MagicJack Review – VOIP Service for $20/Year

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.

MagicJack Overview

  • It is a TicTac sized box with a USB connector (with 1ft extension cord) on one end and a phone jack on MajicJack Device 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 Features

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 for only $30.

Update: 8/19

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.

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85 Responses to “MagicJack Review – VOIP Service for $20/Year”

  1. Massachusetts IT Consultant February 20, 2009 at 3:41 pm #

    As the owner of a small IT consultancy firm, MagicJack has been crucial for us. We use it all the time, and having tried Packet8, Skype, and Vonage, MagicJack kills the rest of them

  2. Matt @ Cash for Gold March 9, 2009 at 7:18 pm #

    Sounds like MagicJack is the real deal. I’ve been using Skype, so maybe I’ll make the leap of faith, too.

  3. kym March 10, 2009 at 10:11 am #

    I have had the ‘majicjack’ for about three months now, and I have to say, I’m a little disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, for $20 a month it’s a great deal, but what they don’t tell you is…

    1) you would have to have a good name brand phone in order for your ‘caller id’ to work… otherwise it will default to your computer screen, meaning everytime your phone rings, you will have to go look at the screen to see who’s calling.

    2)You would need the best ‘broadband’ you can afford, because you will experience dropped calls, static-laced calls, and some calls won’t even go thru… you get a dial tone again after you dialed a number.

    I just recieved a call from a good friend I’ve known for over 20 years, and my call just dropped. Everytime I tried to call her back, I would either get a dial tone again after I already dialed the number, or it would just sound blank until I realized there was no connection and tried again. I am about to contact ‘majicjack’ right now, because I need to understand what these problems are about, and what can be done about it.

  4. BJ Savage March 26, 2009 at 8:25 pm #

    I have DSL with an AT&T landline, so I have 2 telephones on my computer desk. I paid $39.95 for my Majic Jack setup. In 2010 I will have to pay another $19.95 for LD calls for one year. I chose a Florida phone number so my long distance family can call me free of charge. When I turn my computer on I can see if they have tried to reach me, so I give them a call back. (In the event of an emergency they could also reach me on my land line.) I’ve eliminated about $500 in LD charges per year with this little gadget. I don’t want locals calling me on my Florida phone number so I don’t give it out. I make outgoing calls to Alaska, Idaho, Nevada, Connecticut and Florida with no problems. If I get a glitch I reboot and the system resets.

  5. Samantha@8 track player April 3, 2009 at 12:51 pm #

    I am an avid vonyage user. Is this really that much better?

  6. Mark April 4, 2009 at 4:49 am #

    So everyone that calls you is calling long distance? I was almost sold. That will be the downfall of it. One more question though. Can you fax over it? I was considering it for a fax lane.

  7. Mark April 4, 2009 at 4:50 am #

    Fax “line”. Excuse the typo.

  8. Rick @ Business VoIP Service April 8, 2009 at 6:42 pm #

    I was observing the MajicJack features through a friend of mine who runs an IT service and support business from his home. One of his customers prefer to communicate via streaming video and the quality is not bad, although with his 1.5Mbps connection, the streaming video, audio does stagger. Higher bandwidth capabilities can remedy this issue. When he’s offsite and sometimes for several days, he can turn off his main desktop and MajicJack will still function by sending voicemail to his email server, so he can pickup messages remotely. This systems does seem like a worthwhile investment in order to minimize your monthly telecom expenses.

  9. JenMarie April 16, 2009 at 2:06 pm #

    where can i buy it?

  10. Mike May 16, 2009 at 10:56 am #

    MajicJack works great for both incoming and outgoing calls. Installed in minutes without any glitches. Clear voice sound, plugged it to my home telephone jack and now the whole house is wired to MajicJack. Why pay $50 a month for regular phone service when it costs $20/year with this service, it’s a no brainer!

  11. K May 18, 2009 at 10:44 am #

    Mike, exactly! I use it and love it too!

