1,151 of 1,201 people found the following review helpful
on October 15, 2009
We purchased an Ooma Hub & Scout in April 2009 to replace a Vonage VoIP connection. We are very satisfied with the hub, and therefore purchased an Ooma Telo for a second location. This review describes our Ooma Telo experience so far, and compares it to the Hub/Scout.
The Telo is well designed and sleek. The controls are touch controls and very sensitive. There is a USB port in the back - presumably for future expansion. Like the hub, there are two RJ45 ethernet jacks - one to connect to the "internet", and the second to connect to one's home network. There are also two RJ11 phone jacks. One to connect to your existing landline, should you have one, and decide to integrate the landline and Telo. The other is to connect to your phone.
The setup instructions are simple. While it is recommended that the Telo be connected directly to your cable/dsl/wimax modem (i.e. before your router), it works equally well after the router. We chose to connect the Telo to the router rather than the modem.
We were treated to a red & blue patriotic light show for about 20 minutes when the Telo was first plugged in, while it apparently downloaded firmware/software updates. I was a little puzzled by this, but presumably there have been updates from the release date (October 1) to our purchase date (October 3), or the first set of units were shipped without the latest firmware/software on them. In either event, there has been a second firmware/software update since then, so clearly Ooma are keen to improve Telo as feedback/complaints from early adopters rolls in.
Unlike the Hub, the Telo doesn't support the Scout. But this doesn't mean the Telo cannot provide a dial tone at other phone jacks in your house. For this, simply connect a splitter to the phone jack in the Telo, plug one line into the telephone adjacent to the Telo, and the second into the nearest wall jack. If the phone wiring in your house is intact, you should be able to connect a standard wired phone to any other phone jack. The Ooma Hub also supports this feature, which isn't readily documented in Ooma's product literature.
The Telo and Hub are indistinguishable in every aspect of call quality. Off course the Telo supports up to four DECT 6.0 handsets, and Telo to Telo calls will offer HD voice. The Telo will also support Bluetooth, and cell-phone integration. Although these features will be available in future firmware/software updates.
There are differences in the level and cost of service that I have described below.
For current Ooma Hub owners:
Ooma Core includes 5000 minutes a month, voicemail and caller-id and is free of regulatory fees for the life of the hub.
Ooma Premiere includes a range of additional features, including a second line, 3-way calling, multi-ring, call fowarding and many others. This costs $9.99 a month or $99 a year.
For future Ooma Hub owners:
Ooma Core will include 5000 minutes a month and voicemail. From the second year, it will cost $12/yr to recover regulatory fees.
Ooma Premiere will include enhanced voicemail, and the other premiere features. Ooma Premiere will cost $9.99 a month or $120 a year.
For Ooma Telo:
Ooma core includes 5000 mins/month & voicemail, and $12/yr from the second year on to recover regulatory fees.
Ooma Premiere will include enhanced voicemail, and the other premiere features at $9.99 a month or $120 a year.
For both the Hub and Telo, the cost of Premiere includes either a free handset a year (a $49 value), or a free number port (a $39 value).
This change in pricing strategy has made some claim that Ooma is no longer "free".
Well, it never was, although current Hub owners will not have to spend another dime for the life of their unit.
New Hub & Telo users receive 5000 mins/month and voicemail for the cost of the unit, and have to pay $12/year from the second year onwards to cover regulatory fees.
In my opinion Ooma continues to remain a good value when compared to other VoIP providers, although clearly early Hub adopters received a better deal than Telo users.
I want to note two other things that are common to the Hub and Telo. Our number ports were quick and efficient. And, while customer service can be difficult to reach, there is excellent support available from the Ooma community on Ooma's website forums. The Ooma employees who moderate the forums also provide support in a very timely manner.
Bottom-line, if you have Vonage or Packet8, or have phone bundled in with your cable, strongly consider getting a Telo. You will save money for service that is as good or better. With the Hub, we saw savings with the first six months. With the Telo it will be about 14 months before we start seeing savings.
Quick summary - highly recommended!
1,567 of 1,711 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2009
February 11th, 2011 -- update:
It's been a little over a year since I wrote this review. Approximately 6 months after installing the Telo, I wrote an update that outlined an issue that diminished my initial enthusiasm about it. That update concerned an annoying delay that we experience, likening some conversations to that heard with 2-way radios, where it's easy for users to "talk over" one another.
