Uniden phones are some of the best. Whether waterproof, amplified, long range or 2 line cordless phones they consistently earn top ratings, but until recently there was a big gap in the line up. Uniden dragged its feet in developing a serious Bluetooth enabled cordless phone. Long after Panasonic, Siemens and Vtech had released second and even third generation products there were only token gestures from Uniden, but the drought has finally broken. In late 2011 Uniden released two very impressive Bluetooth cordless phones. They are arguably up there with the best.
Uniden D3280 and D3288
Uniden didn't release these new products a moment too soon. Bluetooth cordless phones are amongst Panasonic's top sellers. Consumers are hooked on the convenience of Link-to-Cell cellular convergence or CELLlink as Uniden would have it. Within a year or two we suspect that it will become increasingly difficult to find a cordless phone that isn't Bluetooth enabled.
How do they look? slim, very slim, cool, shiny and elegant with touch sensitive surfaces - no buttons to push. The handsets are small and easily mistaken for cell phones.
The key difference between the two models is that the D3288-2 is a corded cordless phone and D3280-2 is strictly cordless. Otherwise they are identical in all respects. Anyone concerned about maintaining contact with friends and relatives during a power outage should consider the former option with a corded base unit.
It's clear that the design brief went along these lines - "Whatever the competition has on its spec. sheet (read Panasonic) ours must exceed it by at least one hundred percent."
The upshot is that these phones can link with up to 4 cell phones at the same time and store up to 6,000 phonebook entries. They can also be expanded up to 12 handsets. It's hard to imagine anyone needing such capacity in a cordless home phone, but it's good to know that there is virtually unlimited head space to meet unforeseen requirements.
Both systems have integrated digital answering systems.
The latest Uniden phones are all DECT 6.0 phones with associated benefits and the D3200's are no exception.
The key feature - they automatically pair with cell phones once they are within Bluetooth range. Thereafter users can make or answer cell phone calls using cordless handsets. No more scrambling from one end of the house to the other when your cells phone rings, but there is an even more compelling argument.
Uniden's latest phones enable users to get rid of their landlines and go totally cellular. There can be little doubt that the main reason why all cordless phone manufacturers are heavily promoting Bluetooth cordless phones is that they are feeling the impact of consumers ditching their land lines. By getting them hooked on using cordless phones linked to cell phones instead of landlines, they have an opportunity to stay relevant. They may even succeed in growing the market for cordless phones.
Uniden D3200's have all the usual features, but also some extras that differentiate top end cordless phones from the rest:
Pros and Cons
More is better and the latest Uniden phones have more of everything. The ability to link with four cell phones will clinch the deal for many. Not only can they save money by disconnecting their landlines, but also secure the equivalent of a 4 line cordless phone at a bargain price.
Uniden hasn't penny pinched in the same way as Vtech. Belt clips and headset jacks are included.
Expandability up to twelve handsets opens up the opportunity of putting at least one of them into a distant outbuilding or even a basement. The ability to inexpensively and easily add a DRX100 range extender will be greatly appreciated by those who need a long range cordless phone.
Panasonic's talking caller ID is a winning feature, but not everyone is smitten with it. There is a comparable feature on many Uniden cordless phones - Caller ID Announce, but it's not available on D3200 series phones. In keeping with cell phone culture they offer a wide range of personalized ring tones instead.
The speakerphones on Uniden D3200's have a feature called LIVEtalk. Anyone who likes to speak hands free on the phone will be impressed. The clarity is brilliant, but better still there are no cut outs when both parties attempt to speak at the same time. In other words they have full duplex speakers. With the exception of Siemens cordless phones most other manufacturers of cordless home phones have settled on half duplex technology with associated cut outs, echos and dead air.
Our biggest gripe with Uniden phones is that the company is still stuck on using NiMH rechargeable battery packs, while most of its competitors have seen the light and switched to using standard rechareable AAA's.
We are yet to find a serious Uniden wall mount cordless phone. There is a wall mount available for the D3200 series, but it's an extra that doesn't come with the phone.
Panasonic has been more successful than Uniden in establishing a reputation for innovation. Better marketing accounts for much of that reputation, but there is also substance behind the hype. For example the latest generation of Panasonic cordless phones are labeled DECT 6.0 Plus phones. They have many features that Uniden and others don't offer including an innovative power backup capability and text to speech technology.
Panasonic is the one to beat. Its phones are the top selling Bluetooth cordless phones. It is very serious about the technology as evidenced by the fact that it has numerous models in its Bluetooth line-up. They include options with and without answering machines as well Bluetooth enabled 2 line cordless phones.
The Panasonic KX-TG7645M is an example of what Uniden phones are up against. A top rated cordless phone with five handsets at a very sharp price.
Whichever company dominates the Bluetooth cordless phone space has a strategic advantage that will almost certainly see it dominate the cordless phone market for years to come. At the time of writing Uniden phones weren't in the hunt. The release of the D3200 series may well change that as they are highly competitive and excellent value for money.
Uniden phones have earned a solid reputation over decades for quality and excellent engineering. Having largely ignored Bluetooth technolgy for years it's finally made a lunge for the line with an excellent range of products.