Review of the Panasonic Cordless Phone: Everything I Discovered
This article is updated as of April 2018 to reflect a newer version of the phone I'm using.
I've updated the information as necessary.
This phone does everything a modern phone should do:
- The base supports up to four handsets.
- Programming any handset syncs with all the others.
- You can block unwanted callers.
- You can see caller name and number, even while talking to someone else.
- One-button redial.
- One-button access to remote voicemail.
- Caller-ID without name will show the name if matched in the directory.
- Directory holds 50 entries and each can be placed in any of nine groups.
If you don’t have voice mail with your phone service, you can get the version of this phone with a built-in answering machine.
The answering machine does a perfect job at taking messages. You can record your own greeting or leave the phones default generic greeting.
If you have voicemail, I suggest you take advantage of it and save money by buying the version of this phone without an answering machine built in. I use the one with no answering machine since I use voicemail from my phone service provider.
The Benefits of a Wireless Phone System
This Panasonic phone makes installation so simple without the need to run wires. Just plug the base in where you have access to the main phone line. All the other handsets have a remote charger base. These can be placed anywhere you have an electric outlet.
The beauty of Panasonic’s design is that all the handsets work off the central programming stored in the base. This is the right way for a cordless phone system to work. I have had other brands of cordless phones in the past and I always had to program each handset individually. That was a chore, and it’s not necessary with the Panasonic.
DECT 6.0 Phones Do Not Interfere with WiFi Routers
Older phones use the same frequency that Internet WiFi routers use. Any phone using the 2.4 Ghz range will cause Internet interference since WiFi is at 2.4 Ghz.
The Panasonic is a DECT 6.0 phone. That means it uses a higher frequency. So it works well in today's environment without interfering with WiFi. The digital signal at that higher frequency also has a better range with less power requirement, so it lengthens the battery life between charges.
Auto Economy Mode Extends Phone Battery Life
Panasonic has an Economy Mode that automatically reduces transmit power requirements between the handset and the base station when it's close enough. This helps extend phone battery life. "ECO" will display on the screen as shown in the close-up image earlier above.
Some people are concerned about getting too much radiation from cell phones and cordless phones. The side affects, is any, have never been determined. Nevertheless, home-based cordless phones are definitely safe because they are very low power. And the ECO mode of the Panasonic phones reduces the radiation even further.
Cell phones use a much higher power to access cell sites up to two miles away.
Cordless phones for the home are designed for usage within 500 feet. The Panasonic is even better because the ECO feature lowers the output when it’s near the base.
Programming is Synced to All Handsets
Now here’s a feature I really love! When I had other phones from other manufacturers, I had to program each handset individually. I discovered that Panasonic keeps all the programming in the base.
That means that if you use more than one handset with your base, anything you program on one handset is automatically available on all the others.
I used to hate having to program my friend's numbers into each handset. Now with this phone I only do it once. And any changes I make are also on all the other handsets. I’ll never go back to another phone.
Other Useful Features Included
Redial last dialed number.
Call another handset on same base.
Low energy enabled to extend battery life when close to base. ECO icon displays.
Control volume while talking.
The “Mute” soft button can be pressed so other party can’t hear you.
Recent caller list.
Select from a large list of ring tones.
Disable ringer on any handset so not to be disturbed.
The keys and display light up so you can use it in the dark.
How To Use Your Panasonic Cordless Phone
The first time you use it, the phone batteries are partially charged. Just make sure you hang it up the first night so it charges fully.
However, you can start playing with it right away. Add your friends, add your voicemail number and pin, and any personal settings you want.
You don’t need to set the time and date. As soon as the first call comes in it takes that information from the carrier. Most providers send the time and date along with the ring signal.
It will also update when the clocks get set back in the fall and forward in the spring. So this is one clock you never need to bother with.
Just in case your service provider does not pass the time stamp, you can always program the date and time through the settings menu.
Multi-Function Soft Buttons
There are three buttons below the screen that change their functions depending on what features are needed at different times.
These three buttons as soft keys. That is, they can change their function. The screen above the buttons shows what they do at any specific time. For example, the VM button becomes a MUTE button while you are talking.
When you have a message the top right button is the VM button. It says VM right above it. But you only see that if you have messages. It becomes a redial button if VM is not needed as shown in this image.
Note that all the soft buttons always have the function displayed on the screen. The image here shows the three soft buttons in this present state when the phone is not engaged in a conversation. The left icon means that soft button will display the name directory. The middle on gives you the menu of options. The right soft button is for redial.
Single Button Voice Mail Access
The soft button on the right side becomes a quick voicemail retrieval button and only shows “VM” above it when you actually have a message, as shown in this image.
You can program the phone so that pressing the VM soft button will call your service provider’s voice mail and automatically pass your pin to log in and play your messages.
You just need to program the calling sequence into the phone once.The dialing sequence is the access number followed by a few pause characters to wait for the call to go through. After the pauses, enter your voice mail pin. That's it. Then whenever you press the VM soft button, the phone does all that for you.
I love using voice mail rather than an answering machine because many service providers include a free feature to send all messages to your email as an attached audio file. However, if you don't have voice mail with your service, Panasonic makes the same phone with an answering machine built into the base.
Message Indicator Light and Display
There's a little amber light on top of the handset. It blinks when you have messages. It glows solid when charging.
There's a little amber light on top of the handset. It blinks when you have messages. It glows solid when charging.
If using a service provider’s voice mail, the phone will detect a signal from the phone company and show you that you have messages. This is with the flashing indicator light and also with the words “Voice Mail” displayed on the LCD screen.
On some newer versions of the phone these indicators will only work if you had programmed the VM soft button as I explained above.
