Customer Reviews: Siemens Gigaset Designer Digital Cordless Phone with Color Display, Bluetooth Connectivity and Answering System (SL785)
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on August 18, 2009
I've gone through a number of dissatisfying $100 Panasonic 2.4GHz phones, and tried a Philips VOIP841 (terribly scratchy audio), and decided that maybe I should just buy a higher end model to get some actual quality.

I bought this and an extra handset (SL78H), and I am generally happy with its performance. Our apartment is 70' x 21', in an old brownstone with numerous plaster/brick walls. I originally had the basestation in our home-office at one end of the apartment, and was experiencing some drop off at the other side of the house. I corrected this by moving the basestation into the next room over, so now it's fine at 55' in one direction, and 15' in the other.

The audio is very good, and of course the styling is nice, too. Here are my issues with the phone:

1) The Caller ID list shows numbers and when, but NOT names. You have to further scroll and click on an entry to see name details. The screen is so high resolution, the phone could easily have a third line of info or be more efficient with space. There is a LOT of dead space in the call list.

2) From the screensaver, getting the in/out call list requires a minimum of **4** clicks, and optionally a scroll, to get to. This is ridiculous, and should have a soft or hard key from the "home" screen

3) Only one handset can view the call list at a time. If one handset is looking at the call list, the other will just beep at you if you try to do the same.

4) The screensaver should have an option to overlay info like the time/date

5) I bought a Plantronics Voyager Pro specifically to use with this phone. Most of the time it's great and they get along well. But maybe 1 out of 4 times I they unpair, and then I have to actually restart the phone to get them to work together again. I am using them within 4' of each other. The Plantronics works FINE with my Blackberry Bold, never an issue.

6) Wireless transfer over BT is SLOOOOOOOW. Moving a 200K screensaver took like a minute. This is probably a general problem with BT. If you want faster, then you have to remove the back cover (!!!) to get to the USB port.

Now despite those frustrations, I'd still recommend the phone if you don't mind spending the coin. That is, the basestation w/phone plus another phone makes for around $320. It performs better than any other cordless I've had, and looks better, too.
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on March 11, 2010
I purchased a Siemens Gigaset Sl 785 system for over $600.00 from Amazon about 6 months ago (around June, 2009). One of the handsets developed a problem where the screen became excessively bright. I called the help number, the agent tried to fix the phone remotely using a reset technique but this did not help. I was told that the phone would be replaced since it was still under warranty. I was told that the company would contact me with a return authorization number within 48 hours. This was more than 3 weeks ago and repeated calls to the company and promises for action have still not resulted in a return authorization. I will update this review periodically and let those who are interested in such issues know what happens. So far service has been nonexistent. After spending so much money for an admittedly wonderful phone, you would think that the company would try to do a better job.

(update #1 3/10) Finally, after repeated attempts I got a Return Authorization # and sent the phone back in Mid January. 2 months later (Mid March) still nothing. This is ridiculous. Here is what they sent me:

Thank you for your call. We are glad to be of assistance.

We apologise for the inconveniences caused by the delay in generating your RMA number. In order to have the faulty Gigaset SL785 repaired/replaced please do the following:

1. Send the handset, handset cradle and handset cradle power supply to :

Menlo Logistics
C/o Efficient Networks
601 S Royal Lane #100

(update #2 3/11) I contacted them and they sent this:

Thank you for your e-mail. We are glad to be of assistance.

We apologize for the delay in the repair procedure.

We inform you that we have escalated your case to our Second Level Department and we will contact you as soon as we receive the required information.

(next update ???)

(update #3 3/17) HURRAY! After posting here on and telling Siemens that I had done so they quickly sent me a new phone. Thanks to this opinion site, at least in part, and my constant complaining the issue is resolved.
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on January 28, 2010
First off all, let me say I was replacing a older Gigaset 4200 series set in the house. So I was familiar with the funky side of the Siemens. I found this new one to be much improved. Sound is superb, it saw my bluetooth headset right away, and I imported my Outlook 2007 contacts via a windows 7 PC easily. Very slick looking phone, too. The manual is simple, small, and easy to read. There is a set-up ledger early on, so I didn't have to go fishing through the chapters to find what I needed. Still, glancing at the manual is likely a must and if that isn't for you, this phone may not be. However, I think Siemens make the best cordless phones out there. Like others have said, I've watched family members pour through Panasonics, etc, while my Siemens last 10-years.

One thing: I had to download the software from Siemens. The disc that came with the phone was too old. Hardware update was a breeze after the download. As far as other reviewer's caller ID issues, I don't have any. I see both the phone number and caller name when the phone rings (and imported photos from my PC, which is a nice touch).

About handsets, I looked on Siemens website to find a different compatible phone because I didn't want to spend $150 for the SL78H Siemens Business Comm Gigaset/Siemens S30852-H2058-R (GIGASET-SL78H). The A59H is compatible with the SL785 and only costs $50 at this writing. Siemens Gigaset HDSP DECT 6.0 Handset for the A580IP (A58H) After charging it connected with the system, no problem. The only drawback so far is importing the contacts from the SL78H to the A59H. Haven't figured that one out, yet.

