When looking at cordless phones we generally accept four categories:

  • 24 Channel - This is your oldest and lowest-signal-strength phone. These generally operate in the 45mhz range and lose their signal after two or three walls. Even within the same room they can get staticky depending on signal-traffic conditions. A definite no-no for geek or communal households, since these tend to pick up not only each other, but any other signal in this common range.

  • 900 MHz - Offering far more strength than the traditional 24 channel phones, all 900 mhz do feature at least 24 channels of communication. These will work fine in smaller houses without much interference, however the signal often drops once the perimeter is breached. While these are fairly immune to outside interference, they do pick up other 900 mhz phones nicely. A definite no-no in apartment complexes and dorms.

  • 900 MHz spread spectrum - This is basically the same deal as tbe traditional 900 mhz phone, with the minor distinction of the frequencies being further spread out. On occasion one will still pick up other phones, but this is a rare occurence. Outside interference is nearly completely elimintated.

  • 2.4 GHz - With a far superior range, 2.4 Ghz phones are the ones to get - if you're willing to spend the money for them. Recently aquired from the Air Force by Panasonic and licensed out to other companies, these phones have a range of up to a mile through residential structures and can take any sort of noise without interference. If you live in a geek-dorm or geek-house or want to take your phone out boating, this is your best bet.

     Manufacturing quality also makes up for a lot of the sound quality. Panasonic and Uniden always come out top in consumer reviews, while working at Circuit City I noticed that these also received the fewest returns. Sony phones are in the same price range but tend to offer fewer features and crappier manufacturing in the mid-price range. Their high-end phones are among the best, though. Generally one ought to stay away from GE and Vtech; a 2.4 Ghz Vtech phone will offer the same sound quality and range as a 900 mhz spread spectrum phone from Uniden.
     Keeping this in mind, prepare to pay for what you will get. Especially in the phone market, a cheaper product will be inferior. There is no such thing as a bargain. While a 900 MHz phone might be commendable to some settings; if you're unwilling to spend more than $20 on your phone, you might as well get a corded. You won't be able to prance across the room like the little princess you are, but at least the sound qualiuty will be better.

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