There’s nothing glaringly wrong with the AT&T EL51103, but this phone didn’t particularly wow us. That’s not to say it isn’t a good home phone – it still lets you make and receive calls. It's no longer part of our best cordless phones line-up because you can't buy it new any more.
Like other basic phones we reviewed, the AT&T EL51103 has standard features that make calling easy, including caller ID and call history, handset-to-handset intercom, a handset locator, quiet mode, speakerphone, a 50-entry phone book, and speed dial. You can also choose between seven volume settings, including off, and 10 ring tones, though you can’t assign ring tones to specific callers.
This phone’s handset design is similar to that of the VTech CS6719. Their screens and overall layout are pretty much identical, but the AT&T phone looks a smidge nicer. The AT&T EL51103’s screen is easier to read than the one on the VTech because it has a white backlight as opposed to a harder-to-read green one. It’s easy to see the numbered dial buttons as well, though the top two redial/pause and menu/select buttons have tiny labels and aren’t well-defined.
The AT&T EL51103’s base is compact and doesn’t have an answering machine or backup power feature. The base features one small light that turns on when you use the phone and a handset-locator button. Like the similar AT&T EL52113, the EL51103 can be wall-mounted. However, the mount that comes with the system is larger than the base and is visible around the phone, which is not aesthetically pleasing.
This AT&T model’s battery has one of the shortest talk times of the phones we tested, just six and a half hours. If you want a phone with a little more longevity, try the Panasonic KX-TGE433B. We recorded the EL51103’s charge time from empty to full at seven hours and 15 minutes, and it lasted just over 25 hours sitting idle off the charger.
The AT&T EL51103 is a decent option if you need a basic cordless phone. However, for the price, we prefer the VTech CS6719.