A home telephone is just a home telephone right? Of course not. That hasn’t been the case for years. While we used to rent our telephones from “Ma Bell” and could have our phone in any color and style so long as we liked black rotary phones we now have a wide range of options with regard to both look and functionality. Most recently many people have even gone so far as to get rid of their home phone entirely and rely only on their cell phone. We happen to have two lines coming into our house but both use VOiP technology. One is a phone line that we get through our cable provider and the other is the number provided by my Ooma Telo. (That phone I use strictly for work.)
One of the innovations that Ooma recently rolled out is the ability to attach a Bluetooth dongle to the rear of the base station. Once that is done your Bluetooth connected telephone becomes integrated with the overall Ooma system so long as the cell phone and the base station are within 30 feet of one another. It works great and is one of my favorite features.
But what if you want to take advantage of such Bluetooth connectivity between your home phone and your cell phone but you don’t want to go to the expense of purchasing a full phone system such as the Ooma Telo? That’s where thecomes in. It provides a full home phone system while also integrating your cell phone into its system. I’ve been trying one out for the last weeks and I thought it was time to give you a look.
VTech LS6245 Fashionably Functional- Make and receive landline and cellular calls throughout your home. The LS 6245 allows you to pair up to four Bluetooth cell phones and or headsets to the base station. Two of the four paired devices can be connected to the base station and only one enabled to make and receive calls. This allows you to use your cell phone plans with the ease and comfort of your home phone system. The LS 6245 is the perfect solution to mad dashes to catch your cell phone before incoming calls go to your voicemail. Works great for cellular only households. Landline service not required. Based on DECT 6.0 technology for secure and interference-free calls, the stylish VTech LS6245 cordless phone and digital answering system combines advanced Bluetooth features with the best call clarity and sound quality, for just $79.95. As a result, consumers have an affordable, advanced and sleek home communications solution to avoid the traditional problems of using cellular phones in the home dropped calls and poor call clarity and range.
Working as a virtual two-line phone system, the LS6245 allows users to be on a landline call on one handset or base unit speakerphone, while using another handset for a cellular call at the same time. Users also can connect two cellular phones to the LS6245 simultaneously, and the first cellular phone call to come in will be routed to the cordless phone.
When you first open the box and you’re greeted with the unit itself. There isn’t a lot in the box itself– just the base station, the handset, and the power cord. It’s striking appearance is immediately clear. The base station and handset are made out of glossy black plastic and there are no physical buttons on either. Yes, this is a phone system that uses touch technology for input.
The glossy black is a fingerprint magnet and is rather reflective. (As you can see from this picture which shows my reflection almost as well as if I were looking into a mirror.)
It is an attractive looking phone that has a relatively unique look to it. What is also quite striking about it is its size. It’s quite narrow but is far longer than just about any other handset you’ve ever seen. Personally I think this looks quite cool but the design does introduce an issue–more on that later.
One of the key features of this phone system is its extensibility. The base station can be expected to connect to up to 12 different handsets. Because the system is wireless only the base station needs to be plugged into a phone connection. The other handsets can be placed anywhere around the house and simply need to be plugged into an outlet for charging. Just another example of the way in which wiring a house for telephone outlets is a thing of the past. After all, I can’t see buying any phone system that doesn’t offer this kind of setup in 2010. Why not have all of the phones work together using one wired connection?
The phone uses special sound technology that helps give interference free conversations while also maintaining your security went on the phone. As the company explains,
Protect digital security–your call is digitized and encrypted, making it nearly impossible for someone to be struck. I’m not sure what the NSA will think about that but that’s not my problem.
The phone system has the features you would expect from something like this. Among them…
It offers dual caller ID/call waiting and can store up to 100 different calls. The digital answering system is built right into the base station and can be accessed remotely
The handset has a speakerphone built into it, as does the base station.
