Uniden's WXI377 submersible cordless phone may be a little pricier ($60) than most bare-bones 900MHz models, but its impressive performance and rugged design are a good fit for those demanding a handset they can use outdoors.
Most people probably won't cheer over the WXI377's loud black-and-yellow coloring, but it comes in handy if you use the phone outdoors a lot since it's easy to spot against most backdrops. The Uniden WXI377 is shorter and squatter than most other cordless models we've seen, but we think this wide stature, paired with the phone's ribbed rubberized sides, makes for easier gripping. Our one gripe is that the WXI377's buttons are small and closely spaced, resulting in the occasional misdial--something we think could be avoided, considering the handset's ample girth.
The WXI377 doesn't skimp on features, though given its list price, we wish it included an answering system. The coolest feature by far is that the phone is water resistant; it meets industry-standard JIS7 specs, which means you can submerge it to a depth of three feet for up to 30 minutes. Plus, the WXI377 floats, so if you drop it in the pool, it won't sink to the bottom, but it will stay just under the waterline. We let our test model hang out in the sink for 10 minutes and found it floating and in working order upon our return. Other features include a three-line backlit LCD, a belt clip, caller ID capability (if you subscribe to this service), memory dialing for up to 10 numbers, and RocketDial, a nifty feature that lets you call the most frequently used number with the touch of a button. Unfortunately, a speakerphone did not make the list.
We were impressed with the performance of the WXI377 in our tests. The phone had excellent range, working farther away from the base station than many other 900MHz phones. Plus, we experienced minimal breakup, which is important since most people will probably use the WXI377 outdoors. Finally, the phone's battery life is superb; it exceeded the rated talk time of 7 hours by about 2 hours, and it came in just under its rated standby time of 14 hours.