Reviewed by David Savage
If like me you are fed up with receiving nuisance calls from companies trying to sell PPI claims or windows/doors then blocking these calls would be brilliant. Even though my number is registered with the TPS (Telephone Preference Service) I still get calls daily from these companies and even asking them to remove them from their call lists makes no difference as they either ignore it or another company starts calling. The BT8500 Advanced Call Blocker digital cordless telephone claims to stop up to 100% of nuisance calls with its Call Guardian feature, but does it really work? The short answer is YES!
For review I received the BT8500 Advanced Call Blocker Digital Cordless Phone with Answering Machine Twin Pack that contains 2 cordless handsets. The box claims in large letters that it blocks up to 100% of nuisance calls, which at first I was very dubious of. The only requirement to be able to do this is that you do need the Caller Display service from your telephone provider (this is stated on the bottom of the box but I feel should be made more prominent on the front of the box).
On opening the box I found 2 cordless handsets, 1 base unit with answering machine (telephone cord already fitted), 1 charging unit, 2 power adapters (for base an charging unit), 4 rechargeable batteries (2 for each handset already installed) and 1 user manual.
Basic setup is the same as any other cordless phone that I have used, just pull out the plastic tabs on the handsets to activate the batteries, plug in the charger and the base and let them charge up (I received mine with already half charge so they could be used straightaway).
Once powered up a set up wizard appears on the coloured screen to follow (date and time, Call Guardian settings), and then should you require record your outgoing message on the answer machine. You can also change ringtones, screen backgrounds, alarms and speed dial lists.
Now that the phone was set up I was eager to try out the Call Guardian and see if it did indeed block nuisance calls. There are different options for the Call Control that can be used (all protected with a password of your choice so that only you can change the options): you call automatically block numbers so that they can’t ring and the caller gets a message to say that calls are blocked, you can send calls straight to answer machine or you can set up a VIP list so that these numbers can always get through so that you only receive calls from people that you allow.
As I was setting up I knew that I received at least 1 call per day from the same number trying to sell PPI claims so I took the number from my old handset and added it to the block number list and have not received 1 call since from that number. I also blocked international numbers and have had emails from someone I know in America that they cannot get through, they just receive a message to say that I can’t receive calls from that number. So I know it does work. Any nuisance calls I had received since I just add to the block numbers (press 3 on the handset to always block calls from that number) and now after a week or 2 I have had barely any nuisance calls and any new ones I can block very easily (you can block up to 1000 numbers). Calls from companies (I assume that go through a switchboard) are sent straight to the answer machine and as the phones have caller display and call screening you can decide to answer or block.
With your VIP list once you have your Call Guardian set up calls from numbers on your VIP list can still ring through so that you still receive calls from your friends and family.
I am still learning some of the functions on the phone as you call also block by call type: withheld numbers, payphones, unavailable numbers, payphones, mobiles, area codes etc… and customise how you want these calls answered/blocked or sent to answer machine.
As for the phones themselves they look great with reasonable sized buttons and a 1.8” bright colour screen that displays messages, missed calls, texts etc… The sound quality is very clear and the range is great, I can walk from one end of the house and even into the garden without disconnecting or loss of sound quality (has up to 300m range outdoors, 50m indoors). Answering calls is the same as on your mobile, green to accept, red to decline. The phones have up to 21 hours talk time and 240 on standby. With the Caller Display you can see who is calling before you pick up (or the number if not in the contact list). Can store 200 contacts and 9 of these can be on speed dial. It has a Do Not Disturb mode so that the phone will not ring or screen flash and you can also send and receive text messages should your phone provider have this service.
The answer machine can record a massive 60 minutes of messages.
Overall I am very impressed with the BT8500 Advanced Call Blocker, it does exactly what it says on the box and my phone now rings a lot less and I barely have any nuisance calls and the odd one that does get through is very easy to block forever! Easy to set up and use and the Call Control/Call Guardian features and quick and simple to set up.
This is definitely a phone that every household needs. No more complaining about the endless stream of nuisance calls.
I would highly recommend the BT8500 Advanced Call Blocker, I love this phone and so far have not found one bad thing I can say about it.
RRP: £59.99 (single), £79.99 (twin), £99.99 (trio) and £119.99 (quad)
Available to buy from BT here.