We review the BT8500 Advanced Call Blocker landline phone, which provides a helpful barrier between yourself and those PPI pests.
You’ve just poured yourself and your loved one a tall glass of Blue Nun and you’re settling down for a romantic evening; candlelight, Tesco’s Finest bangers and mash, and the Best of Bryan Adams on the stereo.
Then the phone rings.
You know you should just leave it, but what if it’s important? So you dash over and breathlessly snatch the handset up, only to hear a robotic voice intone:
“Have you been in an accident in the past three years?”
A small piece of your soul dies. The phrase ‘this is your life and it’s ending one minute at a time’ from Fight Club echoes distantly in your head. Your mash begins to get cold.
This is where BT’s spam-smashing BT8500 phones come in. Coming as a pair of handsets, plus a primary and secondary base station for them to sit in, these sport built-in Call Guardian technology. This is powered by TrueCall, a company which claims to be able to block 98 per cent of all spam calls.
That’s a pretty bold claim, so we decided to get hold of a BT8500 set and put it to the test.
The BT8500 works by screening every call that comes in. Whenever someone calls, they don’t come straight through to you – instead, the caller is asked to identify themselves. At this point your phone actually rings and when you pick up, a disembodied automated voice tells you who is calling.
You then have four options, selected by pushing 1 to 4 on your keypad. You can either take the call, block the caller, take the call and add the caller to the safe list (which allows them to come straight through in the future) or send them to the answering machine.
Essentially, it’s like having an intercom for your landline – nobody gets in without your permission.
Check out our feature ‘How to avoid PPI and marketing calls’As well as keeping spammers at bay, the BT85000 is also useful for stopping other unwanted calls from vengeful exes and the like.
Don’t worry if you ‘accidentally’ block your stepmother, because you can always go into the phone’s menu and review and edit your block list at any time.
From there you can also choose to automatically block certain calls, such as those withholding Caller ID, or even shut yourself off from the world by silencing all incoming traffic. Handily, you can set up an exception list for family members who can then break through the barricade in case of emergency.
Of course, for the BT8500’s call screening function to fully work, you’ll need Caller ID set up on your landline. The likes of BT and TalkTalk offer this service for free, so you just need to check with your provider before purchasing.
The phones have plenty of extra functionality built in, but the true beauty of the BT8500 lies with its ease of use. If you simply want a phone that can screen your calls, hassle free, then all you have to do is hook the main base station up to your phone socket, and you’re good to go. There’s no fiddly set up or anything; the call screening starts to work immediately, making this suitable even for less technologically confident users.
You can space the two stations as far apart as you like in a typical home. We had ours on separate floors of our house and for us, call quality was just as good on the secondary handset as the first. The handsets have built-in rechargeable batteries which automatically power up when the phones are placed in the stations.
You get built-in voicemail too, which is just as simple to use. If you come home to find a message waiting, indicated on the phone’s screen, all you need to do is hit the clearly-marked ‘Play’ button on the base station. And if it’s just some spam rubbish, just tap ‘delete’ and the whole bally thing is wiped.
With the BT8500’s simple and intuitive set-up, there’s never any need to refer to a manual or search frantically for help online, while the excellent call screening service works wonders to block those unwanted interruptions.