Hands-free Phones

Archived Q&A and Reviews

October 2001

I am in the market for a telephone that will allow me to have both hands free, and that is completely wireless. I understand, from this digest several months back, that IBM makes such a phone that actually looks a little comical because all of the functions are somehow built in to the headset. However, I have been unable to locate one. . .does anyone out there know what I am talking about, and where I might find one? Also, if you have one, how do you like it? Thank you so much. Marian

There are a number of these out there ... we've had two different ones that have the dialer part on a belt clip, with a headphone/microphone thing you wear on your head. Often they're called Headset Cordless Phones. They come in the various wireless types ... multi-channel, 900 MHz, etc. And some regular wireless phones have a headset jack and belt clip so for the price of adding a headset you can do the same with these, although they're not usually as nice for wearing on a belt-clip (too large, protruding antenna, etc). I bought my most recent one at Fry's in Fremont. They had 8 or so different models to choose from. Another place that has them most of the time is UBid (on-line auction place): http://www.ubid.com/cat/get_cat_page.asp?CatID=1239 Look for Headset, and then look at the various photos to get some ideas of the various brands. Michael

Go to Radio shack for a completely adequate cordless phone with headset. I use mine all the time, and it runs something like $75, though I think I also got one for much less ($40 or $50) on sale. The phone comes with a clip, and you clip it to your clothes, and a headset that plugs into it. Lightweight, no problem. There's more than one headset, and I STRONGLY recommend the extra couple bucks for the one with volume control and an on/off button. (essentially a mute button). I've been on conference calls with this thing, and I can run all over the house, use the bathroom, open the mail, etc., and nobody will no (though you should make sure it works!) No strained neck and back, no impatience about calls you can't get out of when you have some mindless tasks you can be doing in the meanwhile. Only catch is that the mouthpiece really does have to be at your mouth, otherwise people can't hear you well. Janet

I don't know exactly which one you are talking about, but I will tell you what I use. My husband bought me the VTech Digital Cordless 900MHz phone last Christmas. I absolutely LOVE it!!! If I just set it in it's base every night, it is completely charged. It will keep it's charge for 3 days of stand-by time and 7 hours of continuous talk time (basically a work day) although it's never run out of battery on me one time yet. It's the size of a cell phone and has a clip to attach it to your belt, pockets, or etc. and a ear piece that plugs into the earphone jack on the phone. The ear piece is the kind that has an extension that goes to the side of your mouth and wraps around your ear (you can use the Left ear or the Right ear). It was about $99 last year at Staples at Christmas time and like I said, I absolutely LOVE it and have not had ONE problem with it to date. April

I posted the question a few months ago about a hands-free phone. The replies I got are below. I ended up buying the IBM phone for about $100 from Amazon.com. At the time, that was the only no-wires hands-free phone I could find. I just did a search on Amazon and I see there is a later model to mine - IBM 3330 2.4 GHz Ultra-Light Cordless Headset Telephone for $119. (try a search on the model number) I don't think anybody else makes this kind of phone besides IBM.

I like it a lot. It looks something like stereo headphones with an antenna and a keypad built in. There are no cords or wires. It's a cordless phone that sits in a cradle like other cordless phones. The reception on mine is not quite as clear as our other phone, partly because it has a microphone that needs to be swivelled into place each time. But the benefit of having your hands completely free far outweighs this. I always ask can you hear me OK? and people say yes. Of course with all the cell phones and cordless phones in use now, I haven't had a really pristine conversation in a long time, so I don't think there is a big difference between this phone and other s. Anyway, the phone rings, you put on the headset and then you go unload the dishwasher, or change the baby's diaper, or fold laundry, or feed the cats, or sweep the kitchen floor, or whatever it is you have to do. It's fantastic. I don't know how I got along without it. Amazon says they are out of stock. I also found them here: http://www.twacomm.com/Catalog/Jmp_IBM/Dept_ID_156.htm ($110) Ginger


I have been looking around for a phone that is truly hands-free while walking around. I want to talk on the phone while folding laundry, washing dishes, etc. I don't want to hold my cordless between my cheek and shoulder anymore. So far, this is what I come up with 1. get a headset attachment for my cordless phone - plug the headset into the phone's handset, and then put the handset in my pocket or clip it to my belt. (Problem 1 I need a pocket or a belt - I don't wear belts, and most of my pants seem not to have pockets. Problem 2 the connecting wire gets caught on the washingmachine door, or knocked off when I reach for something, or the phone handset drops out of my pocket when I bend over.) 2. I found one phone made by IBM that is basically a cordless phone with keypad, antenna, etc. built into a headset. It looks really comical but it would be hands-free without wires. Has anyone tried either of these or does anyone have other suggestions?

I bought a cordless headset phone at Radio Shack last year and it's great. It still needs to be clipped on to something or stuck in a pocket, but it works very well, has very good range, has the keypad built in (the belt clip is even attached on a little hinge, such that it hangs upside down on your belt, and when you swing it up to dial it's right side up - very clever). I don't recall the brand name, but I had very good luck just going to Radio Shack and talking with them about options for cordless, hands-free talking. Chris

I have the headset kind of phone you describe, and have experienced the same problems. I usually end up putting on a belt (stiff leather is best), even if what I'm wearing doesn't require it (like a robe!). To deal with the problem of the cord getting caught, I will often string the cord *inside* my clothing--so the cord goes from the set on the belt, up through my closed sweater for instance, and then out the neck to the headset. Looks silly, but it works. I will still occasionally experience having the cord pulled out, but it happens less. Dawn

I have the IBM phone and I LOVE IT!!! Pay no attention to looks--it works wonders! I can nurse, do chores, anything! and be completely hands free and wireless. It is the only really wireless phone I found (and I looked). I wanted to save my neck and back from constant stooping, and to not have to be attached to another phone, or to have to clip on an extra keypad. I love that it has the keypad on the headset b/c that means it can be used independent of any other phone, etc. It is the only phone I ever use...I got mine for about $100 at J & R sound on the web. I am a big fan of this phone, so feel free to contact me if you want to talk further about it, or hear what it sounds like from the recieving end. Good luck, Michelle

I use a fanny pack, facing front, & keep it with the headset for my chordless. Doesn't solve the tangling wire problem but it won't fall out if you keep the pack snug & zip it part way. Mary Ann