This update, however, reports on the failure of my unit and Ooma's customer service response in addressing it.
Sometime during the post-Christmas, year-end holiday chaos, my I noticed that when I would press the Play button on the unit to play back messages, there apparently weren't any messages to play. But I use the feature found in the Premier service that allows you to listen to the messages online, so I didn't really think too much about it and didn't really seriously consider that it was a failure of the unit. After things settled down into the new year, I did look into it and discovered that it was, indeed, a defective Telo.
I called Ooma support and they told me 'Too bad - your warranty expired LAST YEAR!' Yeah, they were right -- it expired on December 29th, 2010 and it was now January 2011. They steadfastly refused to consider the hustle & bustle of the holidays, and said that I hadn't reported it before the warranty expiration, so there was nothing they could do for me. I reported my experience in their customer support forum online.
Several days later, I received an email offering an extended warranty for $39.99. I checked to make sure that they would replace the device under the extended warranty, despite the fact that I was purchasing it after the original warranty had expired and the unit had already been reported as defective. I was told that it would not be a problem.
The bottom line is, I accepted their terms and they have replaced my Telo under the extended warranty. They shipped a new unit before requiring the return of the defective one, and they even supplied a prepaid shipping label. While I'm still a bit aggrieved that they were so inflexible about the original warranty expiration, I am grateful that they extended an offer that I found palatable. I've downgraded my overall impression of the unit, somewhat, and only offer conditional recommendation of Ooma, based upon the voice delay issue and the what I consider to be a premature failure. I'm not suggesting that there's a lot of evidence that this is a chronic problem for the Telo or that the same thing will happen to you, but it is something to consider when making the decision to purchase.
Now -- my original review:
After reading many reviews of the ooma Telo here on Amazon.com and elsewhere, we decided that it sounded like a product that would be helpful in reducing our monthly phone costs while maintaining our current phone number and equivalent basic functionality. We actually received the unit on Christmas Eve, but haven't attempted installation until today - nearly a week later.
We found the installation to be a very simple process, accurately described and directed by the Quick Start guide included with the unit. All of the uncertainties that arose in my mind while reading some of the negative reviews here quickly vanished, one-by-one, as the clear, guided steps left no unanswered questions. It is because of this that I'm prompted to write a review.
Several reviewers have complained that ooma is 'sneaky' or 'deceptive' in their business practices -- that ooma signs you up for the premium service and automatically bills you monthly without your foreknowledge. They also claim that they take pains to hide the fact that the Federal government has begun to assess a yearly fee of about $12 for using the device.
These reviewers - to be charitable - are terribly under-informed. They have failed to avail themselves of the copious information available on review sites or on ooma's own website, or they're just lunging ahead with activation and installation without bothering to read the instructions.
For example, during the activation process, which is the first thing you're instructed to do with your new Telo, you are presented with the following admonition: "At the end of your trial period, you will automatically be enrolled into Ooma Premier and charged $9.99/month. If you do not wish to keep Ooma Premier, you can opt-out inside My Ooma and not be billed." That seems pretty clear to me.
The yearly Federal service charge also seems to be 'hidden' in plain sight. It's printed in 2 different locations on the box, and also appears on the ooma website, as well as in several reviews. And it's not necessarily in 'fine print', requiring you to strain your eyes.
I'm all for writing negative reviews that are fact-based and created by users who do their homework and try to educate themselves about a product. There are plenty of bad products out there and they should be exposed. But I find it misleading and unhelpful to rush headlong into something without understanding the technology or reading and following setup directions, and then write a scathing review that says "this sucks", when it's consumer ignorance that has produced an unsatisfactory result.
As for my brief evaluation of the Telo, it's very positive. Activation online was easy, as was installation. My Telo connected reasonably quickly and was ready to try out in about the amount of time estimated. (20 to 30 minutes) After that, I placed a call from my cellphone to the temporary number given to me while my home number is waiting to be ported. Voice mail picked up and I left a message, which I was later able to retrieve after returning home. I also placed a call to a friend to evaluate voice quality, which we found to be excellent.
That's it for the first day -- not a big test, but it worked as-advertised and I believe we'll be very pleased with the service.
