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Review of the Panasonic Cordless Phone: Everything I Discovered

Updated on August 22, 2017
Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok is skilled at researching, analyzing and evaluating technological products and has a knack for clearly explaining their features.

As of August 2017 there is a newer version of the phone I have, and wrote about. I've updated the information as necessary.

My Panasonic KX-TG6511B Cordless Phone (New available version is KX-TGD212N)
My Panasonic KX-TG6511B Cordless Phone (New available version is KX-TGD212N) | Source



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 shows the name if found in the directory.


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

Feature
Explanation
Redial
Redial last dialed number.
Intercom
Call another handset on same base.
Economy
Low energy enabled to extend battery life when close to base. ECO icon displays.
Volume
Control volume while talking.
Mute
The “Mute” soft button can be pressed so other party can’t hear you.
CID
Recent caller list.
Ringer Setting
Select from a large list of ring tones.
Ringer Mute
Disable ringer on any handset so not to be disturbed.
Lighted Keys
The keys and display light up so you can use it in the dark.

Getting Started

Panasonic Phone Handset on Base
Panasonic Phone Handset on Base | Source

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.

Soft Buttons below screen with Icons showing what they mean.
Soft Buttons below screen with Icons showing what they mean. | Source


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.

Voice Mail Notification on Panasonic handset.
Voice Mail Notification on Panasonic handset. | Source


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.

Message Indicator on Panasonic Phone
Message Indicator on Panasonic Phone | Source


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.


Speakerphone


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.


Name Directory / Caller ID


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.

Here’s something wonderful: Usually when someone calls from a cell phone, the carrier only send the words “Cell Phone” for the Caller ID along with 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. However, if you program a friend’s cell phone number into the directory, then it displays their name from the directory when they call.

Of course, the main advantage of the directory is that you never need to dial numbers. Just scroll to the name — press “talk” — and it dials for you.


Call Blocking


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.

Intercom Phone Extension Calling
Intercom Phone Extension Calling | Source


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.

Multi-Function Button
Multi-Function Button | Source



When you're not on a call, the up and down arrows scan back and forth through the menu settings:

  • Caller List
  • VM Access
  • Intercom
  • 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

Panasonic KX-TGD212N Dect_6.0, 2-Handset Landline Telephone
Panasonic KX-TGD212N Dect_6.0, 2-Handset Landline Telephone

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

Panasonic KX-TGE232B Cordless Phone, 2 Handsets
Panasonic KX-TGE232B Cordless Phone, 2 Handsets

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.

 

© 2015 Glenn Stok

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    • Glenn Stok profile image
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      Glenn Stok 25 hours ago from Long Island, NY

      Carol, That sounds strange. I would have expected you to say that it gets worse when you are closer to your router. But you say it’s when you are farther away.

      Nevertheless, the router should not interfere since DECT technology uses a different frequency. However, I would experiment by shutting off the router to see if things improve. At least that way you can rule out if the router is causing the problem.

      The other thing is to check if the batteries are no longer holding a charge. Are the batteries old? Do you put the handset in the charger often enough so they are charged?

      Let me know your response to these ideas.

    • profile image

      Carol 26 hours ago

      Hi Glenn, I have Panasonic Dect 6 phone but no one can hear me on it if I stand more than 3 feet away from my Xfinity router. I changed the telephone batteries. Do you know what could cause this? Comcast came out once and could not figure it out.

    • Glenn Stok profile image
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      Glenn Stok 4 weeks ago from Long Island, NY

      George, I just checked my phone and it allows 50 directory entries.

    • profile image

      George 4 weeks ago

      You do not say how many numbers can be stored in the directory. Ads for wireless phones seem to ignore this very important feature

    • Glenn Stok profile image
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      Glenn Stok 8 weeks ago from Long Island, NY

      Marty, Evidently the action of programming the VM soft button instructs the phone to trigger the light to flash when there is a message. If you don't activate that button by programming it, the phone doesn't know you are using the phone companies voice mail. It's not the actual access number that has anything to do with it, just the fact that you programmed a number into the button.

