Smartphones are grabbing all the attention these days, but in most homes, a wireless phone connected to the landline can be just as important. VTech is one of the best-known manufacturers of phones and accessories. We reviewed two models: the VTech Headset Phone DS6671-3 that includes two handsets, and DECT 6.0 cordless headset for hands-free operation, and the stylish new VTech Retro Phone LS6191-17.
We have reviewed VTech phones in the past, but it has been a long time, so we felt it was time to look at their new releases and see how much has changed. And, judging from our time with these new phones, quite a lot has changed. The two phones were very different in character. The Retro is designed to look like a classic dial phone, but is really a thin-profile headset that rests on a classically styled base. It is available in a variety of colors to please any hipster with an eye for interior design.
By comparison, the VTech Headset Phone DS6671-3 is all business, with a sleek brushed metal-and-black look. The handset is larger, thicker, and the main base unit includes an area where the DECT 6.0 cordless handset docks and charges. The unit we tested included a second handset and charger base. We were excited about the small portable DECT 6.0 cordless headset, and despite having a set of different sized earpieces and an on-your-ear option with headband, we just couldn’t manage a good secure fit, and consequently it would not stay put during calls. We’d like to see a tweak to the existing design to make it more adjustable for all users.
When it comes to audio quality, what a difference a few years makes! Both units provided crystal-clear audio, and the battery life on the phones was exemplary. The range was far greater than in the past, when the reception suffered if we took a few steps too many away from the base. We now found ourselves able to maintain a connection even when venturing outside the house to check the mail or retrieve something from our car in the driveway, without an interruption to the call. The new batteries are nickel metal hydride, which offer better life, less memory issues compared with the nickel cadmium batteries of older units.
One of our favorite and most useful features offered by both of these two models is Connect to Cell technology, which allows users to sync a cell phone to the VTech phone. Just find a location in your home with the best cell reception, sync to the VTech phones, and from that point on you can answer or make cell calls using your VTech handsets, while simultaneously maintaining the land line service. We loved this feature, and felt the implementation was rather simple. The models we tested include fully featured answering systems, and it worked very well in our tests. One feature we used quite a bit was the speakerphone option. Speakerphones capability is something we’ve come to expect in nearly all phones, but most of the time the sound is garbled and we have to switch to normal operation. Not so with the VTech units’ speaker function, which had clear, easy-to-understand audio, and worked well.
We found both the VTech Headset Phone DS6671-3 & Retro Phone LS6191-17 to be first-rate units and near the top of the list of the many phones available today. They’re easy to use, offer great reception, caller ID and answering system, and stylish good looks. With the ability to easily connect to your cell phone, these wireless phones come highly recommended. The hardest decision might just be which color to choose.
Harris Fogel and Nancy Burlan, posted 2/13/2014
For more information on the VTech Headset Phone DS6671-3 & Retro Phone LS6191-17 visit: www.vtechphones.com