To clarify for those who have read the review expressing uncertainty about when it's safe to use the service after initial installation: During the first phase of the connect/update process, the ooma symbol, a flower-like design located in the center of the telo, blinks repeatedly, and all the other symbols are unlit. At some point, the bottom row of symbols, which are used for navigating through and playing back voicemails, are lit and unlit sequentially, like a theater marquee. Finally, when it's ready to use, all the symbols are illuminated blue. And you'll probably see that there's a blinking red light, indicating that you've received a voice message. (it's from ooma, welcoming you to the service and helping you set up the voicemail features)
130 of 138 people found the following review helpful
on October 15, 2009
I have installed two Ooma (Core) devices bought through Amazon. I have Comcast cable for my internet connection. I accepted a new telephone number that was provided by Ooma free of charge and installation and everything was without incident. Overall process took about an hour.
The other Ooma (Core) device was installed using AT&T DSL with number porting. This was a "Nightmare and a half" and I hope that I can gift some pointers to anyone reading this review as a step in the right direction. If you want to keep your existing telephone number, you need to request a "number port" from Ooma. This is a basic form that you fill out and complete, pay a $39 fee and wait a minimum of 6 weeks. This is the time that it takes for Ooma to port your existing number from AT&T as they had mentioned to me that the FCC is involved and this is why there is so much bureaucratic wait time.
Unfortunately, there is no easy way to keep DSL and operate an Ooma device. AT&T recommends a "dry loop" service. This means that your phone line will be disconnected and you will have an internet connection through a non-working phone jack. DSL works by your existing telephone number attached to your internet connection. Believe me, AT&T will give you the "run-around" for days and days and tell you how impossible this is to do and by the end of all of this calamity...you'll just want to return this Ooma device back to Amazon and forget about "free" phone service forever.
Persistence pays off and this is what you would have to do. Step one...disconnect your internet DSL service, but request that your telephone number remain active. Your phone number must remain active in order for Ooma to port this number and it must remain in active status for at least 6-8 weeks. If for some reason you lose the number...there is about a week or so time frame to get your number back before it may be released to someone else. You will also lose your internet service...I would recommend finding another internet service in the meantime and go back to AT&T after your commitment is over. I went with Comcast as they are having a sale. Step two...wait for your number to port over and you're done.
If you don't care about losing your telephone number with this changeover, then you should have lesser problems. Just request for a "dry loop" change.
I received an email from Ooma in regards to their changes in terms and conditions. What was suppose to be "free" forever has some "hick-ups". Phone calls up to 5,000 minutes are "free". Anything after that, you will be charged. That's over 80 hours of calling per month and well over what I will ever use, but if you see yourself needing more...this plan is not for you. Ooma Premier has decreased to $9.99. 411 calls are now $0.99. Ooma encourages you to use "800-GOOG-411" or "800-FREE-411" as these are both free calls.
Ooma customers who bought through a "club store" or the Telo: You get 5,000 minutes per month. Premiere subscription rate is also $9.99/month. If you pay the yearly $119.99 fee, your number port or Telo handset is free. After your first full year of service...a $11.75 per year regulatory fee will be charged to you. You get 60 days of free support and after that it will be $39.99 per year.
Overall, this is still an awesome product. I think that with Amazon and the "club stores" pushing this business as much as they have...Ooma became bigger than they knew possible. I think that the FCC may have imposed stricter guidelines on them and this may be where the extra charges are stemming from. Ooma to Ooma calls are quite clear. I had a complaint from the AT&T representative on the other end that she was having a hard time hearing me...but that was only after I had revealed to her that I was calling using Ooma already.
I recommend Ooma. If you have DSL...disconnect your internet and find an internet service free of a phone line. If the power goes out in your household...you're not going to have a telephone as your internet will be down. My Comcast went down unexpectedly for a few hours twice last year and I was without a phone both of these time. Ooma Core has free Caller ID and this is helpful.
I hope this helps...
99 of 105 people found the following review helpful
on January 29, 2010
Just happened to stumble across this product on a website last week, and was immediately drawn to it. For many years we've been tired of paying for two landlines to our home (~$60/month), and this looked pretty good. After reading comments here and elsewhere, we bought a Telo from the local Fry's here in Oregon.
Setup was very clean, and the audio sounded nice. But after digging a bit deeper we discovered that this Telo is a single-line replacement, although with the Premium service one can temporarily call up a second line. But we had two lines in the house we wanted to replace, one for personal and one for business.
