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 1saleaday.com 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. Lakshaya May 5, 2008 at 11:37 am #

    The article sounds good to try and informative. Thanks for the tip. Anybody to compare it to Vonage service could be more useful.

  2. K May 5, 2008 at 11:44 am #

    Hello Murali.. great to see you here! 🙂 The DSL reports forum (linked in teh post) has a lot of people comparing MagicJack with other VOIP services. One thing I know for sure is that this is way simpler to install and has no contract.

  3. Vancouver realtor May 6, 2008 at 6:35 am #

    MagicJack seems to be a really great offer. . I am working in a team of Toronto realtors and we are also dealing with high phone bills. I am still searching for a cheaper alternatives and all VoIP services seem to be better than old fixed lines. Problem is that our phone calls are made mostly within Canada so price difference between fixed lines and VoIP is not so significant if replacement technology cost are included. But it could change if such a product like MagicJack is lunched also here in Canada too.

    Vancouver realtors last blog post..Baby Mama Review

  4. K@How to get around blocked websites May 6, 2008 at 9:24 am #

    Testing keywordluv plugin.

    Ks last blog post..MagicJack Review – VOIP Service for $20/Year

  5. K May 6, 2008 at 10:35 am #

    Hi Vancouver realtor, thanks for the comment! Hopefully you’ll see something that’s supported in Canada as well! With MajicJack calls to US and Canada are free. So, if the bulk of your calls are outgoing, you could still benefit from having a MajicJack line with a US number. Probably not feasible but just a thought.

  6. sandy@ photo gifts May 13, 2008 at 10:07 pm #

    I have made up my mind to get a magicjack after reading your blog! Thank you!

  7. K May 21, 2008 at 10:00 am #

    sandy, thanks for taking the time to leave a comment! You can’t go wrong with MagicJack for the price of it. It’s well worth the risk, imho. 🙂

  8. Zath@Technology Blog May 24, 2008 at 1:31 pm #

    I’ve not really used VOIP products – I eventually got Skype installed a few months back when I got a headset, but I’ve not really made use of it. If I need to make voice calls I still tend to use my landline as I get free calls on that and I can’t get rid of that service anyway since I need to pay that line rental to get my ADSL connection.

    That said, now I have a decent 3G mobile phone, I may try out Skype on that device and see how it compares to making calls via the mobile networks.

    Zaths last blog post..Save Jericho Campaign – Be Part of History!

  9. Scott @ResidentialVoIP June 22, 2008 at 12:00 pm #

    I was using MagicJack since last Oct until it just quit working and then spent hours on the phone with support overseas. Finally emailed them and they sent a new one but still had trouble getting it to connect again. It is a great price but I discovered it would never work for business calls, just wasn’t reliable. There were times it would not have a dial tone for long periods of time. Found a much better solution. Some people are using the service I found by getting the little box and sending it to people in other parts of the world. Noticed you have people from Canada here looking for solutions. Any way you put together a very good piece on magicjack.

    Scotts last blog post..Cut Your Expenses

  10. K June 24, 2008 at 2:55 pm #

    Scott, sorry you had troubles with it. I haven’t had any such problems in the 6 weeks I have been using it and we love not having to shell out $30/month for landline. Maybe we’ll use that towards a 3G iPhone. 🙂

  11. Tackhead July 1, 2008 at 11:26 am #

    Another option I have found useful when I travel is earthCALLER. This is a Free PC to Phone VOIP app that lets you call any US or Canadian phone number for free. No minute limits either.

    Has some nice feature–saved contact lists, speed dial.
    Register is free at http://labs.jaduka.com/register.

  12. Mass IT July 8, 2008 at 4:44 pm #

    That was a great post. I will have to bookmark this site so I can read it later.

  13. Nicardo M. Leopoldo July 12, 2008 at 9:27 am #

    Gentlemen,
    We have a call center in Davao City, Philippines. Our call center has 20 agents per shift of 8 hours. We are calling the USA, canada and UK.

