Voicemail vs. answering machine?

handustSeptember 15, 2006

Hi there,

I usually hang out on some of the other forums here (Kitchens, Appliances, etc.), but this question is bugging me. I hope it's appropriate for this forum.

We just moved into our newly remodeled house and it's time to buy new phones. Our old ones were badly in need of retirement anyway. I've noticed that a large percentage of new cordless phones out there are now the expandable systems with the main base and various extention phones that don't need a phone jack, just the AC plug. I've used a couple of these systems previously and been pleased enough with it.

My question is, I'm shocked to see that virtually all of them include digital answering systems; in fact, I'm not sure I found one that DIDN'T include the answering "machine". This surprises me because I thought most people use voicemail now. Is this not the case? We've used voicemail through Verizon for years. Don't love it, don't hate it, it's just what we have.

Am I missing something? I'm behind the times technology-wise where regular old phones are concerned -- are their compelling reasons to use your own answering system rather than voicemail? I suppose saving the voicemail fee would be one, just didn't know if there are others. Do digital answering systems have some awesome features not available through voicemail?

Sorry if this is a dumb question -- I just have a feeling there must be something I don't know, or more phones would be available WITHOUT an answering machine included.

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There still are people who prefer not to store voicemail on "someone else's" computer. And now that answering systems are digital, adding those features to a phone is relatively cheap and lets the manufacturer sell another feature. It's also probably cheaper to manufacture, ship, and advertise one model with a feature that some people don't use than to manufacture one model with answering and a model without.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2006 at 7:59PM
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I noticed the same thing!! I was considering a new phone of the type you describe and it kind of bothered me to have to pay for an answering machine I'm never going to use. My old ones don't have an answering machine - but I couldn't find any new ones that don't. I ended up keeping what I have for now. I got sick of the malfunctioning answer machines of years past and switched to the voicemail. Maybe the new ones are better - and you can save that extra fee on your phone bill.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2006 at 10:40PM
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I love having vmx at the office, but much prefer the digital answering machine at home. Having to dial in to listen to your messags is a big pain, IMHO.

We have one of those expandable systems you mention - an AT&T with one central phone/answering machine and 3 separate remote handhelds that sit in a stand which plugs into the wall for the electrical - but you don't need a phone jack, so you can put them anywhere that you have wall plug. Ours are speaker phones and also have a place for plugging in a headset. I work remotely a lot these days, so I use the headset for all of my conference calls.

Again, for those who don't mind having to manage a vmx box where you have to dial in, listen, delete, and learn all the commands for saving or replaying or FF messages, then that's fine. For me, I still prefer the integrated answering machine for home use because it saves steps.


    Bookmark   October 14, 2006 at 6:06PM
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Speaking from experience, when I lived in NC we were hit by Hurricane Fran and lost power for a few days. If I had an answering machine I would not been able to check my messages. Luckily because VM was on a server some where, I was still able to check my messages.

I can say when I began looking for a cordless unit w/o an answering machine it was difficult. Then I started going to the websites of the brands I liked. I performed searches based on what I wanted in a phone and spoke with a CS rep to ensure I got the best device.

I vote for VM.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2006 at 10:09AM
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I have noticed the same thing. My question is, if you buy a new cordless system with an integrated answering machine and you already have voicemail, do you get to choose which one you want to use - or does one of the systems take over by default? I'd rather not be stuck without a choice in the matter.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2006 at 12:27PM
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