Turns out the slightly-older Hub could do exactly what we wanted, when paired up with a Scout. Back to Fry's we went, and they fortunately had what we were looking for (they're discontinued, and getting harder to find).
I have to admit, the Hub setup instructions seemed baffling to me, what with all the various options and diagrams. All we wanted was to kill our landline service and splice Ooma in place, but some negative reviews gave the impression that you needed a Scout for every phone in the house. Not so. They need to re-write the instructions, but now with it discontinued I guess that point is moot. We won't be using the voicemail feature.
Incidentally, Ooma suggests putting the box just after your broadband modem and in front of the router/WiFi box for the house, so that if there is ever a contention for traffic your VOIP data will prevail. I elected instead to just plug the Ooma ethernet cable into one of the empty slots on our D-Link router. Absolutely no quality issues, even when downloading in parallel with using the phone. Oh, I have the router set up for MAC filtering, so we did have to load the MAC address, but that took all of one minute.
Additionally, for any location that has "E911" service (apparently pretty much everywhere these days) then Ooma works like a regular 911 service. If you dial 911 Ooma automatically forwards your name and address to the 911 center.
Anyway, we are now on the schedule to port over our two numbers to Ooma, and we will still use DSL (a "dry line") to deliver 1.5Mbit service to the house. We'll see how it goes, but so far it's looking great. Break-even should be in about 5 months, then just $10/month afterwards for two lines. Sweet.
UPDATE 25 Feb 2010:
My two numbers ported over to Ooma earlier today. The landlines went dead for incoming calls this morning, and the numbers showed up on the Ooma boxes about 4 hours later. Voice quality is excellent, everything appears to be perfectly normal.
UPDATE 10 Mar 2010:
Both phone lines in constant use, along with our computers. Everything works fine, voice quality appears to be same as POTS, saving $60 a month.
247 of 271 people found the following review helpful
on March 16, 2010
As long as you have a fast internet connection and a functioning Ooma device the call quality is very good to excellent. However, if you have any problems with configuration or the hardware goes down then you better be prepared to have a backup phone service for at least a week, and you better be prepared for many frustrating calls to Ooma support where they will continue to ask the same questions over and over after which they will assign you a ticket number and tell you somone will get back to you. They also only communicate through e-mail and chat to their support engineers in Palo Alto and claim they (a VOIP provider) have no way to forward a call to Palo Alto. Once they inform you of that they again promise a support engineer in Palo Alto would call back. Once you hang-up, the process of calling and e-mailing starts all over again because they never call back or e-mail. I would have to sum up my review by stating that I believe Ooma has the worst customer service I have ever experienced and if I had it to do over again I would go with another VOIP provider that supports a generic VOIP adapter that won't lock you into a particular service provider.
UPDATE: I finally had to insist on speaking to a manager to get resolution to my problem. The manager made me jump through the same troubleshooting steps for the fourth time. He did not have any of the details from the previous calls on file. After insiting it was a hardware issue, he finally sent a new Ooma which arrive today. I was up and running in 5 minutes with the new device. They did provide a free return shipping label, but with all the calls I've wasted many hours and been without my Ooma phone line for 12 days.
130 of 141 people found the following review helpful
I recently converted from Vonage to Ooma Telo because Vonage was costing me $33/month after taxes and everything. When you add that to the cost of naked DSL from AT&T ($42.95), it was actually a worse deal than AT&T's phone + internet bundle which is only $59.95. I was attracted to Ooma because I thought it would be an easy switch over from Vonage, and I want to save money. Here are some notes I recorded during the process:
-Vonage is costing me more than AT&T because naked DSL is $42.95/mo and Vonage is $24.99/mo = $67.94 + taxes. AT&T bundle is $59.95/mo + taxes for DSL + unlimited local and long distance.
-Ooma cost is $187 + $120 for Premier w/phone port = $307. Vonage is costing me $33/month = $396/year. 3 years of Vonage is $1188. 3 years of Ooma with Premier = $571.
-My Speedtest data is 43ms ping, 5.66Mb/s down, .43mb/s up
-Phone number transfer request from Vonage account submitted on 2/1, completed on 2/16...exact day they said it would. Done perfectly! Vonage automatically closed my account, didn't even have to call them.
-Call quality is perfect..not so much as a crackle.
-Telo unit has adjustable backlit buttons...nice to be able to turn it down a notch.
-Turning on call forwarding worked within 2 minutes.
