Sometime over Christmas someone called and asked about cordless big button phones with hearing aid support and I promised that I would look up details of one I knew about. Of course the Beafon S700 does this as well as being a mobile it’s a cordless.
I promised to look out details for him of a Panasonic I knew about, this part of the promise I kept, unfortunately I lost his contact details which I know is pretty rubbish of me but in the hope that he will read this here are some thoughts on the Panasonic KX-TG6592.
You look at it and think immediately “That will be easy to see and hear”. It has a wide screen and particularly large speaker for the earphone. The handset is large. At 17cm tall and 5.5 cm wide it’s 25% bigger than a standard Panasonic cordless. Dial and hang-up keys are more than twice as big as the traditional Panasonic cordless. There are three quick dial buttons, a speaker phone button and a button labelled R which works with office switchboards but which doubles to provide an “Eco” mode. This cuts down the power transmission from the base station.
The controls take the form of an up/down rocker and three disappointingly small soft keys.
On the side is an orange tone control and volume buttons. The back has a non-slip grip and a very large speaker for the ringer and speakerphone.
You cursor up and down through menus using the centre soft key to select options, the left soft key to step up one level through menus and the hang up key to get back to the main screen. All pretty standard for a cordless phone.
The KX-TG6592 comes as single and twin pack phones. The twin pack which predictably comes with two phones, has the answering machine in the base of one and the other with a simple charger dock. One nice feature is that once you’ve set the time and date on one that becomes the default value for the other.
It is a bit of a fiddle to set up and if you are buying the phone for a relative who isn’t tech savvy you’d best set it up for them.
In use it’s very much more straightforward. As we get older our ability to hear at different frequencies changes, mostly losing the higher ones, so boosting frequencies can help a lot. The tone control switches between off, high tone and low tone.
The one thing that tends to mark out “senior” phones is a distress or assistance button. The TG6592 caters for this with one of the quick dial buttons. Press button III and the phone dials through a list of up to four numbers until one is answered. It then plays a message you pre-record down the line before connecting the call. The person receiving the call can cut short the message playback by pressing ‘1’. Again something to set up for your Nan, you can’t expect her to do it herself.
The ring tones are loud – with a choice of a dozen tones including Greensleeves, Bossa Nova and a mercifully conventional sounding ring. This is something many cheap Chinese phones omit, but a cheesey ring tone is a novelty which soon wears off.
Beyond the accessibility features it’s a completely conventional DECT phone, it doesn’t try to be too clever, it’s monochrome, there are no games or text messaging. Plenty of people want a phone that is easy to use, easy to hear and easy to hear, and the new Panasonic fits that bill nicely.