    Can we install magaicjack in our center’s to save on telco cost? How is the following concerns address bythe system:

    1. 20 agents calling at same time will there be clarity concerns:
    2. Can we still records the calls and forward it to our USA clinets?
    3. Our system is ISDN will there be no problems?

    Can you help us to install with us if we order 5 or 10 or 24 units?

    I deeply appreciate your soonest resply.

    Thanks you.

    NICARDO M. LEOPOLDO, cpa
    President & COO
    Ntwork Bridgining Services, Inc.
    Davao City, Philippines
    Mobile Phone No. 09178737561
    Email address: leopoldonm@yahoo.com
    leopoldonm@pnb.com.ph

  14. Bob August 3, 2008 at 11:31 am #

    I haven’t experienced any problems with MagicJack and sure enjoy not have the monthly phone bill I did however, have an older PC sitting in the garage that I have dedicated to the magicJack, so that is all that runs on the machine.

  15. john August 11, 2008 at 3:22 pm #

    thanks for this article.. i didnt know about magicjack before this until i read this on your site.. anyway thanks again ..

    cheers,
    bad credit contract mobile phone

  16. Rich@Lenovo Notebooks August 13, 2008 at 4:57 pm #

    I’m not sold on it

    Richs last blog post..Idaho Falls Computers

  17. Greg@Reverse Number Lookup August 16, 2008 at 6:11 am #

    I am using it parallel to the home phone, and it is working fine.

    Gregs last blog post..How to use the reverse number lookup?

  18. K August 18, 2008 at 4:25 pm #

    Greg, me too. Just loving the service and the simplicity of it.

  19. Danni September 5, 2008 at 12:52 am #

    Hello everyone,
    Hi anyone who needs this product Majicjack in Hyderabad, India please let me know guys email me at danni_ash@yahoo.com.

  20. Bob in Vegas September 11, 2008 at 7:45 pm #

    After a few weeks I find that the quality is poor. Some people I call say they hear a buzz and other calls have severe voiceover problems. Echos !!! Occasionally the calls sound normal.

    Different phones tried on both my laptop and desktop get the same results.

  21. Debbie September 13, 2008 at 9:56 am #

    How do I get my current home phone number on instead of their assigned phone number?

  22. K September 13, 2008 at 10:08 am #

    Debbie, unfortunately I don’t think that is possible to do. I had to give up my old number and take up a new one.

  23. Debbie September 13, 2008 at 10:34 am #

    Thanks #22 K . I really hate giving up my old number. But if I must, than I guess I must. If anyone was able to use their current phone number let me know. Thanks.

  24. Debbie September 13, 2008 at 2:12 pm #

    The thing I don’t like about the assigned phone number change is, that anyone that calls me will be calling long distance to my phone. Its not long distance for me to call out but it is for anyone else who is calling me. I think I’m sending mine back. I don’t like that my mother next door will have to pay long distance to call me. They don’t tell you that when they advertised the majic jack.

  25. K September 14, 2008 at 10:56 am #

    Hey Debbie, you are welcome. That is something I guess i should mention in my review too, to be fair. Thanks for that insight.

  26. billeater@lower voip September 14, 2008 at 11:36 am #

    Haven’t tried the magicjack yet, but I’ve got almost a year in having switched to voice over ip at home. It’s got a few quirks, like waiting a few seconds for a ring after dialing, but worth the savings. My phone bill was around $100 a month, and now it’s $200 a year.

    The magicjack seems like a great little device for road warriors, so they can make calls from hotel rooms without paying a ton of money.

    billeaters last blog post..don’t wash your car at home…take it to a car wash

  27. Gunther September 15, 2008 at 11:32 pm #

    I am disabled and I am always looking for ways to save money. I see one person has the same thing no contract and other people have similiar things like this majic jack, please write. I would love to get rid of my land line and plug my phone into my PC. I do mean phone, not some headset thing. If you people out there know of some things like this please write me and let me know what they are how to get them and how they work.I can find them, but finding people who use them and can vouch for there reliabilty, with me money it beyond tight. I kind of understand hoe it works, I just don’t want to take chance with the money I DON’T have.

