According to a new survey by Uswitch some 40% of us have stopped using our landline altogether. That’s if we have one in the first place of course. Thanks to the affordability of mobile phones along with better broadband that allows us to talk using the internet and make video calls the same way, the humble landline handset’s days appear to be numbered.
And, while 95% of homes had landlines in the year 2000, the number has now dropped to approximately 80%. That’s still a lot of phone points up and down the country though, even if many people no longer bother to keep a handset plugged into the socket. Why? It’s usually to do with the relentless barrage of spammers, scammers and cold callers that we all tend to get.
Nevertheless, while the landline handset might be in something of a downward spiral, it's days are far from numbered though, because pick the right model and you can fend off those unwanted calls. In fact, if you can do that and you’re paying for a landline connection as part of your broadband package, you might as well have a natty little handset plugged into the port.
We’ve been trying out a couple of BT’s best selling landline phones – the BT Premium Phone and the BT4600 Big Button Phone – and they're both good. But, which one is best?
BT Premium Phone vs BT4600 Big Button Phone: price, availability and what are they?
These are two landline phones, made unsurprisingly by telecoms giant BT. While they come with the branding of BT you can actually use them plugged in to other phone networks. We’ve had success on Virgin Media, for example, although you’ll need to check with your own provider before buying one because even though they are both DECT (industry standard) phones, there may be some features and functions that might not work as expected.
More good news comes in the shape of the price for each, with the BT Premium Phone having a very respectable RRP of £69.99. You can supplement the single unit with a twin or trio pack for use in other rooms too. BT’s 4600 Big Button Phone is the best selling handset in its landline phone portfolio and lends itself to customers with inclusivity needs. The RRP for a single handset pack is £44.99 but there are twin handset, trio handset and quad handset packs available for this model so you could, theoretically, have one in every room in the house.
BT Premium Phone vs BT4600 Big Button Phone: features
Both of these handsets are most notable for their call blocking functionality, of which we’ll get to in greater detail in the next section. Safe to say then that the performance of this core feature, in our experience, is excellent. Aside from that though, the BT Premium Phone packs a lot into a funky little handset that sits at the end of your sofa, or wherever it is you keep your landline, in a small cradle that contains the main answerphone part of the unit.
It’s a pretty easy landline phone to set up – there’s a wizard you see - and one of the big attractions is its ability to import all of the contacts from your mobile phone into its memory. You can import up to 3000 contacts, which is almost phonebook in size. While we’re talking large numbers, the blocking feature allows you to block or blacklist up to 1000 numbers too. That’s a very decent amount we think.
On top of that your answerphone can handle up to 60 minutes of messages, can be listened to while you're away from home and there’s a Do Not Disturb function that lets family and friends down lightly if you’re in the bath or eating dinner and don’t want to be bothered by them at a certain time.
The BT4600 Big Button Phone doesn't have quite the same level of features and functionality, but it gains appeal for anyone that has problems with small buttons on a regular phone, or suffers from hearing problems. The handset has been specifically designed for users with disabilities, and is hearing aid compatible. It's also quick and easy to adjust the volume if a caller isn’t loud enough. In short, the BT4600 Big Button Phone is about as user-friendly as it gets.
BT Premium Phone vs BT4600 Big Button Phone: performance
Both of these landline handsets make use of trueCall technology, which allows you to clamp down on those spammers, scammers and cold callers with ease. Central to the process is a big ‘Block’ button found on either of the handsets. BT makes a point of reminding you how it’s possible to ‘Block 100% nuisance calls’ on the packaging. We weren’t expecting it to be that good, but in the few weeks since we’ve been using these phones our nuisance calls have diminished markedly.
In fact, only this week we realised that the phone hadn’t rung at all, aside from calls from family members. The phones will automatically vet callers, which seems to put most unwanted numbers off, but if it’s someone you know and you’ve put their number into the contacts memory then they can get straight through. Overall, we’d say this is the best part of owning either of these phones.
However, they're also great for cordless communication too. We’ve found that it’s easy to answer a call and then wander around the ground floor and still be able to carry on a conversation with ease. The reception on both handsets is pretty impressive it has to be said. There are rechargeable batteries included for both models, though the unit gets charged up when you place it back into the mains-powered cradle for each phone. All in all then, we think either of these landline handsets performs very well indeed.
BT Premium Phone vs BT4600 Big Button Phone: which one should I buy?
For the fairly small amount of money that these phones cost then it may well be worth resurrecting your landline phone connection, if only so you can have the pleasure of blocking those annoying unwanted callers. If you’ve got time on your hands it’s a blast. Seriously though, aside from call blocking functionality either of these models makes a great landline option.
The Premium Phone wins due to its beefier specification – the BT4600 Big Button Phone only lets you input 200 contacts for example. However, that may be more than enough for your needs. The BT4600 Big Button Phone also has more appeal for anyone with a disability due to its easier usability.
BT’s Premium Phone wins in the style stakes mind, although that hasn't actually stopped BT’s 4600 Big Button Phone becoming their biggest-ever-selling landline handset. We’d go for the Premium model, but, it seems, the people prefer a Big Button edition.