If you need a phone that can go the distance--literally--the 2.4GHz Uniden TRU4465 (listed at $220 but available for less than $100 through most retailers) will serve you well. In our tests, it took the top prize for number of yards covered without significant signal degradation. But the TRU4465 has some flaws that impede its long-term performance.
The slightly concave body and the brushed-silver faceplate give the phone an understated yet hip appearance. The base, which houses the battery pack, isn't particularly thick, and the handset is also svelte. That slim design translates into one significant drawback: we repeatedly knocked the handset out of the charger. Additionally, both the LCD and the earpiece area are a bit small. The keypad and the LCD are both backlit, and a headphone jack and a decent-sounding built-in speakerphone enable hands-free chatting.
The handset's layout is overcomplicated, however, and several buttons have two or more purposes. Operation would be far easier if Uniden had incorporated some of those functions into the menus. Volume adjustment is next to the Talk and End keys; it would have been handier on the side. The company did a better job with the base, which has a small LCD but also its own keypad, well-organized controls, and a large built-in speakerphone.
This Uniden has its fair share of features. It can support a second handset, which is sold separately. If you definitely want that extra, look to the slightly more expensive step-up model, the TRU4465-2. Registering the additional handset is easy, but you'll have to program each phone individually.
The TRU4465 comes with its own digital answering system; it also supports caller ID and call waiting if you subscribe through your phone company. Each handset has a helpful LED that lights up when messages are waiting. Pressing the RocketDial button automatically dials your most frequently called number, and any-key answer is convenient for the fumble-fingered. The phone book can store up to 100 names and numbers--in this respect, the TRU4465 blows away many 2.4GHz expandable AT&T models, which can handle only half that many entries.
Battery life rises above average; in our tests, the TRU4465 exceeded the 6-hour talk time but fell a day short of the rated 10-day standby time. As we already mentioned, the unit gets excellent distance, but the overall audio quality we experienced wasn't superb. Callers occasionally sounded somewhat distant, as if they were at the bottom of a well. In sum, we give the TRU4465 high marks for range and battery life, but some design quirks and subpar call quality may turn off some users.