The digital answering machine can store up to 18 minutes' worth of messages and any of the handsets registered to the system (up to six) can access the phone book, which allows you to store up to 50 names and numbers. You set up the answering machine, as well as retrieve any voice mails from the handset, not the base unit. A headset jack and belt clip are included if you want to go hands-free.
As for the "Choice Mail" feature, it's very similar to the iPhone's visual voice mail, though not as snazzy. It allows you to scroll through your voice mails on a menu (if you subscribe to Caller ID, the caller's number will be displayed as long as it hasn't been blocked by the caller) and select the one you want to listen to. You can then choose to delete it or continue saving it. Navigating your messages in this fashion is much more convenient than having to go through your messages consecutively, listening to them one by one.
As we noted with the 6400 series, this is a solid feature set for a cordless phone. Add in the Choice Mail feature, and it's just that much better.
Here is a chart of all the models in the line. The fifth model listed is an expansion handset; there's a maximum of six handsets per system.
|Model||Number of handsets||Color||Answering machine included?|
DECT 6.0 phones operate in the 1.9 GHz range and are designed not to interfere with other electronics in your home, such as microwaves, Wi-Fi networks, and baby monitors. They're also supposed to offer extended range (up to around 200 feet), though distance will vary according to obstacles and the material in your walls.
Most DECT 6.0 phones offer similar ranges, but they're not all equal. In our tests, we found that the 7400 series offered similar range and performance to Panasonic's 6400 series. Both Panasonic models, in turn, offer slightly better range than the V-Tech LS6225-2, though the difference was fairly minor. Call quality was good and clear overall, though not superloud.
Like the 6400 series, the Panasonic 7400 series may not be the sexiest looking DECT 6.0 cordless phone out there, but it has a strong feature set (as long as you can live without a speakerphone in the base unit), an oversize 2.1-inch LCD, large, backlit buttons, and offers good performance.
Because of the Choice Mail feature and some minor design differences (we like the joystick), we slightly prefer the KX-TG7400 series to the KX-TG6400 series. Both the two-handset and three-handset models can be found for less than $100 online (the former for as low as $80). At those prices, it's an excellent value for a superior cordless phone system.