It’s brightly coloured, compact and stores a lot of numbers – will BT’s Aqua be your wet dream or just a washout?
The Aqua is what BT calls a family phone and it’s easy to see why. The bold blue, green and white hues will reel in the kids, while adults will like the design statement. If you like bright colours, this could be the home phone for you.
The Aqua handset is almost as small as a mobile, which we like, but its white livery does look plasticky and it wouldn’t survive outdoors for long. The slide mechanism isn’t sprung either, and less than smooth.
But the phone does more than look like a mobile – it acts like one too. For example, you can slot your SIM card in so you can transfer numbers from your mobile to your landline, which makes it handy as a back-up.
The SIM card slot is in the base station and the Aqua can store 250 names and numbers – easily enough for every late night pizza service in town. BT notes that not all sim cards will work with this phone, mind, ruling out 3G SIMs for a start. And it only has a reader – you can’t write to the card.
Like a mobile, it can also receive and send text messages and 50 messages can be stored. It even has ten ringtones to choose from for the handset, and five for the base station.
Of course, it’s not a mobile, and there are plenty of landline staples too. Up to five handsets can be connected to one base unit, for instance. What’s more, none of them needs to be anywhere near the base station – each handset has its own charger that connects to the base wirelessly.
Range is decent – in brief tests we found it was easy to talk 200 metres from the base station outside, and three floors away inside without distortion. Accidentally taking it next door to the neighbour’s didn’t stop it from ringing.
Battery life is good, helped no doubt by only having a monochrome screen to power instead of colour. The built-in answering machine has a basic 11-minute storage capacity.
You can retrieve messages remotely with a 4-digit code and when someone’s leaving a voicemail you can play it to screen your calls.
BT knows how to make phones that are easy to set up and use and this is no exception – it’s just a shame the build feels so cheap.
Solid and chunky in the hand, the Aqua is a straightforward phone with plenty of features if you can get past the styling