Finishing in the middle of the group overall, the KX-TGD532W is far from our favorite cordless phone and failed to stand out in the majority of our tests. While it does have an exceptional range and claimed one of the top scores of the entire group, this model had relatively lackluster sound quality and battery life, with a limited set of features to boot. However, it is one of the easier to use products that we have and might be worth considering on that merit, but we found the mediocre audio quality to be a bit of a deal breaker.
Panasonic KX-TGD532W Review
Pros: Great range, decent price
Cons: Mediocre sound quality, limited features, so-so battery life
Our Analysis and Test Results
This phone finished just behind the KX-TGF382M — another phone from Panasonic — and just ahead of the AT&T TL86103. Both the TGF382M and the TL86103 have much better call quality — the TL86103 more so than the TGD532W — but can't match the range of the TGD532W. The TGD532W is also much easier to use but has far fewer features and a much shorter battery life than these other models. It costs a little bit less than the TGF382M and about half the cost of the TL86103.
To determine which cordless phone is really the best of them all, we did tons and tons of comprehensive research, then bought all the best phones that showed the most potential to test side-by-side and see which one claimed the top spot. We divided our testing procedure into five weighted rating metrics: Features, Battery, Ease of Use, Sound Quality, and Range, with the results of the KX-TGD532W outlined below.
Responsible for the largest portion of the overall score, our Sound Quality metric is accountable for 30% of the total score for each cordless phone. We based the score for this on dozens and dozens of calls, as well as by having a panel of judges rate the quality of a voicemail left by each phone. Additionally, we also deducted points for any distracting background noises that could be heard when using the phone, such as static or buzzing. As mentioned above, we weren't thrilled with the performance of the KX-TGD532W in this group of tests and bestowed a 4 out of 10 on it for its uninspiring results.
The sound coming through this headset always seemed to be a bit on the fuzzier side, failing to match the crystal-clear audio quality delivered by our top phones. We noticed this when listening to both live audio and to recorded messages, with the sound always reminding us of talking on a cell phone where the cell service isn't the best.
Our various range tests came next in importance, making up 25% of the total score for each phone. We conducted both a line-of-sight test to see what the maximum range of each phone is when the signal is unimpeded, as well as an obstructed range test where the signal had to pass through a handful of walls. The KX-TGD532W did exceptionally well in this metric, earning one of the top scores of 8 out of 10.
This phone matched all of the top performers in our unobstructed range test, delivering clear and understandable audio at a distance of 840' — the cut-off point for this test.
The KX-TGD532W delivered a stellar performance in our obstructed range test, delivering some of the cleared audio out of the entire group at the furthest distance.
It was still clear enough to understand the other person when the handset was separated from its base by about 390' and a whopping 7 walls or so, putting it at the top of the group.
Ease of Use
Next, we evaluated and judged how easy it is to operate each of these products, specifically looking at how easy it is to read the display on each phone, place a call, locate a lost headset, use them in the dark, and utilize some of their more advanced functions, like blocking a call, using the speed dial and phonebook, and calling back a missed call. Altogether, these assessments constitute 20% of the total score for each product, with the KX-TGD532W again scoring very well, earning another 8 out of 10.
This phone purportedly has "Any-Key" answer, but we found that the flash, right menu buttons, and the D-pad don't actually answer the call, but this is relatively trivial. We didn't notice any lag when scrolling between menus on the KX-TGD532W and we particularly liked how intuitive and easy it is to call back a missed number and to program and use the speed dial functions, which has 9 slots.
It has a decently loud ringer volume it is quite easy to put the phone on mute and configure initial settings, like the date and time. The loud volume also makes it decently easy to locate a lost headset using the page function. On top of that, the screen and buttons for the KX-TGD532W all have a decently bright backlight, making it exceptionally easy to use this phone in a darker environment.
This phone also allows you to block up to 150 numbers, as well as store up to 100 in your phone book.
Next, we compiled a list of all the most common features on these products, then scored each model on how many it had. We found the KX-TGD532W to be a little sparse on features, earning it a 4 out of 10 for this metric, which is responsible for 15% of the total score for each product.
This product is compatible with up to 6 expandable handsets but lacks both a keypad and speaker on the main base, as well as the ability to link to a cell phone.
It has decently large backlit buttons if your eyesight isn't the greatest and has a built-in answering machine. This phone can also act as an intercom system.
For the remaining 10% of the total score, we compared and judged the battery life of each product, both talking and on standby, as well as the time it took to charge each one. The KX-TGD532W again gave a slightly disappointing performance, earning it a 4 out of 10.
The handset for this phone only lasted for 10 hours, 45 minutes in our talk time test — significantly less than the 15.5 hours of the top model. It has a claimed standby time of 5 days — again, quite a bit less than the top performers — but does charge relatively quickly, only taking 7 hours to completely charge a fully depleted battery.
This phone is an alright value, but there are other comparably priced models that have better sound quality and battery life.
All in all, the KX-TGD532W isn't a bad phone, but it isn't our favorite either. While it does have an exceptional range and is very easy to use, we wished the audio quality was just a bit better and it had a few more features.
— David Wise and Austin Palmer