Plantronics CT12 Cordless Headset Telephone Review

The CT12 is a lightweight package, as you can see here.

With our world becoming a busier and more hectic place, constant connectivity is becoming more the norm. Cell phone usage is at an all-time high, and many folks are forgoing land-lines altogether in place of cell phones. Fortunately, for those of us who use land-lines as our primary means of telephonic communication, we've not been forgotten, and today's product is an excellent example of this.

Today we're going to look a Plantronics' CT12 2.4 GHz Cordless Headset Telephone. This cordless headset phone is not only smaller than many of today's cell phones, but is crammed with features as well. While it's slightly on the expensive side, we'll see if the cost is justified throughout this review.


The CT12 2.4 GHz Cordless Headset Telephone is a Digital Spread Spectrum (DSS), single-line cordless phone with built in support for Caller ID, Call Waiting, and voicemail. The unit has a talk time of over five hours and a standby time of ten hours. The maximum operating range of the phone is somewhere between 150 and 200 feet.

The phone itself is roughly the size of a small bar of soap, and weighs less than three ounces with the battery. The headset can be configured for over-the-head or over-the-ear usage by simply switching between the two included clips. The headset also has the new "Firefly" in-use indicator, which we'll look at in a moment, and uses a noise-canceling microphone.

Overall, the technical design of the CT12 is very small, tight, and lightweight. When in use, it's easy to forget that you have it on at all. What really impresses, however, are the usability features designed right into the phone.

Daily Usage and Design

It's obvious that a lot of care was put into the design of the CT12 right out of the box. First, the antenna on the base unit has been sculpted in such a way as to also serve as a headset stand. Secondly, the remote unit has a small groove in which to insert the headset cord so it won't become unplugged easily. The portion of the cord meant to go into this groove has an extra bit of rubber around it not only to let you know where the chord and groove meet, but to give the cord some added protection as well. Little touches such as these give you an insight into how much someone cared about the design of this phone.

Using the phone itself is quite easy. The phone comes with a forty five page manual and quick start guide that goes into all the details regarding the phone's features and their usage. This manual explains all of the functions of the phone clearly, and doesn't leave the user with any questions.

The CT12 has enough features to make it welcome in any office.

Beyond the usual Caller ID and memory functions, the CT12 has a bevy of features that guarantee lengthy usage. The phone itself has over one hundred memory spaces available for phonebook entries, Caller ID entries, and so on. The phone remembers not one, but three of the last Caller ID numbers, making a recent call easy to find. The phone also features distinctive rings for certain members of your phone book, and allows Caller ID Deluxe features such as rerouting calls to voice mail, or conferencing. These features are available through your local phone company, but it's nice that the CT12 supports them.

Using all of these features is very easy, thanks to a clear three-line display on the phone itself. The buttons on the phone, though small (each a little smaller than a Tic-Tac), clearly explain their function, keeping confusion to a minimum. To send or receive a call, the remote unit must be removed from the base first. I personally found this to be a bit odd, as the headset cord is long enough to be used in the base, but overall it didn't get in the way of my enjoyment in using the phone.

The headset also has a unique feature called the "FireFly," which is a small light that pulsates when the phone is in use. This is to let those around you know that you're on the phone, whether you're talking or on hold. I found the FireFly took some getting used to, as the light is always in my peripheral vision, but overall, this unique feature makes a lot of sense.

Overall, the CT12 is a very easy phone to use, with plenty of options to keep anyone from home to small office users satisfied. It's got plenty of talk time and enough range to be used around the entire home or office effectively.

Sound Quality

In several tests, the sound quality of the CT12 was excellent in almost all cases. I spent quite a bit of time on the phone, walking around our offices, as well as in and out of different rooms, and noticed no degradation in quality. The only issue on our local end was that, with all the wireless devices we have around here, such as wireless networking, there were some pops heard on our end of the phone. The other end of the line heard none of this, however, and sound was proclaimed better than corded phones on some occasions.

Overall, the sound quality of the CT12 is uniformly excellent. We were heard clearly whether the person on the other end was on a corded phone, a cordless phone, or even a cell phone. The microphone itself worked well despite being put in different positions while talking, and we never had to repeat ourselves while using the phone.


The CT12 is light enough to use inside or outside the house.

In evaluating its ease of use, product features, and overall sound quality, we were incredibly impressed that such a high-quality cordless phone has come in such a small package. The phone is light enough so that you can wear it all day while experiencing no adverse effects, and filled with enough features to assure its use for quite some time.

Even with a price of over one hundred dollars, the design and feature set of the CT12 make it worth the admission price. This would compliment any busy home or small office nicely. We were so impressed with it that we purchased a second unit for our office, a high compliment indeed.

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