Binatone iDect L1i hands on

With the vast majority of people sporting some kind of mobile phone, and generally using it both at home and when out on the street, we have to ask the question: is there much of a place for a dedicated home telephone? Well the answer is clearly yes, as for many mobile signal strength varies and the dedicated home phone still acts admirably as a communication hub for many a family.

Queue the Binatone iDect L1i cordless telephone with answering machine, a sleek looking device which is looking to get pride of place in your living room. 

With any home phone the key criteria for us is that it's built well and isn't overly complicated - it just needs to do its job well. And for the most part the iDect L1i succeeds.

Set-up was a breeze and the the interface nice a clear, thanks in part to the bright blue dot-matrix display - you'll probably need to refer to the instruction manual at some point, but getting to grips with the basics of setting up answering machine and navigating to any missed calls wasn't a problem.

The two parts consisting of handset and cradle both seemed well built in themselves, buttons having a nice solid feel to them, although the fit between the two components wasn't as assured as we might have liked. The handset felt comfortable in the hand and we had no problem using it for extended periods. One feature of the answer machine we particularly liked was that it didn't insist on speaking date and time before each message - this made browsing through missed calls a lot quicker.

Features for the device include a 50 name and number phone book, hands-free speaker phone (which seemed to work well) a caller display and 15 ring tones - the default being of a particularly annoying type. You'll also get 10 hours talktime on the handset and 100 hours standby.

Binatone is asking £45 for the iDect L1i, which is a significant amount, but we feel that if you're going to make use of all its features the price is just about justified.