All in all a great phone. It's also made of metal -- which feels very sturdy. It's great looking and set up was a breeze. Great ringtones. Easy sync with bluetooth and Outlook -- all pluses in my book. I would have given it 5 stars, if not for having the USB plug hidden under a removable back cover, having to read the manual, and also having to download new software. Otherwise, I'd highly recommend this phone.
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on February 9, 2010
I really wanted to like this phone. I did my research, read all the glowing reviews, and decided to blow the budget and get the best DECT phone available: the SL785. My goal was to replace a 10-year old Sony 2.4ghz 4-handset system that has worked well, but is starting to wear out, with 2 of the handsets experiencing issues. Plus, the fact that the Sony has always conflicted with my WiFi network. I purchased 1 of these as a test, with the expectation of purchasing 2 or 3 further handsets for the other locations in my house.

First, the good parts about the SL785:
* Big, clear color LCD screen. Easily the best feature.
* Lithium Ion battery.
* Good build construction with more metal than usual (although the entire back is plastic), and far more stylish than most landline phones.
* Bluetooth headset compatibility.
* Behaves more like a cell phone than a landline phone.
* PC connectivity for firmware upgrades, ring tones, pictures, etc.
* Generally good voice quality.
* Completely separate basestation prevents one of the phones from having a giant charging base.
* Picture caller ID and assignable ring tones.
* Good answering machine features.
* Huge phonebook capability, and the ability to sync with a PC or Bluetooth cell phone.
* Made in Germany.

Some minor issues:
* No words used on button labels - can make it hard for the non-technically-inclined to find features. The existence of the 4-way directional ring or how to access features such as the menu or directory may not be apparent to new users.
* Keypad surface is a solid piece of metal, so tactile definition between keys is low.
* Awkward to put a call on hold to transfer to a wired phone.
* Earpiece and speakerphone volume is a little on the soft side, though I've been hearing this about almost all DECT phones. Also a bit of amplification "hiss".
* Most ring tones are soft (though a few can be made loud)... also few "standard electronic" ring tones, but you can always upload your own.
* Caller ID makes you work to get to the person's name, prefers to display the number on call lists.
* Phone continues to ring for 5-8 seconds after it has been answered on a wired phone (although tech support told me how to improve this via a hidden settings menu).
* Due to the cell-phone-like connector design, not as easy to dock/undock from the charging base as most cordless phones. Also, despite the charging base being solid metal it still had the tendency to move around when undocking.

All of these I could live with. However the main issue for me was that I couldn't get more than 45 feet away from the basestation before I started to hear static - even with Eco mode off - and if I went to my office the phone lost the basestation entirely. I have no similar range issues with my 802.11g WiFi network, or even my old 2.4ghz phones which work fine on my entire property. Now, perhaps this is all due to some sort of generic RF issue with my environment that all DECT phones would experience, but considering how DECT is supposed to improve range with less interference and this was reputed to be the best, in the end I was disappointed.

I'm not thrilled with the other DECT options available on the market, but will have to make do with something else.
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on December 20, 2011
In December 2009, I purchased the Gigaset SL78H system and 4 additional handsets. I bought the Gigaset because it was (and still is) the only system on the market that provides Bluetooth in a cordless land line phone, a fact that mystifies me given that every cell phone in the world has Bluetooth functionality. The Bluetooth feature works okay, although it drops the headset pairing periodically and I have to go through a ritual of repowering the headset and phone to reestablish the link. However, the reason that I gave the system only one star and that I don't recommend buying it is that two of my five chargers failed just slightly after the warranty expired. Not only will Gigaset not replace them but they inform me that they have NO SERVICE CAPABILITY IN THE US and no plans to create one. Further, they WILL NOT SELL REPLACEMENT PARTS. They referred me to Barclay Enterprises, a third party phone repair company in California, that doesn't support the SL78H. My only choices now are to 1.) buy new handset/charger packages at $160 each and hope that charger problem doesn't reoccur or 2.) replace the entire system. I will probably go with option 2 and replace my Gigasets with a Panasonic or something similar, even though it means losing the Bluetooth functionality.
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on October 19, 2009
I purchased the SL 785 and two additional handsets thinking that by purchasing the top of the line I would be getting a phone that I could use for 10 years. Within 2 weeks the keypad on one of my handsets stopped working, meaning that I couldn't dial out on that handset and if there was an incoming call I couldn't pick up using that handset. Then the nightmare began - I spoke with customer service representatives at Siemens five different times, and was repeatedly promised an authorization and instructions for returning the product. They never followed through - they would only promise to get back to me within 24 hours (which they failed to do 3 times).

