- Free calls to the the US and Canada
- Great call quality
- Use your existing conventional phone
- Cheap hardware, compared to other device-based services
- No monthly bills
- Computer must be on to make and receive calls
- Free calling restricted to the US and Canada
- Limited number of features
The quality of the voice calls is very good, above average for a VoIP service. It is better than cell phone quality, with a MOS rate between 4 and 5. This, as always, will also depend on your Internet connection, which is a prerequisite for using the service.
Once the MagicJack is bought, you are assigned a new phone number based on your area code. The device is like a USB flash drive, only twice as large, that can be plugged into any USB port of your computer, on which the MagicJack software will have to be installed. On the other end of the device, there is an RJ-11 port where you plug your phone line, connected to your phone set. This done, you get a dial tone and can start using the service.
Although very economical and handy, the service loses some convenience with the constant attachment to the computer, which has to be on whenever you make or receive calls. So, if you want to use the service as a replacement for your PSTN phone, you have to make sure that your computer is always on.
Upon ordering, you can receive the MagicJack device within a few days, a week at most. The device is quite easy to set up, such that you can be up and running in minutes. Customer care has however much been commented on. Not that it is bad, but that it is somewhat different. Their web site offers live chats with officers for after sales service, but I failed to find a contact email address over there.
For international calling using MagicJack, there are cheap rates, close to those practised by other VoIP services. You need to have credit, which you can control online, through their web site.
You or people you know can however calls to the US for free, provided they have the MagicJack device and they call someone using MagicJack. For instance, you can take one device with you while travelling abroad and use it with a computer on any connection; or you can send the device to people you know overseas.
The free voicemail is worth mentioning, with a bunch of very basic features, including call-waiting, multi-number forwarding, caller ID, integrating with MS Outlook, 911 and 411. As at now, early 2008, the device is not supported on Mac and Linux, but only on Windows XP and Vista. Also, as at now, the service is available only to people in the US.