-Fast service on technical support calls. Immediately on 2 of them, 1 minute on third call.
-Telo functionally is really cool device with ability to check vmail on speaker, send calls to vmail. Also very cool looking.
-Everything is clearly marked on Telo, instructions are easy to follow
-Faxing works great with *99 prefix
-No contract, walk away after a month if you so desire, although it wouldn't be very cost effective..
-I have Telo installed behind my Linksys WRT54G router with QOS giving higest priority to the Telo MAC address, and ran Mozy backup on another PC, and call quality was almost perfect.
-[...] has a lot of cool features including the ability to create your own blacklist so telemarketers or other annoying people can't get through. It will either send it to your voicemail, or give them a number out of order message. Pretty cool!
-Setup may be easy, may not. 15 minute setup is not entirely true...you will likely have at least a 20-30 minute firnware download/update. Make sure the firewall on your router is turned off before you plug it in to your router. (or enable required ports)
-Telo device does not have a built in led display like the Vonage V-Portal adapter.
-Telo device takes quite awhile to recognize an internet outage. In fact, if I unplug my router and then pick up the phone I actually get dial tone, but the call doesn't go through obviously. This leads me to believe the Telo gives the dial tone unless it realizes there is no internet connection.
-Telo device is large compared with the Vonage V-Portal. It has a lot of additional features that the V-Portal doesn't though. Just make sure you allow for its 5x7" footprint.
-Takes 1 minute to recognize network outage (Vonage 3 sec), 25 seconds to recognize it's back, and log back in.
-No ability to turn off voice mail, only set to max of 59 second answer.
-Very easy for power cable to fall out of the back. Recommend taping it to the back of the Ooma.
-My caller ID when I do an outbound call shows up as Ooma Inc. or Private Caller, instead of my name. (this was before my number port)
-Telo device causes interference to any speakers within a couple of feet. (by interference I mean a humming noise)
So far we have used our Ooma to the tune of 220 incoming/outgoing calls, and a total of 839 minutes, and it has been perfect. No static. No dropped called. Flawless. So I obviously recommend the Ooma Telo.
3/30/10 UPDATE: 588 incoming/outgoing calls, total of 2830 minutes (47 hours) and everything is still great. Still not a single dropped call that I can remember. My wife really likes having the voicemails emailed to her account so she can check them when she checks email messages. Still Highly Recommend!
8/18/10 UPDATE: Very ugly high profile outage for the Eastern US on 8/17 has me concerned. Little communication from Ooma during the event. Ooma lacks the redundant, highly available backend to sustain carrier outages without losing service. Not able to forward calls to cell phone even during network outage. Downgrading from 5 stars to 3 stars due to this event.
1/20/10 UPDATE: Quality and availability since the outage last August has been flawless. Coming up on my 1 year mark with Ooma, and all-in-all it has been great. Upgrading to 4 stars.
56 of 58 people found the following review helpful
on March 20, 2013
I did a couple of weeks of researching online for different VoIP's trying to decide if it was worth it to switch from our landline. Our local phone company, AT&T, was charging $40 for basic phone & caller ID & the prices kept going up. We were bundling with Dish Network too for a $5 monthly credit, so it had to be worth it to change over. After reading horrible reviews of even independently recommended VoIPs, I almost gave up. I couldn't believe the plethora of problems mentioned by users. From strange charges to phone calls dropping. A few weeks later, I somehow ran across Ooma, which wasn't even mentioned in the independent reviews I saw. A coworker also mentioned they had it & loved it.
My must haves:
Port my number
Caller ID with name - and a feature list must say 'with name'. Caller ID means only phone number display.
Caller ID outgoing
Keep your own phone equipment
Consistent monthly charge, no annual fees, increases or annual fee to keep my own number
Reasonable overage or call limit
e911 - VoIP version of being able to call 911 and have your phone number, name and address
Call quality & reliability
Call friends/family in another state for free
Good customer service
Rated well by others & not a Fail grade with the BBB.
Ooma's features does all this list and more.
Setup for the Telo was very easy. The instructions that come with it are clear and concise. Our first try it didn't connect, but it had to do with our own modem. We rebooted our modem and it has worked perfectly since then. It hooked up easy as pie to our phone. Then you get to setup your online account and your phone will start working. I got to select online what I call a 'temporary local number' (until I ported my landline number a month later). You can select from a plethora of local available numbers, you're not stuck with one or two choices like a landline setup. Your Ooma online account is impressive! You have to see it to believe it: many options, features, detailed call logs, voicemail, etc. I have to say additionally that Ooma has an impressive regular web site with clear & concise detailed information to help you decide if you want to purchase it. It answered most of my questions & I haven't needed to contact customer service at all.
