Sunday, August 7, 2011

GE's 2.4 GHz Portable Phone Goes The Distance . . . Until It Dies

The Good: Long-lasting battery, Excellent reception, Seems to recharge fast, Easy to find, Looks good
The Bad: Volume doesn't go that high, When it isn't charged, it deteriorates quickly
The Basics: A sturdy, dependable portable telephone that has given me years of good service and will be as good for you, too!

I have a thing about wireless products. Generally, I hate them. I loathe the idea of all of those added signals and forms of radiation coursing through my body. I don't trust wireless devices as far as security goes. Sure, it may seem like I'm a paranoid, but if living near power transformers may cause cancer, what are cell phones and portable phones doing to us? Wow, I suppose that sounds paranoid even to me! Well, the truth is, we don't know what it all will do to us, so I remain wary. And yet, when I purchased my house, there were no phone lines in the upstairs. This created a problem because I enjoy spending time upstairs and I've been employed frequently as a substitute teacher, which means getting calls at 5 AM. This meant either leaping out of bed or getting a portable telephone. I'm not one for leaping, so . . .

I selected the GE 2.4 GHz portable phone because it looked good to me and I have a general trust for GE. They make the lightbulbs I use in my house, the super energy efficient ones. This telephone comes in two parts: the charging cradle and the handset. The black charging cradle must be plugged into a wall socket and a telephone socket. The unit comes with both cords necessary to do that. The cradle is fairly simple with only two features of note.

The cradle has a simple LED light that lights up when the headset it in it and charging. This gives the user a nice, clear visual idea of whether or not they have properly placed the handset in the charger. As well, it helps me find the phone in the dark when I go downstairs and am feeling too lazy to turn a light on. The other function is far more useful and I wish I did not need to use it as often as I find myself using it. In the cradle, there is a gray button. Depressing the button sends out a message to the handset wherever it is to start beeping. Yes, this is a homing function and it works wonderfully. The handset keeps going off until it is found and the "talk" button is pushed or the phone is set back in the cradle. As long as the phone is in range, this function works consistently and wonderfully.

This brings us to the headset that I keep losing (this is not a problem with the phone, but rather with me when I get addled!). The handset is a little over six inches tall (seven with the solid antenna), just over two inches wide and under two inches thick, even with the plastic clip that comes with it. The clip allows the phone to be attached to anything the plastic tab will slip over (I think it's designed to clip to belts). The clip works well and it only comes off my phone when I accidentally drop the handset.

Because it's obvious thus far that I'm a bit of a klutz around the house, let me note right off the bat that this GE phone is exceptionally durable. I must have dropped the handset at least fifty times and it's not cracked anywhere! In fact, it's not even scratched, which surprises me some as I look at it now.

This phone has very easy to use controls. The centrally located "Talk" button makes it very easy to activate the handset with just your thumb, which causes the LCD screen to light up. This makes it easy to dial the phone even in the dark. As well, when incoming calls are received by the handset, the screen lights up, making it quite easy to find this unit when getting calls in the dark at night.

The phone has easy to use controls that are intuitive to use. So, in addition to the obvious keypad where to type the numbers you wish to dial, the Caller ID/Voume control below the "Talk" button does not require reading the manual to figure out. To tab through calls that have come in, simply press the CID/Vol. button before hitting the "Talk" button and the screen lights up and shows you the number of New and Total stored phone numbers on the handset. It's convenient.

But this does get us to the one drawback of this phone. The maximum volume is not especially loud. If you're talking to people with whispy voices, you'll find yourself annoyingly repeating "What was that?" far too often to be considered polite in a conversation. The volume is adequate for the ringer, but even at the maximum volume (there are four volume settings), the volume is not especially loud.

I've never had any problems with people hearing me when I use this phone, which is nice.

As well, because I usually have the phone out of its charging cradle overnight, I can say with some confidence that the battery on this phone is phenomenal. It stays charged for up to 36 hours outside its cradle with a fair amount of use. I've never tried to do an endurance test on the phone but my most extreme experience with it would indicate that the batter holds up fine after being out of the cradle for a night (8 hours), then used continually for over six hours.

However, when the charge is lost, it goes quickly. When the handset needs to be recharged, the line becomes so overcome with static that it's impossible to use. This has only happened twice in my two and a half years of owning this phone, so I'd say that's pretty great. This is just an annoyance for those who would like to keep this phone as the only phone in their house. Then again, after both of those occurrences, I was able to use the handset again within four hours (I didn't push it the second time and gave it the full 8 hour recharge time).

All in all, though, this is a wonderful phone that does what it says it will. I often have the phone outside with me when I am gardening (approximately fifty feet away from the cradle) and I've never had a problem with it as far as range. The range is decent and it holds up well.

As well, it is very easy to clean off. Say, for example, you're a bit clumsy and drop the telephone into a jar of jam. Hypothetically, under such circumstances, this handset would easily wash off with a warm, damp cloth and be ready to use again right away. I'm confident of that.

So, if you must risk your personal security by broadcasting your conversations around the house or neighborhood using a hand-held telephone, this one works wonderfully. It is durable, easy to use, holds its charge and can be found anywhere you might leave it. Just make sure that the people you call are willing to speak up.

For other electronic devices, please be sure to visit my reviews of:
Kyocera TNT! cell phone
SONY ICD-BX700 Digital Voice Recorder
Nikon Coolpix S60 Digital Camera


For other electronics reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2011, 2007 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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