AT&T 1909 Corded Phone – Review

ATT Model 1909 Corded PhoneI originally purchased this phone so I can have a very basic phone to use with my magic jacks and computers. I also like simplicity and have had trouble with fancy cordless phones. And I’ve always trusted ATT, having owned ATT Trimlines in the past, so this seemed like a good choice.

What I found, after using it only a few times, is that it’s very poorly designed. When I held the receiver in my right hand (95% of the population is right handed), in a way that is natural for the average person, my fingers automatically hit the buttons they inconveniently placed on the outer side of the receiver. There was no avoiding this if I held the phone in the same natural way I’ve held a phone receiver my entire life. I found that while I was on the phone I’d accidentally hit the flash button repeatedly even though I was well aware the button was there and was trying to avoid it. You simply can’t avoid it unless you want to put your hand in a very odd position, which gave me cramps. No kidding. In order to hold the receiver and not hit the flash button you have to cramp up your hand into an odd position and hope you don’t drop the phone. This is uncomfortable even for the average person, but even more so for someone with arthritis or dexderity problems. See images below.

Another problem with this design is that you can’t place the phone on your shoulder to hold it against your head, if you temporarily need to use both hands for something else. And, for those of us who still use an attachable cushioned shoulder cradle (a.k.a. shoulder rest), you cannot attach a shoulder cradle to this phone due to the buttons on the outside of the receiver (photo on right).

att-trimline-1909-dial att-trimline-1909-c

For those who are not old enough to know what a cushioned phone shoulder cradle or shoulder rest is:


I don’t want to be mean, but honestly, the person who designed this phone should be fired. Clearly they did not test the design in real world applications – even if you discount my need for using a should rest it simply can’t be used to talk on the phone.

And to make matters worse, the outgoing sound was bad – the people I talked to reported a hissing noise. Incoming sound was actually good, but that does not make up for the fact that holding the phone, what should be the simplest thing to do, can’t be done comfortably.

Note: The photo of the Model 1909 at the top of this page was taken from’s ad for the 1909 and it appears at first glance to be a different phone, but that is only due to the photo being very bright and washing out the gray coloring of the phone you see in my photo above at right. The photo also shows the answer machine indicator as glowing red. But if you look closely you can see this is the same phone.

I tried three other Trimline phones. Two had the same type of design (not exact, but very similar) with the same problems; ATT 265 and VTECH 265 (no longer available from most retailers). Don’t get any of these phones if you want to be able to comfortably hold the phone, let it rest on your shoulder, or use a shoulder cradle (a.k.a. shoulder rest). The only good thing I have to say about my experience in trying these three phones is that I bought them through and had no trouble with returns.

If you want a very simple corded phone with no design flaws I recommend the old ATT Trimline 230. This design has worked well for me for about 20 years. But you won’t be able to buy a 230 today. The 230 model is now called the AT&T Corded Trimline Phone with 13-Number Memory (210), slightly modified. I ordered two 210 phones (see my review) for use with my MagicJacks and computers, and they work perfectly, just as this simple design has very well worked for 20+ years.

Wishing you all Good Health, Happiness, and Prosperity,


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