The E5965C base station and handset operate independently of one another giving you essentially two phones in one. Both the base station and handset can function as speakerphones. When it comes to cordless phones, most people have been conditioned to use the base station as the answering machine and the handset as 'the phone.' The E5965C adds some features you normally find only on the base unit to the handset as well.

In addition to the slightly underpowered speakerphone you can also check messages and store phone numbers in the handset. These numbers are separate from what's stored in the base station. It may seem a bit odd to break the directories up this way but it would make sense in a scenario where several handsets were installed in different rooms sharing the same line where the users of the handsets regularly talked to different people.

The E5965C sounded great and we didn't notice any interference with our WiFi system. The sound quality was comparable to a standard hard-wired phone and we noticed very little distortion. The E5965C allows you to tweak the frequency response of the handset much like you would your car stereo. Since everyone's ears attenuate the frequency spectrum differently this is a welcome feature indeed. Upon a recent hearing test I discovered I was lacking in the 4K range so boosting the high-end makes the conversation more legible for me.

The E5965C incorporates a solid answering machine. It's very easy to set the outgoing message, setup remote access, leave memos and navigate the menu structure when needed. More importantly, the sound quality is very good. AT&T either used more memory or created a better compression algorithm. The E5965C does not have that garbled, phased out over compressed sound you might find on cheaper units.

AT&T isn't all business with the E5965C. The phone also has a variety of entertaining ring tones and pictures/wallpaper that can be used to identify specific callers. However, it was strange that all the tones aren't accessible on the base unit and handset. So when a call comes in the base unit makes one melody and the handset makes another unless you opt for the most mundane ring tones. I can't believe the QA team didn't catch this.

Another area where the E5965C falls short is in the volume level of the handset ringer. It's not loud enough by itself. With any kind of ambient noise in the room it's easy to miss a call. To avoid missing calls the best option is to turn the volume up on the base unit and the handset.

Well it's been over 125 years since the telephone was invented and I think we're getting real close to perfecting it. The AT&T E5965C is another step in the right direction. If Alexander Graham Bell were alive today he would marvel at these wireless phones. It makes you think what PCs will look like in another 100 years.