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Around six months ago my old faithful Argos value cordless phone snuffed it after lasting me around three and a half years, it was a good innings for a cheapie phone. I set about looking for a slightly more expensive phone that might last me a little longer. I had Argos vouchers to spend so Argos was my first port of call and they had money off certain phones so it was perfect. I settled on this Philips CD1951. ~*~ Price, packaging and plugging it in ~*~ I have only seen this Philips CD1951 available to buy from Argos and Amazon so it isn't widely available to purchase. At full price it is normally around the £34.99 mark but I managed to pick it up for £19.99 from my local Argos store. The phone comes neatly packaged inside quite a small cardboard box, everything is arranged in order so it squeezes in the box without squashing anything, a little like a Tetris puzzle! Inside the box you'll find the handset, docking station, two leads, two batteries and an instruction book. The instruction booklet is quite basic, it gives you diagrams showing you how to connect the phone into the socket and shows you what buttons do what and gives a brief insight into the menus. The phone was simple enough to connect to the phone line; the two different leads included means you can connect it whatever way suits you, mine goes into an ADSL box which is connected to the phone socket. ~*~ Appearance ~*~ The phone and docking station isn't anything special to look at, it looks like every other phone. The overall look of the phone wasn't something I was particularly interested in as long as it wasn't too big and bulky I was happy. The size of the handset is just right, it's around 15cm long, 4cm wide and 3cm deep, this makes it comfortable to hold against my ear without feeling like I'm holding a brick. The docking station is larger than my old one as this one is also an answering machine so needs room for all of the buttons, but again this isn't too big or bulky. It sits on my hall way window sill and the wire that connects to the ADSL box is perfect as it doesn't have to stretch to reach, nor is there too much left over. The face of the handset is nice and everything seems in proportion. There is a display underneath the speaker at the top, it lights up when a button is pressed so it's easy to see what you are doing. Underneath the display are the main buttons, the menu, redial, green answer, red hang up and arrows for using with the menu screens. Then of course, underneath these buttons are the numbers. All of the buttons are a nice size and I don't find myself dialling the wrong numbers with my stubby fingers so that's always a good thing! The writing on each of the buttons is in white so it contrasts nicely against the grey background so you know exactly what you are pressing. ~*~ Philips CD1951 ~*~ The phone is very easy to set up, the menu is pretty self explanatory. You can change the date and time, language and phone name, I haven't changed the language or phone name but changing the time is simple. There are ten different ringtones to choose from, nine of these are just the basic ringer sounds but the other one is a rather groovy James Bond 007 theme tune, me and my daughter had great fun playing it over and over when I first got it but the novelty soon wore off and I set it to a normal ring. There are five different volume levels, I have to have it on the highest volume but I still think it should be a little louder. If I'm in one of the bedrooms upstairs I struggle to hear it ring then have to dash for the phone when I do realise it's ringing. The handset struck me as quite heavy the first time I used it for a phone call. I have a tendency to yap to high heaven during the evenings and I found my arm ached after around half an hour of holding it up to my ear. It is certainly heavier than my old Argos value handset. I am one of these people that like to balance the phone between my ear and shoulder so I can get on with other things whilst yapping away, it took a bit of mastering to get this skill just right with this phone. I found that holding it under my ear was quite awkward as if I did it with the speaker directly under my ear, it stuck out far too far away from my mouth, but if I held the middle of the phone under my ear I couldn't hear what the caller was saying. I've found a happy medium now but it is still a struggle. The main thing to know about a phone is the quality of the phone calls. I am quite disappointed at this aspect of this phone as it isn't very clear. I reckon my old Argos value phone was clearer than this one. The first few calls I made after setting up this phone consisted of me going 'what? Pardon? Eh?' throughout the duration of the calls. It was quite annoying, now I'm used to the phone and the clarity I can make out what the caller on the other end is saying without having to get them to repeat everything. To think when this phone is full price it is double the amount of the value phone I did expect loads better. The batteries last really well, I like to just put the phone down wherever I am after I've finished a call and often to forget to put it back on the base so it does stay off charge for quite some time, a week in one case when we had to go to hospital! The technical information states that it would last 16 hours of talk time and 250 hours on standby which is a heck of a long time. I don't think I'll ever experience the phone running out of battery as I always put it back on the base when I remember. Another good thing about the phone is the range; it has up to 50 metres indoor and 300 metres outdoor range. As I said I like to get on with other things while I'm on the phone and I can go and put the washing out on the line without any problems using the phone at the same time. One of the main selling points with this phone is the built in answering machine in the docking station. I haven't actually had anyone leave a message yet so can't comment on how well it performs. According to the product information there is 15 minutes of recording time available which is plenty for someone to leave a quick message asking for a call back etc. You can replay messages from either the machine or the handset whichever suits you and you can personalise the message of the answering machine. ~*~ Overall ~*~ All in all, I'm glad I didn't pay full price for this Philips CD1951. The main clarity of calls is disappointing, it isn't as clear as I would have liked and did take some getting used to. I'm sure I must have annoyed everyone that phoned asking them to repeat everything they were saying. It is quite heavy and awkward to hold between my ear and shoulder so these also add to the reasons why I wouldn't pay full price. That being said, it is quite nice to look at, has a 007 theme song ringtone, has a nice range and long battery life so it isn't all bad. ~*~ Specs if you are interested ~*~ Telephone: 50 name and number memories. 10 ringtones. Last number redial. Caller ID. Call waiting. Call divert. Call screening. Handsfree facility. Speaker and ringer volume control. Large display. Large buttons. Up to 16 hours talktime/250 hours standby. Up to 50m indoor range/300m outdoor range. Out of range indicator. Low battery indicator. Answer machine: 15 mins recording time. Personalised recording facility. Message playback from handset and base.