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AT&T TL86103 Review

The priciest phone of the bunch, it has plenty of features but mediocre range
AT&T TL86103
Credit: AT&T
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Price:   $150 List
Pros:  Tons of features
Cons:  Sub par range
Manufacturer:   AT&T
By David Wise and Austin Palmer  ⋅  Oct 25, 2016
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60
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 10
  • Sound Quality - 30% 7
  • Range - 25% 4
  • Ease of Use - 20% 5
  • Features - 15% 8
  • Battery Life - 10% 7

Our Verdict

The AT&T TL86103 was above average in scoring with a 60 out of 100, but cost substantially more than any other phone we tested. While it performed well in our tests, and was particularly feature rich, it is hard to justify its MSRP of $150 with its abilities, especially when compared to some of the other models that we tested that cost a little over half as much and performed comparably.

Compare to Similar Products

 
AT&T TL86103
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AT&T TL86103
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award  
Price $150 List$65 List
$59.95 at Amazon
$70 List
$46.99 at Amazon
$90 List
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$70 List
Overall Score Sort Icon
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67
Star Rating
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Pros Tons of featuresVery easy to use, great sound quality, solid battery lifeExceptional range performance, good sound qualityExceptional range, great sound quality, best for linking to cell phonesExcellent range, tons of features
Cons Sub par rangeLittle light on featuresPoor results in our battery test, sparse on featuresMediocre battery life, a little priceyUnimpressive battery life, sound quality could be better
Bottom Line An expensive phone packed with features and good sound quality, but falls short on rangeThis phone is a fantastic option if you want a bare-bones product that is easy to use with impressive sound quality and rangeEarning one of the top scores overall and particularly impressing us with its range, we highly recommend this VTech phone to anyone who wants the bestPerforming exceptionally well overall, the TL96273 distinguishes itself as being the best bet if you want to use Link-to-CellThe KX-TGE432 is a great phone but couldn’t quite match the overall performance of our best phones
Rating Categories AT&T TL86103 AT&T CL82207 VTech DS6621-2 AT&T TL96273 Panasonic KX-TGE432
Sound Quality (30%)
7
8
8
7
6
Range (25%)
4
7
9
8
8
Ease Of Use (20%)
5
7
6
6
7
Features (15%)
8
4
4
6
7
Battery Life (10%)
7
7
3
5
4
Specs AT&T TL86103 AT&T CL82207 VTech DS6621-2 AT&T TL96273 Panasonic KX-TGE432
Link - to - Cell Yes No Yes Yes No
Caller ID Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Caller ID announce Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Unobstructed Range Test 700 ft. 840 ft. 840 ft. 840 ft. 840 ft.
Obstructed Range Test 180 ft. 300 ft. 390 ft. 300 ft. 350 ft.
Call Waiting Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Call block Dial *60 Smart Call Blocker* Up to 20 with a subscription Dial *60 Up to 250
Expandable Handsets Up to 12 Up to 12 Up to 5 Up to 12 Up to 6
Corded (phone) Base Yes No No No No
Speaker Phone on Base Yes No No Yes No
Speaker Phone on Handset Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Phone Book Capacity 200 (6000 cell entries) 50 1000 200 (6000 cell entries) 100
Speed Dial No Yes No No Yes
Redial Last 10 Numbers Last 10 Numbers Last 10 Numbers Last 10 Numbers Yes
Wall mountable Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Mute Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Hold Yes No No Yes Yes
Any Key answer Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Push to talk (PTT) Yes Yes No Yes No
Backlit display Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Eco Mode Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Silent/Quiet Mode Yes Yes No Yes No
Voice Command Yes No No No No
HD Audio w/ equalizer Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Lighted Keypad Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Optional Belt Clip Yes No No No Yes
Headset Jack Yes No No No Yes
Additional Lines 2 Line Capable No No No No
RoHS Compliant Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Answering Machine Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


One of the most expensive phones that we tested, the TL86103 sit on...
One of the most expensive phones that we tested, the TL86103 sit on its charging base.
Credit: Kat Elliot

Sound Quality


This model performed well in our sound quality test, showing an above average performance and tying for the runner-up position with a score of 7 out of 10, closely following our top ranking models by a single point. Our panel of listeners felt that this phone was very clear, just a little bit of static keeping it away from the top score.

Range


The TL86103 scored below average, earning a 4 out of 10. This model made it 700' in our open range test, becoming extremely broken-up and intermittent shortly after that. This was about 140' shorter than our top scoring models.


As expected based on its open-range test, the TL86103 delivered a subpar performance in the obstructed range test, beginning to cut in and out at 180' from the base station.

Ease of Use


This model scored right in the middle for ease of use, scoring a 5 out of 10 on our tests. The handset did have a backlit keypad, with blue numbers that we felt were aesthetically pleasing, but overall it was a bit dim and was only illuminated enough to make dialing out a number easy.

While it only lit up the number pad and screen, this model would be...
While it only lit up the number pad and screen, this model would be easy enough to dial in a dark room, but don't count on easily changing any other settings.
Credit: Kat Elliot

We found that the ringer for the lost handset function was on the quieter side, measured at 61 dBa on our meter at 6' away. The display became hard for us to read at 5' away from the handset, and almost impossible at 6'.

The TL86103 proved very difficult to read, hard to read at 5' away...
The TL86103 proved very difficult to read, hard to read at 5' away and completely illegible at 6'.
Credit: Kat Elliot

This model ranked about average at navigating through its various menus and slightly above at inputting names to the phonebook, but this phone excelled at linking to a cell phone. It would easily reconnect if the mobile device was brought out of range of the base, and will announce the name of the person calling if the directory is already downloaded.

Features


This model is feature-rich, meriting a score of 8 out of 10. This model can host up to 12 expandable handsets and is also capable of linking to mobile devices. Additionally, there is a corded handset on the main module. This product also has an answering machine. The handsets for this model also have a belt clip and headphone jack for adding an external headset for hands free operation.

Battery Life


The TL86103 had an above average battery life, scoring a 7 out of 10 in this metric. This model lasted for 13 hours and 32 minutes in our talk time test, couple with a manufactured claimed standby time of up to 7 days and a charging time of 11 hours to fully fill the handset battery. Surprisingly, the TL86103 surpasses the manufacturer claimed talk time by 6 hours and 32 minutes.

Value


The TL86103 is the most expensive phone we reviewed, and while it had an above average performance in our tests, we found the high price unpalatable, severely reducing the value of this model.

Conclusion


While this is a capable model of cordless phone, it is hard to recommend this due to its high price, as well as being outperformed in every category that we rated by a different model. This model of phone is capable of linking to mobile devices and is capable of voice command when hooked up to a computer

David Wise and Austin Palmer