magicJack Review – Why You Need it NOW

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You wouldn’t know it to look at me but I’m not the biggest fan of technology.  I grew up in a home that still uses a rotary phone, never had a microwave or an answering machine, but I kind of liked it that way.  Usually when technology made an advance, it meant more money had to be spent to keep up and that was money our family just didn’t have.

It wasn’t until I graduated college in 2007 that I decided I needed a cell phone.  Previously, I had relied on land lines for all communication and while a cell phone was certainly more convenient, I never felt I received my $50 a month worth.  Sure I would make a few calls here and there but for a guy like me that talks on the phone for less than 100 minutes a month and doesn’t text, it just wasn’t worth it.

Luckily for me and hopefully for you too, magicJack came along.  I had heard a lot of television and radio ads about this device that could be plugged into your computer and your calls would be made through the internet.  Skeptical at first (and stuck in what felt like a 20 year contract with AT&T) I was reluctant to give it a try.  Then, when I moved into my current apartment and didn’t have any cell phone reception, I had enough.  It was time to test if magicJack was an illusion. (Aren’t I hilarious!)

The Positives of magicJack

The very first thing I noticed when receiving magicJack through the mail was it’s simplicity.  The contents of the package weigh no more than 8 ounces and inside was the magicJack, a USB extender (about six inches long) if you need it and the easiest step by step directions you’ll ever see to install the product.  Because I didn’t have a land line at the time, I visited my local Target and bought an awesome Panasonic phone (with two receivers) for $40.

After taking 30 seconds to set up my two phones, I follow the directions as instructed:

  1. Plug any phone into magicJack
  2. Plug magicJack into any USB port
  3. Pick up your phone an talk for free

After plugging my magicJack into the USB port, it took me about three minutes before I was able to make my first call.  Registering the product was a cinch and choosing my phone number was even easier.  magicJack allows you to select any area code in the country, then provides you the opportunity to choose your own number (from the available list) for just $3.  If you don’t want to take advantage of that offer, they’ll select a random one for you at no additional cost.  Once you have you’re number selected, the installation wizard will close and you can now make calls on your computer line.

magicJack Interface

In terms of the quality of phone calls, I’ve been using magicJack for a couple of weeks and every call made and received has been 100% crystal clear.  No dropped calls or mangled voices of any kind and I can call anyone in the US or Canada anytime I want.  Setting up voice-mail was just as easy and if I ever decide to leave the country, I can take my magicJack with me and make free calls back to the US and Canada.  How cool is that!

And, for those of you that don’t like the additional hardware of land-line telephones, you can utilize your magicJack using the built in microphone and speaker in your computer.  Hook up your headset and make calls using the magicJack interface above.

The Inconvenience of magicJack

Even though magicJack is saving me a ton of money each month and is extremely simple to use, the product isn’t perfect.  I’ve come across a couple of ‘slight’ inconveniences that you may experience when using magicJack.

The largest issue I run into with magicJack is the amount of USB ports it uses when I plug it into my desktop.  I can’t complain about the size of magicJack, I mean it’s literally 2 cubic inches (2″x1″x1″) but my current desktop has six USB ports and three of them are consumed by the magicJack’s size.  With my printer, wireless keyboard and mouse and speakers, I’m out of USB ports.  My external flash drives are out of luck on this one.

Another small inconvenience was the magicJack window that pops up on my computer every-time I receive a call.  I’m writing most of the day and if you receive a call, the magicJack window is called to the front.  Sometimes, by accident, I continue to type a couple of letters after it appears and the call immediately goes to voice-mail.  I could be mistaken in that there’s a way to make sure this doesn’t happen but I haven’t found it yet!

Overall Value of magicJack

You’ll notice that my issues with magicJack don’t arise from it’s ease, it’s quality or it’s price, rather from things that could be somewhat unique to my situation.  I’m nitpicking a bit but those are the only drawbacks I could find.  If you’re certain magicJack is the phone for you in the future, you can sign up for five additional years at a discounted rate of $69.99, making you’re phone service even cheaper than $20 a year!

While magicJack wasn’t completely able to replace my cell phone, (road emergencies mostly) I did change my plan to become an added line rather than a standalone plan, which saved $40 a month right there.  Conservatively speaking, my first year savings from this move is $275 and every additional year I keep the $10 cell phone plan and magicJack is $340.  When I factor the savings into the quality of calls I now give and receive, I’m kicking myself for not doing this a couple of years ago.  Better late than never I suppose.

Anyone with a high speed internet connection and a non-magicJack land line needs to switch to this magicJack ASAP.  There is absolutely no reason to continue paying more than $1.75 a month for your home telephone service and I’m certain after you try magicJack, you’ll love it.

Published or Updated: July 28, 2010

Comments

  1. magicjack is now banned in some countries, which means that they are doing something right and cutting into the margins of some state owned phone companies used to collecting big checks from over priced long distance minutes.

    I have used it, and it works well.