I purchased Telo from Amazon, because I absolutely trust Amazon & I was able to purchase an online Square Trade Warranty at the same time for the Telo, which was less expensive than the Ooma company warranty. To purchase a Square Trade warranty on any expensive product, you just search for it on Amazon and select the correct product category and sale price (less taxes) and add it into the shopping cart with the product.
Porting your number:
The best advice I saw from a review, was to purchase your chosen VoIP on a trial period - then wait a month or two to port your number over. You're paying extra, but it's more than worth it if you don't end up liking the VoIP. Some charge to port your number in and out. We got it free on both ends, since AT&T doesn't charge for outgoing & Ooma doesn't charge to port in if you sign up for Annual Premier and select that as your free gift. We waited a month before porting. Ooma states that it can take up to four weeks to port, but ours was done in a week from AT&T.
Ooma worked best for us with all of my criteria. It does cost more up front, but it was worth it and the Telo unit will pay for itself in a few months. You can opt for free Ooma, where you only pay monthly taxes - incredible deal compared to other VoIP's. Taxes depend on where you live ($3.75 is charged monthly to our credit card). You can opt to purchase Ooma Premier on a monthly basis of $9.99 or an annual amount (tax remains the same no matter your choice). The annual payment signup comes with a free gift of a few options from free porting to free optional equipment.
We chose Ooma Premier, because it is an extremely reasonable price compared to other VoIP's. It comes with Caller ID with name, and an extra virtual number, which lets you select a phone number from any city in the country so that out of state family can call this number and it's local to them. Love this feature, since we family in another state that reside within the same area code. FYI Caller ID outgoing will not show this virtual number even if you have two lines. Plus as mentioned above, free porting with annual subscription. The rest of Ooma Premier features are listed out on their website.
I cannot tell the difference between my landline and Ooma VoIP. I only noticed that the sound was a little bit louder. I did try to place a call one day to a restaurant and the call would not ring through. I read on their forums that it can happen in rare occasions - a possibility with any VoIP anyway. This was a known issue and Ooma is working on a fix for their next software update. Their updates are sent to your Telo automatically through the internet connection. This was the only time I couldn't place a call.
Ooma offers a lot of optional equipment which can be useful depending on your situation. We have been thinking about the Wireless Adapter so that the phone doesn't have to be close to the modem - a great option if desired. They even have a phone you can buy that will display a photo of who's calling.
Caller ID Contacts List:
Ooma has a great way of managing Caller ID. I even think it's better than my iPhone. You can go to your online account and input all your friends and family and give them a Caller ID, name, photo, address, etc. You can import from Outlook (CSV format), Google, LinkedIn, AddressBook & even photos from Facebook. Or you can do it from the call log as people call. I don't believe they mention this perk on their site - I didn't realize this until we had the account. So all those friends that call with their cell phones, you can now attach their name to it! You can have one person with multiple numbers and even group the contacts by category titles you create.
I know now that calls on my phone coming in with All Caps are not on my contact list and those with regular upper & lower case are on my contact list. I believe you can do this even without Ooma Premier, so you can have your contacts list and still get Caller ID with name for them. Ooma for free only comes with Caller ID number (no name).
Note: Caller ID with name outside of my contact list can sometimes be strange - it may say OOMA or the phone exchange city title.
You can also select if you want Caller ID outgoing or not and the initial setup of what your Caller ID name will look like. When we setup our temporary number to begin with, the caller ID name was wrong, I guess it takes a few months, but when we ported our number it used that caller ID & so it was correct. Once setup, it's set and does cost to change it after that - we haven't had the need to change it.
Get Rid Of Pesky Calls:
Once someone calls your number and you decide you don't want them to call anymore...telemarketers....you can black list them and presto, their call won't come through and they will instead receive a message that you're phone is disconnected (one of four options on how to handle these calls). They have similar options for calls without caller ID. This in and of itself is worth it. They also have an option to turn off known telemarketers. They don't state who these are or their numbers, just a selection of allow or disallow.
