Remember 900MHz cordless phones? How about 2.4GHz? And 5.8GHz? Now there is 1.9GHz, but you won’t hear it referred to as that. They’re called 6.0 DECT phones.
Consumers have mistakenly thought that with each progressively higher number the phones somehow get better. And why not? The higher numbered computer chip speeds equate with better performance. This is not analogous with cordless phones, however.
DECT stands for Digitally Enhanced Cordless Technology, and as far as I can surmise, putting the 6.0 after DECT is a marketing decision to suggest that somehow, 6.0 must be superior to and somehow related to 5.8, though this is not directly the fact. The number, I believe, means nothing, but it is clever way to sell DECT to US consumers regardless of the brand name. Without the 6.0 after it, it would look so out of place on the shelf with the other cordless phones touting their number. There is a DECT trade association in the business of promoting this standard.
New to the US, DECT 6.0 phone technology has been in use for several years in Europe. The bandwidth they use was formerly assigned in the US by our FCC as a business band for local communications using walkie-talkies. The FCC took back the bandwidth and discontinued allowing products in this space several years ago. Now, those frequencies are back and authorized for this use here as in other parts of the world for these new cordless phones.
That’s what I believe to be the genesis of the product category. But why do we need it when we have a presence of mostly the 2.4GHz and newer 5.8GHz models? Microwave ovens and wireless computer networks use 2.4GHz frequencies. If you have wireless Internet in your home along with 2.4GHz cordless phones, it is likely you have experienced poor wireless Internet performance when handsets are near the wireless-equipped computer. Also, when the microwave oven is doing its thing and you are near it with a 2.4GHz cordless phone, there may be interference heard through the phone. These 2.4GHz systems do allow the use of multiple handsets. I have never liked nor recommended 2.4GHz phones due to the interference with wireless Internet connectivity.
Similarly, 5.8GHz phones may support multiple handsets. However, they are also said to be prone to certain other interference, though not nearly as likely as are 2.4GHz models. I have had good success with 5.8GHz phones, but time marches on.
Along comes DECT 6.0 technology. It is interference free, has about the same decent range as the 5.8GHz phones and the same multiple handset capability. DECT 6.0 phones are also suitable for use with VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) technologies, such as Vonage and Packet8, as well as with Skye. Click the links to learn more about these services, but the point is that DECT 6.0 is the new kid on the block and the new, better standard for cordless phones.
Which leads me to . . .
My first test of this new technology has been with a set of GE 28112EE2 phones, consisting of handset with answering system base station and a satellite handset. A search finds them today for about $70. The answering system is run-of-the-mill, pretty much the same as others – digital outgoing message, records incoming messages and all the rest. Just fine. Most of my testing time has been spent with the system connected to my Vonage line, so I do not need nor use the answering system feature. Vonage provides voicemail on their end. These phones do, however, feature the customary tell-tale light (in the upper right hand corner on these handsets) to signify there is a message waiting even when using a service with its own voicemail messaging system, be it Vonage or your own phone company.
The phones themselves have performed just fine and have been totally unremarkable in their usage. Isn’t this exactly what we want? Pick up the phone handset, answer a call or enter a number, talk on the phone, hang up. No one knows or suspects that we are on a cordless phone. No digital artifacts. No interference. No reason to NOT use this phone because it does not sound as good as a hard-wired good ol’ phone. I’ve taken it all over Gadget Central and not found a spot with poor reception or interference, much the same as my experience with 5.8GHz phones I have tested.
Battery life is not an issue. I use the phone all day long, usually remembering to place it in the charger base between calls but never finding it is dead at the end of the day. I never leave it off the base overnight so I cannot tell you this would or would not be a problem in the event you are in the habit of not placing your handset in its charger at day’s end.
Once I became accustomed to the way names and numbers are entered, I had no problem adding more or accessing them to speed dial.
Handset volume is just fine, though I would like to be able to make is even lower than it now can be set. It’s loud enough even at its lowest seting because there is such bleed-off of sound that someone near me can often hear what comes out of the handset’s ear speaker. And, of course, there is a nice speakerphone built into each handset.
The rounded back of the handset is not my favorite design, though it is similar to other contemporary handset designs. The rounded back makes it nearly impossible to cradle the handset between head and shoulder as with a traditional square-backed wired handset. This seems to be the way it is and until someone gets smart and does it differently, it’s just not going to be comfortable or convenient to cradle these handsets.
The handsets are headset compatible as are most other cordless handsets these days, though none is supplied with this product.
There is a two-line display showing the number entered and with caller ID capability so long as the user subscribes to this service.
Sounds pretty boring, doesn’t it? Yes, and that is the point. I want to not have negative thoughts about the cordless phone I use. I don’t want to have any thoughts about the cordless phone I use because I want it to just work. Period. Did you ever spend any time thinking about your old hard-wired phone? Hopefully, not, so if users have the same feeling about these GE DECT 6.0 cordless phones, I say, “Mission accomplished!” For me, that’s the way it has been.
Add up to two more handsets, which I found online for around $43 each.
These GE DECT 6.0 phones are recommended!