Review Panasonic Cordless Phone: Everything I Discovered
Panasonic did the right thing with their KX-TG6511B cordless phone and base. This phone system was designed with focus on user friendliness. I consider it to be the best cordless system for home use. It's definitely the best I've ever had, and I'll tell you why.
If you just want to know how to use all it's features, jump down to "Getting Started" below.
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
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.
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 right soft button 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 put it into the phone once.
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.
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.
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. But when you program your friend’s cell phone numbers into the directory, then it takes their name from there to display on the screen when they call. Neat! Ha?
Of course, the main advantage of the directory is that you never need to dial numbers. Just scroll to the name and press “talk” and it dials for you.
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.
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Without Answering Machine
The Panasonic Cordless Phone System is available with one, two, or three 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 higher price.
With Answering Machine in Base
This one includes an answering machine and can expand with up to four handsets. But if you only need one handset, that's available too. You get what you need at the price point that works for you.
But remember what I said in this article - if you have voice mail service from your carrier, then save your money and get the Panasonic KX-TG6512B without an answering machine.
© 2015 Glenn Stok