    • profile image

      Marty Howard 8 weeks ago

      Hi Glenn -

      Yes, I did mean the VM soft button. I didn't bother to program it while I was testing the phone since I had always assigned VM access to a regular speed dial button, and was again reminded that there are no shortcuts.

      Thanks again.

      Marty

    • Glenn Stok profile image
      Author

      Glenn Stok 8 weeks ago from Long Island, NY

      Marty, I'm glad I saved you from buying a phone you wouldn't be happy with. I'm also glad you finally found out that the light still flashes for voice mail as long as you program the access number. I assume you meant the VM soft button that appears on the screen when you have a message, as I talked about in this article. That's the one I used. I didn't use a speed dial button for voice mail since Panasonic provides that special VM soft key just for that purpose.

      Thanks for the info on your discovery Marty. I see my phone is no longer available, so I will update this article for the new one.

      Be well.

    • profile image

      Marty Howard 2 months ago

      Hi Glen,

      The mystery has been solved.

      First your model is no longer available. A few were listed on various sites - one as far away as India - but every place is sold out. I think it's one of those models that many people wish were still available. I was ready to buy one last night.

      Regarding my model, the KX-TG3645, it does have a light which will flash when a voice mail is received - but ONLY if the voicemail access phone number is programmed. If you use a speed-dial key to get your provider voice messages, the indicator will not flash.

      There's no reason not use the "Access" key, but you have to know to do it and this is written - not too obviously - in the "Answering system settings" section.

      After being told by several Panasonic tech support people that the flashing light feature is no longer available, I would have accepted that had I not seen your article. You saved me from buying a phone that I would not have been happy with. Thank you!

      All the best, Marty

    • Glenn Stok profile image
      Author

      Glenn Stok 2 months ago from Long Island, NY

      Marty - I find it strange that Panasonic would eliminate such a useful feature. Please let me know what you find out.

      By the way, the same amber light stays on while it's charging. It flashes fast as it rings. And on my phone it blinks slowly when there is a voice mail message. As the manual says, this does require that your provider has message indication service.

    • profile image

      Marty Howard 2 months ago

      Hi Glenn,

      Thank you so much - again!

      I was looking at the manual for the KX-TG6511, which says on Page 29:

      "Voice mail is an automatic answering service offered by your service provider/ telephone company. ... Messages are recorded by your service provider/ telephone company, not your telephone. When you have new messages, "symbol" is displayed on the handset if message indication service is available."

      No mention of the light. Also, on Page 11, the light is described as the "Charge Indicator" and "Ring Indicator."

      I don't believe this phone is available anymore from Panasonic and Panasonic has "upgraded" the phone to NOT offer the flashing light VM indicator.

      I'm not sure why, but I contacted ATT, Vtech, and Panasonic - an no one offers this anymore! I'm replacing a Uniden phone which stopped working. It had this feature, which I fthink is very useful.

      I'll try to reach Panasonic again tomorrow or Friday at the latest to clear this up. I'll let you know what I find out.

      Thanks again.

      All the best, Marty

    • Glenn Stok profile image
      Author

      Glenn Stok 2 months ago from Long Island, NY

      Marty Howard - Which manual are you looking at? I have the KX-TG6511 and I also use the voicemail from my service provider. I can assure you that the amber light flashes when there is a message in voicemail. Mine flashes in addition to the display saying "voicemail". I don't know about the KX-TG3645 since the one I have is the KX-TG6511.

      I'm wondering if they changed the handsets because you said the support person told you the light doesn't work. The handsets that came with my base have their own code: KX-TGA652

    • profile image

      Marty Howard 2 months ago

      Hi Glenn,

      Please clarify something about the KX-TG6511. I have been looking for a phone with an indicator LIGHT that flashes when voice mail is received through the service provider - NOT the answering machine.

      According to the manual - and a Panasonic support person - voice mail from a service provider is indicated only by a message and symbol on the LCD screen - NOT with the flashing light. The light used to be standard with many phones - now I can't find one that his it.

      I just bought a KX-TG3645, which has the amber light - but the light flashes only when messages are recorded on the answering machine. Could you please verify this feature and the model number.

      Thank you so much.

