We have two telephones in our house, a regular style plug in phone upstairs for emergencies, but our main telephone is the BT Diverse 6150, which we have in the lounge.
I received this phone from my dad, who had received it as a free gift from BT about 5 years ago but already had a similar model of phone in his house. The phone is still available to buy, and after having a quick look on the Internet have found the going rate to be around the £35 mark. The telephone itself is a cordless one, which runs off the main electricity, hence the need for the regular style one as a back up and also incorporates an answering machine too. There are two cables to be attached; the power cord and the phone line, however both are pretty thin and thus not overly obtrusive. Setting the phone up for use isn't too difficult in the first place, simply plug everything in, leave the handset to charge up for 16 hours initially before use, and then you are ready to go. The instruction booklet that accompanies this phone is a staggering 88 pages long, however for obvious reasons I've not read any further than the initial set up page. I would hazard a guess that for those who struggle with technology, the answer is probably available somewhere within the tome!
The telephone itself comes in two parts, firstly the base unit, which is grey in colour, but suitably small so as not to take too prominent a position in the living room. On this sits the cordless handset, which is the same shade of grey, but again not overly large, around the size of the old mobile phones from the 90's for those who remember (no not the giant brick ones either!) The base unit itself is reasonably stylish in my opinion whilst not being amazing, and has a few slits to the rear that acts as the loudspeaker when in that mode. There are 9 buttons on the front which operate the controls for the in built answer machine and are all pretty obvious as they have the individual functions labelled on them. There is also an LED display showing the number of messages that are currently stored which isn't the most visually stimulating of displays but does the job its there for.
The handset itself is actually pretty basic looking, with the 10 numbered keys across the main body of it, a call button and a call end button, and then a small display at the top with two buttons to control functions of the phone itself. Its very much a functional handset with no frills of any kind, but at the end of the day its just a phone and as such does the job adequately. It claims to have an effective range of 50 metres if operating indoors, and 300m used outdoors, but as I don't own some kind of mansion I cannot comment on these claims! All I can say is that it operates from all parts of the house and our smallish garden with no crackling or loss of signal, which is all we can really ask for.
The phone has several additional features, some of which we find helpful, others which I would never use but may be of interest to others. Firstly there is a caller display option. However there is a "but" with this one, you actually need to subscribe to this service from BT for an additional fee to your standard line rental. For me this is more than enough to put me off, and I'm of the opinion I will soon find out who is calling once I answer it. In addition we receive a fair number of calls from abroad and this still wouldn't be displayed even if I had paid for the service.
The next interesting feature is the ability to send and receive SMS text messages from the handset. I've always thought that this is a slightly strange feature for a house phone, as the vast majority of people have mobile phones on which texting in much quicker and much more straightforward, but never-the-less its available as an option for people.
The handset has the ability to save and store up to 50 phone numbers and names for what is described as "easy dialling" by the instruction booklet. This is handy for those who don't have a phonebook and the menu is reasonably easy to scroll through, however it isn't the quickest and if you do fill it up with the full 50 names, you will probably find it quicker to simply key in the number yourself! The phone also stores the last few numbers to have phoned you, or been phoned by you, so you can sometimes find a number quite quickly using this feature. You also have the option of deleting this memory at any time too.
I've mentioned the answer machine facility and this is probably the most useful feature for me, as I've never had an answer machine of any kind before this phone. You can either use a pre-recorded message or record your own, and the answer machine kicks into life after 5 rings of the phone which you can't change, which leads to some epic scrambles if at the far end of the house. An option to amend this would have been a useful addition, as would the ability to disable the answer machine from time to time if you didn't want to take calls, but for a cheapish phone I can't really complain about this too much.
The handset itself runs off 2 rechargeable AAA batteries. The phone automatically charges when connected to the base unit, and to be fair to it, I've been pretty impressed by the battery life. I've not replaced the original batteries since we have had the phone, as it's probably just as cheap to replace the whole thing, but it used to hold its charge for several hours of call time and being off the base unit. Nowadays after over 5 years of use we still get around 45 minutes call time before the unit dies, which isn't too bad and normally adequate to complete most calls to be honest. There is a battery life indicator on the display and it also beeps several times before it dies, so it's easy enough to keep an eye on and make a dash for the traditional phone upstairs. The sound quality is very good, with no interference noticeable, and although the loudspeaker quality isn't the greatest, I don't normally use this function so I don't find this too much of a problem.
So to sum up this phone, I would say that it is a pretty good option for those people who just want a bog standard cordless telephone with an incorporated answer machine facility. It is certainly fair to say it's a no-frills telephone; it does exactly what a phone should do and does it well. It may not have the range of facilities and extra features for some of the more technologically minded people out there, and the design is functional without being overly stylish or overly offensive on the eye, and this combined with the exceptional life span of the batteries would leave me no hesitation in giving my recommendation of the BT Diverse 6150.