Finally, after a two year search, I’ve found a cordless small business telephone system with the right stuff. It’s been a long journey and I’ve subjected the staff here to several strange concoctions of phones, voice mail, base units, and other gadgetry.

Unfortunately, we’ve been so disappointed with the cordless phone systems we tested that we kept going back to one, even though the company went out of business two years ago. Our requirements: multiple cordless handsets, individual voice mailboxes, multiple line coverage, caller ID, and a good range to can get through all the glass and concrete of my home office. We also wanted phones that were smaller and lighter than a brick and had a belt clip.

Calrad HDTV Accessories
Now, after testing the Siemens Gigaset 8825 system with Gigaset 8800 cordless handsets, we’ve found peace, a clear connection, and a couple of extra features that make the system a delight to use. This system connects up to two telephone lines and support up to eight cordless handsets. Only the base station needs to connect to the phone lines, then it sends the calls to the cordless handsets.

The handsets are fully-equipped portable phones. They have the ability to transfer, conference in callers, and go “hands free” using a plug-in ear phone or the built-in speakerphone. For me, the hands-free feature is important. Now, I don’t have to sit in a contorted position when I’m trying to key notes into my computer while carrying on a conversation.

Another handy feature is the phone’s ability to verbally announce incoming calls. If a call comes in from a number in the phone’s directory system, it will announce your pre-recorded message to you. For example, if you were to store my cell phone in your directory, your system could say, “Hurry, it’s Cheryl on her cell phone…she is so impatient,” when I called.

The base unit contains the digital answering system. You can create up to four different mailboxes, each with its own greeting. You can also setup the system to answer only and not take any messages, play a special greeting for callers with blocked caller ID information, or work as an auto attendant. And most of the answering system features can be controlled from the base station, any handset, or a remote call.

There’s even a remote monitoring capability. It enables you to setup a cordless handset to monitor a specific level of noise in a room. If noise in the room goes above that level, the phone will call another cordless handset in the system. This is great for monitoring a room with a sleeping baby or children playing. Little chatter won’t set off the call, but you’ll be instantly notified when screaming, kicking, or yelling is heard.

Best of all, Siemens has done a great job extending the range of the remote handsets. It runs at 2.4 GHz, which is becoming a crowded space for cordless LANs, phones, and other wireless devices. I tested it in an environment that’s hostile to many wireless devices. I was sitting in front of a wireless PC with a wireless mouse all trying to communicate on the same frequency. And while this location caused other phones to crackle, the Gigaset 8800 worked just fine.

The Gigaset 8825 can be found for $349, and includes the base unit and one additional handset. Additional handsets (Gigaset 8800) are about $99. You can get more information about this system on the Web at .