  2. Aida says:

    Magic Jack is a great alternative to paying $30 a month for basic phone service. The only drawback I found is that you HAVE to have your pc turned on all the time. I switched to VOIP and now I don’t have to have my pc turned on at all times. And for $135 a year, I felt it was a great deal!

  3. Josh says:

    A male-female USB cable would help your USB port problem. I didn’t look around too long, so I’m sure you could find one shorter than this, but here’s an example: http://www.buy.com/prod/belkin-usb-extender-cable-type-a-male-type-a-female-usb-3ft-belkin-usb/q/loc/101/10380796.html

  4. Edeline says:

    Dear DR,

    Thanks for the information. i would like to ask Aida what is VOIP? It seems that I prefer her alternative . Also, I would like to know; if I can keep my previous phone # I have it for 23 years.
    Thanks

  5. Steve Falcone says:

    Magic jack is a good idea but it created more problems than it is worth. I think we all agree we need reliability with our communications. Magic Jack was far from that for me. It would constantly lock up and would require a re-boot of my computer which you can’t do without unplugging the unit. I contacted the support chat line (they have no phone support) and was on line for four hours one day and three the next. They did not solve my problem. I finealy reached the end of my patience and sent it back. I would look elsewhere for cheaper phone service. Another thing to balance out is having to leave your computer on all the time. What is the cost of that?

  6. Pat Partain says:

    that little 6inch USB extension is the cure for the port covering problems.

  7. cissy fernandez says:

    My question is this…I hooked it up…I can call out but I can’t receive calls…It doesn’t ring in…Do you have to drop your regular land line service for it to work…Could someone explain about the internet lines and phone lines…How do I hook them up? When people call-in, it doesn’t ring aloud but it rings twice for the person who is dialing then it goes to voicemail…Please, this is driving me nuts…someone please give me some input so I can finally use it…I’ve been on here all day to no avail…People are calling me on my old # and it works…HELP

  8. Max Smith says:

    The MagicJack I bought came with a 6 inch extended cable. It should come included in the package. It extends the magicjack from blocking your other usb ports. I only have 4 ports and if it didn’t have an extension I wouldn’t be able to use it because i already have 3 taken up. I do agree though that the need for your computer to be turned on at all times is annoying. Theres a new product that just came out, can’t remember the name, but if you have a router you can connect it as a seperate system and it doesn’t require a computer to be on because it is its own thing.

  9. Brian says:

    I just bought the magic jack and within seconds it was like having a landline phone! skype sucks compared to magicjack!!! i did have to buy a $5 att&t at Target to plug into the magic jack, but it is amazing… i can’t believe it…. after so much frustration with skype and yahoo messenger phone this is like a free gift…. i say GET THIS. i paid $40 for it at Target… the first year is included…. it installed in minutes and works perfectly… i am very impressed !!

  10. chattipatti says:

    I just hooked up my magicJack today, and after a visit at my friends house, they told me that i would be charged for each INCOMING phone call. Is that so?
    Thanks, cp

    • Michael says:

      ChattiPatti

      I am quite certain that magicJack will not charge you for incoming or outgoing calls. Your fee is a flat $19.95 per year and if you buy multiple years, you can have that price discounted.

      Time to plot revenge against your friend.

  11. Igor says:

    Help service is garbage, no help, no live people. Waste of time!

  12. Paul says:

    I have MagicJack and it is a pain without the extension and can even cover up your DVD drive on some laptops.
    My problem was that I used a mobile handset with the line phone. The mobile hand set unfortunately handles signals strangely for MagicJack and it can cut you off or give buzzing or echos to the call recipient depending on where you are around the house.
    I got disconnected the mobile handset phone and plugged in just a regular cheap radio shack line phone.
    I haven’t had a chance to use the headset / phone item I bought, but hope that will solve the problem with a short handset cord that the line phone has.

  13. Diana says:

    I have a qustion. Where I live they dont have DSL. And there is no cell phone pick up area. Does the MagicJack work on the computor that is _dial up_ only. Please get back in touch with me on this so I will know to order one or not. Also, what is a VOIP and will it work on dial up ?

  14. Bill says:

    I agree magic jack works great, however after 9 months they kicked me off and refused to renew my contract or even sell me a new unit for 39.90 plus shipping. Now I am considering other units like SKYPE.com

    • Chris says:

      Why did they kick you off.???

      I Love my Magic Jack.!

  15. StharborI says:

    I love my MJ!! I have both MJ n MJ plus!! Works great on my three port phones in the house! Only problem I have n hope they fix it soon?? Is my son gave me last years model IPad!! I love it!! But he registered it for online free MJ! Great! But now that I own the IPad I can’t sign up on this IPad with my info because MJ registers the ser# once to first owner??? The way my kids up date their devises! I will never be able to use free MJ on any of them!! Please MJ find a different way of registering our devises? I own two MJ’S ?? Use my reg info not my ser#? I also past down my devises to Grand children???

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