Thursday, July 2, 2009

Product Review - magicJack

At the beginning of this year we found ourselves needing to ditch our old dial-up Internet service for high speed Internet. Along with this change we decided we either needed to ditch our land line phone service or find an alternative. I really didn't want to not have a land line, because my cell phone is a pay as you go, and although I don't talk on the phone a lot a saw this getting more expensive than my minimum $20/3 months I'm required to spend to keep my phone in service. We saw an add for the magicJack and thought what the heck. Here is what we have learned and experienced with the magicJack in the last 6 months.

What is magicJack?
Magic Jack is an Internet based phone service.

How does it work?
First the little magicJack box is plugged into a USB port of any computer that has high speed Internet. Next a phone is plugged into the phone jack on the magicJack. Soon the magicJack is loaded and you are able to get a phone number and start making calls.

Where can you get a magicJack?
We bought ours at Radio Shack, but I've seen them at Office Depot, and heard Best Buy sells them. I also believe you can request one from the magicJack website.

How much does it cost?
We bought ours for $39.95 plus tax. This was the cost for the little box which also includes 1 year of service. Additional years of service can be purchased for $19.95. Although I've seen adds were you can buy 5 years of service for $59.99.

PROS:
  • Cost: You can't beat$19.99 for a full year of service.
  • Portability: Your phone number can go anywhere your computer can. So if move you don't have to change numbers.
  • No long distance charges: Within the US there is no additional charge to calls made to the US or Canada.
  • You can store phone numbers on the magicJack interface: This is especially nice because you will have the phone numbers as long as you have the magicJack.
  • You are notified via email when someone leaves a message. This can be nice if you are away from your magicJack, but have access to your email.
CONS:
  • Reliability: Many times the magicJack is plugged in and the computer is on, but for so reason the caller doesn't get through.
  • Quality: Many times the call breaks up. I've also had many times when I answer and they can hear me, but I can't hear them.
  • Quantity: You only have one jack per magicJack so unless you have a cordless phone system with more than one hand set you only have one phone. (We recently bought a multi-handset cordless phone set, but are waiting until we move out of our 1 bedroom apartment before testing it)
  • Caller-ID: I'm not sure if the caller ID box on a phone would work with it hooked up to the magicJack, but the system for caller ID on the computer only shows you the number that is calling you, so if the name and number isn't stored in your contacts you only get the number that is calling you and not the name. Also along these sames lines, when you call someone your name doesn't show up on their caller ID. I believe all the recipient sees is the number and something like out-of-area.
  • You have to get a new number: Although once you get the magicJack number you won't ever have to change it, currently you aren't able to switch over your existing number to the magicJack number. Supposedly this is something they are working on. . .
  • Energy: I'm assuming the magicJack system uses a lot more energy than a regular telephone, because for it to work it must be connected to a computer that is connected to the Internet. This means you have to pay for the energy for the computer to be constantly running. The computer will not hibernate as long as the magicJack is connected.
Conclusion:

If you are considering giving up your land line, but are still a little apprehensive I recommend the magicJack.

If you are one of the select few people out there without a cell phone I would definitely NOT recommend the magicJack. It is too unreliable to be able to count on it in a time of emergency.

I'm glad we bought it, and it has already paid for itself in the money we've saved by not having to pay a monthly phone bill.

3 comments:

Leah Stitt said...

I am so glad you did a review on this! I have been thinking about getting one for our Coffee Shop and had no idea how it worked.

Awesome review. :) Thanks!

RuSty and LaLa said...

I had never heard of this. Thats pretty cool.

JC said...

Hi,

My company has a website where I have written a review about the magicJack. Our website ranks very high for magicJack related keywords on Google and I were wondering if you might be interested in linking to our page and I could return the favor to you. We visited your website/post regarding the magicJack and would love to do to this since we have highly related content. If not I would consider advertising as another option.

Please get back to me and let me know if you are interested or not.

My site is a top 25,000 site on the Internet and was regard as one of the top sources for information regarding the digital transition. It has been endorsed my numerous organizations, news websites, and even a U.S. Senator.

Thanks!
Jesse
trackstar2683@gmail.com