Even though headsets have been made fashionable by Gap employees, you may still feel a little silly sporting one around the house. But if you're on the phone a lot, a hands-free model is the way to go. The design of the General Electric 26977GE1's handset is a little squat for our tastes, and compared to competing models from Plantronics and Uniden, its call quality is middling at best. But at about $50 retail, at least GE got the price right.
The one-line, 900MHz 26977GE1 is part of General Electric's new set of cordless phones designed specifically for use around the home or small office. At 6.7 by 7.1 by 5.7 inches, the 26977GE1 is fairly chunky, but it still fits nicely in your palm. It has an easy-to-read, three-line backlit LCD; a responsive keypad; and a flexible headset that'll fit even supersize coifs. GE also throws in a belt clip. Alas, there's no speakerphone or answering machine on this model.
You'll find the standard feature fare. In addition to support for caller ID and call waiting, the 26977GE1 stores up to 10 numbers in the speed dial and up to 40 numbers in its phone book, which falls below average (most phones can store 100 names and numbers). You won't find customizable ring tones, a Mute button, or walkie-talkie features. On the plus side, battery life is impressive; most phones in this class rate about 5 hours of talk time, but we were able to chat well into our workday (just shy of 7 hours) on just one charge. We also met the rated standby time of five days.
If you don't like this phone's design, you'll be even more disappointed by its performance. Even at its highest setting, the volume was too low for our tastes (you can adjust it from 1 to 4, with 4 being the loudest), and the voice on the other end of the line sounded garbled and distant. In our line-of-sight and distance tests, the 26977GE1 broke up more often than other models in its class. We experienced little interference, however.