The system has 18 preset musical ring tones
The phone system can be used as an intercom certification can take place between different rooms using two or more handsets
You can transfer calls between handsets so that if you pick up the phone downstairs you can give it to your sister Susie who is on the third floor without shouting to her
You can conference an outside call between the handsets
The voicemail can record for up to 14 min.
The big story with this phone system is the built-in Bluetooth technology. As mentioned earlier, you can pair up to four different Bluetooth cell phones or headsets with the base station and two of the four pair devices can be connected to the base station with one able to receive calls at any time. (It is worth noting that only one cell phone or handset can be active on a call at a time.)
As will be familiar to anyone who uses Bluetooth headsets on a regular basis, once the initial pairing has been done so long as Bluetooth is enabled on your phone or headset it will automatically connect to the base station whenever it comes into range. That means you don’t even have to think about it and the connection will happen regardless.
This is actually a bigger deal than it sounds. Let me explain why.
Imagine this scenario–you come home after a long day. Your work-study is downstairs on the ground floor in your bedroom is on the second floor above. (That’s the case in my house.) I plug my iPhone into the charger on my work desk and then go upstairs to say hello. A call comes in on my cell phone and I hear it ringing but I’m already on the second floor. What do I do? I have three choices. I can ignore the call. I can run as fast as possible and try to get the call– tripping on the rug as I do so. Or I can jump down the stairs, hope I don’t sprain my ankle and get to the call before it goes to voicemail. None of them are particularly good options.
With this phone none of that would happen. Because my cell phone and the base station have been previously connected to one another as soon as my phone was within 30 feet of the base station in my home study the phone would connect to it. Now, as a result, if a call were to come in it would be routed to the base station and all of the various expansion headsets on the system. If I’m in the kitchen the phone in the kitchen will ring and I can pick it up. If I’m in the bedroom the phone and that phone will ring and I can pick it up. No matter where I am in the house my cell phone call will now be routed to the handsets spread throughout. It is a tremendous convenience and one that I have come to rely on using my Internet phone ever since the Bluetooth dongle was released. This does the same thing but doesn’t require you to change your phone service.
All of this works well. There is a tremendous amount of technology built into this phone system is not technology for technology’s sake. Rather, it’s technology that actually makes life easier and more seamless. It connects your landline to your cell phone in a manner that makes a tremendous amount of sense considering where technology is now.
All of the stated, I do have to mention that it isn’t all good news. There were two areas where the phone fell short, at least in my use of it. The first is in the use of touch technology for almost all of the buttons. I found that the lack of tactile response cause me to make dialing errors were pressed the wrong button when trying to pick up the call. Because of the amount of technology built into this phone system it has a level of complexity that makes it less straightforward than something similar might be. This is definitely a situation where you want to read the user manual if you get the system. And even if you deleted the touch technology built into it may cause you to make mistakes.
That’s a minor complaint when compared to my larger complaint about this phone. That complaint? The ergonomics of this particular handset are not for me. The following is long and they and I didn’t find it particularly comfortable to talk on for an extended period of time. Moreover, I didn’t find it comfortable to hold for an extended period of time either. It looks great and it may well work for other people but for me it’s a case of form over function with the “function” being awesome and the “form” being less than desirable. Again, however, I should note that this is a personal taste issue and “your mileage may vary”.
To wrap up– this phone system has some huge advantages. It offers good sound quality, a tremendous amount of technology is packed into, it includes voicemail bill right into the base station, the power ro expand it is tremendous, and the Bluetooth technology employs takes it to the next level if you are using a “old-school” phone system at home. Add in the fact that it starts with a good price and is often found on sale and this may well be a good option for you if you’re looking for a new phone system at home.
Theis available directly from VTech and can be .
MSRP: $79.95 but currently on sale for $59.95 with free shipping. (as of November 23rd)
What I Like: Good price; Expandable for up to 12 handsets; Includes answering system; Integrated Bluetooth technology brings home and cell phones together; Good call quality
What Needs Improvement: Black plastic is a fingerprint magnet; Ergonomics of the handset don’t work for me.