Reviews You Can Rely On

Best Cordless Phone of 2021

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Credit: Jenna Ammerman
By Austin Palmer and David Wise  ⋅  Feb 1, 2021
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After carefully considering over 65 models, we bought the 10 best cordless phones available in 2021 and comprehensively evaluated them side-by-side in our quest to find the best phone of them all. We compared the sound quality and range of each product, as well as measuring their actual maximum talk time. We also extensively compared all the different features and functions of each phone to see just how user-friendly each product is. Read on to find out which phone is the very best, which has the most features, and which is the best bargain option.

Top 10 Product Ratings

Displaying 1 - 5 of 10
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Awards Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award   
Price $65 List
$51.12 at Amazon
$60 List
$46.99 at Amazon
$90 List
$86.23 at Amazon
$70 List
$69.95 at Amazon
$100 List
$94.08 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
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68
67
67
62
Star Rating
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Pros Very 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 featuresGreat battery life, wired handset on base
Cons Little light on featuresPoor results in our battery test, sparse on featuresMediocre battery life, a little priceyUnimpressive battery life, sound quality could be betterExpensive, Average sound quality
Bottom Line If 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 searching for a cordless phone to integrate with your cell phone, this model is the clear choiceWhile the KX-TGE432 came close to scoring an award, it was held back by its less than stellar sound quality and battery lifeHas plenty of features and a great battery life, but at the cost of sound quality
Rating Categories AT&T CL82207 VTech DS6621-2 AT&T TL96273 Panasonic KX-TGE432 Panasonic KX-TGF382M
Sound Quality (30%)
8
8
7
6
5
Range (25%)
7
9
8
8
6
Ease Of Use (20%)
7
6
6
7
6
Features (15%)
4
4
6
7
8
Battery Life (10%)
7
3
5
4
8
Specs AT&T CL82207 VTech DS6621-2 AT&T TL96273 Panasonic KX-TGE432 Panasonic KX-TGF382M
Link - to - Cell No Yes Yes No Yes
Caller ID Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Caller ID announce Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Unobstructed Range Test 840 ft. 840 ft. 840 ft. 840 ft. 840 ft.
Obstructed Range Test 300 ft. 390 ft. 300 ft. 350 ft. 260 ft.
Call Waiting Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Call block Smart Call Blocker* Up to 20 with a subscription Dial *60 Up to 250 Up to 250
Expandable Handsets Up to 12 Up to 5 Up to 12 Up to 6 Up to 6
Corded (phone) Base No No No No Yes
Speaker Phone on Base No No Yes No Yes
Speaker Phone on Handset Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Phone Book Capacity 50 1000 200 (6000 cell entries) 100 3000
Speed Dial Yes No No Yes Yes
Redial Last 10 Numbers Last 10 Numbers Last 10 Numbers Yes Yes; 5
Wall mountable Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Mute Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Hold No No Yes Yes Yes
Any Key answer Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Push to talk (PTT) Yes No Yes No No
Backlit display Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Eco Mode Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Silent/Quiet Mode Yes No Yes No 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 Yes Yes
Headset Jack No No No Yes Yes
Additional Lines No No No No No
RoHS Compliant Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Answering Machine Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes


Best for Ease of Use


AT&T CL82207


69
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Sound Quality 8
  • Range 7
  • Ease of Use 7
  • Features 4
  • Battery Life 7
Answering Machine: Yes | Link-To-Cell: No
Great sound quality
Extraordinarily easy to use
Excellent battery life
Limited on features

The AT&T CL82207 is one of our all-time favorite cordless phones and one of the best we have seen to date. Its interface is exceptionally intuitive and is a great option for anyone who doesn't want to deal with a hassle every time they use their phone. Accompanying its user-friendliness is excellent sound quality and quite an impressive range, as well as a battery life that should last for 10+ hours of talk time.

Unfortunately, compared to some of the other phones we have tested, the AT&T CL82207 is a little short on features, though it does have an integrated phone book and answering machine. Although it can't quite match some of the other top-tier products when it comes to capabilities, we absolutely love how intuitive and user-friendly this phone is. It's a great option for someone who wants a cordless phone without all the fuss — and if you are shopping with cost in mind, the price makes it a reasonable option.