If this were a $50 phone, I would have thrown it away and called it a lesson learned. But for $500, I expect a product to work and I expect a manufacturer to back the product. I was sadly disappointed on both counts.
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on November 17, 2009
I have two of the SL785's and five of the SL78H's. They are stunningly beautiful instruments. They're the only cordless phones that come close to the level of look and feel of the iPhone. But the engineers at Siemen's have a ways to go before their contribution to these phones matches that of the designers. These phones do have excellent sound quality (better, for phone calls anyway, than the iPhone). But there are a number of usability issues that ultimately make these phones feel as if they had been initially designed by Apple but then taken over by Microsoft or Motorola. Here are some of the problems that I have encountered:

(1) The range is limited. Granted, I have a big house (3,500 sq ft), but (unlike my previous Panasonic and AT&T systems) I could not get reception throughout the house unless I got two base stations. In Europe Siemens sells a repeater to solve this problem, but they have no plans to adapt that for the US market.
(2) As pointed out by others here, if you do have more than one base station, they unfortunately don't talk to each other. A handset connected to one base won't know that a handset connected to the other base is using the line for a call. And, contrary to the impression given in the manual, you can't move through the house on a call with a handset connected to one base and have it switch over to the other base mid-call as you get out of range of the initial base. Call logs are not shared between bases. Etc.
(3) Also as pointed out by others here, the software is clunky. It often requires many clicks to drill down to things on the handset menus. When a call is coming in, the caller ID screen only shows the caller's number; the names only show up in the calls log after a call is completed or missed -- and even then you have to click on the # to get down to the name. And, contrary to what Siemens claims on their website, the synching software is not yet compatible with Mac Snow Leopard.
(4) Again as pointed out by others, Siemens support is pathetic. The people who staff their 800# have never actually used these phones and try to answer questions by doing a google search through the manual. They even had to do a google search to find their own support email address when I asked how I could get help from someone other than the call center staff.

But, all that said, because of their looks and their sound quality, I'm going to keep them and enjoy them and hope there will be firmware upgrades coming to address some of the issues.
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on November 4, 2012
Title says it all. Started to act up after 14 months with not reacting to keyboard input, died today after almost 15 months, one last connection which only gave static noise and then it died completely. It appears that the ones in Germany are much better, there everyone seems to have one from Siemens. Not this one though. Stay away.
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on August 16, 2011
I spend a lot of my phone calls on work-related conference calls where I need to keep my hands free and still be heard. Sometimes I'm on the road, sometimes I'm at home, so a solution that works in both situations seemed like a no-brainer, i.e. a blue-tooth headset to go with my iPhone and a blue-tooth handset for my landline.

I was just plain attracted to this handset, but I looked around at others too. One thing you need to bear in mind if you want to use a bluetooth headset with a phone is the range of the bluetooth connection. With some handsets the bluetooth is in the base station, so you'd have to be in range of that all the time. With the Siemens, the bluetooth is in the handset. Bluetooth range is small, so this is important.

Another thing that bugs me about all cordless handsets is that they come with an answering machine in the base station. I really don't want that. I have FIOS digital voicemail. I want to use that. Fortunately you can disable the voicemail in the base station and get it to use the FIOS voicemail instead - once you've disabled the answering machine you need to add the FIOS voicemail number and the voicemail indicator will light up when messages are left in your FIOS voicemail. If you want to use the built-in answering machine, the voicemail controls are in the handset, not the base station.

You can sync the directory with a bluetooth data device (e.g. your iPhone address book), but I chose to download the sync application for my Mac and sync with my Mac address book over USB instead. Using this app you can also upload caller ID pictures and ringtones. Before you do this, you need to set up the international dialing code and your local dialing code and (according to the manual) all your address book phone numbers must include '1' before the area code. Something that surprised me was that I didn't need to prefix out-of-area numbers with a '1' when I was dialing them on the handset - a nice little extra.

My bluetooth headset paired flawlessly with it. Being a bluetooth neophyte I was a little confused by how it was supposed to work, but basically if the headset is switched on and you take the phone off the hook, you will be using the headset.

There are several built-in ringtones. Most are the usual polyphonic noise, but some (including the default) are samples and you can add more using the USB connection. You can assign different ringtones to different address book entries. You can configure the phone to not ring between specific hours, unless the call is from a number marked as 'VIP' - a nice feature.

Finally, the phone is a beautiful thing. The color display is great, the backlighting is great, the phone has a nice heft to it (I can dial with one hand - I've had other phones where the handset is so light you couldn't do this because it was just too light) the charging station is heavy - you're not going to knock it over accidentally.

In short, if you want a bluetooth enabled phone for a landline, get this one.
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on July 29, 2009
I have been a long time user of the Siemens Gigaset products (started with 4100 series) and this new SL785 & companion SL78H series are fantastic. Yeah, they are expensive but... the quality and features are far above the other wireless "toys", e.g., Phillips, and worth every penny. I tried two different Phillips models and ended up giving one away and simply throwing the other one out.

The sound quality on the Gigaset is superior and the clarity of hands-free (speaker-fone) operation is amazing. I have the occasion to call home form my cell phone and the clarity of the voice when the speaker-fone feature is used in unbelievable. The one caution is that the speaker is on the back so you should use it hands-free when setting in the charging station.

Customer support is excellent. I had the occasion to inquire about how to set one of the funtions and they replied the next day (email). Just as a note, for those of you that still use dial-around and need to enter pauses while waiting for a 2nd dial-tone it is easily done from the link to your MS Outlook/Outlook Express Contact list. I also like the ability to link a picture to a number in the address book so you can easily see who it is.
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