The Clarity XLC3.4 Amplified Cordless Phone is a solid choice for those with hearing or visual impairments. While there are lots of cordless phones on the market that will amplify sound, few do as good a job or offer the wide array of accessibility features you'll get from the aptly named Clarity, including generously sized, easy-to-press backlit keys, spoken feedback of keypad presses, and one-button access to customer support help.
A solid cordless phone. The real reason to buy the Clarity XLC3.4 is for its assistive features, and those are discussed at length in the next section. However, it's good to note that when performance purely as a cordless phone is rated in expert tests, it more than holds its own compared to standard cordless phones. Voice quality is considered to be very good when either listening or talking. Its range is also considered to be longer than most cordless phones -- a big plus under any circumstances, but especially important if the user is also mobility impaired.
A big assist for those who need assistance. If you are looking for a cutting edge cordless phone system with all the latest technology add-ons, look elsewhere. But if you need a cordless phone for a senior, or anyone with hearing or vision deficits, the Clarity XLC3.4 is a stand out choice. The Clarity XLC3.4 features adjustable volume, with up to 50 dB of amplification when listening and up to 15 dB of boost while speaking. Four tone settings let the user customize the listening experience to fit their hearing profile or preferences. The ringer can be set extra loud as well (up to 95 dB).
For those with vision problems, the display is a bit of a disappointment as it's not very large, though the high contrast helps a little and that's augmented by talking caller ID. The keypad features large buttons, and the result of each keypress is spoken back to you as you dial. The phone has battery backup, and will continue to function even during a power outage -- important in any cordless phone, but essential in one that's the primary point of contact for an elderly person or one with vision, hearing or other health-related limitations. The Clarity XLC3.4 includes just a single handset; expansion headsets are available separately, and up to four can be supported, but are pricey (Est. $65)
Easy set up and use, but some durability concerns. Experts say that use and, notably, initial set up, is easier with the Clarity XLC3.4 than with most cordless phones tested. For those that do run into problems, a ClarityLogic feature that connects the user directly to customer care with the push of a single button is included. Once connected, representatives can walk users through many issues, and even handle some tasks (like adding numbers to the phone's phonebook) remotely.
If there's a cautionary flag, it's that the Clarity XLC3.4 attracts more negative user reviews than we normally like to see in a Best Reviewed product. Some complain about issues setting up or using the phone, but most of those unhappy reviewers say that they received a product that was defective from the start or that failed sooner than was acceptable. The majority of users still say they are happy, however, some joyously so as this was the best solution they found for staying in touch if either they or a loved one needed the type of assistance the cordless phone offers. Despite the durability concerns, the Clarity XLC3.4 looks to be the best cordless phone for those with sight or hearing impairments -- though we would advise buying from a retailer with a solid return/exchange program in case you wind up with a dud.
The Clarity XLC3.4 amplified cordless phone is among the basic cordless phones (those without answering machines) tested by ConsumerReports.org. Testing is hands on, and discussion is ample enough to get a sense of the positives and negatives of the device.
Review: Clarity XLC3.4 cordless phone, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not Dated
Owner feedback is mixed at Amazon.com. The majority of users are either happy or very happy that the Clarity XLC3.4 delivered what was promised for themselves or a loved one. However, a significant number are less pleased, citing poor performance or a cordless phone that either arrived not working or that failed soon afterwards.
Review: Clarity XLC3.4 Amplified Cordless Phone (59234) , Contributors to Amazon.com, As of September 2015
More than two dozen users weigh in at Walmart.com, with feedback that mirrors what's seen at Amazon.com: a 3.8 star rating, with roughly 77 percent giving it a recommendation. Many comments get responses from Clarity representatives, while some originally appeared on the company's web site.
Review: Clarity XLC3.4 Cordless DECT 6.0 Phone, Contributors to Walmart.com, As of September 2015