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AT&T TL96273 Review

If you are searching for a cordless phone to integrate with your cell phone, this model is the clear choice
AT&T TL96273
Credit: AT&T
Top Pick Award
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Price:   $90 List | $89.95 at Amazon
Pros:  Exceptional range, great sound quality, best for linking to cell phones
Cons:  Mediocre battery life, a little pricey
Manufacturer:   AT&T
By David Wise and Austin Palmer  ⋅  Sep 25, 2017
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67
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 11
  • Sound Quality - 30% 7
  • Range - 25% 8
  • Ease of Use - 20% 6
  • Features - 15% 6
  • Battery Life - 10% 5

Our Verdict

Earning great scores across the board, the AT&T TL96273 only missed out on the top spot by a few points. This cordless phone has excellent range and superb sound quality, with a decent suite of features and a solid battery life. It's relatively easy to use. Above all, this is our favorite model to pair with a cell phone, making this a strong choice for anyone seeking that feature. Its main downside is the high price tag, but for those seeking link-to-cell capabilities, it's probably worth it.

Compare to Similar Products

 
AT&T TL96273
This Product
AT&T TL96273
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award  Best Buy Award 
Price $90 List
$89.95 at Amazon
$65 List
$49.95 at Amazon
$60 List
$57.45 at Amazon
$55 List
$50.48 at Amazon
$45 List
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Pros Exceptional range, great sound quality, best for linking to cell phonesVery easy to use, great sound quality, strong battery life, fair priceExceptional range performance, good sound qualityEasy to use, good sound qualityInexpensive, great value, alright range
Cons Mediocre battery life, a little priceyLittle light on featuresPoor results in our battery test, sparse on featuresLackluster battery life, limited featuresBelow average battery life
Bottom Line If you are searching for a cordless phone to integrate with your cell phone, this model is the clear choiceIf you want a great cordless phone that is simple and easy to use without a lot of fluff, then this is the model for youIf you need a cordless phone with top-tier range, this is a great choiceIf you are looking for a middle-of-the-road phone at a middle-of-the-road price, then this is itAbove average range and sound quality for a great price
Rating Categories AT&T TL96273 AT&T CL82207 VTech DS6621-2 AT&T DL72219 AT&T EL51203
Sound Quality (30%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
Range (25%)
8.0
7.0
9.0
7.0
6.0
Ease Of Use (20%)
6.0
7.0
6.0
8.0
5.0
Features (15%)
6.0
4.0
4.0
4.0
4.0
Battery Life (10%)
5.0
7.0
3.0
3.0
4.0
Specs AT&T TL96273 AT&T CL82207 VTech DS6621-2 AT&T DL72219 AT&T EL51203
Link - to - Cell Yes No Yes Yes No
Caller ID Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Caller ID announce Yes Yes No No No
Unobstructed Range Test 840 ft. 840 ft. 840 ft. 840 ft. 840 ft.
Obstructed Range Test 300 ft. 300 ft. 390 ft. 280 ft. 220 ft.
Call Waiting Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Call block Dial *60 Smart Call Blocker* Up to 20 with a subscription Up to 1,000 Dial *60
Expandable Handsets Up to 12 Up to 12 Up to 5 Up to 5 Up to 5
Corded (phone) Base No No No No No
Speaker Phone on Base Yes No No No No
Speaker Phone on Handset Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Phone Book Capacity 200 (6000 cell entries) 50 1000 1000 50
Speed Dial No Yes No No Yes
Redial Last 10 Numbers Last 10 Numbers Last 10 Numbers Last 10 Numbers Last 10 Numbers
Wall mountable Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Mute Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Hold Yes No No No No
Any Key answer Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Push to talk (PTT) Yes Yes No No No
Backlit display Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Eco Mode Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Silent/Quiet Mode Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Voice Command No No No No No
HD Audio w/ equalizer Yes Yes Yes No No
Lighted Keypad Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Optional Belt Clip No No No No No
Headset Jack No No No No No
Additional Lines No No No No No
RoHS Compliant Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Answering Machine Yes Yes Yes Yes No

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


Earning one of the top scores, the TL96273 is a great, all-around...
Earning one of the top scores, the TL96273 is a great, all-around phone.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Sound Quality


Earning the highest weight out of all our rating metrics, Sound Quality is of paramount importance for these products. To evaluate this, we moved each handset a measured distance away from the base — with a handful of obstacles in between — then left a voicemail on Google Voice while reading excerpts from Alice's Adventure in Wonderland and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. A panel of judges then listened to each message and ranked the phones. The AT&T TL96273 did very well, comparing quite well with the rest of the group.


