Tuesday, October 11, 2011

AT&T 993 2-Line Corded Phone

$62.99 on Amazon
I've been slowly setting up a home office and got around to getting a new phone line for the business.  That's when I decided I needed a new phone to go along with the new line, preferably a 2-line phone I could also connect up to the existing house line.  Having the two lines would make it easier to answer a call to the house or to the business and would allow me to conference a call if need be with the home line.

After some searching, I came across the AT&T 993 2-line Corded Phone.  I had seen a similar phone from AT&T in Staples and when I found this model on Amazon, I have to admit the first thing that grabbed me was its low cost.  However it had everything I was looking for - 2 lines, the ability to conference calls, a speaker phone, memory and it was a corded phone.  Nothing against cordless phones, but I just prefer a corded phone for business calls.  Not sure if it really sounds better, but in my mind its clearer and I hear it better.  I also wanted a large and easy to read display for caller ID and menu information, which the 993 offers.

AT&T 993 2-Line Corded Phone Details

The 993 is a basic 2-line corded phone.  It supports two different telephone lines, offers different rings for the different lines, has a speakerphone, memory, caller-ID and a few other features.  This is a single-handset corded phone.  It does have a jack for a headset though if you wanted to use that instead of the handset.  This phone does not have an answering machine integrated into the phone.

The phone is a pretty decently sized phone. It is just over 8 inches in width, almost 8 inches in length and almost 4 inches in thickness.  It weighs about 2 pounds.  It can be used sitting flat on a desk or it can be installed on a wall if you want it as a wall phone.  I just have mine on my desk.

The two-line ability is nice.  All you have to do it plug each line into the proper jack in the phone.  Then you are ready to go.  I have my business line as line 1 and my home line as line 2.  This lets me answer the home phone from the desk and if I'm in a pinch and need to do a conference call with two numbers, I can use the home phone line as a backup line for the conference.  You can choose to have two different kinds of rings for each line so you can tell them apart.  However you can also see which line is ringing, as the Line 1 or Line 2 light lights up as the call is coming in.

The speakerphone in the 993 is quite good.  I can be sitting at my desk and speak normally and the person on the other end of the line can hear me quite well.  The speaker is also loud enough that I'm not straining to listen to other people talking on the other line.  The volume on the speakerphone is easily adjustable with the volume buttons.  Those same buttons also adjust the volume on the handset and the volume of the ringer.

You can program up to 18 speed dial numbers.  I've got my basic numbers programmed in and all you have to do is press the speed dial button associated with that number.  The labeling system is a bit old-fashioned (literally you write out the info on the paper and slip it into the phone), but it works and the speed dial comes in handy for numbers you are always calling.

The large LCD screen displays the caller-ID number of the line that is calling you.  When there is no call, the screen shows you the status of the two lines.  You can use the menu button next to the screen to scroll through previous calls and change various settings on the phone.  When you call a number, the screen shows the number you are calling.  The LCD screen is backlight and I can easily read it whether its bright in the room or the lights are turned down.

The phone does need to be plugged in to an electrical plug so that the memory functions, the LCD screen and the caller-ID information.  If you don't want to have to reprogram your phone after power failures, you can put a 9-volt battery in, which will backup your information when the power is off.

The phone comes with a decent user manual that should get anyone up and running with their phone quickly.  It goes over the installation of the phone and then each of the features and explains how to use them, though most of the features are pretty self-evident from just using the phone.

Using the AT&T 993 2-Line Corded Phone

As I got the 993 set up and started to use it, I have found it to be a good phone that was easy to set up and has been easy to use.  My phone calls are clear, whether they are on the speakerphone or I am using the handset.  I like speed dial feature even though I only have a few lines pre-programmed at the moment and I like how easy it is to use the two lines that are coming into the phone.

I set my phone up directly on my desk.  I chose not to have different rings for the different lines since all you have to do is glance at the line lights and the LCD screen to see if a call in coming in on Line 1 or Line 2.  The caller-ID information is also easy to read on the LCD screen.  When answering the phone, it automatically picks up whatever line is ringing.  When I am making and outgoing call, the phone defaults to using line 1, my business line.  If I want to make a call using line 2, I can simply select the line 2 button and then it lets me dial out.

I can easily adjust the volume of the ringer, the handset and the speakerphone through the two volume buttons.  This makes it easy for me to turn off the ringer at night and then adjust the ringer and voice volume throughout the day as I am using the phone.

Quality wise, it seems as if this phone should last for a while.  I have not had any problems with the initial set up or the use of the phone over the last month and from my experiences with most other similar office phones, once you get through the shakedown period, barring a big drop, these phones seem to go on and on.   I am hoping that is the case with this phone and I have not been disappointed yet.

What made me choose the 993?

There are several different brands and models of 2-line phones without answering machines out there and honestly what got my attention with the 993 was the cost.  I found it on Amazon for $40 and from the research I did on it following finding the low price, I figured this phone fit what I needed.  Sure you can spend more, but I am not sure you get better quality, it just seemed like those phones had more features that I probably would not have ended up using anyway.

This is not whiz-bang new kind of 2-line phone, it's just an entry-level 2-line business phone, which is exactly what I was looking for.

Final Thoughts

If you want a basic 2-line phone for home or business (or both) use, definitely check out the AT&T 993 2-line Corded Phone.  It is easy to set up, easy to use and should last for quite a while with regular use.  It offers conference calling features, a speakerphone, caller-ID, speed dialing and more.  It should easily meet any basic home office needs that you might have.

In setting up and using my 993 phone, I have not found anything that really bothers me.  The phone does what it was advertised to do and I am not buried in features I will never use.

I would have no problem recommending the AT&T 993 2-line Corded Phone to anyone looking for a basic 2-line phone.

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