While the best smartphones have taken over the world, plenty of us still have a landline connection and it’s often part of the package if you’re signed up to a telecoms company such as BT or Virgin Media. It therefore makes sense to have a decent phone connected to your landline, if only so you can block those endless nuisance calls we all seem to get.
For relatively small money a decent landline phone can actually turn out to be mighty handy, as we’ve just discovered after binning our ancient existing handset and replacing it with a shiny new offering. Here’s what you can expect from the BT Premium Phone we've been trying.
BT Premium Phone: price, availability and what is it?
The BT Premium Phone is a UK-centric landline phone, which is mated to a base station that plugs into the mains and provides a host of features and functions for handling incoming and outgoing calls to your home. It comes with an RRP of £69.99, while it’s possible to augment the single unit with a twin or trio pack for use in other rooms via additional phone ports.
Unsurprisingly, BT makes a big deal about the phone being able to deal with unwanted callers and the box proclaims ‘Block 100% nuisance calls’ in order to underline its headline feature. However, this is a landline phone that packs in some really great additional features, especially if you want to use it in unison with your other mobile handsets.
The BT Premium Cordless Phone is not available in the USA or Australia, we are sorry to tell you.
BT Premium Phone: features
This comes billed as a Premium Phone for good reason as the set of features is certainly impressive. If you, like everyone else, spend more time focusing on your smartphone then the good news is that BT’s Premium Phone has been designed with crossover appeal. It features Bluetooth, which means it's possible to import, or sync, all of the contacts on your mobile into the landline handset, up to 3,000 numbers in fact.
Of course, the best thing about this phone though is its muscular blocking button, which sits just underneath the display and lets you prevent unwanted calls. This can take on up to 1,000 nuisance numbers before the phone most likely implodes or you give up and get rid of your landline altogether. That’s just part of the process though because the phone utilises the well-respected trueCall, which is a blocking system that effectively vets your calls before you answer them.
Another appealing aspect of this phone is its relatively straightforward setup process. Considering the list of functions it contains, the getting started part of the process is made easier thanks to a neat built-in wizard. This is useful for getting the call blocking aspect in place as well as establishing other key areas of the phone’s operation.
In terms of additional features then there’s not much this handset/docking station combo can't handle, with number blacklisting and a Do Not Disturb setting all adding value. The answerphone is impressive too, holding up to 60 minutes of recordings, any of which can be listened to remotely if you’re away from home. There’s really something here for any type of user.
BT Premium Phone: performance
If you’re going to be upgrading an existing landline from a traditional old-school style handset that just lets you answer an incoming call and that’s about it then the BT Premium Phone is a revelation. We’ve ignored the old phone in our house, actually purloined from an office, simply because it hardly ever gets used. As nuisance calls have grown however, having a quality landline has become an essential bit of kit.
This is where owning something like the BT Premium Phone definitely works in your favour. Its bulging set of features primed us for a nightmarish setup, but the wizard gets you through most of the basics and some of the more advanced aspects too. There’s a chunky manual included by the way. With some numbers on board we gave the unit a whirl after first charging it for the recommended 16 (!) hours.
Making outgoing calls is a cinch, with nothing untoward to report. The phone’s clarity is excellent, either through the earpiece or on speakerphone. The coverage seems great too, allowing you to walk around downstairs unhindered by cables. There’s a handsfree speaker, while the volume control offers plenty of adjustment depending on your hearing capability.
The 1.8-inch colour screen is adequate and while it's not exactly high resolution it tells you everything you need to know. This includes showing the number of an incoming call. Recognise it and you can pick up, if not then disregard it. Better still, block it!
The call blocking feature seems particularly impressive. The on-board virtual assistant vets calls and we found it great at deterring unwanted cold calls, spammers and, possibly, scammers too. Known callers can get straight through, which means if you’ve got family and friends listed in the phone then the access is instant.
So, is BT Premium Phone any good?
Overall, we couldn't find anything of any note about the BT Premium Phone that proved to be a disappointment. It certainly makes life easier, and even a little less stressful if you’re plagued by a relentless barrage of nuisance calls. All in all we think the BT Premium Phone is a great little investment. Spend a bit of time initially getting it set up and you’ll end up with a box of tricks that takes all of the hassle out of having a landline.
Better still, if you spend more time on your mobile and the landline is a secondary method of being contacted then the Bluetooth functionality bridges the two perfectly. With more of us working from home these days you might get more use out of it than you think.
Being a DECT-standard model, the phone also seems to work with non-BT landline providers too, as we tried ours through a Virgin Media account and it still functioned as expected. However, some services might not work (though we haven't found any as yet) and if you are on a contract with BT bear in mind that a few of their add-on options incur additional charges too. Best check that with BT before purchasing. The phone itself though is top-notch.