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Panasonic KX-TG7745S Link-to-Cell Cellular Convergence Solution

August 03, 2012

I recently moved into a new apartment, and it has a couple of quirks. It's close to the highway, so the floor literally shakes whenever a large truck rolls by—but I've already gotten used to that. What I haven't gotten used to, however, is the crummy cell phone reception I'm getting. It works for the most part, but I haven't experienced this many dropped calls since 2007. That's where a device like the Panasonic KX-TG7745S Link-to-Cell Cellular Convergence Solution comes in handy.


Not only does the Link-to-Cell help you to consolidate your cell phone and landline into one device, it also lets you leave your cell phone in one place, while chatting on a different handset elsewhere. That means you can place your cell phone wherever it gets the best reception, then chat happily away in another room on another phone. And if that works well enough for you, you may even decide to drop your landline entirely.

Design and Setup
The Panasonic Link-to-Cell system is available in a number of different options. We tested model KX-TG7745S, which comes with five handsets, one primary base station, and four charging docks. You can use the Link-to-Cell setup with up to six handsets, though additional handsets are pricey, at $39.95 each. Your best bet is to figure out how many handsets you'll need from the get-go, since it's less expensive when you buy them as part of the package. Still, this is pricier than the VTech Connect-to-Cell Cordless Phone System, which costs $139.85 for a similar five-phone setup, with additional handsets priced at a more reasonable $21.95. Additionally, that phone can accommodate up to 12 handsets.

Physically, the Link-to-Cell phones look a lot like most other cordless home phones on the market. I prefer VTech's somewhat sleeker design, but these look perfectly inoffensive.

The handsets measure 6.75 by 2 by 1 inches (HWD), and weigh 5.1 ounces. Buttons are large, easy to press, and clearly numbered. A mounting bracket is included if you want to attach the base station to a wall, though you shouldn't have trouble fitting any of these pieces onto a desk, kitchen counter, or side table.

Setup is relatively simple. Plug the base station into the wall, connect your landline (if you’re using one), then connect to your cell phone via Bluetooth. To do this, you must activate the Bluetooth function on your cell phone. Then, using the Panasonic handset, dial the number provided in the instruction manual, which essentially puts the phone into pairing mode. From there you can pair it to your cell phone as you would with any other device. This process is simple, though not quite as easy as on the VTech, which walks you through the pairing process on the phone itself.

Performance and Conclusions
If you have a landline connected, the handset defaults to using that when you press the Talk button. To use your cell phone, tap the function key that corresponds to the word Cell on the handset's display. It will allow you to choose between which cell phone you want to use if you have two different ones connected.

I paired the Link-to-Cell system with an Apple iPhone 4S on Verizon and an HTC One X for AT&T. You can pair up to two cell phones at once. VTech, meanwhile, lets you pair up to four, though only two can be active at any one time. Once paired, you can either dial a number on your cell phone or on the landline phone itself, which will automatically trigger your cell phone to begin dialing. Additional handsets and docks will be connected automatically upon plugging them in.

Both landline and cell phone calls are easy to hear, with a good amount of volume, though voices are a little thin and fuzzy. Calls made using the handsets sound nice and clear, if a bit digitized. The speakerphone also sounds good, though voices get somewhat distorted at top volume.

When you're connected, calls placed using one of the Link-to-Cell handsets work the same as they would over your cell phone. Number keys register correctly, and pressing the Call Wait/Flash button allows you to switch back and forth between two calls. When you hang up the handset, your cell phone disconnects as well. The answering machine on the base station works fine, but you can only use it for calls made to your landline.

Best of all, if you have a weak cell phone signal in your home, you can find an area with the strongest reception, set the system up nearby, and use any of the connected handsets elsewhere. And if you find that works well enough for you, you may be able to drop your landline entirely.


Additionally, you can sync up to 3,050 contacts from most cell phones to the handset, which worked fine with both phones I tested. Talking caller ID speaks the number of the person calling you, which means you don't even need to get up to know whether you want to answer the phone. And if you have an iPhone, the Link-to-Cell can be set to automatically adopt the same ringtone that your cell phone uses, which is really cool. Range is good too. I was able to move more than 100 feet away from the base station before losing reception, which is typical for home phones.

The Panasonic KX-TG7745S Link-to-Cell Cellular Convergence Solution is good way to unite your cell phone and landline, or to get rid of your landline completely while still keeping a phone in every room of the house. But I prefer the VTech Connect-to-Cell Cordless Phone System for its lower price, sleeker design, and slightly easier-to-use interface. Still, if you like the Link-to-Cell's talking caller ID and iPhone ringtone matching, it's an equally good choice. The Uniden DECT 6.0 Cordless Phone with Digital Answerer CellLink Bluetooth Connection D3280 is another good option, with the nicest-looking design of the bunch, though it too is more expensive and more complicated to use than the VTech. Finally, the Cobra PhoneLynx $15.50 at Amazon is a good bet, especially if you already have a landline phone system in place. It’s a tiny box that allows you to connect your cell phone to your landline, and has very good voice quality. 

Originally published on 2013-08-03 by Alex Colon at PCMag .