Read Review: AT&T CL82207

Best for Maximum Range


VTech DS6621-2


68
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Sound Quality 8
  • Range 9
  • Ease of Use 6
  • Features 4
  • Battery Life 3
Answering Machine: Yes | Link-To-Cell: Yes
Very impressive range
Good sound quality
Limited features
Lackluster battery test performance

Just narrowly missing out on the top spot, the VTech DS6621-2 was another strong competitor. This model provided static-free and crystal-clear conversations and has a phenomenal range. We could separate the handset from the base by hundreds of feet without any noticeable drop in call quality. This phone is also one of the most user-friendly products in our review fleet.

Unfortunately, we found that the VTech DS6621-2's battery life is a little shorter than other models and unable to last more than 10 hours before running out of juice. Its feature set also wasn't the most extensive, but in our opinion, it includes the most critical ones. Overall, this is a great phone and one of our top recommendations if you need a new phone that can go the distance.

Read Review: VTech DS6621-2

Best Bang for the Buck


AT&T EL51203


53
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Sound Quality 6
  • Range 6
  • Ease of Use 5
  • Features 4
  • Battery Life 4
Answering Machine: No | Link-To-Cell: No
Inexpensive
Good range
Decent sound quality
Not feature-packed
Shorter battery life

If you're searching for a reliable phone to fit your budget, then the AT&T EL51203 is an excellent choice for you. The value of this phone is fantastic, offering solid across-the-board performance at a reasonable price. The sound quality and range on the AT&T EL51203 are above-average, and it is relatively easy to use.

Though its mediocre battery life and somewhat limited feature set were unimpressive, these drawbacks only had a minor impact on this product's overall performance. This is a great pick if you are shopping on a budget and don't want to make too many concessions when it comes to performance.

Read Review: AT&T EL51203

Best on a Tight Budget


VTech CS6719-2


50
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Sound Quality 7
  • Range 5
  • Ease of Use 4
  • Features 3
  • Battery Life 4
Answering Machine: No | Link-To-Cell: No
Very inexpensive
Good sound quality
Respectable range
Few features

Are you hoping to spend as little as possible on a cordless phone? While the VTech CS6710 is not our favorite model by any means, it does a decent job at a price that's hard to beat. Given its bare-bones and bargain nature, this phone has an acceptable range and surprisingly great sound quality.

As part of its low price, the VTech CS6710 has some distinct trade-offs. The most apparent shortcomings were its below-average battery life and less user-friendly interface. We also found this model to be light on built-in features. But if you are on the tightest of budgets and your expectations aren't too high, then we think it's by far the best you can get.

Read Review: VTech CS6719

Best for Smartphone Integration


AT&T TL96273


67
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Sound Quality 7
  • Range 8
  • Ease of Use 6
  • Features 6
  • Battery Life 5
Answering Machine: Yes | Link-To-Cell: Yes
Fantastic range
Solid sound quality
Decently easy to use
Average battery life

The AT&T TL96273 performed exceptionally well in our testing process, narrowly missing out on the top spot overall. Although this phone didn't claim the top prize, it distinguished itself by being the best at connecting to a mobile device. This feature allows you to leave your phone charging by the base, with any incoming calls passed to all of the handsets of the AT&T TL96273. If you don't like carrying your cell phone with you or if you only get good cell service in a certain area of your home, this feature is particularly handy.

Regrettably, the AT&T TL96273 delivered a somewhat lackluster performance in our battery life tests, and we thought its sound quality was slightly inferior to the top-tier phones. We identified this cordless phone as a well rounded and capable option, especially if routing landline calls to a cell phone is a desired feature. Even if you don't plan on using that feature, it still is a great option based solely on its performance in other areas.

