The ClassCo VoiceAnnounce 9900CW Talking Caller Id box is very helpful for blind and vision impaired users. It extends the world of accessible, yet low cost, blind-friendly tech into the realms of phone caller Id boxes.
Now, you don’t have to see well in order to know who’s ringing you before answering the call. As each call comes in, just after the first ring, this box speaks. It reads out in a clear, male voice, the caller’s phone number. Or, you can record incoming call announcements with your own voice. Then you can link them with familiar caller numbers.
Note that this unit, unlike the InTouch 5000, allows you to record incoming callers’ names in your own voice. The 5000 though does not provide this. Instead, it provides pre-recorded “category” names that you can tie to each incoming phone number.
You must subscribe to caller Id service from your local phone company.
Benefits, Features, Pros, and Advantages of the ClassCo 9900CW Talking Caller Id Box
Speaks Number or Name of Incoming Caller
The built-in speaker is loud enough to fill a large room. Control the volume through the menus. Announcements occur automatically as each call arrives. So you need not rush to the box to see who’s calling.
Installs in Minutes
You set up this box as follows.
- Plug the power cord into a 110-volt AC outlet.
- Plug the other end of that cord into the ClassCo unit.
- Unplug the phone line from your phone.
- Plug that same line into the LINE connector on the ClassCo.
- Plug one end of the supplied phone cord into your phone.
- Finally, plug the other end of that cable into the PHONE connector on this caller Id box.
No Setup Needed for Basic Call Announcing
If you’ve made the connections as described in the previous bullet, you’re set to go. You will then hear the phone numbers of incoming callers announced when they ring you. Note that this box speaks only if you subscribe your land line to caller Id service.
Recordable Caller Names on the ClassCo 9900CW Talking Caller Id
You can record a name such as “Dad,” Mom,” “Virginia”. Then link that name with the number of the person with that name. Then, when they call you, the ClassCo plays your recording back. Your recording takes the place of the VoiceAnnounce voice that reads the telephone number digits. The machine has enough memory for up to 50 name recordings.
Recent Calls List
This box remembers the last 99 incoming unique telephone numbers. You can scroll through this list, and the unit reads the numbers or your associated recorded names back to you. Once this list becomes full, old call records are automatically deleted as new calls come in (first in, firs out). The unit also condenses numbers in the list. E.g. The same number calls you five times. But this does NOT take up five entries in the call log. Only one entry in the list is made for each unique caller, no matter how many times they call. Just the date and time in that entry are updated with each new call from them.
Remembers your Settings and Recordings
Non volatile memory. The unit does not forget your names and assigned numbers during power outages. Even if you disconnect it from the phone line, these values are retained.
Custom Outgoing Messages
You can also record short outgoing messages, and assign each one to specific incoming phone numbers. Then, should someone call from one of these numbers, the ClassCo answers the call. Then it plays back the message you made for them.
The ClassCo 9900CW Talking Caller Id Unit Has Visual Display
The caller Id info, besides being spoken, is also shown on a fair-sized LCD screen.
Red Call Light
Located at the top right corner of the box. This lamp blinks a short-on, long-off pattern to let your know of new calls.
Manual Phone Number Entry Supported
You can record a caller’s name and link it with a number that is not present in the call log. To do that, enter the number using the keys on the unit, and then record the name for that number.
This process, since there are no digit keys, can be a bit cumbersome. But this is not likely something you will do often. Once you do it, it’s done for good, until you erase or redo your entries.
Message Waiting Light
This light blinks in a different way, to let you know that you have new voicemail.
Call Back / Dial Back Feature
You can have the unit call back any number in the call log. Just find the number you want in the list, and press a button.
Works with Call Waiting
This caller Id box even tells you who’s calling when you’re on your phone.
The ClassCo 9900CW Talking Caller Id Needs External Power
Comes with a DC 6 volt, 200 MA adaptor with a negative tip. Model number MA132-060020, Direct Plug-in Class 2 Transformer.
Retractable Rear Legs
On the rear underside of the unit, there is a fold-able stand. This faces the unit forward when sitting upright, for easier viewing.
Very Few Buttons
This box can be completely operated by the five keys on the top. These include: record, mode / dial, clear, rew, and fwd. As mentioned, entering numbers can take a bit of time. But that goes pretty quickly once you get the hang of it.
Typically costs around $30; cheap enough that you can place them throughout your home, for house wide caller Id announcements.
Cons, Disadvantages, Problems, and Limitations of the ClassCo 9900CW Talking Caller Id
Sensitive to Phone Line Surges and Spikes
We’ve seen a couple of these boxes destroyed by nearby thunderstorms. After the storm passed, the box either began behaving erratically, or it stopped working altogether. We propose that ClassCo incorporate better lightning and voltage surge protection into subsequent versions of this box.
No Back Light on LCD Display
This can make reading the display hard. Without a back lamp, you must re position the box in existing light, to read caller info.
Name Recordings are Low Fidelity
The built-in voice recorder appears to record your voice at very low bit rates. So the resulting recording can be hard to understand. Why? Because it has little high-end sounds (treble).
For Land Line Use Only
Does not read incoming caller Id data for a cell phone.
The ClassCo 9900CW Talking Caller Id Only Announces when Caller Id Info is Sent
The unit only tells you who’s calling if it gets the caller Id data via the phone line. With no caller Id record / packet sent, the unit says nothing. No way around that we see. So this is really not a shortcoming of this box.
Hard to Find
As of September, 2015, we’ve not been able to find many copies of this caller Id box locally or online. ClassCo may have discontinued it, although their website still displays it.
No Battery Backup Option in the ClassCo 9900CW Talking Caller Id
This ClassCo model contains non volatile flash memory for retaining settings and call log. But it does not speak during power outages. Other models have batteries.
Our Rating for the ClassCo 9900CW Talking Caller Id
This ClassCo caller Id box is a real time and effort saver for those who do not see well. It alerts them to who is calling in audio format. We’ve owned a few of these boxes over the past five years, and have replaced a couple when they failed. We like them THAT much. They’re cheap to buy, although we’ve not seen them sold in local stores; had to buy ours from Amazon, on the Internet. However, this minor inconvenience is infinitesimal next to the gains offered by this VoiceAnnounce accessibility technology. Knowing who’s calling without having to put down the wet dish rag to see, is really helpful. So we’d rate this device at 93 out of 100.
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References for the ClassCo 9900CW Talking Caller Id Box
- 2019-03-23: Added subheadings, key phrase targeting, and tags.
- 2015-12-17: Added appropriate tags.
- 2015-09-17: Added “No battery backup option” drawback.
- 2015-09-11: Updated content, added Suggested Reading section.
- 2015-09-07: Added more appropriate tags, and updated content to reflect the lack of availability of this product currently.
- 2015-01-21: Originally published.