In the age of cell phones and voice mail, you don't really need to have an answering machine anymore, but if you are in the market for one, I have to recommend this one! About 10 years ago, my friend, who worked for AT&T at the time, bought me this answering machine because he said it was the absolute best you could get and my old one was getting bad. Boy, was he right! This thing has been a workhorse for the entire 10 years. It even came with the attached wireless phone and a separate one you can plug in anywhere in the house and both of those have been great, too! The batteries are still reasonable even after 10 years. Never lost a call, and nothing but great use the whole time. You can add up to 5 extra base units like the one he got me on the same line. Oh-it also has GREAT range!! I went all the way down to the end of my street once to see if it still was capable of holding a call-it was!! And that's 4 houses down!
The answering machine function gives you the option of leaving your own message or using the automated voice that comes built in with a message. It holds a HUGE amount of information, too-I never had it fill up and that was even when going on vacations and leaving old messages saved in some cases. I believe you can have mailboxes on it, but I never used that function. This also has built in caller ID if you buy the service from your phone company.
The best part about this system for me was that it's free :) I never found out how much it cost him, but I imagine you can probably get this system for around $150 if you shop around.
This is a great system and it makes a GREAT gift!! :)