VTech 6042 Two Handset Cordless Phone System

I’m sure you’ve all heard of 900MHz and 2.4GHz cordless phone systems. Maybe you’ve even heard of 5.8GHz phones, but have you heard of DECT 6.0 phones? I’ll admit that I hadn’t heard of them until VTech asked if I might like to review their model 6042 two handset cordless phone system. I then came to learn that DECT 6.0 is a newly available frequency band (WiFi-friendly 1.9GHz) that provides improved range without needing to boost the power. It also has better protection against eavesdropping, that the older frequency models do not.

The 6042 system comes with a digital answering machine built into a base unit, as well as an extra handset that does not require an additional phone jack. This allows you to place the second handset anywhere in your house, as long as you have an available power outlet.

Hardware Specs

Frequency control: Crystal controlled PLL synthesizer
Transmit frequency: Telephone base: 1921.536-1928.448 MHz, Handset: 1921.536-1924.448 MHz
Channels: 5
Size: Handset: 170.9mm x 48.1mm x 25.8mm, Telephone base: 179.8mm x 123.8mm x 95mm
Weight: Handset: 131 grams, Telephone base: 296.8 grams
Power requirements: Handset: 2.4V DC 600mAh Ni-MH battery, Telephone base: 6V DC @ 600mA
10 hour talk time, up to 100 hours standby time
Memory: Handset directory: 50 memory locations, up to 24 digits, 15 characters
Handset call log: 50 memory locations, up to 20 digits, 15 characters

Package Contents

Base unit
Charger unit for 2nd handset
2 handsets
2 batteries for handsets
2 battery covers
AC adapter for base unit
AC adapter for 2nd charger unit
Telephone cord
Quick start guide
User’s manual

The handsets are long, thin and look more like a mobile phone than a typical cordless handset.

This phone is comfortable to hold in your hand, but isn’t quite large enough to allow you to comfortably hold it between your ear and shoulder. At least not for me…

The keyboard is a flat membrane with a Blue backlight that glows for a few seconds when a key is pressed. Looks like they borrowed this design from the popular Motorola Razr line of mobile phones. Key presses offer both tactile and audible feedback. In addition to normal number keys, there is a row of action buttons along the bottom edge of the keyboard. These buttons allow you to Redial, Mute, and make intercom calls to the second handset. Pressing the Redial button brings up a 10 call list, that you can scroll through one line at a time to find a number to redial. When you see the number you want to call, you just press the Talk button to dial the call. Pressing the Int button will cause the second handset to ring, so that you can use it as an intercom system instead of shouting from room to room.

Above the keypad, there is another set of four buttons surrounding a circular up/down button. This circular button functions as a volume control button while in call mode. When not connected, pressing this button in the up direction will allow you to scroll through the stored phone directory one entry at a time. The 6042 can store up to 50 entries in its phone book. Pressing the circular button in the down direction will allow you to scroll through previous calls. This feature depends on you having the Caller ID service in order to use it. The four buttons surrounding the center button are for speaker phone toggle, menu, talk/answer and end call.

The display on the handset is monochrome and has a Blue backlight. It’s easy to read even when the backlight is not activated. While in idle mode, the display shows the current date, time, battery level indicator and if there have been new calls added to the call log.

The base unit is the one that you have to connect to your phone line. It houses the digital answering machine, which can hold up to 99 messages with a total limit of 15 minutes of record time.

The base unit is made of Black and Silver plastic and has a small footprint which I like. I also like that it doesn’t have an antenna like my previous phone.


The second handset charging unit is small as well. The nice thing about it is that you do not have to plug a phone line into it. All you have to do is plug it into an outlet and you’re good to go.

The base unit is easy to operate given that all of the buttons are clearly labeled. It’s nice when you don’t have to check the user manual in order to change the answering machine greeting or set the time and date.

It’s interesting to note that you can set a different ring tone and volume level for the base station and for each handset. This causes quite a cacophony of tones when the phones ring, but it’s still cool that you have the ability to customize each one.

Another useful feature is the ability to transfer a call to the second handset by pressing the Int button. The is way more convenient than yelling “It’s for you!”

The volume levels and audio quality with the VTech 6042 seem to be quite a bit better than any cordless phone that I’ve used up until this point in time. The speaker phone is very good as well.

It’s not all joy and light though, as I did discover some issues with this phone system. First of all, the handsets can not share directories between them. You have to create phone books on each one. Worse still is the fact that there isn’t a speed dial feature. You have to scroll an entry at a time through the directory to find a number to dial. And lastly, if you have a number in your phone book, and that person calls you, it doesn’t display the name you entered for them. It just shows the stock Caller ID listing. Bummer.

All in all, I can’t really find a significant complaint about this product. It’s constructed nicely and is easy to use. I suppose the only thing I would ask is that it be a little less expensive. But I am guessing that the price is due to the new DECT 6.0 feature. A quick google on this term found other dual cordless phone systems priced in the same ballpark. If the call directory issues don’t sway you, and you like the looks of the VTech 6042 system, it might be the next landline phone for you.

 

Product Information

Price:89.95
Manufacturer:VTech
Retailer:VTech
Pros:
  • Stylish
  • Easy to use
Cons:
  • Can't sure call directories between handsets
  • No speed dial feature
Posted in: Home, Kitchen

20 comments… add one

  • Julie August 7, 2007, 9:28 pm

    Post your comments on the VTech 6042 Two Handset Cordless Phone System review.

    http://www.the-gadgeteer.com/review/vtech_6042_two_handset_cordless_phone_system

    Just click the POST REPLY button on this page.

