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AT&T 9353 review: AT&T 9353

AT&T 9353

Stewart Wolpin
2 min read
Review summary

As hard as it is to fathom, there are still well-designed and highly functional cordless phones on the market that don't have caller ID. If you can live without that feature (frankly, we can't), this 900MHz AT&T model offers the basics at a great price.


AT&T 9353

The Good

Three-mailbox digital-answering system; clear sound quality; long standby battery life; bargain price.

The Bad

No caller ID or LCD; limited message-recording time; unintuitive answering-machine design.

The Bottom Line

This bargain 900MHz cordless-phone/answering-machine combo lacks caller ID and an LCD, but it delivers solid sonics.

While the 9353 certainly isn't flashy, it's a solid phone. The earpiece is comfortably molded and fits nicely on the lobes. At 6.8 ounces, the handset is a little heavy. Numeric keys are well spaced, and they're concave rather than the more common convex. The glossy black keys reflect ambient light, making the thin white print difficult to read, and the lone nonblack button is the gray Phone control (not On), which doubles as the Flash function. This design makes it easier to dial in the dark--or in the light. We still found ourselves wishing that 9353 had an LCD, though it lacks the major reason (caller ID) for having one. Instead of scrolling through numbers on the LCD, you're stuck listing your speed-dial entries (up to 10) on a sticker. AT&T situated the volume controls under the dial pad, which is fine, but we prefer to see them on the phone's spine.

We have a few complaints about the answering machine. You get three mailboxes but only 15 minutes of total recording time. In contrast, you can find plenty of inexpensive phone/answering-machine combos that offer more than 20 minutes of recording time. Plus, if you need three separate mailboxes, you're not going to be happy with just 15 minutes of recording time anyway. Furthermore, you can't record a separate outgoing message for each mailbox--a major flaw. Callers will have to press the star (*) key before the mailbox number, and you'll have to instruct them to do so in your outgoing message. One more quibble: The 9353 has a drill-down voice-prompted menu for setup.

Sound quality was clear, robust, and full--a hallmark of AT&T models. Phone range was average, around 125 to 150 feet. The handset's standby time was longer than two weeks, which will help the forgetful types (it's rated at 12 days). Standby time is also respectable--just minutes less than its six-hour rated time.