Read Review: AT&T TL96273

Compare Products

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Score Product Price Our Take
69
$65
Editors' Choice Award
This phone is a fantastic option if you want a bare-bones product that is easy to use with impressive sound quality and range
68
$60
Editors' Choice Award
Earning one of the top scores overall and particularly impressing us with its range, we highly recommend this VTech phone to anyone who wants the best
67
$90
Top Pick Award
Performing exceptionally well overall, the TL96273 distinguishes itself as being the best bet if you want to use Link-to-Cell
67
$70
The KX-TGE432 is a great phone but couldn't quite match the overall performance of our best phones
62
$100
Sacrifices sound quality for increased battery performance and features
62
$60
While this phone might not have claimed the top spot, it delivered alright results, earning a score in the middle of the pack
60
$150
An expensive phone packed with features and good sound quality, but falls short on range
59
$58
While this phone does have some unique features, like a visual ringer and a larger display, it struggled to distinguish itself overall
53
$45
Best Buy Award
Great phone for a great price
50
$40
Best Buy Award
Low on features and price tag with decent sound

We found the sound quality of this phone to be fairly lackluster.
We found the sound quality of this phone to be fairly lackluster.
Credit: Laura Casner

Why You Should Trust Us


Our cordless phone testing team of Austin Palmer and David Wise have tested hundreds of tech products and over a dozen different cordless phones. They have used their extensive background in reviewing consumer tech products to formulate a testing plan and process that truly highlights the differences in these products. A separate panel of judges was also convened to compare and rate the audio recordings created with each phone.

We pushed each phone to their limits, even if that meant walking hundreds of feet to determine their maximum range. We also ran dozens of hours of recordings to ascertain how long you can talk on each model. A widespread group of users — including some who weren't the most tech-savvy — came together to evaluate and compare each phone's ease of use and interface.

Related: How We Tested Cordless Phones

This phone is very easy to operate in our minds.

Analysis and Test Results


We broke our testing process into five weighted rating metrics — sound quality, range, ease of use, features, and battery life. We aggregated the results from each category to determine the overall performance for all cordless phones. To make our ratings as practical and fair as possible, we used a mixture of objective side-by-side assessments, like maximum range and battery life, as well as more subjective tests, like audio quality, using a panel of judges.

Related: Buying Advice for Cordless Phones


Value


If you are shopping for a new phone on a budget, it's hard to go wrong with either the VTech CS6719-2 or the AT&T EL51203. These two models offered acceptable performance and can be purchased for surprisingly low prices. To maintain their approachable prices, however, each made certain compromises. Both models have a slightly inferior sound quality and range and are lacking key features like built-in answering machines. For some, this might be a deal-breaker. If so, then you should consider the more expensive AT&T CL82207 or VTech DS6621-2.

Sound Quality


Sound quality is an integral part of a phone. The principal function of a telephone is being able to hear and understand someone in a different area. Cordless phones offer clear conversations without the hassle of a cord. Our test for sound quality may be on the more subjective side, but it is a good analog of what most people will use these products for.


To test each model's sound quality, we set up the base of each phone and moved the handset a consistent distance away. We then left a voicemail on Google Voice with each model and read a passage from a book (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne). Next, our panel of listeners rated the quality and characteristics of each message without knowing the make or model of the handset.

We felt that the AT&T CL82207 and the VTech DS6621-2 did the best in our sound quality metric, claiming the top spot. The CL82207 left extremely clear messages, with a noticeable lack of static compared to many of the other models that we evaluated. Though not the loudest phone of the group, we think its sound levels are close to ideal.

Credit: Laura Casner

The VTech DS6621-2 also lacked any static or buzzing. Conversations sounded as if you were almost within the same room. However, we did find it to be just a touch quieter than the AT&T CL82207.

The AT&T TL86103, AT&T TL96273, the VTech VS112-2, and the VTech CS6719 all came next in sound quality scores. The audio emanating from these phones was clear, but a little bit of static and distortion was detectable, accompanied by a reduction in volume.

Credit: Laura Casner

Next, the Panasonic KX-TGE432 and the AT&T EL51203 both earned above-average scores for their decent sound quality. For both of these phones, you can usually hear the person on the other end of the line without any difficulty, but the sound is far from the crystal-clear audio of the top models. We noticed a bit of static with both phones and thought voices sounded like they were coming from far away, with a much flatter tone.