This model doesn't leave much to be desired in regards to sound...
This model doesn't leave much to be desired in regards to sound quality. Our conversations consistently came across clearly.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

The voice messages were exceptionally clear and easy to hear, but just not quite the same caliber as the AT&T CL84202. However, we never had any issues understanding what the other person was saying when testing this phone and there were no distracting hums or buzzes.

The range of this phone will probably suffice for most folks.
The range of this phone will probably suffice for most folks.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Range


Comprising the next largest portion of the overall score, our Range metric covers a key area of performance as well. Our testing process was split into two components for this metric: obstructed and unobstructed range. We tested each product by calling each phone with a cell phone, then starting a looped audio track. Our tester took each handset and started moving away from the base until the sound was no longer understandable. The unobstructed test had no obstacles between the handset and the base, while the obstructed test had a series of walls that the signal had to pass through. The TL96273 again scored very well.


This phone transmitted understandable audio for over 840' in our line-of-sight test, tying with a handful of the other top models. However, it was in the obstructed test where the TL96273 stood out, transmitting clear sound over 300' with a variety of walls in the way.

The TL96273 isn't the easiest model to use, but it's not a huge...
The TL96273 isn't the easiest model to use, but it's not a huge hassle.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Ease of Use


Our Ease of Use metric evaluated how easy it is to use both the basic and advanced functions of each model. For the basic functions, we evaluated how easy it is to read the display on each handset, operate it in a dark environment, find a lost handset, and place a call, as well as setting the date and time, using the speed dial, and calling back a missed call. For advanced functions, we assessed the difficulty in navigating the menus, blocking calls, and inputting names into the phonebook. The TL96273 did reasonably well here.


This model is about average in terms of being easy to read, becoming blurry about 5' away. It does have a nice and bright screen for use in the dark, but not all of the buttons are illuminated, making it difficult to adjust some settings in the dark if you are not accustomed to the phone.

The display is decently easy to read.
The display is decently easy to read.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

This phone has one of the loudest lost handset tones and makes it very easy to place a call, even hyphenating the phone number as you enter it. It's relatively easy to call back the last missed call, with the missed caller's number showing up as NEW in your directory. However, this model does lack a programmable speed dial.

Moving on to the advanced functions, it is about the same as the rest of the pack to enter a contact into your phonebook. Blocking calls is the same as well and it is quite easy to navigate through the menus, with the layout being quite intuitive. You can also turn on a silent mode for a set number of hours by holding down the "#" key and pressing the keypad for the desired number of quiet hours, from 1-12.

The TL96273 includes more features than most phones we have tested...
The TL96273 includes more features than most phones we have tested. One of its most convenient ones is its ability to connect with your cell phone.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Features


Our Features metric assessed the features and functions of each phone, awarding more points the more feature-rich each cordless phone is. The AT&T TL96273 scored well.


This cordless phone system can be expanded with up to 12 handsets and has a decently large phonebook with a capacity of 200 contacts. It has an illuminated keypad, though the buttons aren't particularly large. It has answering machine and intercom capabilities, as well as a keypad and speaker on its main base. However, it does lack a belt clip and a headphone jack on its handsets, costing it a few points.

The battery life for this phone is average compared to the others.
The battery life for this phone is average compared to the others.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Battery Life


Ranking next in terms of importance, our Battery Life metric takes credit for the remaining 10% of the score. We compared how long each phone lasted on standby and while in use, as well as the time to charge to determine scores. The TL96273 scored about average.


Lasting for about 11 hours and 20 minutes in our talk time test, the TL96273 finished in the middle of the pack. It has a claimed standby time of 7 days and takes a decently long time to recharge, about 11 hours according to the manual.

Value


Earning one of the highest scores, this model is a little too pricey to be a good value, with this premium phone being a prime example of you get what you pay for.

Conclusion


All in all, the AT&T TL96273 is a great phone that won't disappoint. There are better value options out there and we would recommend an alternative choice if you aren't interested in Link-to-Cell, but it's a solid phone that is worth considering, especially if found on a discount even if you don't plan on utilizing that feature.

David Wise and Austin Palmer