  28. sam@cheap dirt bikes September 16, 2008 at 1:18 pm #

    Maybe it is a good way to save a little bit of money (it depends on how much you use long distance), but I have had nothing but problems with my service. Maybe the technology has improved since 2006, but for me, it wasn’t worth the “savings”.

  29. K September 17, 2008 at 9:38 am #

    Gunther, MagicJack does just that. It comes with a USB dongle that plugs into your computer at one end. On the other end you just insert your telephone cable. 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. Hope this helps.

  30. charmaine September 23, 2008 at 12:55 am #

    hello can you pls. help me about this,my brother in law send this to us here in philippines so we can call or i can call to my fiancee in us.but after a month the bill of my fiancee become 1800usd his usually bill is just 200usd(his carrier is at&t)We don’t know why this is happening we need to pay for 1800usd that’s so expensive.any one who experience this kind of problem?pls. help us

  31. Marcus September 23, 2008 at 9:14 pm #

    I use magicjack on 2 of 3 business lines. No problems. I will soon be getting rid of the last ATT line next month. It works great for me!…

  32. Mohamed October 1, 2008 at 4:36 pm #

    I live in uk and i’m from india but i needed one magicjack to send to my mum so i bought my magicjack online at the website http://www.voip-ms.com and it works fine:)

  33. bogey October 5, 2008 at 7:33 am #

    Who knows who makes the most compact phone that still has a regular house-type plug? I’d like to take my new MagicJack voip ability anywhere with me, but there are no phones compact enough to fit in my laptop case. Any ideas of brands and where I can find them?

  34. K October 6, 2008 at 11:48 am #

    Hi bogey, thats a great point. So far, I have only used the software dialer to make calls when I am on the road with majicJack but for extended stays on the road, a compact phone would be a perfect fit. I’d be interested in what you find. I did Google but nothing came up.

  35. Flo October 7, 2008 at 7:56 pm #

    I think MJ is a great idea but only a few things I still DO NOT GET ABOUT IT!! I have tried and tried to understand but just don’t get it, I think i am missing something!! I want for my family to have a MJ, they are overseas right (Mauritius)…if I get them an MJ and send it to them, how will they still make their own LOCAL CALLS FOR FREE, use their phone line? How does this thing work, does it switch back and forth from MJ to your local carrier if you still keep your phone line? Will they have to call their neighbors as if they wer calling “INTERNATIONALLY”? Because once you register it, don’t u get a new phone # and it will be a U.S # for them right, so how do their neigbors and local people keep calling them for free or whatever costs they normally have? Do they call them locally on their original # or do they call them on their new MJ #? If they call them on their MJ #, that means that everybody calling them will be incurring “international rates” right even if it is next door? I suppose I will also have to get an MJ for myself to be able to talk to them for “FREE” right, can I KEEP MY CURRENT LANDLINE ALSO, SO I CAN STILL KEEP MY ALARM SERVICE? I AM SOOOOO CONFUSED!!!! Please help, i want to get it, actually i did and cancelled before they shipped after i realized. Thanks so much.

  36. Aaron@HR Software Online October 16, 2008 at 12:42 pm #

    This is very good. I have been using Skype but I may give MagicJack a try since it is cheaper than the yearly fee I pay with skype for incoming.

    Aarons last blog post..Political Discussions in the Workplace – Danger Zone

  37. JR @ Cheap Laptop Computers October 29, 2008 at 5:43 pm #

    I have been using MagicJack for a couple of months now and I love it!! Excellent service!

  38. Cheryle November 12, 2008 at 12:47 pm #

    I know someone who has put their phone number into the majicjack and is keeping their phone number. I don’t know how they did it but they are putting all of their families numbers in it, including the whole families’ cell phone numbers. Anyone know how they did it? I was not there and don’t even know the person. It is a friend of a friend. I just heard about it. They have several numbers running off of one majicjack. This person has learned how to put the numbers in, instead of letting the device pick the number. They are turninig off their regular services, thus getting rid of an entire family’s landline and cell phone bills. They kept their own numbers. Does anyone know how to do this? Please let me know.

