You’d be forgiven for thinking that it’s the end of the line for the landline. According to a recent survey by Relish Broadband, 35% of us ignore our home phone when it rings, for fear it’s a nuisance call, and three in four adults believe they’re a ‘thing of the past’.
But I’m not ready to call time on my landline just yet – they’re still handy if your mobile reception is a bit dodgy, and offer better audio quality than many a smartphone.
They’re also great in emergencies as you and the kids will always know where in the house your fixed line will be, it’s easier for ambulance, police and fire services to track to your location, and who knows if your mobile battery might be dead? Plus it’s useful for calling freephone numbers and premium rate numbers that would cost oodles more on a mobile.
That’s why, when Gigaset came to see me this week with their latest clutch of home phones, I was – pardon the pun – all ears. I’ve picked out my favourites among their new releases. Thanks for holding…
For design divas: Gigaset Sculpture GO, £69.99
I’d been complaining that there aren’t enough pretty modern home phones, but like buses, a few have since come along at once, including the Sculpture GO. Its Champagne metallic insert is totes on trend, but can be easily swapped for a silver or a zebrano wood-effect panel if that works better with your decor.
This phone is completely future-proof as you can use it to make Voice over Internet Protocol calls (think Skype), should fixed lines ever become a thing of the past. You can add up to six numbers and you’ll be able to make free calls worldwide between them – something to think about if any relatives live abroad.
Its nuisance-call blocking technology should stop sales people from getting through, too, and it will be available later this year from Amazon.co.uk
For clumsy callers: Gigaset E630A, £99.99
While I don’t condone calling from the bath (euw!), this IP65 water-resistant handset willl survive a quick dunking if you drop it in the tub or a sink. The shock-resistant rubberised casing will protect it if it takes a tumble on dry land, too, and if you’re worried about dirty callers (as opposed to dirty calls…) the wipe-clean, sealed keypad can’t be infiltrated by sticky little fingers, muddy gardening hands or greasy garage thumbs.
Parents will love this phone, and not just because it’s accident-proof. You can set it to automatically lower the ringer volume at night, so it doesn’t wake the kids. In fact, it doesn’t have to ring at all – alternately, a flashing LED light can alert you to incoming calls instead, which is also really useful if you have hearing problems.
The E630A available now from Amazon.
For elderly relatives: Gigaset E550A, £59.99
Actually, I’m not ruling this phone out for fat-fingered folks like me, thanks to its extra large buttons. The font can be set to be bigger, too, so you don’t have to squint at the screen to make out the number you’re dialling.
Its BIG selling point, however, is the SOS function. At the top of the handset, you’ll see four key marked A, B, C and D, which you can set to speed dial four different phone numbers. In an emergency, if you press the bright red illuminated SOS button, it automatically calls the preset A with your pre-set emergency message. If there’s no answer, it then calls B, C and D in turn until someone picks up.
There are also corresponding A, B, C and D buttons on the charging base, so even if you can’t find the handset, you can still make a handsfree call to those numbers.
The E550A is also hearing-aid compatible so you won’t get any pesky feedback, and has extra-loud ringtones – so loud, they made me jump! It’s available from Ligo.
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