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Cordless phones Buying Guides

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Getting started

When shopping for a phone, you'll need to decide whether you want a phone that uses the relatively new DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications) technology or one using the existing analog technology. Generally, analog phones are less expensive and have better voice quality. But they have a shorter range and are subject to interference from other wireless devices. They also have fewer options for extensions. DECT phones are immune to interference, have greater range, offer better security, and longer talk times, sometimes more than 20 hours on a single charge.

And you'll have to decide whether you want an answerer. Many people still do, despite the ubiquity of cell phones with voice-mail capability. Single- and multiple-handset phones come in versions with a built-in answerer. Such phones often cost little more than comparable phone-only models and take up about the same space. If you're considering an answerer, you need to make these two additional decisions.

Features such as a speaker phone for hands-free communication, a keypad for dialing from the base, and a large LCD screen can help you get the most from your phone.

In another trend, some cordless models can stand in for your cell phone. By placing your cell phone near the cordless phone's base, you can access your wireless service using Bluetooth technology and use your cordless handset to make or take cell calls. Besides the convenience of using one cordless handset for all your calls, you might get better cell-phone reception within your home. (For example, if you don't get cell service in you basement, you might be able to make or take calls from there using the cordless handset.) It also makes it easier to use whichever account offers unused talk time. But before you buy such a phone, make sure your cell phone is compatible by checking the vendor's Web site.

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Copyright © 2006-2012 Consumers Union of U.S., Inc. No reproduction, in whole or in part, without written permission.

Getting started

1. Getting started

2. Types

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