Uniden TRU8885

Jan 06 2006 (Updated Feb 02 2006)



This phone is clearly one good-looking unit. I really like the orange-red light. Nothing outside of Uniden looks any better. And like many who thought this phone would be the size of an office phone, I was shocked to find out how compact this thing actually is. Even the box it came in was tiny. Just to put things into perspective, the handset dimensions are roughly 2"x6"x1.25." It fits perfectly in my hands. The keys on the base are a bit bigger than the handset's. It was fine for me.

I live in a basement and signal is fine through the sheetrock walls. To test the range to its limit I went outside and compared it to an old Panasonic 900 MHz phone. I found that the Uniden cut signal 10 yards short of the Panasonic. I had no problems with that.

Many complain and scratch their heads as to why a 900 MHz phone had better range than some 5.8 GHz phones. Store clerks aren't any better in shedding light on the matter and only help to confuse customers with numbers. I've heard them tell a customer a higher number means better security and range. Rather vague explanation if you ask me.

What truly matters is how these numbers are implemented. While it's technically true that a 5.8 GHz phone would have a longer range than a 900 MHz phone due to the efficiency of shorter wavelength, it is not always the case in practice. You also have to consider antenna size and the transmitters power output. A strong transmitter on a low frequency will have better range than a relatively weaker transmitter on a higher frequency. I guess different cordless phones use different combinations of these factors.

Higher frequency doesn't mean it's more secure either. It's the digitization/encryption of the signal that helps to make a cordless phone more safer as opposed to analog. And then there's DSS or digital spread spectrum or frequency hopping that kicks the security up a notch. This is the information the store clerks don't tell customers or they don't know it themselves.

Back to my review. The digital recorder is top-notch. I don't hear compression artifacts like with another answering machine I used to have. The compression was so bad that it was hard to make out the message sometimes. This Uniden phone got the compression ratio just right.

So what could this phone improve on? I wish the base ringer can be turned down even lower. It can only be set to High, Low and Off. The Low setting is equivalent to mid-ringer setting of the handset.

It's been a month since I initially wrote this review. Yesterday, someone left a message on the answer machine. There were also two old messages stored. After I played the new message, the old messages disappeared and the message counter went back to 1. I'm a bit miffed on what happened. I don't think I pressed the delete key. Two messages disappeared after all.

I'm interested to know if anyone else has come across this.