In the days before mobiles and ‘in-line’ phone sockets, the telephone was a piece of the furniture. Every house had one. It was screwed to the wall, or took pride of place in the living room on the sideboard. And it was built to last.
Now, telephones are high tech. They're wireless. They're digital. They're cheap and, all-too-often, it shows. In fact in a bare-knuckle fight between the old-style dial phones and most modern DECT handsets, it would all be over in the first round.
Panasonic is looking to redress the balance with its KX-TCD290 wireless DECT phone, however. It’s a modern phone that's as rough, tough and rugged as an old fashioned dial phone, and designed to withstand a whole lot more.
It certainly feels as if it has been on a strict training regime. Pick it up and it feels a bit of a heavyweight, but very sturdy and solidly built at the same time. Around the edges of the phone is thick rubber trim, the buttons have a good, positive action to them too, though disappointingly – gardeners take note – they're a little too small to be usable with gloved hands.
The earpiece has a soft-touch rubber surround on it, which makes long conversations less of a pain in the ear. There's a socket on the handset for a headset, should you be too lazy to pick the thing up, and this also has a pretty rugged-looking rubber cover on it.
Most crucially, perhaps, the battery cover has been given the tough-guy treatment. This is most DECT phones' glass jaw – drop them once in the wrong place and you'll have to use tape to keep the battery cover on forever more. The KX-TCD290's cover, however, is made of sterner stuff.