  12. vision May 22, 2009 at 5:14 am #

    voip is voip.
    the reason it is that cheap is that it is an alternative not a main line. but voip is getting there, in a few years maybe it will ultimately replace all landlines but not now.
    majic jack in itself is a great product. hands down.

    but it has alot of dependancies.
    1 u have to have a decent computer, no pentium 3 crap.
    2 u have to have a decent dsl connection, if u use dial up it will work but call quality will suffer. bad quality of dsl will affect voice quality.
    3 ur computer must be on for it to work, of you can relay on voice mail or number forwarding i just dont know how much cost is if ever there is any.

    notice that all dependancies i mentioned is not only for majic jack itself but ALL VOIP SERVICES IN GENERAL, packet8, skype, vonage etc.

    on the price comparison definitely it is cheaper, cheaper than any phone service or cheaper that any voip service out there as far as i know off.

    quality wise it is great but of course with voip and the dependancies mentioned there are really times that it screws up not mainly due to majic jack itself but due to the dependencies mentioned. with any voip based services if u have low bandwith of course call quality is shit.

    overall i am happy with the service. i use it to mainly call out i can call landlines and cellphones without the extra financial burden.

    if it folds then ive already recouped everything i paid for due to it being that damm cheap. its really not my concern if they make it or not, if they are there or will fold, value for money im already satisfied.

    in terms of setting it up, its that easy. jsut plag it and let it work on itself. it will self install so no issues on that end unlike other voips wherein u have a step by step isntall, alot of forms to fill up, credit card info to give etc. i just went to CC and bought one plugged it in at my pc then done.

    im happy with the product and i am saddened that alot of people give bad feedback but of course each person has his or her own experiences. the mere fact that there are mixed reactions is a testament that this product is making waves and being great at what it does. there are alot of satisfied people mind you.

    the dissatisfied ones are people who failed to recognized the dependencies. its like saying my car screws up because i placed diesel instead of gas. most cases of peopls having problems is either mis use or not kowing how to analyze situation properly.

    with nay new technology people need to know how to use it the right way before it will work the right way before complaining tht it does not.

  13. V June 11, 2009 at 5:32 pm #

    I lost my Magic Jack connection, all it says is that I no longer have 911 service, and my number at the top has been cleared, how do I get this all back?

  14. Doctor M August 16, 2009 at 7:59 pm #

    I decided to get one now that I have AT&T broadband. I will select another local number different from my current landline, which I will keep – because it only cost me $15/month, because it is my official number that all my friends (and some enemies) already know, and because it serves as a backup for those times and cases where MajicJack doesn’t provide a better solution.

    Here is my take as an engineer:

    1. Majicjack must be plugged into a computer or other device which has internet access — preferably broadband. This could be your desktop computer, a notebook computer, or any device with a usb socket and internet access. The call is “free” only in the sense that you are already paying for the internet connection for “other reasons”.

    2. Analog to digital signal conversion:
    MajicJack passes your voice to the internet by translating your voice into a digital signal, which is divided up into micro packets which carry a destination code, just like an email, except instead of letters and printed words, the packets are the digital equivalent of sounds. It uses the telephone you plug into it both as a microphone and speaker.

    3. MajiJack (Internet) to analog landlines:
    When you are calling a landline number from MajicJack, the MajicJack center has to pass your call to a point close to the called number which has the ability to translate the digital signal packets back into an analog signal that is dumped into a local landline company before it will be heard on the receiving telephone as sounds – hopefully closely resembling the original voice input. This is a limiting factor on “MajicJack-to-landline” calls – contracting with a local provider for the digital to analog conversion, which presently only include the US and Canada. If your translation point is not close, then long distance chages might be incurred in completing the call. This is most likely to occur when an international caller when MajicJack calls a landline without MajicJack.

    4. MajicJack (Internet) to MajicJack (internet):
    This is MajicJack’s forte. Its all internet, and the internet connections could theoretically be anywhere in the world. Both the caller and the receiver must have MajicJack. In this case it is the MajicJacks on both ends which do the tranlating from sound to digital and back to sound.

    5. Local vs. National vs. international calls:

    Local calls: There is no real advntage in making local calls on MajicJack, and considerable chance for signal degredation and delay due to all analog to digital and back conversions, and passing signals through gateways and hubs. It can be done, however.

