Cordless phones are a huge disposable industry. How many cordless phones have you owned in the past 10 years? A good phone that is made to last is hard to find.
For corded phones, you lose a lot of credibility with me if you don’t have at least one corded phone in your house… they are reliable as anything. I’ve had the same 2 corded phones for 10 years+ I’ve lost track; they don’t break.
First, more megahertz doesn’t equal better phone. That is a STUPID idea that people apparently willingly buy into. That’s like saying you’ll get better reception on a radio station at 107.9 than a similar station at 88.1. To use another analogy, it’s like saying that a Miata will get you across town faster than Cadillac during rush hour. Additionally, every 5.8 Ghz phone I’ve seen so far isn’t really a 5.8 Ghz phone; it’s 5.8 Ghz from the base to the handset and either 2.4 Ghz or 900 Mhz from the handset back to the base. This means you get the worst of both worlds; each of these technologies has certain problems with reception… maybe it’s trouble going through concrete walls or bouncing off a refrigerator. By using both technologies in one phone, you’re guaranteed to have more trouble.
Excellent phone: Uniden Digital Spread Spectrum 900Mhz phone with answering machine model exs9800. This phone was a new model in about 1999. Excellent and adjustable handset speaker sound quality, people tell me they hear me perfectly, good heft to the handset (I like very much that it feels like a “real” phone in my hands, I’ll save the ity bity phone for when I want to put it in my pocket on the road), digital spread spectrum keeps radio snoops out as well as the best encryption, excellent sounding answering machine, easy to use answering machine (big, simple buttons et all), excellent range in a concrete and steel high-rise building.
Crap phone (that masquerades as an excellent phone): Olympia / Wave Industries OL2400 2.4 Ghz phone Pluses: stylish looking, good interface to a lot of features. Minuses: hard to hold with your shoulder, hard to hold handset speaker to your ear (the speaker only pushes sound out of a tiny opening so you must place it precisely or not hear your party, only moderate speaker sound quality, only moderate microphone, the case creaks loudly directly into your ear as you hold it up to your ear and move about (this drove me INSANE), received some interference in the form of lower sound quality and occasional pops when within 10′ of my 2.4 Ghz wireless network router.
Good phone: I only used this phone for a few weeks before moving away from it but it might qualify as an “excellent phone” Radio Shack 43-3570 2.4 Ghz Expandable Cordless Telephone System. First, it was less expensive than many of the $200 double handset phones I’ve found. $200 for a phone?!?!?! Good interface, excellent sound quality, expandable to 4 phones in $40 handset increments, useful “voicemail waiting” blinky light, though when I hold the Radio Shack phone closer than 6 feet to my laptop running wifi (IE, sitting at the computer while on the phone), the wifi bandwidth suffers a bit and the phone crackles a bit for about 15 seconds (I assume the phone is switching channels or something). It’s kind of annoying. It would take getting a 900MHz phone to fix that issue since wifi is 2.4 GHz. I tried switching wifi channels to no avail. It has enough heft to hold it comfortably. And it has this nifty feature where the phones can work as walkie talkies without the base being nearby. I haven’t given it a real-world test but it sounds neat enough.
I have so far purchased (and returned) 2 CRAP double handset 5.8 Ghz phones. The most amazingly stupid problem I had with it was that you could only have 1 handset off the hook at a time. I’ve spoken about this before.
Ok, enough ranting about phones.