I have been researching and writing about consumer electronics for over 13 years.
The Advantages of Talking Caller ID
The caller ID feature is great for screening your phone calls and cutting down on the number of disturbances.
This auditory version of caller ID offers some advantages over units without the voice announce feature. They allow you to know who is calling without having to be standing right next to the phone at the time it rings. Since it announces the name or number aloud, you can be on the other side of the room and continue doing something else, uninterrupted.
Also, these units are perfect for those who have any type of vision problems since the LCD screen does not have to be viewed and the user can rely completely on the auditory information.
What You Need
This is simple. You only need two things:
- A phone with a text-to-speech feature: If you want talking caller ID for your landline phone, you can get a unit that will connect with your existing phone, or you can purchase a cordless phone with a text-to-speech capability that has this feature built in.
- Caller ID service: In addition, you will need caller ID service from your telephone service provider.
Buying Tips for a Landline Phone With Talking Caller ID
Choosing a cordless phone with talking caller ID requires you to consider a few things.
You will often see phones referred to as DECT phones. This type of phone has a greater operating range from the base.
You'll also find that phones operate on specific frequencies: 1.9GHz, 2.4GHz, or 5.8GHz. To help assure your cordless phone won't experience interference with wireless devices, it's often best to stick with the 1.9GHz or 5.8GHz models. A phone with FHSS is another option for assuring you can get a clear, secure connection. This means that it can "frequency hop."
Beyond this, be sure to identify the features that are important to you. Common ones include the following:
- call waiting
- call conferencing
- call blocking
- voice mail or answering systems
- light alerts for incoming calls and waiting messages
- customized messages
- talking caller ID
You'll also want to consider any special needs you may have, such as vision, hearing, or motor problems. If so, you might look for features such as the following:
- Larger keypad: This is easier to use see and manipulate for some people.
- Backlit display: A display with backlighting (or just a larger display) may help in viewing information.
- Volume controls and compatibility: Adjustable volume, hearing aid compatibility, and so forth may be necessary if someone has a hearing loss.
- Speakerphone: This function can be helpful for those with hearing loss. A speakerphone is also good for those who want to be able to talk while working with their hands.
- Light-up ringer alert: A light to alert users of incoming calls is also good for those with hearing loss to ensure that calls aren't missed.
Other convenience features might include:
- a large phone book and memory for previous calls and redialing
- the ability to turn off the ringer and even the talking caller ID (so you can have uninterrupted time when desired)
- the ability to check messages on each handset if there are multiple handsets involved
Simple or Expandable?
If you want a single cordless phone, they are quite affordable. However, purchasing one that is expandable can ensure that you can easily add additional handsets if it becomes desirable in the future.
Buying Tips for an Add-On Talking Caller ID Unit
Choosing a talking caller ID unit to add to an existing landline phone is a fairly simple task. Probably the two most critical features to consider are as follows:
- The clarity and readability of the screen: A larger screen/font can make the display easier to read, and good screen brightness can improve the contrast. If you want to be able to read the display from several feet away, a stand-up model may be preferred.
- The clarity of the voice announce feature: The clarity of the voice announce feature can vary between the computerized voice and the customized announcements that you record. The computer-generated voice generally has the best quality. Listening to a device before making a purchase is one way of assuring your satisfaction. Of course, having the ability to adjust volume or to allow the device to repeat information may also be desirable to assure you don't miss or misunderstand any voice announcements.
Other Important Features
There are other features to consider, of course. These may include:
- a call log that allows you to retrieve information about previous calls
- a visual ringer alert for those with hearing impairment
- the ability to record customized messages (as mentioned above)
- a voicemail box or a type of answering machine
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2010 Christine Mulberry
RexWallace from USA on March 15, 2011:
I have an old Panasonic set (2004) with talking caller ID and I think it's a great feature. I don't have to jump up and find the phone to see who is calling. Most of the time, I don't answer it at all once I hear who it is. Save's the interruption of getting up from what I'm doing.
Seakay from Florida on October 12, 2010:
Love my Talking Caller ID! Thanks for the write. Good job.
prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on October 09, 2010:
I love your review about ID Cordless Phones. Thanks for share with us. These all very useful. Good work, my friend.
Barbara Radisavljevic from Templeton, CA on October 08, 2010:
Great idea. Now if I could only get called ID service in my area! Good job of explaining the options for those who can get caller ID service.
theherbivorehippi from Holly, MI on October 06, 2010:
My mom would love one of these! This is a good gift idea for sure!!
irenemaria from Sweden on October 06, 2010:
Technology is moving forward so fast I cannot keep up - if I did not have you of course! Thank you so much