    Long Distance National calls: This is where MajicJack should realy start to save money for long-distance calls. It is reasonably viable for MajicJack to landline calls because most landline users do not pay for calls received – only for calls initiated. However, calls from a landline to a MajicJack do not save anything in cost — and may cost more if the MajicJack number is not local to the receiver.

    Long Distance International calls: Theoreticaly, this should be a no-hassle extension of Natianal long distance, For Canada, Europe, and some Middle east and Asian countries, with top-rate internet backbone and Internet service providers, it will probably work very well. But many countries have less-than-optimal internet backbone, and even less optimal Internet service providers. In such case one is likely to experience delays and droped packets because of the many poor gateways and hubs the electronics packets must pass through.

    THE BOTTOM LINE: the service is cheap enough to try it out. Its best use is MajicJack to MajicJack. most peopel will find it best suited for MJ to MJ national long diatance calls, and a few may find it auitable for MJ to MJ international long distance.

  15. K August 17, 2009 at 10:41 am #

    Doctor M,

    Thanks for visiting ShanKrila and taking the time to explain MagicJack so wonderfully! Your comment just added this post that much more informative and valuable. Much appreciated.

  16. anuprastha August 18, 2009 at 10:21 pm #

    Few problems with majicjack:
    1. The person calling to my number(MajikJack) complains(I have verified, this is true) that even if the phone is not in use, it gives busy tone, says “the number you dialied is not available” and should try it multiple tims to make it work.

    2. When phone ring comes, youpick up, either of the party can’t hear voice of other end. Should redial again.

    3. Multiple times- advertisement call comes.
    4. Consumes too much memory and CPU.
    5. Can’t hibernate my computer until majicjack process is killed form taskManager.

  17. K August 20, 2009 at 12:26 pm #


    Thanks for stopping by and sharing your views. I really haven’t seen any of these issues especially 4 & 5. I do have a decently powered desktop and I let it run all the time. #3 – you may want opt out of marketing calls. #1 & #2 – haven’t had that complaint but the voice quality suffers if we were downloading something while on call. I might have to look for some bandwidth allocation software that will always ensure MagicJack gets its share.

  18. salman October 23, 2009 at 1:49 pm #

    If you have a reliable broadband connection and don’t use it all the time to its fullest capacity (like downloading movies or big software), the call quality is pretty good. As you may have noted from another comment here, you would get a new number in your area code and it might be long distance even for folks in the same area code to call you.

  19. CarolF January 12, 2010 at 2:00 pm #

    I have had magic jack for over a year now! I am on limited income and could not afford long distance service on my landline phone. I love it! I am one person sold on this product, hook line and sinker! I have saved money by having this as my main phone service. I do have a little problem with the quality of the signal, like when you are talking to someone and they say you are splitting up and can’t make out what you say, I just end up calling back or rebooting my pc and it seems to work out ok. Nine times out of ten it works good. I recommend this to anyone who is tired of spending money out the waazoo to the regular phone companies. MagicJack is A+ in my book.

  20. Mark January 20, 2010 at 11:37 am #

    magicJack is great. I love it.

  21. Luvzforplay May 6, 2011 at 5:40 pm #

    I know I I have trieed Vonage for two months now, and I think I had possibly three days when my phones actually worked as they are supose to . After numerous conplaints to Vonage I was told that if I wanted the system they would send someone out for $99.00 . This is not as they advertised . I would not let my worst enrmy sign up for this mess. For two months they told me when AT&T reeleased my number everything would work fine , This could not be furthrt from the truth !! Don’t go to Vonage , that is unless you don’t want to have phone service and a lot of headachs !!!!

  22. VoIP Products July 21, 2011 at 5:24 am #

    hmmm, i used  this magic jack  before but found a such best results. I hope there is some new products are available in markets but i don’t which i have purchase if you have any suggestion for that then please inform me

  23. sip provider April 4, 2012 at 11:30 am #

    wow… very interesting. I have used this magic jack long back and it gave wonderful results. I am completely pleased.


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