> Compare 4 Line Phone Systems
|Need an entire PBX phone system?
| Max # of
| The maximum number of phones that can be
connected together on each 4-line system.
| Speakerphone, Intercom, Transfer, Hold, Page,
Conferencing, Mute, Redial, Line-in-use indication, Hearing-aid compatible
|Speed Dial Buttons:
|| Speed Dial Buttons are the 'physical' memory
buttons on a phone allowing instant dialing of stored number.
* PLEASE NOTE: Some phones store 2 numbers on each physical speed dial button
effectively doubling the available speed dials. In this case the second
stored number is accessed by simply pressing a special 'function' button
before pressing the speed dial.
For phones with this memory doubling feature, we've counted both memory
|| The Address Book is a navigatable directory
of phone numbers stored on a phone.
It can be accessed via the phone's LCD menu, and phone numbers can be automatically
dialed from the directory at the touch of a button.
This column lists the number of contacts that can be stored in the address
|Shared Address Book:
|| A "Shared Address Book" is an address book
that all phones on your phone network share.
This enables your business to share important contact information relevant
to all your staff.
|Caller ID &
Call-waiting Caller ID:
| These phones include Caller ID, Call-waiting
Caller ID (for Caller ID info while you're already using the phone)
and the ability to automatically dial from your Caller ID list with
the touch of a button.
|| Phones with a 'check' have quality 'headset
ready' solutions to be used with 2.5
mm headsets (saving $100 - $150). The other phones require headsets
with an M12 amplifier for headset use.
|* Music On Hold
| MOH for all systems:
All phone systems can use On Hold Plus Systems to
adapt to Music On Hold. On Hold Plus Systems begin at $300 plus $30 for
each phone (beyond the first 2 phones).
MOH for TMC:
Unlike the other phone systems which require a special attachment for each
phone, TMC offers a Music On Hold option
specifically designed for their system ($100 for MOH, no phone attachments
|* Built-in Voicemail:
|| Built-in voicemail can save you the cost
of voicemail through your phone company ($20/mo for each line) and offers
a more integrated professional messaging system.
Built in voicemail pays for itself in less than a year (saving $200 - $800
|| An auto-attendant automatically answers incoming
calls and routes them to the right personel through the use of a telephone
directory tree (eg, "for sales press 1, for techs press 2").
Auto-attendants add considerable efficiency to your office and make your
business-front more professional.
|RCA Executive Series Phone System (Editor's Review):
|| The RCA Executive Series phone system is
a low cost solution offering all the important basic phone system capabilities
such as speakerphone, intercom, transfer and conferencing.
These phones feature 16 speed-dial buttons on the right hand side, but its
most valuable feature is the ability to add a cordless handset to each phone.
RCA's cordless handsets can access all 4 lines, displays Caller ID, stores
the last 40 callers, and have a 40 slot Address Book.
The cordless phone feature can be an important benefit for customers who
have warehouses and other large spaces to move around (such as automotive
repair shops). I recommend this RCA system to many of these customers if
they do not have a need for voicemail.
Later this year, RCA will be releasing a new phone offering auto-attendant
for this system (November to December). You'll be able to easily add the
features of an auto-attendant to your already existing RCA Executive Series
phone system with the purchase of one of those phones.
|AT&T Small Business System (Editor's Review):
|| The AT&T Small Business System offers all
the standard features needed by any phone system, such as intercom and call
transfer, at the lowest price.
Unfortunately, AT&T cut a few corners on their voicemail and auto-attendant.
Essentially, while you're using the phone the voicemail and auto-attendant
will not pick up other incoming lines, and, vice-versa, while the auto-attendant
or voicemail is answering a call the phone is unusable. So if you are on
a call and another party is transferred to or calls your extension, the
voicemail and auto-attendant will not answer. Instead the phone will continue
ringing until you answer or your caller gives up. Furthermore, you cannot
transfer calls directly to voicemail. Instead, the transfered call has to
ring until voicemail picks up - a somewhat unprofessional touch.
Additionally, the headset jack on this phone has little practical purpose
since it the low amplification makes hearing a pin drop easier than hearing
callers through your headset.
However, if you ignore AT&T's over-zealous attempt to clumsily add voicemail,
auto-attendant, and headset capacities you'll notice some other features
of this system that truly do shine through.
For starters, the AT&T system offers the largest navigatable address book
storing up to 200 names and numbers that can be easily dialed at the touch
of a button. They include an equally large directory for Caller ID logging
storing the last 200 callers.
Though this system tries to be a little more than it can with its headset,
voicemail and auto-attendant's limited capacities it still competes well
being the lowest cost solution offering all the basic phone system features
(including intercom, transfer & caller ID). But if you're looking for a
phone system to save money on the cost of voicemail through your phone company,
take a look at TMC's Epic line.
|TMC Epic Phone System (Editor's Review):
|| The Epic system is a fully-featured solution
with an intuitive, user-friendly design. It's the closest thing to a full-fledged
PBX phone system.
Voicemail through the phone company typically costs around $20/mo for each
line and $20 to setup. This can quickly add up — in one year alone
you're paying over $200 for each mailbox. The Epic system saves you this
cost offering a better-integrated, more professional voicemail solution.
The voicemail capability alone makes up for the system's higher price.
Epic's voicemail allows 30 minutes of digital recording per voicemail enabled
phone, allows transfers directly to voicemail (no ringing of the extension)
remote access (call in to hear your messages) intelligent navigation buttons
(skip, repeat, pause, erase, jump 2 seconds forward/back) variable speed
message playback, and call screening (listen to callers leave messages and
pick up at any time). You can even record and playback a phone conversation
Epic's auto-attendant is a commercial grade solution without hick-ups. You
can record an introduction (e.g. 'for James dial 12, for Lisa 15') and up
to 8 selectable prompts such as directions or hours of operation ('for directions
The system offers all your standard features such as transfer, intercom,
Caller ID, conferencing, and others listed above, however, what's notable
are the other supporting features that help to better network your office's
communications. Features such as station-in-use indication (know not only
which lines are in use, but who in your office is on the phone) line reserve
(reserve a line that is currently in use instead of constantly monitoring
your telephone waiting for a free line) and new-call indication light (a
light seperate from the voicemail indication lamp that lets you know if
any new calls have come in since the last time you checked your call log).
The list of features go on and on. Just know this system provides robust
features without corner cutting. In fact, TMC took careful concern down
to the smallest detail, eg: static memory protected from power outages,
a display that swivels for better viewing, an automatic call timer, optional
distinctive ringing for each line (you can give Lines 1,2,3 or 4 special
ring tones) and separate volume controls for the handset, ringer, speakerphone
You can easily add cordless phones, music on hold, door intercom & door
openers, and external paging systems with a special adapter.
The Epic system offers a dependable solution with an extremely wide range
of capabilities, where each feature has been fully developed without cutting
any corners. Voicemail and auto-attendant alone make up for the system's
higher price within a year or two, a period your phones are guaranteed to
last by TMC's 2-year warranty.