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MagicJack VoIP Service Review

Device-Based VoIP Service

About.com Rating 3.5 Star Rating
User Rating 2 Star Rating (17 Reviews)

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MagicJack - Keeps me in touch with my loved ones overseas.
Ace Reston/Flikr/CC BY 2.0
Magic Jack is a VoIP device that allows you to make unlimited free calls to the US and Canada for free, without paying monthly bills. You can use your existing wired or cordless phone for making and receiving calls. It is an interesting service for home phone users, and offers a serious alternative to paid services like Vonage and Skype. You however need to have your computer running to be able to make or receive calls. The device costs $40, with a year free service; the second year being only $20.

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • Computer must be on to make and receive calls
  • Free calling restricted to the US and Canada
  • Limited number of features

Review

What makes the hype of the service is the possibility to make unlimited free calls to the US and Canada. This eliminates the headache of monthly bills, thereby allowing you to save a lot of money, at least $300 a year when comparing against a service like Vonage. The only investments you have to make is the $40 for buying the MagicJack device. As from the second year of service, you pay only $20 a year. The interesting part, which demarcates the service from popular softphones, is that calls can be made to any other fixed or mobile phone, whether the recipients are MagicJack users or not.

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.

User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 4 out of 5
Magic Jack Plus, Member johnnycee888

Started using Magic Jack Plus Dec 5, 2012. You must port the number from your old phone company to Magic Jack before you stop service from your old company. Otherwise if you want to keep the old phone number you have to reinstate the old service and then port the old number. Once you port the number, Magic Jack automatically notifies the old phone company to stop service. The only time I have an issue is when I get voice prompts from an answering machine. Sometimes I have to reenter a number twice or even three times before it is accepted. But this is rare. In my case here in L A the savings add up to at least $600.00 to $750.00 a year over the old ATT which we had for over 65 years! This savings alone pays for my internet from either Clear.com or TimeWarner depending on which one I choose to use at any given time. Very Satisfied. If you have a decent internet connection you will have good service. And with Magic Jack Plus you don't even need to have your computer on or even in the house once the device has been installed. Easy easy installation. And if you prefer, Magic Jack will assign you a new phone number with any area code you choose! This will save you from the $10.00/year service charge that is paid to you old phone company for porting your number. I Cr 13:8a

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