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Uniden DCT6485-2 review: Uniden DCT6485-2

Uniden DCT6485-2

Stewart Wolpin
2 min read
Considering the growing popularity of petite cell phones, it's no wonder some cordless phone manufacturers are following the same trend. But what works on the road, where space is at a premium, isn't always best in a more spacious home environment. Fortunately, the expandable (up to four handsets) Uniden DCT6485-2 ($169.99) cordless phone and answering machine combo compensates for its size-challenged ergonomics with plentiful features and great performance.
The DCT6485-2 system includes two handsets: one that docks with the main base and another that sits in a separate charging station. With its own keypad, the base speakerphone actually acts as a third phone. (A single base/handset combo is available for $129.99, and additional handsets cost $39.99.) Unfortunately, Uniden has squeezed all phone and answering machine controls along with the numeric keypad onto the crowded 7.2-by-4.8-inch main base. Plus, each tiny 5.2-by-1.9-by-1.2-inch handset contains 23 buttons, which are so small and cramped together that most adults' fingers can't comfortably manipulate them. Slightly making up for this ergonomic disaster is the funky amber backlight, which brightly illuminates the keys, and the three-line LCD, which displays elapsed talk time, date and time, battery life, and received caller-ID calls (if you subscribe to the service).
If you can overcome its diminutive size, the DCT6485-2 will reward you with convenient features and stellar performance. You can use the handsets together as walkie-talkies (in DirectLink mode) or separately for room monitoring--ideal for parents. A nice feature is the ability to hand off calls or transfer speed-dial settings between handsets. The receiver menu allows you to control almost all aspects of the system, including the answering machine, which sounds great but is hindered by a paltry 12-minute recording time.
The full-duplex speakerphone on the base allows cross talk and produces loud, clear sound with minimal echo at the other end. In fact, it's one of the best we've tested to date. On the other hand, the handset's speakerphone suffers from low volume and muddy voice quality. Thankfully, when used in the usual way, the receiver provides excellent sound quality; voices are loud and clear, with no hint of echo or muddiness. And you'll never miss a call when at home, since the highest ring setting is loud to the point of shrillness.
In our tests, we found that the DCT6485-2's handset range was around 250 feet, a bit farther than most other 2.4GHz systems we've used and far superior to any 900MHz cordless model. Battery tests provided great results as well. We got the rated 6 hours of talk time and nearly four days more than the rated seven-day standby time.