If you believe the hype of the mobile industry, landlines are on their way out as everyone replaces their old home-bound phones with new, pretty cell phones. While landline use has been reduced in recent years, many homes do still have house lines. If anything, the popularity of VoIP proves our point.
For those of you looking to put a high-tech spin on a low-tech home phone line, Gigaset makes the C595 series. The German-made cordless phone offers a sleek design, color LCD screen, and even some of the amenities of cell phones, like customizable ringtones. We put down our iPhones and Android devices to have a look at the system from Gigaset.
Out of the box
We found everything we needed to set up the Gigaset phone system right in the box. There are two C59H handsets and two bases: the C595 with answering machine, and the basic C590 charging cradle. You also get two belt clips, two battery covers, a phone cord and two power adaptors.
One nice thing that we found was that the batteries were ready to go when we put them in the phones. We put them in the charger just to get them fully juiced, but you can start making calls as soon as the phone cord and base are plugged in.
Features and design
In today’s handset market, most phones have a very similar look and features. Gigaset’s C95H set doesn’t stray far from the well-tread path. Our phone came in white with grey bands around the edges, but Gigaset also makes it in a stately matte black.
The base comes with an answering machine, which can be accessed via the handsets as well. Most of the eight buttons on the base are related to voicemail control. If you have the phone docked, it will display the caller ID information and the time that the message was left while you are checking your voicemail. There’s also a paging button to find your handset in case you’ve misplaced it. (The charging cradle for the second phone is even simpler, with just a paging button.)
Within the phone you can put in a directory of phones and names. You can also set up the phone as an alarm clock, or set reminders for various appointments.
A couple of other features worth noting include turning the phone into a room monitor which can be used to check in on your baby or, we suppose, spy on your kids. The other big one is a feature that Gigaset calls “Eco Mode.”
Eco Mode is supposed to reduce the radiation and transmission power of the handsets. It will reduce power-consumption of the phones and the batteries and charging bases. According to Gigaset, Eco Mode is supposed to reduce the range of the base, but we didn’t notice any significant problems when moving about the house. Admittedly, the Portland rain prevented us from testing outside much, but even so, we didn’t notice any dips in service.
For comparison purposes, we tried the C595 alongside a Motorola L513CBT DECT 6.0 phone, which has fairly similar features.
In comparison, the Gigaset phones sounded much better than the Motorola sets. The audio came through quite clearly, and we never missed anything said on the other end of the line. The longer we used the Gigaset phones, the less we wanted to use the Motorola ones.
The Gigaset C59H handsets come with very bright screens and legible fonts. It has the look of a low-end cell phone display, and similar to a low-end cell phone it even comes with a few screensavers. At night the white screen can seem a bit bright, but you can switch it to a darker color scheme to tone it down without losing visibility.
As for the handsets themselves, they were comfortable for extended use, though as with most phones, if you’re on the phone for more than an hour or two your elbow or neck might cramp some. The phones do come with a 2.5mm headset jack on the lower left-hand side for hands-free communication.
As for battery life, our phones came with 700mAh batteries, which Gigaset says can have a talk time of up to 12 hours. While we didn’t talk for more than 12 hours in a single day, we did leave the phones off their chargers for a few days while regularly using them. By day three, our own battery paranoia forced us to put the phones in their cradles, but they were still going strong.
Gigaset is not breaking any molds with the C595 landline phone, but it provides a solid system that will get the job done without breaking the bank – you can get a single phone and base station for under $100. The phones are comfortable to hold and the audio comes through clearly. Based solely on that, we’d recommend the phone to anyone in the market for a new landline phone.
- Clear audio
- Comfortable handsets
- Easy to use
- Screens can be overly bright