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Get your cordless phone to work with your cell phone

New features enhance collaboration and give you more reasons to buy a cordless phone

Published: February 15, 2015 09:00 AM

Cordless phones might strike you as hopelessly out of date in the age of smart phones, but they’re not as irrelevant as you might think. In fact, new cordless phones have features that can make your cell phone experience even better.

Though smart phones have a lot of strong points, universally good reception and great sound aren’t among them. There might be certain areas in your house—say, that newly refurbished basement—where cell signals can be weak, which can result in static, dropouts, or feedback that makes it hard to hold a conversation.

Your cordless phone can come to the rescue. The leading brands—including AT&T, Motorola, Panasonic, and VTech—-all have models that can pair with a cell phone (in some cases, up to four at once) using Bluetooth. Once they're paired, you can access your wireless service using Bluetooth technology and use the cordless handsets to make or take cell calls. Some manufacturers point out that using a cordless phone to optimize cell performance at home makes sense even if you no longer have a landline.

There are certainly benefits to be gained by teaming up your cell and cordless phones. Among them:

Better reception: As mentioned above, you might have trouble using your cell phone in certain rooms in your home. By parking your cell phone near the cordless phone base in a room where you get strong cell signals, you’re likely to get better and more stable cell-phone reception in those dead spots.

No downtime during charging: You can access cell calls on a cordless handset without being tethered to the AC outlet while your cell phone is charging.

Maximizing minutes: It’s easy to use whichever account offers unused talk time.

Here’s a roundup of some interesting features that enhance the collaboration between cordless and cell phones. 

  • You can use distinctive ring tones so you know whether the call is from your landline or cell phone.
  • You can download contacts from a cell phone (sometimes more than one phone) to your cordless phone, so you don’t have to re-enter all those names and numbers.
  • On some cordless phones, you will get an alert when you receive a text, and in some cases an e-mail or social media update, on a compatible cell phone.
  • Some phones will announce the sender’s name using the text-to-speech function.
  • No outlet? On some cordless phones, you can recharge the cell phone using a USB port on the base.
  • Another bonus: You can use a Bluetooth wireless headset with your cordless phone; some new models even come with one.

Note that features vary by brand and model, so make sure whatever phone you’re considering has the capabilities you want.

The Panasonic KX-TG9541B, $120, has several of these features, including USB charging for your cell phone and text message alert on cordless handsets.

And the VTech DS6671-3, for instance, lets you store 2,000 records from one or two cell phones, and it comes with a cordless headset. It sells for about $80.

The AT&T TL92273, $95, alerts you when your Android smart phone receives a text, e-mail or social media update, and it lets you set distinctive ring tones for home and cellular lines.

Eileen McCooey

Correction:

Description of text alert feature was inaccurate but is now correct.


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