I am one of those who’s been paying about $40/month for traditional long distance phone calls here in the US. I have long known the benefits of VOIP but the cost difference wasn’t that big for me to leave my convenient setup with AT&T – DSL + Long distance phone. Plus, I was just plain lazy to switch.
Recently, when I heard about MagicJack’s VOIP service I thought it was one of those shady deals that I’d end up getting swindled. It was the price of the subscription which is a ridiculously low $20/year that made me wrinkle my eyebrow and say ‘Is this for real?’
With that information in hand, I just found out that AT&T offers an Internet-only DSL or naked DSL as opposed to a DSL service requiring a phone line. So, I immediately jumped in to try out the obviously cheaper alternative, MajicJack to see if I can really save some money. I have been testing this out for a couple of weeks now. I am impressed enough with MajicJack to share it with you.
- It is a TicTac sized box with a USB connector (with 1ft extension cord) on one end and a phone jack on the other end.
- Costs about $40 for the first year to purchase the MajicJack box including a years subscription and $20/year thereafter
- Unlimited long distance calls to US & Canada but no international calls yet although I have been seeing 2c international call ads in the dialpad, I can’t find further information at the time of writing this.
- Self-installing software from the MajicJack device itself. No CDs!
- Software runs on Windows XP & Vista only. No luck for Mac/Linux users at the moment.
- Phone numbers available in a lot of area codes in the US
- You provide your address during setup to get a phone number assigned to you as well as have e911 configured.
- Just plugin your home phone to the phone jack on MajicJack and you are all set with a new number.
- You get a dialpad as well in your computer should you want to use it with a headset.
- You get all the features like call waiting, caller id, voice mail, voice mail by email, etc.
- You can get your current number ported to MajicJack as well but the information on how to do it could be better.
My Impressions on MagicJack
- The call quality is not bad with my 1.5Mbps connection but if I am watching streaming video, the voice does break. But, this isn’t MajicJack’s fault but limitation with my available bandwidth. I am thinking of bumping my Internet speed to 3Mbps by paying $5 more per month.
- For MajicJack to work, you have to have your computer on but if your computer is turned off, the voicemail still picks up the call and sends it to your email. I think this is acceptable that if I am not at home or have the computer turned off at night as long as I get the voicemail but we leave the computer on all day anyway.
- If you don’t get a phone number in your area, using a GrandCentral number is an option.
- If you installed MajicJack in your laptop, you can take your MagicJack phone number anywhere you are traveling as long as you have a broadband connection.
- I have read reports of people plugging MajicJack into their home’s phone jack in the wall and have all the other phone jacks activated to be used with other jacks including faxes. But, it seems you need to have your landline disconnected before this can work as the additional pulses in the line will interfere. I haven’t tested this yet as we are yet to disconnect our landline.
- At the moment, you could potentially get a second MagicJack number and ship it to your family/friend abroad and make US phone calls for free! I am not sure if it’s legal so don’t quote me on it if you try it.
- Love the ease of use and the plug and play nature of the device making it very portable.
- It’s hard to find much information about it on their website but you can get a pretty good idea about the service here at DSL Reports forums. And their, free trial numbers is a joke as you can easily tell that’s fake!
MajicJack is not for everyone but if you are willing to accept a few limitations that’s inherent with many VOIP solutions, you could end up saving a lot of money in phone bills. It’s true that it smells like a service that could go under any time but to me the cost savings is big enough to switch to it. Mind you, my wife and I have our cell phones as well so our dependence on our home phone may not be the same as if your only phone number is your home phone.
Even if the service should fold in a month, I wouldn’t have lost anything by paying $40 for the first year as that is what my one month of landline phone service costs! And I bought it in a nice deal at 1saleaday.com for only $30.
After using MajicJack for over a couple of month now, I am totally impressed by this little device. The call quality is excellent and we haven’t had the software crash a single time on us. We do try to keep our downloads for the night time so it doesn’t interrupt call quality. I highly recommend this for anyone looking to use it for home. I’m not sure if I’d rely on it for my business though.Plus, you might be able to expense your phone bill for your business anyways.
Let me know if you try this and how you like it.