I have to admit, I don’t currently use a home phone anymore, and I think this is a growing trend. However, BT built their business around land lines and there is still a large number of people that use them. In which case the BT Halo phone might be the ultimate home phone.
One of the main features of BT’s recent phones is the call blocking, and the previous generation, the BT8500 has generally been lauded for this feature. The Halo keeps this feature but brings a new much more modern design, and adds a whole host of new features including Bluetooth calling via your mobile.
The design of the phone is excellent, much nicer than the slightly clunky old BT8500, it has a slight curve to it, making it more ergonomic for your face, and the number buttons physical with a nice level of feedback to them.
By pairing your smartphone with the Halo over Bluetooth, you're given a choice of calling from your usual home phone number or your mobile each time you want to place a call. Bluetooth obviously has quite a limited range so it is probably not great to be too far away from your mobile when you use it. During my use, I had absolutely no issues with the Bluetooth connection, and using the Halo over my mobile was much comfier.
You can also sync your mobile contact with the Halo, and it can store up to 2000 from your mobile plus an additional 1000 within the phone itself.
One of the main issues with landlines (and now, unfortunately, mobiles) is nuisance calls. BT have almost wiped out this issue with their trueCall Guardian call blocking. Anyone in your contact list automatically comes through to your phone, but people not on your list get put through to a trueCall virtual assistant asking them to state their name. Once this is done the Halo puts them on hold and rings your phone to tell you who it is, you can then either press 1 to accept the call, 2 to add the caller to your list of verified numbers, 3 to block the call this time as well as permanently, or 4 to send the caller to answerphone. It is really quite a simple concept but absolutely genius, why this can’t be implemented on mobiles I don’t know.
There are other options for trueCall too, you can block area codes, international codes, withheld numbers etc. You can put the phone into Do Not Disturb to block everything, and you can VIP certain users to ignore the DND (similar to smartphones).
One gripe I have is the Caller ID, this is not actually an issue with the phone but the Landline system itself. You basically have to pay for caller ID, though Sky and TalkTalk give this for free, BT, unfortunately, charge £1.75 per month and anyone that doesn’t pay for it will have to screen every landline call they receive.
Overall, the phone itself is superb, it has some of the best features on the market, while also being the most attractive phone too. Unfortunately, the good looks and mobile calling do come at a price, a single BT Halo currently costs £87 on Amazon, while a double unit is £115. Alternatively, the older and uglier BT 8600 costs just £38 for a single, £47 for a double and £73 for a quad. If I was a heavy landline user, I would be tempted to splash out the cash for the Halo, just for its good looks, but I think the majority of people would be better off buying the older model.
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