  39. K November 13, 2008 at 11:28 am #

    Wow, Chryle. That would be a neat trick I’d love to learn and if I learn share it with my readers here. Would be interested in hearing from anyone who knows how to do this.

  40. Barb@ Google G1 Phones November 27, 2008 at 10:10 pm #

    My Dad told me about MagicJack quite a while ago but I never took the time to try it out. I learned a lot from this post. I don’t want to change my phone number and I don’t want people who call me to incur expenses to do so, so I think I am going to pass on Magic Jack. I just signed up for Skype USA and Canada plan, as I will never reach the limit to the minutes so for me it is unlimited and at a price I can afford.

    Barbs last blog post..Google G1 Phones

  41. John@ Cookie recipes December 8, 2008 at 10:12 am #

    Hi K,

    I don’t know if I should kick or kiss you? I have been looking for a solution to this exact problem. However, I am becoming more confused by the day.

    Magicjack sounds great, but then a friend of mine keeps going on about something called Skype. Is this a similar service or am I just showing how big a technophobe I am?

    All the Best
    John

    Johns last blog post..Cookie Recipes

  42. Jenny December 11, 2008 at 5:52 am #

    This is a cool post about Eyebrow & Eyelash cosmetics.
    Thanks for such an informative post.

  43. drbray December 14, 2008 at 4:09 am #

    MagicJack® Set Up

    After you have connected the dongel for the first time, registered the device, and have the ‘softphone’ on the screen, you should probably run TCP Optimizer to “tune” your computer to work with it in an efficient manner; it can be downloaded from the following website:

    http://www.speedguide.net/downloads.php

    You can use the TCP Optimizer by following these short instructions:

    1. Choose your maximum Connection Speed from the slider bar (the maximum available bandwidth, in kilobits per second)
    2. Choose your Network Interface, or check to Modify All Network Adapters
    3. Pick “Optimal settings” from the radio-buttons near the bottom of the program
    4. Click on the “Apply changes” button and reboot

    MagicJack® Uses

    1. Inexpensive Secondary Telephone Service
    2. Excellent adjunct to expensive prime time and/or poor indoor Cellular Telephone Service
    3. Distribute magicJack® phone number to all contacts as primary contact number
    4. When outdoors have the magicJack® phone number forwarded to cell phone
    5. When indoors use magickJack® phone number to reach and be reached by contacts

    MagicJack® Support

    Main Office: (561) 594-2140 this is just a recording telling you where to get support, you can leave a message if you want.

    Support: (281) 404-1551 open from 11am to 8pm EST

  44. JM December 21, 2008 at 10:13 pm #

    It works like they say it does, but it has a downside to it. You have to keep your PC running 24/7 to make it work……. I find that to be a real pain in the —! I am a power user so my PC is a electricity using machine! It’s like a V8 powered muscle car verses a 4cylinder, which is most users PC’s.
    If there was another way to make it work without my PC being on, then it would be the ultimate product.
    My PC would consume enough electricity in a months time to trump a $40 per month phone bill.
    Plus all of the phone calls do not come through or go out all that clear. Sometimes the caller cannot be heard. Other times when calling out, the phone call will not always go through.
    I have even been told that the caller could hardly hear me on their end.
    At this time I would give it a thumbs down for my application of use.
    If I could get it to work through a low wattage server only device, then it would be worth it to me.
    Is it possible to run it through a server??? You tell me.

  45. BUBB121212 January 2, 2009 at 2:49 pm #

    It’s nice to see some common sense users of this product for a change. The only issue with this device is IGNORANCE. After reading hundreds of I love it and I hate it posts, I’ve come to a few conclusions.

    1: Never buy ANY free 30day trial on ANYTHING!!! Get MJ from QVC, Circuit City etc… Then you have a hassle free return. ALL 30 DAY FREE TRIAL AND GIVE US YOU’RE CREDIT CARD NUMBER Company’s will set on your money and give you the runaround, duh. Your and every other sucker’s money is letting them make interest off it. They ALL will bite you in the azz with the fine print. DON’T DO IT!

