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AT&T CLP99483 DECT 6.0 Connect to Cell Phone Answering System with Dual Caller ID/Call Waiting (4 Pack) Silver/Black
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- A built-in USB dock means you can make and receive cellular calls from your home system while charging your mobile phone at the same time.
- Download up to 6,000 cellular phonebook entries to the cordless handsets.
- Know when your Android mobile phone receives a text, e-mail or social media update. Each handset beeps and displays which kind of message was received. You can also receive calendar reminders through the system.
- Experience the best in long-range coverage and clarity, provided by a unique antenna design and advances in noise-filtering technology.
- Pair up to two cellular lines and one landline with your cordless system. Then, enjoy the freedom to make and receive calls on all three lines—all at once.
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Connect to Bluetooth wireless technology enabled cellular phones to make and receive cellular calls with the ease and comfort of a home phone system. Know when your Android mobile phone receives a text, e mail or social media update. Each handset beeps and displays which kind of message was received. You can also receive calendar reminders through the system. Pair up to two cellular lines and one landline with your cordless system to enjoy virtual multi line operation. Features mobile phone charging using a built in USB port so you can make and receive cellular calls from your home phone system while charging your mobile at the same time.
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I thought I understood this until it came time to replace our home phones. I did the research, and like a lot of people, got suckered into the brand with the most features per buck. I won't mention names, but it begins with "Pana" and ends with "Sonic". So I bring home the first multi-handset system with the walk-on-water features, only to find out that the basic audio functions of the base, handsets, and speakerphones basically suck. We use the base and handset speakerphones a majority of the time, and to put it succinctly, the wife wasn't happy (write your own joke here. . .).
So, off I go to do more research. And guess what? I did it again, thinking that a newer or more expensive version of that other brand would work better and still have all those killer features. Survey said. . . "WRONG"! This newer phone set was actually worse sounding than the first, but hey, it could predict the weather, manage your bank account and tell you when the next full moon will be. You get the point: Wife still not happy. Fearing another sleepless night under the deck, I made an executive decision and ended up. . .
Here, with the AT&T model CLP99483 cordless phone system. I had done some research on AT&T previously, but was loath to give up any features that the Jesus phones offered. After some serious re-thinking, I realized I didn't really need half the features of the other phones, just clear, concise audio quality. So, let's cut the BS and get right down to the feature set of the CLP99483 phones and what I have observed from setup and use of this system. Keep in mind, everybody is different and your mileage may vary.
The Good -
Audio quality: To my ears (and my wife's), there is a distinct difference in both out-going and in-coming voice quality. We have a Verizon Wireless Home Phone unit, which is basically a cell phone in a box that replaces your hard-wired land line. So right off the bat, the CLP99483 AT&T system is communicating through a cell connection, which will never quite rival the quality of an actual hard-wired land line. That said, the call quality from the base, handset, and speakerphones is superior to the two Panasonic phone systems purchased beforehand. Even a call placed from the base speakerphone to me in my truck through my hands free system is very legible between both ends. The CLP99483 touts "HD Audio with Equalizer" as one of it's features. I don't know exactly what this is, but I would guess it is some kind of Digital Signal Processing to enhance clarity of conversations in both directions. There is even a small section in the manual that says basically that. Score one for ME! (Wife is happy).
"Connect to Cell": This essentially allows you to connect up to two smart phones to the system via Bluetooth wireless connection. This is designed to work with both Android and iPhone devices, however, because of the vast number of different cell phones on the market, it's not necessarily a marriage made in heaven. Pairing both my wife's iPhone and my iPhone was a simple and quick affair that appears to be functioning well. You can also utilize the main line and both cell lines simultaneously, providing three way communication through the system. Haven't tried this, don't know of too many people that will, but it's there if you need it. This feature will also allow you to use the ring tone from your connected cell phone(s) through the system. In addition, you can download contacts from up to four cell phones into the system, however, there are caveats. More on this later.
DECT 6.0 Technology: Well, let's face it, almost all cordless phones have this now days and it truly is a superior radio link. This is more of a marketing ploy than anything, but it does perform incredibly well.
