MagicJack (magic Jack) REVIEW:
We recommend you read this review in full before buying a MagicJack. We use it, but it’s not for everyone.
Several of the admins of PracticalWaysToSaveMoney.com have been using MagicJack for about 3 years. It has pros and cons. So far, it has enough pros that many of us no longer have a regular land line. But the pros and cons will be different for each user due to your lifestyle and needs. This is what we found to be the pros and cons for us, so far.
> Only $19.95 per year and if you pay for 5 years in advance it’s only $69.95 ($13.99 per year or $1.17 per month). Nothing with comparable services beats this price that we know of. This price gets you free calls to anywhere in the United States (even if the other person is not using a magicJack), and free calls to any magicJack user anywhere in the world. So if your friend in England has a MagicJack your calls to their magic jack phone number are free.
> No extra taxes and service fees to deal with.
> Everything is free (caller ID, call waiting, voicemail, long distance, information, etc.).
> If someone calls and you don’t answer and they don’t leave a message, you still see a record of their call (similar to cell phones).
> Access your voicemail by phone or email (voice mail comes to you as a wav file).
> Voicemails you get can be saved forever (comes as a wav file via email attachment).
> If your internet fails, your computer is turned off, you have a black out, even if your magicJack is accidently destroyed, people can still call and leave you a message and you still get the messages sent to you in an email.
> If your magicJack breaks (and is not your fault) they will give you free activation of a new one. Contact them for details first.
> You don’t have to have your ringer turned on, to know a call is coming in, it pops up on your computer screen to let you know.
> It has an address book built in so you can not only save important or frequently called numbers, but you can add info like physical addresses, email, and other notes.
> You can program it so 911 operator can see your address. You can even add a note like “basement apartment” or “entrance in back of building” which is fantastic if there’s ever an emergency and you don’t have the ability to vocalize that information when you dial 911.
> You can change your phone number for a one time $10 fee ($10 each time you change your number).
> You can make calls from anywhere, as long as you have a computer hooked to the internet.
> With the low price you can afford to give everyone in the family their own phone (maybe not wise for young children though) or have a special line to use if you run a business from home.
> If you have more than one business run from home you can easily afford a separate number and phone for each business.
> Your phone number is unlisted.
> You can get a vanity or special number, for an additional fee of $10 per year.
> Can access free conference call service. A little cumbersome, a few short hoops to jump through, but it works.
> Works with MS Outlook.
> Works on a networked computer (wireless router in your home or office).
> Works with public WiFi (as long as their service is fast enough).
> Works with Windows 7.
> Works with a firewall but in some cases, you might have to disable your firewall during the registration process (less than 2 minutes) and enable it as soon as the registration is complete.
> Very easy to set up and use. Just plug in, wait for program to load, and that’s it.
> You can dial using your phone or the on screen key pad.
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> We find this to be the worst problem. There’s a voice delay (about 3 seconds) similar to what you see on TV news when reporters talk to people in other countries via satellite feed. This delay can be very annoying, causing you to talk over each other. It takes some getting use to. If you’re a fast talker (like we New Yorkers are) and you’re talking with someone from out west or down south it can make a phone conversation very awkward. And if the person you’re talking to doesn’t realize there is a 3 second delay they will think you’re rude for talking over them or not letting them finish speaking. If you use the phone for business purposes we advise you find a way to inform people of the delay at the top of each call you make or take. Something like “my apologies but there may be a 3 second delay due to the use of satellites that may cause us to talk over one another” may be needed. If you really want to save money with a MagicJack but this con is the only thing holding you back we’d be happy to call you and have a little conversation/demonstration so you can experience the delay our magicJack causes. Again, if you plan to use the magicJack for business or other very important calls, the delay is the biggest con. One last thing about the voice delay – the voice delay is the same kind we experienced with Vonage, no worse, no better. We figured since Vonage also works through the computer (your computer has to be on to use it) and since Vonage is about $300 per year, the magicJack won out.
