The BT 6500 is a reasonably priced home cordless phone that offers call blocking functionality to combat disturbances caused by unwanted nuisance calls. For this purpose, the BT 6500 is an excellent choice and works very well. The base features an in-built digital answering machine, which can record up to 30 minutes of messages; and the handset benefits from a bright blue-backlit screen, which displays menus, numbers and text clearly.
We put it to the liGo test:
Design & build
The handset is fairly rectangular and may not be the most stylish design we’ve come across but is practical nonetheless. The matt black and silver trim looks and won’t suffer from the fingerprint marks that shinier phones suffer from (a win for the OCD in me) offset by a large user-friendly screen. I thought I might be put off by the garish blue-backlight of the display but it’s not so bad (you can adjust the contrast level but dimming it to the lowest setting makes it incredibly difficult to use). It does feel quite plasticky and not quite as solid as some higher priced cordless phones we’ve reviewed; having said that the keypad is very responsive and seems well made.
Ease of use & set-up
Setting up the BT 6500 is extremely straightforward; after you have plugged in the base and switched on the handset for the first time a series of prompts guides you through the set up step-by-step (allowing you to skip past if you’d like to do certain things later on). There is only a Quick Start Guide included with the phone (a full user manual can be downloaded here or from BT’s website), which takes you through start-up as well as how to use some of the features; it is well laid out and easy to follow.
The blue-backlit screen is clear and easy to read (unless you’ve adjusted the contrast as mentioned earlier) and scroll through the various options in the menu. And the visual voicemail makes it easy to see who’s left a message and choose which one to listen to first.
It’s important to mention that a subscription to Caller ID is required in order for the call blocking features to work. Some landline providers offer this service at no cost, others a nominal monthly fee. Call blocking on the BT6500 works in two different ways: the first allows you to block (or blacklist) specific numbers from getting through (you can blacklist up to 10 numbers; their latest model the BT8500 has a capacity to block up to 1,000); the second blocks calls from withheld and international numbers, which account for a large proportion of nuisance calls. Both features are very easy to use, and work well.
The sound quality on the BT6500 was reasonably good; there are certainly better options at a similar or less expensive price if call clarity is the most important factor in your decision making. You can hear and be heard OK, and the volume is easily adjustable but we found (especially when using the loudspeaker) that you do get some feedback when at the loudest setting. There was also notable interference during the playback of messages on the answer machine when listening via the base.
Range & battery life
The BT 6500 provides excellent range and fared well when it came to our tests - providing over 40 metres of coverage from the base when indoors, and more than 200 metres outside before beginning to break up. The handset uses 2x AAA 750mAh NIMh batteries, which provided more than 10 hours of life when used continuously, and more than a week when left out the base after being fully charged.
BT 6500 provides excellent range
There are all the staple features you would expect from a DECT phone, including: a phonebook with a memory for up to 200 names (3 numbers can be stored per entry); an integrated answering machine with a recording time for up to 30 minutes, which has call screening and an Audible alert to notify you whenever a new message has been left. Additionally, there is Do Not Disturb function which allows you to silence the ringer at specific times of the day (you can assign certain contacts as ‘VIPs’, which will allow them to come through when this mode is activated).
The BT 6500 is a practical and reasonable mid-range home phone; lacking a colour screen and truly exceptional sound quality but making up for it with user-friendly credentials and the ability to block cold callers.