We do think this phone is a little short on some of the features we...
We do think this phone is a little short on some of the features we were looking for.
Credit: Laura Casner

The Panasonic KX-TGF382M and the Panasonic KX-TGD532W only had so-so sound quality performances in our tests. We found the volume on these phones to be plenty loud, but voices sounded much more hollow. We also identified an excess of buzzing and static that detracted from the overall sound quality.

Range


Our next metric rated and scored the effective range of each of these products. Since range can vary wildly, depending on the number and type of obstructions, we split our range metric into two distinct tests; an unobstructed line-of-sight test and an obstructed test with multiple walls between the base and handset.


All the phones we tested thoroughly impressed us with their unobstructed range, which we would guess would be more than enough for just about any application.

However, our second test with multiple walls truly separated the top-tier phones from the rest of the pack. We left each phone's base inside the house, forcing the phone signal to pass through approximately six walls. Our tester walked each phone along the test course and played an audiobook into each handset. Our test course had markers every 40ft, up to the end of the street, and our tester called out the number of each marker over the audiobook as he walked by. We then listened to each voice message to determine the effective obstructed range of each product.

The VTech DS6621-2 has an exceptionally impressive range.
The VTech DS6621-2 has an exceptionally impressive range.
Credit: Laura Casner

The VTech DS6621-2 received top marks in this metric for its unparalleled performance. This cordless phone maxed out in the unobstructed test, delivering clear sound with well over 840 feet separating the base from the phone. It also was able to transmit understandable conversation from 390 feet with multiple walls between the phone and main station.


The AT&T TL9673, the Panasonic KX-TGE432, and the Panasonic KX-TGD532W all followed. These all made easy work of the unobstructed range test, making a clear and understandable call with over 840 feet separating the base from the handset.

These phones all continued to perform very well in the obstructed tests as well. We were able to successfully carry on a conversation with more than 300' separating the base and the handset. There were tiny bits of static, and the call quality was diminished, but you could still easily carry on a conversation at this distance.

This phone didn&#039;t deliver the most impressive results in our battery...
This phone didn't deliver the most impressive results in our battery test.
Credit: Laura Casner

The AT&T CL82207 followed, matching the top scorers in the line-of-sight test but falling a little short in the multiple-obstructions test. While it did match the performance of the AT&T TL96273, the audio wasn't as clear at 300 feet, becoming almost unintelligible.

The VTech VS112, the Panasonic KX-TGF382M, and the AT&T EL51203 all received above-average results in our range test. These three all reached the maximum distance in the unobstructed test, but their effective range dropped quite a bit in the obstructed test, with the audio cutting out 50-80 feet closer to the base than the top products.

This phone did deliver excellent results in our range test.
This phone did deliver excellent results in our range test.
Credit: Laura Casner

The VTech CS6719 delivered a relatively mediocre performance. Cutting out almost 100 feet before the other models, this handset couldn't match the top models in the line-of-sight test. The same can be said for the obstructed test, where it cut out significantly closer than most of the other competitors.


The AT&T TL86103 finished at the back of the group. We think the performance given from this phone was lackluster on the whole, having a substantially reduced range compared to almost every other phone in the review.

Ease of Use


Our next set of tests rated and scored the user-friendliness and ease of operating each cordless phone. We looked at what people typically use their telephone for — making and receiving a phone call, paging a lost handset, and entering numbers into a phone book — as well as some of the more advanced functions of each product.


When it comes to ease of use, the Panasonic KX-TGD532W narrowly claims the top spot. It has an ample backlight and a display that is very easy to read. The page function makes it easy to locate a misplaced handset, and it has one of the loudest ringers of the group. This phone also has an integrated answering machine and makes easy work of answering calls, adjusting basic settings, and muting calls. We did wish that it hyphenated phone numbers when entered, though.

We did find this phone to be quite easy to use.
We did find this phone to be quite easy to use.
Credit: Laura Casner

The more advanced menus are intuitive to navigate, and it isn't a huge hassle to block calls or save numbers to your phonebook.