> Can not block callers. You can register your magicJack number with the national “do not call registry” but for us, we prefer to be able to block specific callers on our end as we see fit. Please visit this website for info on the national “do not call registry” service: www.donotcall.gov
> Cannot block your own outgoing number. This means others can always see your phone number in their caller ID (not your name, unless they known it and program it into their phone). We hate not having number blocking, but still, not enough for us to stop using it.
> Does not work with dial up internet connection.
> Satellite internet can be used but is not recommended, too slow.
> Not compatible with all phones. Some wireless digital phone systems can be problematic. It seems to be hit or miss. Try it and if it doesn’t work, return it (return the phone or the magicJack). Only compatible with a traditional telephone handset that uses an RJ-11 plug.
> Not compatible with two-line phones. You only get one line out of it. Only compatible with a traditional telephone handset that uses an RJ-11 plug.
> Not compatible with phones that have built in answering systems. We have found this problem to be true, but we could not find any information about it online or on the magicJack website.
> You can only hear the phone ring if your computer is turned on and the magicJack USB (with your phone) is plugged into your computer.
> You can only make an outgoing call if your computer is turned on and the magicJack USB (with your phone) is plugged into your computer.
> If the magicJack is not plugged into your computer and you realize you need to make a quick call, it can take up to 2 minutes for the program to load and open after plugging the USB (with your phone) into your computer. This can be problematic if you’re in a hurry or if it’s an emergency.
> If you’re typing on your computer and a call comes in it can affect the call because the magicJack window announcing the call will pop up over what ever you already have on your computer screen and hitting keys might cause you to accidently answer or hang up when you did not intend to.
> If you have a slow or poor internet connection your calls will get dropped or it may affect sound quality, voices will break up, etc. Using a wireless internet connection may make this issue worse.
> We find that very often calls are dropped if you stay on one call longer than 2 or 3 hours.
> You get to choose your own area code (from a list of available area codes) but due to the popularity of this service the area codes can be very limited. The one you really want might not be available. Here’s their current list of available area codes for the U.S. and Canada: http://www.magicjack.com/9/areacodes.asp
> You can change your phone number but there is a fee (last we checked, it was $10.00).
> They do not currently offer toll-free numbers.
> You currently can not use your current landline number as your magicJack number (port over), but they are testing this feature for the future.
> We know there is a way to set up your phone with a head set and microphone along with our magicJack (we’ve been told it’s possible) but we have not yet been able to figure out how to do this.
> Some companies that require an automated phone call to you to verify your registration or existence as a real person (as facebook sometimes does) may not get through to your magicJack.
> You cannot get text messages.
> Does not work with Linux.
> Does not work with PBX systems.
> Does not work with Windows ME or 2000.
> Using remote desktop is quirky.
> Customer service is poor. Although you should rarely need assistance, when you do it’s nearly impossible to get a live person to speak with. Usually have to use live “chat” and it’s very evident you are not chatting with someone in the United States and the customer service reps do not seem knowledgeable at all. Most of the time they seem to be reading from a script, with limited knowledge of the product or the English language.
The image above, of the MagicJack control panel, is what you see on screen when you use your magicJjack. It can be minimized like any other window. Your phone number and caller ID, record of calls, address book, 911 info, and more are all shown on or accessed from this control panel (although this information is not shown in the image above because it is empty due to being a screen shot of a magicJack not yet activated).
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We have not yet used MagicJack for international calls but we know all magic jack to magicJack calls are free, no matter where in the world you are. So, if you know someone in Dubai and you want to be able to talk to them regularly they need a magicJack too. If they cannot purchase one where they are you can send one to them. The same for anyone anywhere in the world. If they have a high speed internet connection and a magicJack (purchased from anywhere by anyone) you can talk free.
There are other services that allow you to use the internet and your computer to make free calls, like Skype. But there seems to be even more problems with Skype, including but not limited to long delays, distorted picture and voice, dropped calls, etc.
We’d love to know what others think about magicJack. Feel free to post below.