Simulated Full Duplex Operation: This is a fancy way of saying that when you are talking through the speakerphone on a handset or the base unit, you won't hear dropouts and cut-offs when both parties talk at once. This can also be maddening when you have a long-winded yakker on the other end who never takes a breath. You can actually cut in and they will hear you on the other end even while they are still talking. This is the way the old land-line phones worked, and it's a much more natural way to have a conversation. It's not perfect, but it's worlds away from most cordless phones on the market without it.
Talking Caller ID: Let's face it, lot's of cordless phones now days have caller ID, and a large share of them have the voice announce, where the unit tries to convert the text that comes through the caller ID to actual speech. This is in no way a perfect technology however, and the results can be anywhere from unintelligible to hilarious. Either way, the caller ID information is presented to all handsets and with the voice function when a call is received. If it is too much for you, the voice function can be disabled. The system can store 50 names and numbers. Oh, one more thing - somewhere in the manual it states that if you have caller ID service and receive caller data, the system reads the time stamp and automatically updates the clock each time a new message is received. Cool!
Push-To-Talk (PTT): This is actually a quick and easy way to communicate with others in your house. You can select a specific handset to talk to, or push and hold the button for a second or two to ring all handsets (up to 5) connected to the system. Once they answer, you can communicate back and forth like a pair of walkie-talkies using the Push-to-Talk button on the side of each handset. Call it a poor man's intercom I guess.
Digital Answering System: Pretty standard for cordless phones. 14 minutes of recording time, 99 message capability, remote access through each handset or through the main line from another phone when you are traveling and want to pick up your messages. Can be setup to allow listening to the caller leave a message for call screening. Flashing Play/Pause button gives visual indication of new messages received, plus you can set up the base station to beep every ten seconds for new messages (sounds like a recipe for insanity to me - hey, whatever blows your skirt up).
Now, the Bad -
NO CALL BLOCKING on the caller ID: BOOOOOOOO! AT&T could take a lesson from the Panasonic guys on this one. We get so many telemarketing calls these days, this would have been a great feature to add to an already great system. Alas, I guess I will have to continue to amuse myself by harassing the unsuspecting boobs that call me (cue evil laugh).
Funky-ass directory setup: If you read the marketing hype on this phone system, it says you can download thousands of numbers from your cell phones into it's directories, but then it turns around and says it only has a 200-name and number phone directory to store your numbers. HUH?!?!? Here's the scoop - the base station has one main directory called "Home" that is permanently in the directories list, with a capacity of 200-names/numbers, as stated. But, in addition the base has the capability to download and store contact lists from four separate cell phones into four separate directories, each with 1500-name/number capacity. Because these other directories are created on the fly, you won't see them in the directories list until a download is complete. So now, Father, Mother, Sister, and Brother can all download up to 1500 numbers each from their cell phones into separate directories in the base, and they will all be shared (including the main) through all handsets. Here's the catch; you can only have two cell phones connected to the system at one time via Bluetooth, so somebody's gonna have to learn to share. This all leads to the next bit of engineering nuttiness known as. . .
Schizophrenic Data Entry: Ok, better pop open another beer, this is gonna get sticky. Seriously, trying to edit and change entries in the different phone directories will make you feel like a white rat in a maze. In the main "Home" directory, you can only enter names/numbers manually from the base or handset buttons - One. Letter. At. A. Time. Remember texting on the old flip-phones years ago? Press the #2 key once for the letter "a", twice for "b", or three times for "c". Then, trip over your own thumbs, curse, and start over. Yup, it's just like that. Hey, wait, I've got an idea. Let's just download the most important numbers from my cell phone into the Home directory! HA! Wrong. Can't do it. Well, what if I just want to copy a few numbers over from the directory I downloaded my cell phone into? Nope, forget it. You CAN, however, copy a number from the redial list directly into the home directory. Big whoop, like how often are you going to do that? Although you can edit an entry in any directory, you simply cannot copy from one directory to another. This becomes really inconvenient when you actually get down to setting up your directories the way you want.