  • MrBill August 7, 2007, 10:01 pm

    I was using a DECT phone system in Singapore in 1998. It was at the DEC Regional Lab. We used it for our in-house telephone system. I recall that it was made by Philips. The sound quality was excellent. I guess the technology finally made it over here to the US.

    MrBill

  • Julie August 8, 2007, 1:08 am

    Wow, 1998? I’m not sure when they first showed up here, but I’d never heard of them till just recently.

  • eichin August 8, 2007, 3:37 am

    I first saw DECT phones in 1999 in Sweden, but they were apparently the “old boring” office phones even then :-) They weren’t in the US because the frequency wasn’t available…

    As far as features, I think vtech themselves make better phones than that (I thought they had at least one model that gets the phone-book caller-id feature right, for example :-) About the only interesting thing about DECT in the US is “no wifi interference”…

  • MrBill August 8, 2007, 12:38 pm

    And, if you want to try a DECT phone for free, Staples has a sale on the American Telephone DECT 6.0 cordless phone for $19.99 less a $20 rebate. I may pick one up today.

  • dellis67 August 13, 2007, 12:01 am

    I believe that the DECT 6.0 spec uses the 1.9Ghz frequency. Being a lower frequency should embue it with better range and penetration characteristics. Julie, have you noticed better range using the DECT VTech than with the 2.4 or 5.8ghz phones?

    David.

  • Julie August 13, 2007, 1:31 am

    Yes, I can walk out the door and down my driveway without it dropping connection.

  • dellis67 August 15, 2007, 3:21 am

    Thanks Julie – Love you guys!:)

  • Cydrome August 17, 2007, 8:35 pm

    I own a VTech 6042 and agree with your review…it’s the best cordless I’ve ever had.

    My question is related to your mention of “5 channels” (a feature not called out in the user manual).

    Does this mean that the base transmitter will automatically jump to another channel if it detects another system on the one its using?

    Or is there some way I can set the channel manually?

    (I want to install a second system in the next room.)

    Thanks.

  • Julie August 18, 2007, 2:15 am

    Cydrome:

    I don’t see channels mentioned in the manual either. I just got that info from the specs either on the box or Vtech’s site. I’m not sure if you can add another handset to this particular system… I’ll write to my contact at Vtech and ask.

  • Julie August 20, 2007, 6:02 pm

    Just heard back from my contact and as I guessed, the 6042 is not expandable. :(

  • pete-in-ma September 4, 2007, 11:16 am

    Just a quick question– Can the phone be wall mounted or is the base required?

    Thanks,
    Pete

  • Julie September 4, 2007, 8:50 pm

    Pete:

    I just checked, the base unit and add-on handset cradles are not made to be mounted on a wall.

  • Elena Garcia November 8, 2007, 8:01 pm

    Just, I bought a phone Vtech Dect 6.0
    model 6042, and when I receive a call, the number
    appears in the screen, but not the name that I have
    registered in the agenda. Can you help to know what
    it’s the problem?.
    I’m very worried, and I need your help.

  • Pedro Fano July 11, 2009, 6:34 pm

    Vivo en Peru y tengo un telefono vtech modelo 6042 dect 6.0 lo compre en EE.UU pero al instalarlo funciona solo la base pero no el auricular no entran las llamadas y sale en la pantalla un mensaje de buscando, que puedo hacer?
    oh esta tecnologia Dect 6.0 no esta disponible para Sudamerica

  • ANGELA October 20, 2009, 10:57 am

    NECESITO AYUDA COMPRE UN TELEFONO INALAMBRICO VTECH CS5111 Y DENTRO DE EL SOLO VINO MANUAL EN INGLES Y NO ENTIENDO COMO FUNCIONARLO.. POR FAVOR SI ME PUEDEN MANDAR MANUAL DE ESTE EQUIPO Y PODER UTILIZARLO.. DESDE COLOMBIA. GRACIAS.

    • Julie October 20, 2009, 11:40 am

      @Angela Tendrá que ponerse en contacto con VTech directamente de un Manual de español.

  • juan carlos guengue December 8, 2009, 10:01 pm

    i need the technical manual for my phone model 6042 in spanish if there are possible.
    thank you for your help!!!!

  • maria-anna enders March 9, 2010, 4:01 pm

    since we got the high speed internet, our v-tech model 6042 will not work right. we never had problems before and we really liked the phone. the problem is that some calls ring through and some don’t, it is always hit and miss. this also rings true for the answering machine, when the phone rings through then the answering machine works and when the phone doesn’t ring through the answering machine doesn’t work either. it is very frustrating and we complained to v-tech and to our phone company, the phone company came out twice and said the problem is with the phone but they did agree to give me a different modem/router. unfortunately that didn’t solve the problem. has anyone else had this going on? i hate to go out and buy a new phone, this one is only 2 years old and it’s a nice phone.

  • Itanel May 8, 2010, 4:27 pm

    Is your internet service based on DSL technology? If so, do you have the filters that your internet provider sent to you in your welcome kit? Did you install the filters between your phone and the wall phone jack?

    Good luck!

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