The BT 8600 is a home phone with in-built answering machine and the most advanced call blocking technology that's available in a set of cordless phones. The Advanced Nuisance Call Blocking features are based on the trueCall call-blocking device, which requires all callers to leave their name with an automated call screener before they're put through to you. This, along with customisable settings to decide exactly who gets blocked and how, gives you a more sophisticated level of call blocking than you'd get with most home phones.
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Design & build
The design is not dissimilar from its predecessor the BT 8500 with the handset featuring a 1.8 inch colour screen and glossy plastic finish. The look and feel of the handset is better than cheaper entry-level phones but the clarity of the display and tactile buttons could be better.
Ease of use & set-up
Setting up the BT 8600 is fairly straightforward, however, there is only a Quick Start Guide included with the phone (a full user manual can be downloaded online). Unfortunately the menu is quite slow and unresponsive at times and looks and feels very outdated.
Accessing and setting up the the call blocking features shouldn’t pose too much difficulty and there is now a one-touch call blocking button, which allows you to blacklist numbers from incoming callers that you don’t recognise or know are unwanted.
The sound quality on the BT 8600 is decidedly average and the volume options might pose a problem for anyone who doesn’t have perfect hearing. We tested the call quality landline to landline, and from mobile to landline through the earpiece and on the loudspeaker. The clarity is not the worst we’ve experienced but could and should have been better for a phone at this price point and left us quite disappointed. On the loudspeaker especially there was noticeable distortion.
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Range & battery life
The range all DECT cordless phones claim to provide is up to 50 metres indoors and up to 300 metres outdoors, which can be affected by various factors. The BT 8600 provided adequate range when we tested and would be suitable for most average sized phones. It struggled most when we took the handset outside unable to provide further than 50m from the back door. Another downside to the BT8600 is that it is not repeater compatible so there is no way to extend the range if it doesn’t provide enough coverage.
The battery life on the handsets was excellent providing days without needing to be recharged.
There is no denying that the BT 8600 is a great phone for Call Blocking but unfortunately it is let down by disappointing sound quality and a slow clunky menu interface. Unless you are plagued by a torrent of unwanted nuisance callers on a daily basis and have exhausted all other avenues of prevention then we wouldn't endorse this home phone. You can get better quality for the same price or even less.
Read the full description, spec, and customer reviews here.