MagicJack – Is It Worth The Money?

Popular guest writer Rick Robinette loves to fiddle with the latest technology gadgets. In this guest post, Rick gives you his take on MagicJack – the good, and the bad. See what you think.

MagicJack – A device that you plug into your computer’s USB port that enables you to use your broadband internet connection to make FREE local and long distance phone calls. A phone line (standard RJ-11) plugs into the magicJack from a phone. Initial cost is typically around $40 dollars the first year, then $20 a year thereafter. There are other pricing packages available, as well.

magicJack

magicJack

Recently while browsing in the local RadioShack, I could not help overhearing a man and woman asking the salesperson a lot of questions about the magicJack. What they wanted to do was replace the landline phones in their home with a magicJack and this salesperson was laying it on heavy; making it sound like this $20 device was the “ultimate” solution to replacing their landline phone service.

After detecting skepticism from these folks, I could not take it any longer and piped in. I said, “Listen, I have been a magicJack owner for over a year.  It does work; however you need to know this about magicJack”.

  • This device is dependent on the speed and reliability of your broadband connection and your computer. If the broadband connection and/or computer is under heavy load, then expect problems.
  • This device depends on your computer being turned “on”; however, the service does have voicemail which can be forwarded to an email account (in the event the computer is turned “off”).
  • Call quality can vary; however, on my setup the call quality is better than cellular and most of the time as good (sometimes better) than my landline. Again, this varies, based on the factors previously reflected.
  • I have experienced occasional software issues with the magicJack software, which is driven by the magicJack device itself. Often a reboot of the PC will make it behave itself. When you get this thing, get everything plugged in and follow the registration instructions to setup your “new” phone number.

  • This device will not work through the phone jacks in your house. The salesperson was definitely giving that impression. One thing you can do, is purchase a cheap cordless phone and plug the main base into the magicJack.
  • Services included are FREE local and long distance calls, FREE voicemail, FREE call waiting, FREE Caller ID and FREE Directory Assistance.  Again, this all varies based on factors previously reflected; however these services are included.
  • You are going to see thousands of “pros” and thousands of “cons” on this device. For example, [ SEE HERE ] .  All I can tell you is, it works for me.
  • You are going to read where magicJack computers may analyze the phone numbers you call in order to improve the relevance of the ads you see in the magicJack software.  In other words, this could be a privacy concern.
  • You are going to find at the magicJack.com website, it is geared toward marketing; not tech support.

Is magicJack’s VoIP for you?

In this particular case, I set up a “win-win” situation for these folks (the customer) and the salesperson.

Replacing your landline phones in your home with magicJack, is not a good solution; unless you are living on bread alone (which did not appear to be the case here). Using magicJack to supplement other services you have is a good solution. For example, I dumped my long distance and use MagicJack to make my long distance calls, which is really not that many compared to other people. We also have pay-as-you-go cell phones and can use them in a pinch, if necessary.

I then turned to the salesperson and asked, “What is your return policy? AND, If these people buy this and do not like it can they bring it back to YOU? At this point, I really got the look. Once that was out of the way, I told these people, take this home and play with it and play with it a lot.  If it does not suit bring it back to this guy. They ended up buying it!

To my readers, magicJack does work; however it depends on many variables. If you want to play with one, go to Walmart to buy it.  Their return policy is probably the best around. If you can’t wait and want a decent buy, then check [ HERE ] .

This is a guest post by Rick Robinette, who brings a background as a security/police officer professional, and as an information technology specialist to the Blogging world.

Why not pay a visit to Rick’s site at What’s On My PC. Like me, you’re sure to become a frequent visitor.

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9 Comments

Filed under Interconnectivity, Software, Telephone, USB, VOIP

9 responses to “MagicJack – Is It Worth The Money?

  1. Wow Bill…

    I made the spotlight again at Tech Thoughts… I truly do appreciate it!

    Rick

  2. TucsonMatt

    I have friends and clients that have the MagicJack. I wasn’t able to use it because I run Linux and didn’t want to set up a separate computer just for the MagicJack.

    Recently while looking to see if anyone had gotten it to work under Linux, I found the netTalk Duo. It works like the MagicJack except it plugs directly into your router and doesn’t require any computer or operating system for its operation. All configuration is done via a web browser. I’ve been using it for several months now and it has been great and it frees up my cell phone minutes which are limited.

    It’s a little more expensive to buy initially and the yearly charge is a bit more, but by not having to have your computer on 24/7 or deal with the intrusiveness of the MagicJack in Windows, I think the additional cost is more than worth it!

  3. mark

    Good article Rick/Bill, I have been eying Magicjack for a while and I may get one. I’m finally getting Cable Internet after suffering with a satellite for years.
    Thanks
    Mark

  4. I hate salesperson’s who try to bullshit around selling something. The poor suckers that believe them. It was noble of you to offer your knowledge of the subject.
    I believe in my computer and supported voIP technology. We must use a thing to get a thing to happen.
    I was living just off the beach in an RV and loving the fact that I lived cheaply and freely. The cellphone reception was bad. I opted to get voIP because if I did not get a high speed internet connection, I would NOT live there. I love the world wide web, baby!
    I used voIP the literal company. I had some initial problems with billing that would of turned the average customer. My neighbor used Magic Jack and loved it.
    You are correct ab0ut your “bread alone” statement. My intentions were to save money.
    However, in this name branded world and people loving to ‘sport’ their new techie stuff. This is not a bad thing, because without diversity and abundance…we would be ALL going to WalMart (the seemingly one and ONLY store). I thank the gods that there are people who can afford expensive gizmos for it keeps the world turning ahead.

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