magnifying glass and flashlight. Straight forward logical control inputs. A pleasant electronic ring announces your call (my old phone's shrill tweet made me want to throw it out the window). Clear voice and volume control for everything. The answering machine offers a default announcement, which is great because I always sound weird making my own and it also features remote access using a three digit code of your choice. Also you can assign a priority number to someone to get them passed call screening. To be honest I hate (most) phone calls but this phone makes them much more palatable. Design, quality, fit and finish make it worthy of the AT&T Logo. Note: In the event of power failure this phone defaults to regular land line phone use, (ie) you can make and receive calls but all power dependent features such as call answering will not function until power is restored, there is no provision for battery operation.
44 comments24 of 25 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on September 12, 2012
The item worked fine between July and November, then it would not ring when power was applied to it. It work as advertised without power, ring and all. I called the service number and after the usual machine interface, talked to a person that tried to help. He gave the a number and the address to mail it in for replacement. The post office wanted 12 bucks to pack and ship it to Texas, which I won't do for a 30 buck phone.
11 comment39 of 43 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 11, 2012
I wanted a corded phone with an answering machine that didn't cost a fortune. This phone has a lighted display- which is wonderful in a low-light area! The display is very large so you can see it from a distance. The phone is simple to set up and use without having to read directions. The call quality is excellent. If the electricity goes out- it will erase your date and time- but as soon as someone calls you it resets itself if you have caller id. This is an excellent, user-friendly corded phone and answering machine without a lot of bells and whistles.
55 comments23 of 24 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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