    2: For the people that think that thing that comes out after you press the button on the front of the computer is an automated cup holder, you’re too stupid to use this product. Hell, they probably have trouble operating a light switch and flushing the toilet. If you are a 1 on the (1 – 10) Tech Savvy Scale, save us the drudge of reading your negative post and don’t even think about getting this product. It’s way, way, way over your head. Go play with the light switch or something. MJ is a startup company running on a shoestring. It’s $40 dollars! It’s $40 dollars! It’s $40 dollars! It’s $40 dollars! It’s $40 dollars! What do you expect them to do, send a tech to your house? Come on people get real. If you can’t make it work then return it to Circuit City or QVC etc… Oh, you did the 30day free trial thing? DUH… you deserve the hassle. Just don’t bore us with your post.

    3: Paranoid people get up in the morning; check the weather etc… on Internet. Hello! Your ISP tracked what you did and the Weather web cookie and all the other cookies did they’re thing. Picked up your Cell phone and made a call, Hello! Your phone service tracked and logged your call, they also knew you were home because of the built in tracking system. Got in your car and stopped at intersection, got your picture taken by traffic cam. Somebody knows where you were at the time of day. Stopped to get gas, restaurant, shopping swiped your credit card, God only knows how many people got this information on what you bought. Went to work and your employer tracked every keystroke, oh and don’t forget to smile for the candid camera. I looked your name up in the White pages and Goggled Earth your address, WOW! You got a really nice house dude. Maybe I’ll pay you a visit and spy on you. You think MJ gives a rip about the above information? They just want to know local information so they can push you the latest add special from the local pizza place. Unless you live in a cave, get a life because this is your life, you’re just too stupid to recognize it and all the bitching in the world is not going to change it. Install this on an old Pc, stick in the closet, plug in a wireless phone and forget about it. Now it’s out of site and out of mind. Just like all the above listed things you ignore every day.

    4: This DOSE NOT and SHOULD NOT replace you’re your phone system. Analyze what it can and cannot do for you. If it makes business sense then get it. If not, DON’T slam this product because it doesn’t meet your needs. This device saves me and millions of people like me lots of money.

    5: Read 1 – 4.

  46. Toni January 24, 2009 at 8:52 pm #

    Hello, MagicJack users, im a little confused on how this works. Someone please enlighten me. If the magicjack is pluged into the computer, do you use the computer to make and receive calls or a regular phone. And are the other phones around the house cordless? Also, If the magicjack is used in a reg. wall jack how do you receive service? this is very interesting and sound great, it would save me about $620 a year. But truth be told…. To good to be true & i have my reservations. Anyone using the magicjack for at least 6months?

  47. marcus@home office supplies January 28, 2009 at 12:05 pm #

    I’ve seen the TV commercials, but never gave it much more thought until reading this post. I think I’ll give it a try. My only concern is having to leave your computer on the entire time you are using it. I’m trying to save some money and reduce wear and tear on my laptop. That part could be an issue for me.

    The prior comments seem to indicate that it gets mixed reviews. Some love it and others hate it. We’ll see where I fall.

    marcuss last blog post..Office just re-equipped with ergonomic “kneeler” chairs – how can you use them when wearing a skirt & heels?

  48. Brian@Its Just Lunch January 28, 2009 at 6:11 pm #

    I’ve been suing VOIP Att CallVantage for 3 years now and have saved much over time. I pay $60 for two lines.

    I’m considering trying MajicJack if I should go out of the country. It would save much $$ and hassle to call back to the states. It should work.

  49. spot@affordable HDTV reviews February 6, 2009 at 12:22 am #

    Toni: You plug the MJ device into your computer and then your phone into the MJ device. Magic Jack assigns you a number. When some one calls it your phone rings (as it normally would ) *if* you have your computer on with the software running.

    Be a little careful, though. Magic Jack spies on your calls and there are other issues with the service. If you are looking to replace your land line there might be another option you’d be more happy with:

    http://tech.spotcoolstuff.com/internet-telephone/magicjack-skype-vonage

    spots last blog post..MagicJack vs. Vonage vs. Skype

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