      Marty

    • Glenn Stok profile image
      Author

      Glenn Stok 4 months ago from Long Island, NY

      UrbanwomanLB - It sounds like you're asking about sending your Caller-ID to the person you're calling. That is not a function of the phone. You may have disabled that feature with your phone service. Check with your carrier to see if you have it set to privacy, and then enable it again.

    • profile image

      UrbanwomanLB 4 months ago

      How do I get my User ID to show up when I call someone using this phone? It always showed up using my last phone.

    • Glenn Stok profile image
      Author

      Glenn Stok 4 months ago from Long Island, NY

      Steve331, The date and time get reset automatically when a call comes in. The phone company actually sends the time info with each call, so the phone gets the information that way. Then the battery keeps the time current if you don't have power. Since you always unplug the power, you have put more load on the batteries and this may have caused them to die prematurely. Rechargeable batteries don't last forever. The more often they are recycled from charge to dead to charge again, the sooner they will die. 1800 cycles sounds about right, which is five years. I had to replace mine once. You can easily find the correct replacement at Best Buy or on Amazon.

    • profile image

      Steve321 4 months ago

      Hi Glenn,

      I've got the very same phone system that you have reviewed. The two phones have worked well the past 5 years. Last month, I noticed the screen on both phones was partially blank - the date and time information went missing. Both phones show as being fully charged.

      Every night, I disconnect my computer, TV and telephones from their electrical outlets. I've done that for many years due to the issue of potential electrical surges. As stated, as of last month, from the time I re-connect everything in the morning until bedtime, this loss-of-date-and-time issue persists.

      The only time when the date and time becomes "re-enabled" and is visible is when I receive an incoming call. They remain visible the entire day, but only after receiving an in-coming call. Do the rechargeable batteries need to be replaced? If they needed replacing, would the loss of the date and time information be one of the effects?

    • Glenn Stok profile image
      Author

      Glenn Stok 22 months ago from Long Island, NY

      brakel2 - I know what you mean Audrey. Before I discovered how well designed the Panasonic phones are, I also went crazy with some other brands. I even had one once (won't mention the brand) that needed to be charged often. It kept draining the battery. Panasonic came up with the brilliant solution with the automatic economy mode that I mentioned - when close enough to the base it reduces its power, saving battery life.

    • brakel2 profile image

      Audrey Selig 22 months ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

      Hi Glenn - Some cordless phones are so complicated that they drive you crazy, We had some phones that were like Chinese puzzles. I wish we had known about Panasonic, but we ended up with V-Tech, which is adequate. I have forgotten the name of the ones that are so complicated - purposely, I guess. Thanks for the review to help us next time. Sharing, Blessings, Audrey

    • Glenn Stok profile image
      Author

      Glenn Stok 22 months ago from Long Island, NY

      MsDora - I dealt with that nuisance of programming each handset individually with an older phone system be another manufacturer. Then I discovered that Panasonic did it better by storing the programming in the base so each handset is always in sync.

    • Glenn Stok profile image
      Author

      Glenn Stok 22 months ago from Long Island, NY

      RonElFran - Yes indeed! The intercom feature is very useful when you have several handsets on a single base. It goes to show that Panasonic includes great phone features.

    • Glenn Stok profile image
      Author

      Glenn Stok 22 months ago from Long Island, NY

      Jodah - I used to use an answering machine before deciding to use voice mail instead. Whatever works best for you is what's important. All Panasonic's phones are well designed, as you have noticed.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 22 months ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks for this review. I have a system that does almost everything you describe but (1) it does not have the message indicator and (2) handsets have to be programmed individually. The Panasonic is really a cut above the rest. Thanks for letting us know.

    • RonElFran profile image

      Ronald E Franklin 22 months ago from Mechanicsburg, PA

      Glenn, this helps me know what to look for next time we buy a phone. I particularly like the intercom feature. I think all phones should make provision for that, instead of making people call from their cell phone to their home phone just to talk to someone in the same house.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 22 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Hi Glenn, very good hub explaining the features and benefits of the Panasonic cordless phone. I have the KX-TGE223B DECT 6.0 and although it doesn't quite have all the features of the one you review it is a great and competitively priced phone. This version has the inbuilt answering machine and personally I like it better than the Voicemail from my provider. All in all though they are a great brand of cordless phone.