We expect BT phones to be efficient and straightforward – after all, it’s a dog-and-bone veteran now – but to find that it’s carved out something stylish and covetable is more surprising. Well, that’s exactly what it’s done with the Verve 450 DECT phone.
This home phone has all the advantages associated with DECT – strong call quality without interference from prying ears, for instance – but also lets you add extra phones to its network. They needn’t even be BT phones and you don’t need extra wall sockets – they simply connect to the base station.
BT’s Verve 450 isn’t a premium-price home phone, but it looks like it should be. It’s slim and shiny and the white-out-of-black LCD screen looks classier than a basic colour one.
You can choose between two standby positions (upright and lying down) and set-up is painfully simple: charge it, plug it in and wait for the phone to ring.
The screen shows the time and signal strength along with the options for the two softkeys – in standby these are intercom and menu. Next to these two keys is a handy dedicated BT button, which takes you direct to Directory Enquiries and lets you check options such as whether ‘call waiting’ is on.
There’s also a dedicated speakerphone button and while most BT phones confine this to the base station, here it’s on the handset. This is useful if you’re on hold (to BT, perhaps) and want to wander round the house.
The central direction pad navigates the menus and additionally includes shortcuts to Redial, Contacts, Recent Calls and Message and Call inbox. The phone, then, can send and receive text messages, which is neat.
No predictive text
What isn’t so neat is it lacks the predictive text features all mobiles now have. And it’s when you’re repeatedly jabbing at the keys that you notice that they’re not very responsive, making fast texting or dialling a little harder.
Like a mobile phone, the mailbox can fill up, in which case the envelope icon flashes and the screen shows the caller’s name, assuming you’ve subscribed to ‘Caller Display’.
The clock includes an alarm function and the phone times your calls, but pedants may be dismayed to starts timing from the second you start dialling, not when you’re connected.
Still, the answering machine, with 15 minutes of recording time, is simple and competent and you can play messages back through the base station or handset.
Even better, you can screen calls, listening to messages as they’re being left through the base station and, more unusually, through the handset.
It may not be the most feature-packed phone on the market – you can’t slot a SIM card in to transfer your mobile contacts, for example – but it’s capable, stylish and good-looking.