Sunday, January 24, 2016
Product review: SENTRY Call Blocker Blocking, Black list and White list
I have been using CPR call blocker for almost exactly a year. Sentry call blocker is easier to use and has features that do not exist CPR. In this review I will compare the features of these two call blockers and explain why I like Sentry better.
MODES AND CALLER ID
Sentry blocker can operate in two modes. In in-line mode the blocker is connected to the line and the phone is plugged into the blocker. In parallel mode both the blocker and the phone plug into the wall with a splitter. I could not use in-line mode because my phone no longer displayed the caller id. In parallel mode my phone displays the caller id. In both modes the blocker itself only displays the numbers, it cannot display the caller id.
How does this compare with CPR? When I used in-line mode with CPR blocker I also lost the caller id info. I have been using CPR blocker in parallel mode. However, to block calls with CPR I also had to have a spare phone attached in line with the blocker. I needed to use the phone to enter commands on the key pad, for example to block the last number called I needed to enter #*2#. Sentry blocker makes blocking easier - all I have to do is locate the number in the call log and press "reject" button for 3 seconds.
The documentation suggests that before you start using the Sentry blocker you create a white list. This is a list of phone numbers for your friends and family that will never be blocked. This list can be created manually by entering each number in the blocker (this is a fairly tedious process as Sentry blocker does not have a keypad and you need to hit a sequence of up/down and reject buttons for each number in every phone number you want to enter). Alternatively you can have this person call your phone, and then find his/her number in the call log and press "accept" button for 3 seconds. There is a third way to add a person to the white list, this is done by the caller when they press '0' on their end (more about this feature under "CHALLENGING THE CALLER").
CPR does not have a concept of a white list.
There is no way to manually enter the numbers into the black list. Since I have been using CPR for a year I have list of particular annoying marketeers who has called my number many many many times. Since I know they will continue to call I would have taken the time to enter their numbers in the block list but this is not possible and I will have to block them again when they call.
CPR does allow me to manually populate the block list.
Sentry does have a way to show how many times a particular number called.
DELETING NUMBERS FROM BLACK AND WHITE LIST
Deleting numbers from the lists is easy. All you have to do is press either Black list or White list button, scroll to the number you want to delete, and press DELETE key twice quickly.
CPR works in a similar way.
CHALLENGING THE CALLER
This is my favorite feature of the blocker. In this mode the callers who not listed in either the white or the black list are challenged (see my video to hear what the challenge says). The caller has an option to press 0 which adds them to the white list and the phone rings. This feature totally takes care of robo calls, the phone does not ring. I would have preferred that the person could not add him or herself to the white list, I would have just liked the call to go through. I would have like to be the only one that can add names to the white list. The way it works now, I would need to scan the white list periodically and make sure some telemarketing caller did not add themselves to my white list.
Update: today a human telemarketer hit zero and added himself to my white list. To move him to the black list I found this new number in the white list and held "reject" button for three seconds. The number got removed from the white list and added to the black list.
People on the white list do not get a challenge. People on the black list do not get a challenge.
You can select if the voice that answers is male or female. The choice is shown in the top right corner as A (female voice) or B (male voice).
CPR does not have the challenge feature. CPR has only one list, the black list. Either the caller is cut off or the phone rings.
The phone can operate in "BLOCK NO CID" mode. The block mode automatically blocks callers that do not have a caller id. To add this option press and hold "reject" button. To remove this option press and hold "reject" button until "BLCK NO CID" disappears.
BASIC mode will let though unlisted numbers, while still blocking black listed numbers. Unlisted numbers could be something like automated doctor appointment reminders.
Sentry automatically sets the current time when the blocker is connected to the phone line.
WHAT DOES THE CALLER HEAR
I had a friend call me and we experimented with blocking numbers as well as numbers on the white list. Blocked callers hear nothing, they are just disconnected. The callers on the white list get connected normally. The callers who are not on either one of these lists get a challenged and are asked to press zero if they are not marketing solicitations.
HOW MANY NUMBERS CAN BE BLOCKED / WHITE LISTED
The total number of the two lists is 1500 numbers. The system divides this capacity between two lists automatically as needed.
WHAT CAN CPR DO THAT SENTRY DOES NOT
I switched to Sentry after one year of using CPR. However it had a couple of features that I will miss. What can CPR do that Sentry does not?
- Using CPR I could pre-populate the black list
- CPR shows me the count of how many times a specific blocked number called. I get a satisfaction seeing a high count number of blocked calls and if Sentry's black list could be pre-populated I would have known which numbers to enter in the black list.
Like many people I hate marketing calls. There is a great mental benefit to being able to do something about these annoying calls. Now when I get a marking call I am not annoyed, I think "Gotcha!" and block it.
This call blocking device is provided by Sentry for testing and review.
You can find "SENTRY call blocker" on Amazon by following this link.
Ali Julia review ★★★★★