Our first foray in to cordless home telephones starts here with two Siemens handsets that I’ve been putting to test in my own home for the past month. The one that I am writing about today is the Gigaset E365, a digital cordless kit with built-in answering machine, illumination keys and a backlit display. This one has been designed for either the blind or the visually challenged because the display and the buttons on the handset couldn’t be any bigger or clearer. With an assortment of features that you won’t find on other handsets this might be the one you’ve been looking for.
With a full text key pad backlight at a touch of a button, the entire front fascia glows orange along with the screen so you can use this handset in the dark and whenever someone is calling you, the speakerphone light powers up but for some reason the rest of the handset doesn’t light up.
At the top of the handset there are 4 programmable speed dial keys that can store your most dialled numbers and allows for an instant recall of the saved number. Hit the dial button and it starts dialling. What I did discover throughout playing around with the menus and using this speed dial function is the response time from navigating from menu to menu. There’s a slight delay of a couple of seconds before anything happens and I guess I can blame that on the processing power of the chips they put in to the handset.
The headset connection at the side of the handset applies more for those who are looking to put this in an office environment, perhaps for a secretary or office manager to use. This standard jack allows you to connect a headset for taking calls.
Becoming more common in digital cordless handsets is the ability to handle SMS texts. You can now receive and send text messages using a standard BT line just like you would do with a mobile phone. Unfortunately this is only going to be for those who are nimble on the normal keypad because there’s no T9 text prediction.
A unique feature of the E365 is the emergency call handling where 4 phone numbers can be programmed for when there is an emergency (999, your doctor, closest kin, next door neighbour) and your phone will dial all of these numbers one after another until a connection has been made so that in the event of an emergency you can be sure to be able to get some help without having to fuss over the menu system, your phone book or the scrap piece of paper you wrote your doctors number on. The emergency access numbers are right there.
At first it sounds like this is just another variation of speed dial, however it’s so much more than that and this may be the feature you’re after or a feature that would be ideal for someone you know. It’s called SOS and once it’s been set up properly, when activated it will playback the SOS message “Sending emergency call”, dial the first number that you programmed in to the emergency list (not the speed dial list) and as soon as the call is picked up the recipient of the call hears a pre-recorded message saying, “This is an emergency call” and then your name is played back and the recipient is asked to press 5 to accept the call.
If you bought multiple handsets and have it registered to the same base station then all the other handsets will also start to flash and show the message “Emergency call” notifying the holders of those handsets that somebody might be in trouble.
The battery is good for 6 days without any use and talk time is rated at 18 hours but I didn’t fancy making 18 hours worth of phone calls so I’ll take the spec sheet for it but considering there’s 6 days of standby time this works out to be about right.
Most digital answering machines will have a maximum of 12 minutes of recording time and this is perhaps more than enough for most people save from the most popular. With the current climate of flash memory becoming so cheap, Siemens has managed to fit in 25 minutes of digital recording time, good enough for when you’re away for weeks at a time.
The Siemens E365 isn’t going to win any awards for being the sleekest of handsets, however the solid quality build and the large clear labelling of the buttons makes this an ideal cordless phone for the ‘older’ generation who more often than not are requesting large style buttons with very clear text.
Plenty of recording time, backlit display and keys, speed dial, emergency calling, SMS texts and a large clear handset design makes the E365 a feature complete product that includes every feature you need for a cordless home phone. It’s not one for me but I can see some of the features appealing to others.