Speaker Phone Cell Phone - Why use one?

This is directed at those of you who might use this type of cell phone. You know the kind where the caller’s voice is amplified so that you don’t have to hold the phone to your ear.

You know what I mean:

Caller: Hi blah, blah, blah blah <beep beep>
Callee: blah blah blah blah <beep beep>
etc. etc. an audible beep beep from the phone between each exchange.

It’s not exactly hands free because every single person I’ve ever seen using one was holding the phone approximately 2-6 inches from their head.

I find them annoying but I’m willing to be enlightened.

I find them most annoying in public places (grocery store) but there is this one person who works in my building (different co) who stands just outside the back door, which is right next to my cubicle, and talks on her speaker phone or should I say yells into her phone. I look out the window and she’s holding the phone in front of her face with her left hand and smoking with her right hand.

Just the other day I heard most of what was a very intimate conversation between this person and her sister regarding the sister’s marital problems. I wasn’t trying to eavesdrop but she was loud and the phone was turned up loud and I was having a hard time blocking it out. (and then it started getting interesting :wink: )

Rather than turn this into a rant I thought I’d ask for opinions. Clue me in Dopers. What good are these things?

So when I am talking to Tech Support, I can set the phone down and type. It is actually one of the few fancy cell phone features I ever use…

OK, that makes sense I figured that it was a hands free feature except that most people I see using these are holding them right in front of their faces.

I use my hands-free ear bud thingy for that. The problem with that is if I’m just walking along talking to someone (or listening) it either doesn’t look like I’m on the phone at all or it appears like I’m talking to myself (which I frequently do anyway)

I find it helps when the movie soundtrack at the theatre is so damn loud I can barely hear my voicemails.

Why do you ask?


I’m pretty sure that you are talking about two different things. velvetjones it sounds like you are describing a Push-To-Talk feature popularized by Nextell, but also offered by at least Verizon. BrotherCadfael I think you’re describing a standard speaker phone feature.

The Push-To-Talk feature is big with contractors for some reason, primarily because (I think) that the minutes for that feature are VERY cheap, or even free. Conversely, you pay for your cellular minutes (don’t ask me why one is free and the other not - someone else here can do that). I have no need for this feature, and you’re right, it’s annoying as hell. On the other hand, true speaker phone functionality can be very helpful. As suggested, it’s great for setting the phone down to write something down or when my kids and I all want to talk to their Grandmother at the same time.

Yeah, it sounds like velvetjones is referring to push-to-talk, not speakerphone.

And to address the OP, I usually use my cell phone’s speakerphone in one of two situations:

(1) When I’m driving. Speakerphone == hands free, so I can drive with both hands on the steering wheel, as Prime intended.

(2) When I’m with some folks having a cell phone conversation with the person at the other end. If my wife and I are out and my mom calls, the speakerphone makes it easier for my wife to follow the conversation and reply as needed.

The OP is talking about Two Way, which is just like a walkie-talkie. I have a speakerphone on my cell that I use for checking my voicemail and my bank balance. I don’t use it for talking because my voice doesn’t pick up too well on the mic.

Gotta tell ya, I used to love my Nextel phone.

I was issued one for a field service job I used to have. It is ideal for this type of situation. There’s about a dozen very short, low to medium priority messages that must be conveyed every day. Things like:
“What’s Customer X’s field rate?”
“Who’s the contact person over here?”
“Going to lunch.”
“Does Main intersect with Elm?”
“Can you fax calibration instructions to…”
…and so forth.

It would be silly to have the service manager paged every few minutes to take this type of call and silly for me in the field to have to sit with the phone to my ear while the person at the office gets what I need.

Another thing is that the audio is very LOUD and just the ticket at some of the noisy plants and factories I used to go to.

And I still want one to quickly and briefly contact friends who have the PTT phones. There’s so many short messages that don’t require a phone call. Its like Instant Messaging…for stuff not worthy of an email or phone call. Just little messages.

Not that one should go on and on for minutes and hours on the two-way. For discussion, use the ‘regular’ phone.

BMalion, you die now :wally

I got a Sanyo phone for work and it has a speakerphone feature. I thought it was dumb but it works remarkably well. I;ve used it for a conference call and it worked as well as some dedicated conferencing phones. Only works so-so as a hands free car phone becauae it picks up too much background noise.

I love my cell phone. I live for the free nights so I can talk with my family and friends even though I’m far away. I love calling people, chatting, picking up the livingroom, getting into pjs and curling into bed. Speakerphone makes teh conversation part of my life, lets me use my hands.

Admittedly, for car driving, I use a headset.

I use speakerphone in the car and at other times like if someone calls me while I am eating or something. I think speakerphone is very convenient.

Also if you are with a group of people and somone is saying something that could be potentially embarrassing it is always fun to make sure everyone can hear it. :wink:

My phone has a speakerphone. About the only time I use it is when I’m on hold, so I don’t have to keep it pressed to my ear.

I use the speaker on my cellphone pretty often. While driving, shaving, eating (at home, not in a restaurant), etc. Extremely usable feature.

I use the cell phone speaker often, but when it wouldn’t disturb anyone else.

OK, sounds like what I’m refering to is the push to talk thingie or possibly two-way like FilmGeek said. I just didn’t know what to call it. From what you speaker phone users have said it’s different.

rpinrd Yup, casual observation would indicate that it’s mostly men and mostly contractors. I’m glad I’m not the only one that finds it annoying as hell. I thought maybe I was just getting old and crotchety. :slight_smile:

jnglmassiv That makes sense thanks. I can see where you’d want to be able to do that.

pool yes, it is always interesting to hear both sides of a stranger’s conversation.

I wonder about privacy though. You’re supposed to inform someone if you’re recording their call, shouldn’t you have to tell them if you’re broadcasting their call all over the grocery store?

Now if I can just get them to shut up and drive already.


As a woman who works with contractors, I have to agree. That’s why I have one; for quick conversations. We’re at work, and we’re busy, so we don’t have the time for a whole, drawn out conversation when a one-word answer will do.

My boyfriend (also a contractor) has one too, and we do talk to each other on them for quick hellos during the day, but not for substantial conversations. I’m pretty self-conscious about using it in a public place though. If I have to talk in public, I’ll use the phone feature rather than hollering everything out in front of the world. I’d rather not use the phone in public either, but I seem to be an oddity there. Not here, but in general.

Why not? There’s no way I’m getting my phone anywhere near my foamed-up face!

I went to Sam’s club yesterday and there were people using these to make their shopping quicker “honey, do we need mayo?” so they could split up and do twice the shopping.

I don’t know about YOU, but I never answer the phone in the bathroom…