It takes something pretty unique to get my attention in the world of phone technology. With phones that can take pictures, record video, wake me with an alarm in the morning, search the Internet, send me an alert to remind me of an event on my calendar, send text messages in a blink and believe it or not, even make a phone call now and then, there isn’t much left to wow! me. We haven’t had a house phone for over six years, now, since our cell phones are (technically) always with us and there is no sense in paying two phone bills, when the house phone was rarely used. What I HAVE missed about having a house phone, however, is the multiple handsets, scattered through the house, so I could answer wherever I happened to be working or playing in our home. This becomes especially obvious to me, when I can hear my cell phone ringing, but can’t remember where I left my purse, where it normally resides. Or sometimes, I don’t hear it ringing at all because it’s in my purse in a completely different part of my house. Our home has a finished basement, main level and an upstairs, so if my purse is in the living room by my chair and I am in the basement doing laundry or upstairs in the bedroom, it’s very possible I won’t always hear it.
Enter VTech’s DS6421-3 Expandable Cordless Phones with “Connect to Cell“. I have been reviewing and testing this excellent system for about two weeks, now, and I’m absolutely hooked. Everything I loved and missed about having a house phone, plus so much more than I dreamed of, is connected directly to two of our family’s four cell phones – mine and my husband’s. We still don’t have house phone service, through a phone company, but now, those two cell phones can make and receive calls through the handsets in our new VTech house phones. This is not just convenient based on where I am in our home. It’s a great help with our nearly 10-year-old who doesn’t have a cell phone, has no need for one, but still needs to make a call now and then. If I’m gone and she wants to call my cell phone to reach me, she can just use the house phones to dial me up through her dad’s cell line. This is an important feature for her, since it is very common for my husband to not remember where his cell phone is. As long as it’s in the house, it doesn’t matter if he can find it, because she can use the house phone handsets to call me and they will just access his cell phone signal (wherever it is) to do it. It all works through Bluetooth and it’s the coolest new gadget we’ve had in awhile!
It was so easy to set up. I plugged in the base, made my cell phone’s blue tooth discoverable and just followed the menu prompts on the VTech handset. In seconds my phone was connected. I plugged in the other two bases in other parts of the house and from that moment on, I have been picking up calls coming to my cell, no matter where I am in our home. Love, love, love this phone system, but picking up our cell signal is only scratching the surface of its features.
- Intercom calling between handsets. (One of my favorites! A child on a video game in a different part of the house, can no longer say, “I didn’t hear you call me.” I use the intercom to call the handset which happens to be sitting on the desk in the room where the video games are. They “hear” me every time, now. I can use it to actually make the handset ring, so they have to stop and pick it up OR I can use PTT [press-to-talk] and simply allow my voice to burst into the room with them and speak through the handset, like a regular intercom.)
- Access your cellular phonebook directory – Download your cellular phonebook directory to this cordless phone system! (I did this, too. The Bluetooth connection transferred my cell phone directory to the VTech system in less than 60 seconds.) Dial a landline or cellular call from the directory for easy access. Stores over 6000 directories from up to four different cell phones?no need to input names and numbers into your cordless phone.
- DECT 6.0 digital technology provides the best sound quality, security and range in cordless phones.
- Protect yourself from identity theft with digital security. Your call is digitized and encrypted, making it nearly impossible for someone to eavesdrop.
- Excellent range, up to 500 feet.
- Audio equalizer allows you to choose from 4 different profiles to best match your hearing.
- Easy to use, standard wall mount capability.
- VTech supports RoHS initiatives by reducing the use of hazardous substances including lead, mercury and cadmium.
- Page/handset locator.
- Expandable up to 12 handsets using only one phone jack.
- Energy Star Compliant.
- Press any key to answer calls.
- Hearing Aid Compatible.
- Retrieve messages on the digital answering system from the handset.
- Remotely retrieve messages on the digital answering system.
- Selectable ring tones.
- Audible time and date stamp on recorded messages.
- Last 10 number redial.
- Conference an outside call between handsets and lines.
- 50 name and number phonebook directory.
- Caller ID/Call waiting stores 50 calls.
- Trilingual prompts allow you to choose between English, Spanish or French.
- Connect to CELL – Pair four different cell phones (or headsets) and have two devices actively connected. Cellular calls can be made or received from either of the two active cell phones. Landline service not required, works great for cellular only households.
- Transfer calls between handsets.
- Make and Receive Landline and cellular calls – Connects to BLUETOOTH enabled cellular phones to make and receive cellular calls with the ease and comfort of a home phone system. Two cell phones can be actively connected to the base and cellular calls can be made or received from either of these two active cell phones. Pair four different cell phones to the base unit and select and change which two are active.
- HD Audio provides an extended frequency band allowing for the signal to be reproduced and tuned for a fuller and clearer sound.
- Voice Announce Caller ID audibly announces the name and number of the caller on all of the handsets and base unit. No need to find the handset to see who is calling. Makes screening calls that much easier.
- Push-To-Talk acts as a multiple handset walkie talkie system to instantly communicate with any or all of the handsets within the system.
- Digital answering system with 14 minutes of recording time. No tapes or moving parts.
- Interference free for crystal clear conversations. Won?t interfere with wireless networks and other wireless devices.
- With the touch of a button, the handset speakerphones makes hands-free conversations easy.
- Adjust ringer volume from low to high, or turn the ringer off.
- Handset volume control.
- Backlit keypad and display allowing for easier viewing in dim light.
- Voicemail waiting indicator provides a text message on the handset to alert you when you have messages waiting on the voicemail service provided by your phone company.
The one minor complaint I have about the system is that the process for dialing a number directly from the directory is a little complicated. If I type a phone number into the handset, then I can just press “dial” and my call is placed. However, if I select a name from the directory, there is no “dial” option. When I choose a name from the contact list in my directory, I have to press the # key until the number is displayed in the correct format (area code +number) and then select the “cell” button to actually dial the call. Not a huge deal, but in the best of all perfect worlds, I would just be able to land on a contact and hit dial.
There are so many features to this phone, that I am still getting excited about new ones that I accidentally discover! I was so excited to be able to have the VTech DS6421-3 connected to our cells, I was content to just use that option for the first several days. Now, I use them as intercoms and have imported my cell phone’s contact list into them! The next big achievement will be a conference call and transferring a call from one handset to another or placing one call on hold to take another! The added bonus is that at this time of year, we can make all our holiday calls and connections and be able to have several people involved in the conversations, at once. You can add satellite units to this system, up to a total of 12! I’m feeling very technologically savvy and super frugal to be able to do all of these things without actually paying to have a home line installed. Needless to say, this phone system gets a big thumb up from me, for busy families on a strictly cell phone budget!
I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of VTech and received a product sample to facilitate my review. No monetary compensation was received and a positive review was not required. As with all Busy-at-Home reviews, the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own.