A PHONE TOO FAR

AT&T has a new desktop phone with an unusual feature: it will pick up cell phone calls.

This works only with Bluetooth-enabled cell phones. If you get a call on your cell phone, that call will transfer to the desk phone automatically if it’s nearby. The handset for that desk phone can then be used to answer the call anywhere AT&T EP5632within about 100 feet. At first this seems like a pointless advantage but the people at the phone company say it’s for situations where you are in a spot with poor cell reception; you can carry your handset with you to that spot. They use the example of someone working down in a basement or a workshop with thick walls.

This special phone is called the “AT&T EP5632” (catchy, huh?). The cost is a fairly moderate $85-$100 at various web sites and you can buy an extra handset for around $66. The phone easily accepts new ring tones, and we added one from the musical “Camelot.” You can have different ring tones depending on whether the incoming call is from a cell phone or over the landline. We didn’t think the phone call quality was as good as our Panasonic phone.

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