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Mybelle Multidial

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      15.08.2000 05:30
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      Fed up with the busy, hang up, redial, busy, hang up, redial etc cycle that you have to go through with some phone numbers (Demon technical support anyone?), I'd always wanted a phone which, like a modem, automatically redials for you on busy (being too cheap to fork out for BT's ringback service… - besides, I don't like the way they try to lure you into using ringback without (on some exchanges) warning you there's a charge, and how much). So I snapped up the Mybelle Multidial 953 by UK company Lazerbuilt when I saw it in an Innovations catalogue . (OK, I confess: I have indeed patronised that doyen of earhair remover purveyors! Not that I've bought any ear (or nose) hair removers myself, honest.) This phone's not just a gimmick. It really works. If you get an engaged tone just hang up, hit the Speaker button, then press the Multidial button and keep an ear out for the ringing tone while you do more useful things, like have a cup of tea. It automatically redials repeatedly for you, but only up to 10 times (I guess because of telecoms regulations?). But all you do is just repeat the Multidial process and it does the business again for another 10 times, and so on. Be prepared for a gamut of noises throughout though, as it doesn't just hang up between tries but leaves it on the engaged tone for a while before redialling. This phone doesn't stint on the usual features either, like a clock, handsfree function (necessary of course for the multidial), storage for 20 phone numbers (10 one-button memories and 10 two-button-press memories), a standard last number redial button, mute, etc. Note that two AAA batteries are needed. There's an automatic call timer but it starts timing from when you dial, not when the call is answered. You can start the call timer in the middle of a call too if you want. A Save button allows you to easily save temporarily the number you're calling (you have to hit Save BEFORE you hang up though) so you can make other calls before trying the saved number again (by just pressing Save). You can even use Save to "jot down" into the phone's memory a number someone gives you during a call, and dial it later. But more than that, this phone has obviously been designed to be very intuitive to use. The number buttons (though not the speed dials and other peripheral buttons) are nice and big (nearly 1" by 1/2" each) so even the sausage-fingered can cope. The order you have to press buttons to access certain features is what you'd expect, not the esoteric "Press button A then button B, do a reverse somersault and press button A again" type steps you have to put yourself through with some products. For instance, to check what number is stored on a particular button just pick up the handset or put it on speaker, press the CHK button then the button you want to check (eg a memory button), and there it is on the display. Works for checking what the last number you dialled was, what's stored under Save, the last call's duration etc too. (Tip: not in the manual - if a number is too long for the display just press the same button e.g. memory button again to see the rest). I found this phone so useful I bought another one. Sadly Innovations had stopped doing it so I called the manufacturer whose number is in the manual (01428 722 717) - also that number, labelled "For Assistance", is on a handy but unobtrusive sticker on the phone itself, not that I've needed any support (there's a 12 month guarantee, full exchange if it goes wrong in the first month). Lazerbuilt were fine about selling direct to me. It cost £22.99 including P&P and arrived within days (they say give it a week to 10 days). Good value I think, especially with the multidial feature and usability. One bug to note is that if it does manage to get a dial tone instead of the b usy signal, but the person you're trying to call doesn't pick up within about 30 seconds, the phone seems to think it's still in multidial mode and hangs up and dials again! The solution if this happens is to take it off multidial - hit the Speaker button to hang it up yourself, and then press the normal Redial button (and hope the number doesn't get engaged again while you've been doing this!). A very minor "con" apart from the naff-ish "Mybelle" name is the styling. If this phone looked more modern I'd give it 5 stars (yes, I do want it all!). As it is, it doesn't look anything special, at least it's off-white not beige, but other than that it just looks like any other ordinary phone around. Still, I guess they wanted it to look "average" in order to hawk it to the biggest possible market by not putting off those people who'd otherwise think "Oo it looks a bit too hi-tech for me". If Lazerbuilt were to bring out a Multidial variant in curvy chrome I might be tempted to buy yet another one…

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