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Nuisance calls - call blocker reviews

Truecall Call Blocker - first look review

By Daniel Nissenbaum

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The TrueCall Call Blocker box works like a virtual secretary. It lets calls from your friends and family straight through, blocks unwelcome calls, and asks unrecognised numbers for their name before putting them through. You plug the TrueCall box in between your phone and the wall socket, allowing it to intercept calls before they get to your phone. For TrueCall to work you’ll need to have caller ID enabled from your phone provider.

What types of calls will it block?

The most basic form of call-blocking is simply to add specific numbers to a block list, which will never be allowed through. You can add up to 1,000 numbers to this list, and also set the machine to leave them a custom message. The default message tells callers that you’re not interested in their call and not to call again. You can add a number that’s currently calling you to the block list by pressing a button.

The other blocking options will be much more helpful for stopping nuisance calls. Like with most blockers you can choose to block calls by type, for example all international calls or all calls from withheld numbers. We tried calling our test phone from a withheld number, and sure enough the call was played the automated message saying it was blocked.

A large percentage of nuisance calls come from withheld and international numbers, but blocking them outright of course takes the risk that you’ll be blocking friends or family calling from abroad. The TrueCall system has a number of ways around this though.

Firstly, there’s the call-screening. Instead of just blocking calls, you can set the device to ask callers for their name before they get put through to you. Your phone will then ring and the TrueCall box will play you their name and ask if you’d like to accept the call. Nuisance callers will almost always give up when they are asked to state who is calling, and automated calls won’t be able to answer, whereas someone calling you legitimately will end up being put through.

You can also give friends and family a special two-digit code, which they can use to bypass the machine if they call you from abroad and it tries to block them.

How easy is it to use?

The only potential difficulty with using the device is setting up the call-blocking options the way you want them. This is slightly harder with TrueCall than with other call-blocking devices, but that’s only because of the sophisticated options that it gives you. Everything has to be done through your phone using the device’s voice aid, so it can take a while to get through the set-up.

Once you’ve set it up you won’t have to do anything unless you want to change the settings. There are different pre-sets that you can use, which will give you varying levels of blocking, but you can also have complete control over which calls you block by creating custom settings. You can change the settings in two ways, via an internet-based control panel (free for the first year, £20 a year afterwards) or dialling into the machine from your phone and using the voice aid. The internet control panel will give you some more detailed options, and the ability to view your block list visually, but this is an optional feature and isn’t necessary for the device to work well.

Is there anything else I should know?

You can also set up a white list of phone numbers. This allows you to block any and every call that isn’t on the white list – a bit drastic but useful if you only ever speak to a handful of people.

Should I buy it?

Yes, this is the most sophisticated call-blocking device available. At £100, it’s more expensive than other simpler models, but it will cut out more nuisance calls than anything else and let the calls you want to take through at the same time.

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