This isn't the most popular phone out there, but the AT&T CL84209 phone/answerer gets positive reviews for its excellent range and sound quality. The model is identical to the AT&T CL84109 (*Est. $60), except it comes with two handsets rather than just one. It's expandable up to 12 handsets. It also comes with a corded handset attached to the base that will still function during blackouts. On the downside, users say the message indicator is poorly designed.
Range is impressive, even in mountainous areas. Many users purchase this phone because the corded option works during a blackout, but most appreciate the AT&T CL84209's substantial range. The phone works well in one customer's 7,000 square foot home, and another who lives on 35 mountainous acres says it extends at least 200 feet. One reviewer notes that the LCD display is difficult to see for those with weaker vision, but others say it's fine. There are many positive remarks on sound clarity.
Few complaints from long-term users. Of the few dozen reviewers analyzing the phone's durability, only one had issues with the handset quality: one handset stopped working after a few months, and another died after a year. Other users praise the phone for its rechargeable AAA batteries, which they say hold up well, and the lightweight design. One reviewer had issues with the phone not charging when the batteries were inserted into the phone.
Answering machine lacks indicator light. Features include the corded handset -- an important component for owners who are concerned about communication blackouts -- a 50-number phone book, base keypad and speakerphone (as well as handset speakerphone) and one-touch dialing. The CL84209 also makes use of DECT technology and a digital answering system, but the machine doesn't use a blinking light to alert you to new messages, as exists on most traditional phones. The number of messages on the answering machine is listed on the base, or you can be alerted by a beep every 10 seconds, but both options seem to irritate users. There is a blinking new-message indicator if you use your phone service provider's digital voice mail. As with most cordless phones, there is no hands-free earpiece option. Extra handsets cost approximately $20 each.
Review Credibility: Excellent The AT&T CL84209 is tested along with 45 other cordless phones using ConsumerReports.org's usual thorough methodology. Full test results are available to subscribers only.
Review: Cordless Phone Ratings, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, October 2010
Review Credibility: Very Good There aren't many reviews of the AT&T CL84209 on Amazon.com (about 20), but the few available are very detailed.
Review: AT&T CL84209 Corded/Dual Cordless Dect 6.0 Phone Digital Answering System, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of November 2012