Motorola D11 telephone

Whilst we spend most of our time chasing down the latest and greatest mobile phone handsets, there is a begrudging acceptance that landline telephones are still a necessity. But can Motorola offer anything exciting to landline users?

The D11 is a fairly typical cordless landline phone, we tested the D1111 variant, which comes with a telephone answering machine. In the box you get the base, which plugs into your telephone socket and the mains and the handset that sits on top and charges - a typical arrangement these days. Also typical, and fairly irritating, is the fact that you only get a Quick Start Guide in the box, rather than a full User Guide.

However, it is very likely that you'll only use the basic functions, such as making calls and operating the answer phone, for which the Quick Guide will pretty much cover your needs.

The handset itself sits nicely in the hand and isn't too heavy, but is pretty much featureless in terms of design. There is little here to offend, but equally there is nothing to really get excited about. Presented in matt black, the entire thing is clad in plastic, with a slightly rough texture, which means it doesn't slip from the hand, but at the same time doesn't really present any form of grip. The front of the phone is where all the action is, of course, with a rubbered keypad and 1.6-inch colour display.

The keypad is backlit with blue light and the rubber keys are pretty easy to dial on, but are rather spongy, with little resistance to your press. This isn't like a mobile phone keypad experience, despite Motorola's lengthy involvement with that industry. Equally, the 1.6-inch display is reminiscent of mobile phone displays 10 years ago. Yes, it is colour, but there is very little refinement to it. But this perhaps doesn't matter, because you don't really use your landline for any of the more advanced features you'd use your mobile for.

Except that the D11 also supports text messaging. This is a fairly basic affair, and at least means that if you don't have a mobile phone, you could send someone a text message, rather than leaving them a voicemail. The display also lends itself to caller-ID, so you can see who is calling. Between the screen and the keypad you'll find a central control button, surrounded by a blue ring, which flashes when something has happened, such as missing a call, which is a great feature, so you can just glance and see the status of the phone.

In terms of call quality, we had no problem either making or receiving calls. There are 10 different ringtones, but we have no idea who selected them because we found only one that wasn't offensive. Finding a normal ringing tone is something of a challenge, and even with the mildest tone, it is rather shrill.

The telephone answering machine sits to the right-hand side of the charging mount on the base. It is a simple case of switching it on or off and it will give you 12 minutes of recording. However, with many telephone providers now giving you a free answering machine, you might find that it is entirely redundant. That aside, it works adequately enough.

One of the key features being promoted here however are the green credentials. The D11 is constructed from at least 20% recycled materials and features an eco mode to preserve battery life. The battery gives you 100 hours of standby time and 10 hours of talk. You get about 300 metres range outdoors, and about 50 metres around the house.

Verdict

Of course you also get all the normal features you'd expect from a modern phone, you get a speakerphone function, 100 name address book, pager, room monitor and it is GAP compatible. What is surprising, however, is how far removed this seems to be from modern trends in mobile phones. Whilst you would expect a larger handset - more comfortable for making calls - it is the poor feel of the keypad and the basic screen and ringtones that raise an eyebrow. It just doesn't seem modern enough.

But perhaps that is all you want, and it probably helps keep the price down, but overall there is nothing that really distinguishes this handset from the plethora of other landline phones out there.