There was also some weirdness during the actual downloading of contacts from the cell phone into a directory. At least there was for me. I was downloading the contacts list from my iPhone 5 and my wife's iPhone 5, and each directory created in the base unit had missing entries. Not a lot, but there were definitely several numbers missing. No problem, I thought, I'll just go in and add them manually. Wrong again! There is no way to do this. You can't add numbers manually in the directories created from a cell phone download! AAAAARRRRRRRHHHHHHHGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!! Somewhere in the world there are a bunch of Japanese engineers laughing hysterically. Let's move on, shall we?
No Speed Dial (but a work-around): Some people love speed dial and others don't care about it one way or the other. I personally have found that when you have hundreds or thousands of entries in your directories, and all you want to do is order a pizza, having a speed dial at your fingertips is a great time-saving feature. With that, I offer a solution: Download your contacts from your cell phone(s) into the system, then simply use the "Home" directory to store your 9 or 10 favorite, often-used numbers. You can select the Home directory quite easily, scroll through the short list of names with the up and down arrow keys on the keyboard, then simply push the "Home" (talk) button to dial the number. Simple. This obviously won't work for everyone in every situation, but it can be a pretty good surrogate for a real speed dial function in most situations.
The Questionable -
Mobile Notifications: This feature will make every handset in the house beep every time a new text message, email, or social media notification is received by any of the cell phones connected via Bluetooth. OMG! Can you imagine what this would sound like with two teenagers' cell phones connected? Inevitably, there are people who will love this feature, but personally, I think it could turn your family into "The Shining".
Battery Back-Up Mode: Kind of another marketing ploy. "Keep them fearful, they will buy". The gimmick is that the handset resting in the base unit will power the system for a period of time if your main power goes out. All Bluetooth and answering machine functions are disabled and you end up with a very basic system for calling in and out. Uhhh, can't I just do the same thing with my cell phone? Well, yes you can Eddie. Seriously though, it's probably a good security blanket for those who don't have cell phones and rely on this system exclusively.
Mobile Phone Charging: Hey, it's easy to put a powered USB connector on the side of a phone. I guess this will be convenient if you always set your cell phone near the base. Probably not so great if the base is wall mounted or you have two cell phones.
Lighted Keypads: Or should I say "partially lighted keypads. The LCD displays on the base and handsets are back-lighted, but only the number keys on the handsets. This means you have to fumble around in the dark to find the Talk, Off, Volume, Speaker, Mute, and Redial buttons. Oh good lord. I know why they did this - to save money, but it just seems like a glaring oversight (no pun intended). Also, the back-lights only turn on for a few seconds whenever you push a button, then go out, which can be annoying. In reality though, this is probably nit-picking and doesn't make that much difference to phone operation.
So what does this all mean? Well, in my opinion, it's going to be different for everybody depending on their location, cell phone type, and personal preferences, but for me, I've found a very robust cordless phone set that delivers first on sound, and second on features. This is how it should be. If you're more concerned about bells and whistles, there are obviously other manufacturers that can beat this system, but they can't beat it on sound quality. I'm going out on a limb and recommending this as an excellent choice when all factors are weighed. Give it a shot - I don't think you'll be disappointed.
Now maybe I can come out from under the deck. . .
I really like the ability to link my cell phone (and my wife's) into these phones. Instead of having to remember to carry my cell phone around with me through the house, I just lay it down in the kitchen when I come home and it links thru the base unit and all of the remotes. I have even forgotten to bring the cell phone in out of the car and it will still connect even though it is in the garage.
The other feature that I especially like is the Push-to-talk ability. Just press and hold the PTT button and you can talk thru all of the remotes. Especially handy when you aren't sure where your spouse is.
I have even carried one of the phones out to my shop when working out there and it serves as both my home phone and cell phone. - Good range.
The only negative that I can think of is the wall mount and the fact that the handset has to stand on it rather that hanging on it. Seems like it is more natural to hang the phone up on the wall - just looks odd.