The AT&T CL82207, the VTech VS112, and the Panasonic KX-TGE432 all followed. The CL82207 is very easy to read, but we thought the speed dial function was a bit harder to use, and calling back a missed number was less intuitive than it is on some of its rivals. We also found the ringer was a bit quiet on the AT&T CL82207, but it has a very bright display, making it incredibly easy to use in a dark room.

The Panasonic KX-TGE432 is very easy to read and has a fantastic backlight for operating it with the lights out, but we do wish that it would hyphenate a number when you are entering it. It has decent volume, and it is fairly easy to answer calls or call back a missed one, about the same as theAT&T CL82207. Unfortunately, it can be a little more challenging to navigate the menus on the Panasonic KX-TGE432 since it has so many features to sort through, and it lacks a quiet or Do Not Disturb mode like the CL82207.

The VTech VS112 has a decent backlight and one of the loudest page/find-a-phone features of the group. It also has a very large and easy to read font on its display, with hyphenated numbers when dialing. It's about average to make and answer calls but does lack a speed dial feature.

It&#039;s quite easy to listen to a message or call back a missed call.
It's quite easy to listen to a message or call back a missed call.
Credit: Laura Casner

The Panasonic KX-TGF382M, VTech DS6621-2, and the AT&T TL96273 followed, with their slightly above average ease of use. It's a little trickier to enter and save numbers in your phonebook on the Panasonic KX-TGF382M, but it is much easier to use the speed dial function on this pair of phones than the AT&T TL96273, which only has a speed dial for voicemail. They also are very easy to read and provide more than enough light for use in a dark environment.

The VTech DS6621-2 lacks a speed dial feature, and the numbers on the screen are a little harder to read than we would have liked. However, it provides a decent amount of light to dial a number and isn't too bad to use in the dark if you are familiar with the phone. It's easy enough to make and receive calls, and the menus are very intuitively laid out.

The numbers on this phone aren&#039;t the easiest to read.
The numbers on this phone aren't the easiest to read.
Credit: Laura Casner

Next, the AT&T EL51203 and the AT&T TL86103 both are about average in terms of ease of use. Due to their more dim backlights, both handsets are hard to read from a distance or at night. The menus on both of these products are fine to navigate, but we penalized the AT&T TL86103 for the absence of speed dial capabilities.

Finally, the VTech CS6719-2 merited a below-average score for its showing in this metric. This phone is missing an immediately understandable menu layout and is much harder to see and use, especially in a darker room, due to its dim or total lack of a backlight for the keypad. Additionally, it's much harder to do things like program a speed dial slot or save a number to your phonebook. That makes this phone quite a bit less fun to use unless you only ever answer or make a call with it.

Features


Current cordless phones have an assortment of features, enough that it can be overwhelming to consider them all when shopping for a new one. We compiled a comprehensive list of features across all the models that we tested and weighted scores based on the features that we felt were the most useful and important to us.


After extensive use and testing of these phones, we felt that the most important features were keypad lighting, whether or not the base had a keypad/speaker, and the ability to add additional handsets.

The Motorola handset showing its mediocre backlit display.
The Panasonic TGE272S has a decent backlight display.

Our top phones in this metric, the Panasonic KX-TGF382M and the AT&T TL86103, both earned top marks for having most of the features we think consumers are seeking. This pair was hurt by their relatively small buttons and less than stellar keypad lighting. However, they both have an integrated keypad and speaker on the main base and link-to-cell capabilities, as well as an integrated answering machine, belt clip, and audio jack to connect a headset for hands-free operation.

The Panasonic KX-TGE432 closely followed. This phone shares many features with the top two phones, but it lacked a keypad or speaker on its main base and is unable to link to a smartphone. However, it did earn a few points by having particularly large buttons that are much easier to see and use than the Panasonic KX-TGF382M and the AT&T TL86103.

