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Hands-on Gear Review
AT&T CRL82212 Review
Price: $60 List | $59.95 at Amazon
Pros: Great sound quality, easy to use
Cons: Few features
Bottom line: It has fantastic sound quality and is extremely easy to use, but it is a little on the weak side when it comes to features
The CRL82212 was runner-up in overall scores, and was close enough to the front runner that we felt it also deserved an Editors' Choice award. This phone was light on features, but has great sound quality and was very easy to use. It also has a much smaller base than our top scoring phone, something to consider if saving space and having a more discreet main base station is a top priority for you. It only missed on the top score by two points, and has a list price of $30 less, so it's definitely a strong option to consider.
RELATED REVIEW: The Best Cordless Phones of 2017
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
Sound quality was our highest weighted ranking metric, comprising 30% of the total score, and this model scored very well in this category, earning an 8 out of 10. Our listening panel had very similar comments about this model and the CL84202, stating that both were very clear and easy to understand, and a distinct lack of background static when compared to other models that we reviewed. Below you can hear an audio sample of this model, compared with one of the other, lower scoring models that we tested.
This model kept up with the top scorer in our open range test, topping out at 840' away from the base station in a direct line of sight, but we found that this model floundered when it came to our obstructed range test.
It dropped back to the middle of the pack, topping out at 220' of transmission distance when blocked by several walls. This performance averaged out to a 6 out of 10 overall score in this metric. Based on the results of our testing, it appears that this model is not quite as adept as some of the others at handling obstacles blocking a direct line of sight between the handset and the base.
Ease of Use
This phone was one of the easiest to use out of all the models that we tested, with three models tied for the top score of 7 out of 10. One of the things that really stood out for us when assessing the ease of use of this model was how easily it was to read the screen, remaining clear over 6' away.
This model also hyphenates the number when placing a call, as well as has any key answer. This phone was not one of our strongest contenders when it came to operation in a dark environment, with only the screen and keypad featuring a back light. However, this phone would definitely be usable in a dark environment for simpler tasks, but attempting to change some of the settings could be difficult.
This phone does have a silent mode that is easy to use by simply holding down the "#", then entering the desired number of hours from 1-12 with the keypad. This model had a similar menu layout to our other Editor's Choice award winner, the CL84202, and the menu buttons had the same, great tactile feel to them. It was on the more complicated side to block calls, with all the AT&T models requiring you to dial *60 and work through a decently lengthy and complicated series of prompts.
This model of phone is a little on the lighter side when it came to features, scoring slightly below average with a 4 out of 10. This phone has the capabilities to host up to 12 handsets, but does not have a corded handset on the main base station, eliminating the possibility of a line power mode. The phone book has storage for up to 50 numbers, as well as having specific marketing to highlight that it has large buttons. This model of cordless phone does not have the ability to link to cell or mobile devices, and it does not have a keypad or speaker on the main base. This phone does have an integrated answering machine.
The handsets on this model of phone do not have a belt clip or an auxiliary input for a headset, making this model a poor choice if you are interested in hands free operation. This phone does have the ability to act as a home intercom system.
This phone had a good performance in our battery life test, earning an above average score of 6 out of 10 when it came to this metric. This phone lasted for 12 hours and 10 minutes in our talk time test, over 5 hours longer than the manufacturer's claimed time. This indicated that it had a low battery level 11 hours and 45 minutes into our test, producing an audible beep from the handset, as well as flashing a low indicator light. The manufacturer states that this model of phone has a standby time of up to 7 days. This model also takes about 10 hours to fully charge the battery after it has been completely depleted.
This phone is a great value, earning second place when it came to overall scores and a MSRP of $60. This is still on the pricey side for cordless phones, as spending over $50 for a cordless phone will be unfathomable for some people. This is the phone to purchase if you are willing to spend a bit more to have one of the best phones, but still are concerned about your budget.
The AT&T CRL82212 is another top performing phone, and one that we would strongly recommend. This model scored just behind our front runner, and has an MSRP that is low enough to almost make it a contender with our Best Buy award winners, especially if you can locate this model on a sale or discounted price.
— David Wise and Austin Palmer
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