AT&T TL96273 Review
Pros: Exceptional range, great sound quality, best for linking to cell phones
Cons: Mediocre battery life, a little pricey
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$83.89 at Amazon
$65.95 at Amazon
|$66 List||Check Price at Amazon||$45 List|
|Pros||Exceptional range, great sound quality, best for linking to cell phones||Very easy to use, great sound quality, strong battery life, fair price||Exceptional range performance, good sound quality||Easy to use, good sound quality||Inexpensive, great value, decent range|
|Cons||Mediocre battery life, a little pricey||Little light on features||Poor results in our battery test, sparse on features||Lackluster battery life, limited features||Below average battery life|
|Bottom Line||If you are searching for a cordless phone to integrate with your cell phone, this model is the clear choice||If you want a great cordless phone that is simple and easy to use without a lot of fluff, then this is the model for you||If you need a cordless phone with top-tier range, this is a great choice||If you are looking for a middle-of-the-road phone at a middle-of-the-road price, then this is it||Above average range and sound quality for a great price, making this an obvious choice for those on a budget|
|Rating Categories||AT&T TL96273||AT&T CL82207||VTech DS6621-2||AT&T DL72219||AT&T EL51203|
|Sound Quality (30%)|
|Ease of Use (20%)|
|Battery Life (10%)|
|Specs||AT&T TL96273||AT&T CL82207||VTech DS6621-2||AT&T DL72219||AT&T EL51203|
|Link - to - Cell||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||No|
|Caller ID announce||Yes||Yes||No||No||No|
|Unobstructed Range Test||840 ft.||840 ft.||840 ft.||840 ft.||840 ft.|
|Obstructed Range Test||300 ft.||300 ft.||390 ft.||280 ft.||220 ft.|
|Call block||Dial *60||Smart Call Blocker*||Up to 20 with a subscription||Up to 1,000||Dial *60|
|Expandable Handsets||Up to 12||Up to 12||Up to 5||Up to 5||Up to 5|
|Corded (phone) Base||No||No||No||No||No|
|Speaker Phone on Base||Yes||No||No||No||No|
|Speaker Phone on Handset||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Phone Book Capacity||200 (6000 cell entries)||50||1000||1000||50|
|Redial||Last 10 Numbers||Last 10 Numbers||Last 10 Numbers||Last 10 Numbers||Last 10 Numbers|
|Any Key answer||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Push to talk (PTT)||Yes||Yes||No||No||No|
|HD Audio w/ equalizer||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Optional Belt Clip||No||No||No||No||No|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Earning the highest weight out of all our rating metrics, Sound Quality is of paramount importance for these products. To evaluate this, we moved each handset a measured distance away from the base — with a handful of obstacles in between — then left a voicemail on Google Voice while reading excerpts from Alice's Adventure in Wonderland and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. A panel of judges then listened to each message and ranked the phones. The AT&T TL96273 did very well, comparing quite well with the rest of the group.
Our judges found the messages left by this phone to be exceptionally clear. We never had any issues understanding what the other person was saying when testing this phone and there were no distracting hums or buzzes but did find that a few other phones might produce slightly better messages.
Comprising the next largest portion of the overall score, our Range metric covers a key area of performance as well. Our testing process was split into two components for this metric: obstructed and unobstructed range. We tested each product by calling each phone with a cell phone, then starting a looped audio track. Our tester took each handset and started moving away from the base until the sound was no longer understandable. The unobstructed test had no obstacles between the handset and the base, while the obstructed test had a series of walls that the signal had to pass through. The TL96273 again scored very well.
This phone transmitted understandable audio for over 840' in our line-of-sight test, tying with a handful of the other top models. However, it was in the obstructed test where the TL96273 stood out, transmitting clear sound over 300' with a variety of walls in the way.
Ease of Use
Our Ease of Use metric evaluated how easy it is to use both the basic and advanced functions of each model. For the basic functions, we evaluated how easy it is to read the display on each handset, operate it in a dark environment, find a lost handset, and place a call, as well as setting the date and time, using the speed dial, and calling back a missed call. For advanced functions, we assessed the difficulty in navigating the menus, blocking calls, and inputting names into the phonebook. The TL96273 did reasonably well here, with an interface that is fairly intuitive and isn't too overwhelming or unintuitive.
This model is about average in terms of being easy to read, becoming blurry about 5' away. It does have a nice and bright screen for use in the dark, but not all of the buttons are illuminated, making it difficult to adjust some settings in the dark if you are not accustomed to the phone.
This phone has one of the loudest lost handset tones and makes it very easy to place a call, even hyphenating the phone number as you enter it. It's relatively easy to call back the last missed call, with the missed caller's number showing up as NEW in your directory. However, this model does lack a programmable speed dial.
Moving on to the advanced functions, it is about the same as the rest of the pack to enter a contact into your phonebook. Blocking calls is the same as well and it is quite easy to navigate through the menus, with the layout being quite intuitive. You can also turn on a silent mode for a set number of hours by holding down the "#" key and pressing the keypad for the desired number of quiet hours, from 1-12.
Our Features metric assessed the features and functions of each phone, awarding more points the more feature-rich each cordless phone is. The AT&T TL96273 scored well.
This cordless phone system can be expanded with up to 12 handsets and has a decently large phonebook with a capacity of 200 contacts. It has an illuminated keypad, though the buttons aren't particularly large. It has answering machine and intercom capabilities, as well as a keypad and speaker on its main base. However, it does lack a belt clip and a headphone jack on its handsets, costing it a few points.
Ranking next in terms of importance, our Battery Life metric takes credit for the remaining 10% of the score. We compared how long each phone lasted on standby and while in use, as well as the time to charge to determine scores. The TL96273 scored about average.
Lasting for about 11 hours and 20 minutes in our talk time test, the TL96273 finished in the middle of the pack. It has a claimed standby time of 7 days and takes a decently long time to recharge, about 11 hours according to the manual.
Earning one of the highest scores, this model is a little too pricey to be a good value, with this premium phone being a prime example of you get what you pay for.
All in all, the AT&T TL96273 is a great phone that won't disappoint. There are better value options out there and we would recommend an alternative choice if you aren't interested in Link-to-Cell, but it's a solid phone that is worth considering, especially if found on a discount even if you don't plan on utilizing that feature.
— David Wise and Austin Palmer
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