Each handset is a speakerphone. If you just press the “TALK” button to answer a call, you use it as a regular phone against your ear. If you press the “SP-PHONE” button, then the other party’s voice comes through the speaker, which is on the back of the handset.
I find this to work really well. Many times I work in the kitchen while cooking and I place the phone down on the counter to carry on a conversation.
One thing you have to deal with, and it’s true for most speakerphones, is that the audio is single duplex. That means that while the other person is talking, they don’t hear you if you talk. This is done on purpose to avoid annoying feedback.
I’ve gotten used to this, but if you don’t like it then just don’t use the speakerphone setting and hold the phone to your ear instead.
Once you have your contacts in your phone's directory, just press the left soft button where the phone book icon is displayed. This starts the Phone Book List. You can press the up or down arrows to scroll through the names you had programmed into the phone.
You can save up to 50 contacts and even assign them to any of nine groups. When you browse your directory, you can select the group you want to browse or select "all groups".
Of course, the advantage of the directory is that you never need to dial numbers. Just scroll to the name — press “talk” — and it dials for you.
Caller-ID From the Name Directory
Usually when someone calls from a cell phone, the carrier only send the words “Cell Phone” for the Caller-ID along with the number. Some out of town callers will not show the name either, just the number.
If you don’t recognize the number, you’re out of luck unless you want to take a chance answering an unknown caller.
Here’s something wonderful about this phone: If the incoming Caller-ID does not contain the name, the phone will display the name from your directory if the number is matched. All the more reason to place all your friend's numbers in the directory.
I get telemarketers calling once in a while. Some call repeatedly from the same number. The Panasonic phone lets you add these numbers to a block list. When they call, the phone plays a recording to them saying that the call cannot go through. You never get bothered anymore.
Call Waiting Caller-ID
When on a call and another caller is calling, the Caller-ID of that new caller will be displayed. You can look at the screen to see whom it is while on an existing call. If you decide to take that call, just press the flash key.
This feature requires “Call Waiting” as well as “Call Waiting Caller-ID” service from your phone company.
Phone Extension Calling
You can call from one handset to another without making an outside call. Just press the "Menu" soft button and then you will see INT as the left soft button. That stands for intercom.
Just press the INT button and you will see a list of the extensions available. These are all the other handsets assigned to the base.
Scroll down to the headset you want to call. If you only have two handsets, then you will only see the other one listed. Click the SELECT soft button and the other handset will start ringing.
Multiple Function Button
That big button with up, down, left and right arrows has several functions, depending on which arrow you press.
- The left is the Caller-ID (CID) of your prior received calls.
- The right is redial.
- The up and down control volume when you’re talking.
When you're not on a call, the up and down arrows scan back and forth through the menu settings:
- Caller List
- VM Access
- Set date & time
- Initial Settings submenu
The Initial Settings submenu includes:
- Ringer Setting
- Handset name
- Call Block
- VoiceMail Access Dialing String
- Message Alert
- Display Settings
- ...and more.
The up and down arrows scroll through the names in your directory after pressing the name directory button (left soft button).
How to Program the VoiceMail Access Button
A single button will automatically dial your remote voicemail service and pass along the pin to log in. It does all after you program it once.
Press MENU (soft key) then press down arrow till you get to Initial Settings. Then select that and scroll down to "VoiceMail. Then store your voicemail access.
This may be your own number or a special number provided for voicemail access. Follow it with two or three pauses. You’ll see the pause as a special character when in this programming mode. Then follow the last pause with the pin. Try two pauses first. If it needs more time before sending the pin code, then add another pause.
Panasonic Cordless Phones Quick Shipping From Amazon
Updated Information as of August 2017
Without Answering Machine
The Panasonic Cordless Phone System that I bought, and discussed in this article, has been upgraded to this newer version. The features are still the same but now can be expanded with up to six handsets.
If your phone provider includes Voice Mail service then you can use this lower cost system with no answering machine. No need to duplicate message taking options.
A system with the answering machine in the base as shown below is also available at a slightly higher price.
With Answering Machine in Base
This one includes an answering machine built into the base. If you only need one handset, that's available too. You get what you need at the price point that works for you.
This is an upgrade to the one I am using and had discussed in this article. Mine is no longer available. However, the features are still the same, except they added the ability to expand up to six handsets.
Remember what I said in this article: If you have voice mail service from your carrier, then you can save money with the Panasonic KX-TGD212N (above) without the built-in answering machine.
Questions & Answers
How can I have my privacy while talking on a cordless phone without another phone listening?
In the old days when cordless phones used analog radio signals between the base and the handsets, those signals could be picked up by another device. However, today’s technology uses DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications).
There are various versions of DECT for different countries that use alternate frequencies so as not interfere with other existing wireless (such as cellular, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, baby monitors, etc.) in the respective countries.
DECT operates over ten different frequency channels in the 1880–1900 MHz band. Every call originated by any handset will automatically choose one of these channels, that is available, to communicate with the base unit.
Since the audio is converted to digital signals to communicate with the base, it is also transmitted in packets of data. This allows for multiple conversations to be shared within each of the ten channels by breaking it up into time slices.
DECT provides 24 time slots per 10 ms frame, and each frame can be carried over any of 12 duplex channels—allowing a total of 120 conversations. The data is coded so that each base unit knows which data packets belong to its own transmissions. Therefore the chance of being able to piece together the conversation of another is highly unlikely.
In addition, handsets will only create a connection with its own assigned base by using a preset security code that must match. The technology therefore avoids a nearby user with a similar device from inadvertently eavesdropping on someone else’s phone conversation.
© 2015 Glenn Stok