Is magicJack’s VoIP for you?

magicJack – A device that you plug into your computer’s USB port that enables you to use your broadband internet connection to make FREE local and long distance phone calls. A phone line (standard RJ-11) plugs into the magicJack from a phone. Initial cost is typically around $40 dollars [ CLICK HERE ] the first year, then $20 a year thereafter. There are other pricing packages available, as well.

magicJack

magicJack

Is magicJack’s VoIP for you?

Recently while browsing in the local RadioShack, I could not help overhearing a man and woman asking the salesperson a lot of questions about the magicJack. What they wanted to do was replace the landline phones in their home with a magicJack and this salesperson was laying it on heavy; making it sound like this $20 device was the “ultimate” solution to replacing their landline phone service.

After detecting skepticism from these folks, I could not take it any longer and piped in. I said, “Listen, I have been a magicJack owner for over a year.  It does work; however you need to know this about magicJack”.

  • This device is dependent on the speed and reliability of your broadband connection and your computer. If the broadband connection and/or computer is under heavy load, then expect problems.
  • This device depends on your computer being turned “on”; however, the service does have voicemail which can be forwarded to an email account (in the event the computer is turned “off”).
  • Call quality can vary; however, on my setup the call quality is better than cellular and most of the time as good (sometimes better) than my landline. Again, this varies, based on the factors previously reflected.
  • I have experienced occasional software issues with the magicJack software, which is driven by the magicJack device itself. Often a reboot of the PC will make it behave itself. When you get this thing, get everything plugged in and follow the registration instructions to setup your “new” phone number.

  • This device will not work through the phone jacks in your house. The salesperson was definitely giving that impression. One thing you can do, is purchase a cheap cordless phone and plug the main base into the magicJack.
  • Services included are FREE local and long distance calls, FREE voicemail, FREE call waiting, FREE Caller ID and FREE Directory Assistance.  Again, this all varies based on factors previously reflected; however these services are included.
  • You are going to see thousands of “pros” and thousands of “cons” on this device. For example, [ SEE HERE ] .  All I can tell you is, it works for me.
  • You are going to read where magicJack computers may analyze the phone numbers you call in order to improve the relevance of the ads you see in the magicJack software.  In other words, this could be a privacy concern.
  • You are going to find at the magicJack.com website, it is geared toward marketing; not tech support.

Is magicJack’s VoIP for you?

In this particular case, I set up a “win-win” situation for these folks (the customer) and the salesperson.

Replacing your landline phones in your home with magicJack, is not a good solution; unless you are living on bread alone (which did not appear to be the case here). Using magicJack to supplement other services you have is a good solution. For example, I dumped my long distance and use MagicJack to make my long distance calls, which is really not that many compared to other people. We also have pay-as-you-go cell phones and can use them in a pinch, if necessary.

I then turned to the salesperson and asked, “What is your return policy? AND, If these people buy this and do not like it can they bring it back to YOU? At this point, I really got the look. Once that was out of the way, I told these people, take this home and play with it and play with it a lot.  If it does not suit bring it back to this guy. They ended up buying it!

To my readers, magicJack does work; however it depends on many variables. If you want to play with one, go to Walmart to buy it.  Their return policy is probably the best around. If you can’t wait and want a decent buy, then check [ HERE ] .

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17 thoughts on “Is magicJack’s VoIP for you?

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  1. I recently started using MagicJack the same way as you, Rick. I do make LOTS of long distance calls and my phone bill with unlimited long distance on my land line was up to $75/month! I, too, kept my landline for incoming calls and emergency use. So far I LOVE MagicJack! I’ve encountered some hiccups in conversations and have had to reboot my system – all of which are just minor, temporary annoyances that I can live with in order to save $50+ a month!

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  2. I have recommended this to some friends and clients, and they all like it.

    However, I was unable to use it because I run Linux rather than Windows on my computer, and I was not willing to set up and run another computer system just to run MagicJack. Periodically, I would check to see if anyone had gotten it to work with Linux yet. When I switched carriers from Cricket (unlimited local and long distance for 35.00/mo) to Sprint to get the HTC Hero, I only got 450 minutes per month. Since I run a consulting business, I can’t tell a customer I can’t talk with them because I am running low on minutes!

    I redoubled my efforts to see if I could use a MagicJack and while I didn’t have success with that, I did find a company called nettalk that was coming out with a new version of their competitive product, the netTalk Duo. It plugs directly into your router and doesn’t require any sort of computer or operating system. All configuration and setup is done through your browser and doesn’t use ActiveX or anything that requires Internet Explorer or Windows.

    I’ve had it for several months now, and I love it. The calls are crystal clear, very rarely do I get the VOIP echo or skipping, and I never have to worry about rebooting my computer!

    The initial cost is higher as is the yearly cost after the initial year, but that is offset by not having to keep your computer running all the time to keep it active.

    I probably wouldn’t trust it as my only phone, but since I have a cellphone, if I have Internet problems, I can use it to call the cable company to get it fixed!

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  3. A very well-written review, here Rick. Balanced and compelling.

    I would like to say to anyone reading this who may not know you from Adam: you can take this to the bank – Rick is not on Magic Jack’s payroll, and he truly is writing to help people.
    Bookmark this site: he’s one of my (few) daily reads.

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      1. In my RL job, I have been asked this very question several times and I’m sure it will come up again. Now I can refer to this for.. reinforcement. Glad it’s here.

        (Almost all were, like your “man and woman”, looking to replace their landline… and I’m with you on that. Supplement, yes. Replace, no.)

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      2. TechPaul,

        “Supplement Yes – Replace No” – Right on target! I did forget in the article to mention that you set up the magicJack to make 911 calls in whatever area you are in; HOWEVER, I would not want it to be my primary line to make 911 calls.

        Rick

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  4. I have not used my landline for any reason since 2006. the only reason i have it is for 911 service, but ATT charges over $20/month. that’s over $240 per year. I’m not sure that’s worth it. From what I see you saying, Magicjack would not do it for me….also, I have a Mac — I use Safari. So….doesn’t sound as if this is even an option.

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  5. Just and update to my previous post. I’ve been living with my netTalk Duo now for several months. I have several friends with MagicJack and I would never use a MagicJack for myself now.

    For me, the killer feature of the netTalk Duo is that fact you don’t need to plug it into a computer. It connects directly into your router. The fact I don’t have to keep a computer running 24/7 for possible phone calls is great.

    Also, Donna had a concern, although unfounded, that the MJ wouldn’t work for her because she has a Mac. I run Linux which definitely WON’T work with MJ. The netTalk Duo eliminates that worry because it doesn’t need any sort of computer at all.

    One of my friends with a MJ had it suddenly refuse to allow him to make calls. He went on with tech support for hours and they couldn’t get it to work. I finally did an in-depth uninstall of their software that required editing the registry, tracking down folders and manually deleting them, etc., and finally got it to work. But, it could have hosed his computer since it does so much hooking into the OS.

    Anyway, if you’re thinking of a MJ, you owe it to yourself to look at the netTalk Duo as well. I think you’ll like it.

    I’m not associated in any way with netTalk other than as a satisfied customer, so I have no financial motive for you to use one over the other!

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