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Bad cell reception? Go cordless

December 5, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
If you are looking to cut your monthly phone bills, or if your cell phone drives you crazy because you don't have good reception at home, Consumer Specialist Ric Romero may have a solution for you. There is a new type of cordless phone that may help cut your long distance bills. There are areas in Stacy Geisinger's house that suddenly become a dead zone. In other words, she gets no cell phone reception.

"You could be standing still, and then it just disappears," said Geisinger.

The solution may be a breed of cordless phones that can wirelessly connect to your cell phone.

Consumer Reports tested three phones from AT&T, GE and Panasonic.

"You can leave your cell phone where it works. That way, when a cell call does come in, you answer it on a cordless phone," said Mike Gikas, Consumer Reports. "No more missed cell calls. And, you may be able to save some money by eliminating some of the redundancies in your phone services."

The phone systems need to be "paired" - or connected wirelessly - with the cordless phone's base near the cell phone. Testers found the cordless phone sets were pretty easy to pair with cell phones.

"Tests show that these phones compared favorably to regular phones in performance, with one big difference," said Gikas.

Phone calls that come in from your cell don't sound any better on the cordless phone. In addition, you can't use cordless phones to access cell phone features like web surfing, speed dial, or text messaging.

Testers recommend an AT&T cordless system with Bluetooth technology. While it only has one handset, at $100 it is a good deal. If you need two handsets, testers recommend the $130 GE Cell Fusion. It has twice the battery life and message capacity.

GE recently announced it will stop making cordless phones, but the phone recommended in this report is still available.

If you're considering getting a cordless phone that pairs with a cell, check the return policy. You want to be able to return it if you run into problems pairing it.

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