The Panasonic KX-TGE432 came close to claiming an award.
The Panasonic KX-TGE432 came close to claiming an award.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

The Panasonic KX-TGD532W delivered average results in this metric. You can expand the system to up to 6 handsets and it has a modest phonebook with up to 100 entries. The handsets don't have a belt clip or headphone jack, and the main base doesn't have a speaker or keypad, but we do like the larger buttons and the bright keypad lighting. You can also use this phone as an in-home intercom.

The remainder of the products all delivered a somewhat disappointing performance, with some lacking features that we deemed to be critical. The AT&T EL51203, the VTech CS6719, the VTech DS6621-2, and the AT&T CL82207 all lack a keypad on the main base, don't have huge capacity when it comes to the phone book, and all lack the ability to link to a cell phone. The VTech DS6621-2 is the exception, having the capacity for 100 entries in its phone book. The VTech CS6719-2 and the AT&T EL51203 also lack a built-in answering machine. The VTech VS112 also lacks a keypad or speaker on the main base but does have a phonebook with the capacity for up to 1000 entries and is capable of link-to-cell. However, its handsets lack both a belt clip and a headset jack.

This phone system can only be expanded to 5 handsets.
This phone system can only be expanded to 5 handsets.
Credit: Laura Casner

Battery Life


One downside to having a cordless model compared to a corded phone is the handset's potential to have a completely depleted battery, therefore making it unusable.


A corded phone can draw power over the incoming phone line, while a cordless handset has an internal, rechargeable battery that will recharge through the base of the phone. One of the models tested, the AT&T TL86103, has a corded handset on its base, allowing it to operate in a telephone line power mode. This would be something to consider if you lived in a place that commonly had power outages, as this phone will continue to work in the situation where the power is out, but the phone line is still intact. However, it is only possible to use the corded handset at the base when it is in this line power mode, not any of the cordless handsets.

To test the manufacturer's claimed talk time, we set up a handset from each model around a speaker playing music and called our Google Voice number. We timed how long each phone lasted, as well as when the low battery indicator came on.

To test the talk time of these phones, we clustered them around a...
To test the talk time of these phones, we clustered them around a speaker playing music while leaving a voice message, and continuously monitored them until the batteries depleted.
Credit: Kat Elliot

The Panasonic KX-TGF382M was the top scorer in this category, lasting a little over 13.5 hours. This was followed by the AT&T CL82207 and the AT&T TL86103, which both lasted for about the same length in our talk time test, but each had a shorter claimed standby life and took longer to charge than the Panasonic KX-TGF382M.

The AT&T TL96273 scored about average, lasting for approximately 11 hours and 20 minutes before its battery was depleted.

The AT&T EL51203, the VTech CS6719-2, and the Panasonic KX-TGE432 scored just below average. The VTech CS6719-2 lasted just shy of 11 hours, while the AT&T EL51203 was able to make it a little over 10. The Panasonic KX-TGE432 did the worst of this group but still lasted for 9 hours and 40 minutes before completely depleting its battery.

The VTech DS6621-2, the Panasonic KX-TGD532W, and the VTech VS112-2 brought up the rear of the group. The DS6621 lasted for the longest of this group, making it around 9 hours and 22 minutes before quitting, while the VS112-2 and the KX-TGD532W lasted for around 8 hours each. These phones all have a claimed standby time of around five days, and the DS6621-2 and the VS112-2 state they should take around 12 hours to charge. The KX-TGD532W should charge a little faster, with a claimed charge time of around 7 hours.

Overall, we weren&#039;t the most impressed with the battery life of the...
Overall, we weren't the most impressed with the battery life of the VS112-2 from VTech.
Credit: Laura Casner

Conclusion


Many people may view this category as a bit of an antiquated one, but plenty of individuals and businesses still rely on cordless phones and use them daily. There is an enormous variety of phones on the market today, and while you might not put a lot of initial thought into your purchase decision for this category, we found a poorly performing phone to be incredibly frustrating. With so many impressive options available, there's really no reason for that.

Hopefully, this review has given you the info you need to make the perfect choice for your purposes and budget, whether you are looking for the latest and greatest tech to integrate into your home or just a simple phone that delivers great sound without breaking the bank.

Austin Palmer and David Wise