You're out and about and someone calls and leaves a message at home. Or you turn off your ringer and you're upstairs and don't realize someone called & left a message. Voicemail can be forwarded to an email. I have it setup that voicemail is sent to a special email address just for that and my cell phone is setup to receive a notification if an email comes through to this account. It will show the caller ID and I can click on it to play the message through the internet. Very awesome feature!
Forward To A Cell Phone:
You can have calls forwarded to your cell phone, or just have calls forwarded if the internet is down, electricity is down, whatever might happen.
e911 & Alert Message:
Great feature and really is a must have for emergencies, plus Ooma has an additional feature that will send a text message (when 911 is called) to a specified cell phone stating whatever text you want - basically a heads up to someone else that you placed a 911 call from your home phone.
Overall, I'm incredibly impressed with Ooma. I'm so happy we switched to a superior phone company that offers amazing features and is so much cheaper. I wish we would have done it sooner.
72 of 76 people found the following review helpful
on December 2, 2010
I've read the gambit of reviews posted here and elsewhere. I can say that many are caused by purchaser error, incompatible IP service, or incompatible equipment. For any VOIP service, you really need to read everything and understand it fully before deciding to make your purchase. Important and critical questions to yourself are. Do I have a very solid strong reliable internet service connection. So I have a variety of odd and old phone equipment. Is my internet network set up complex, do I have enough technical skills to install this system, and is my situation supported by this product. With that in mind, I will give my review with pointers as to those questions, and overall product looks, features and performance.
The Ooma Telo console is very attractive and slim. Its blue colors are subdued and not obtrusive. The ring is normal and loud enough to be heard in a larger sized room. The Ooma system generates a dial tone with a chiming tone at the beginning. If you do not get a chiming dial tone, you have a set up issue that needs to be corrected. All of the very basic components will come in the box. The Ooma Telo console, power block, and several high quality cables. Ensure that you have very high quality cables, junk cables will cause issues such as static and erratic activity.
Ooma has a fairly comprehensive set up sheet included with the unit. Read ALL of it in detail before beginning. It is critical that you have a strong signal internet connection. If you have a so, so internet signal due to poor service from your providor, or substandard cables or equipment, you'll need to upgrade and resolve those issues or the Ooma may not operate reliably.
Wireless connections to a router are not recommended as they are open to interference. Use a hard wired configuration. My home is hard wired with CAT 5 cables in each room and my PC's all connect to the jacks in their respective rooms to connect to my network. All of my jacks are connected to the Cable Modem via various Switches and Routers and I had no issues. I connected my Ooma using their supplied cable to one of my jacks in the den. Pay attention to the lights and indicators on the Ooma as it will tell you if there are connection issues or weak signal issues. After you are hooked up to the network, connect the power supply and allow the Ooma to run its set up. They recommend up to an hour, mine finished in about 10 minutes.
Now to tackle the home phone lines. Some households have one main phone with satellite handsets in various rooms. You need to make no modifications to your home phone wiring, just plug the base set into the Ooma line 1 port and you should be ready. If your wanting to activate all the phone jacks in the house and get the Ooma dial tone at each one, you will need to gain access to the phone service box attached to your house. Inside this box you'll usually see two wires coming from the connector attached to the back of the box, and these leads are attached to wires in your side of the box. If you have one phone line (one number service) cut the wires coming from the phone company connector. Next take each solid wire of the color used and attach them all together, and take each striped wire of the color used and attach them all together, and secure with a weather proof wire cap. Note: If you have DSL you will need to determine which line coming from the house is connected to the DSL Modem, and leave those two wires connected to the phone company's connector.
Now sign onto the internet and go to Ooma's web page. Click the Get Started link on the upper left. Fill out all of the forms and supply them with your billing information. If you are going to Port your old number select that option and pick a temporary Ooma number to use. Ooma offers a 60 day free trial of their Premium Service. This service includes all of the bells and whistles many people like. Call forwarding, caller ID, message forwarding, emergency call forwarding, call blocking etc etc. This service is $9.99 a month plus local taxes or $199.99 annually plus taxes. The basic service is free, but you still must pay the local taxes each month. NOTE: The Trial Premium Service does NOT get you the free Porting!! You will be on BASIC service during the Premium Trial, the free Porting requires you subscribe to the Annual Premium Service. At this time, connect the Ooma outgoing port to a nearby jack and all jacks in the house should get the Ooma Chime Dial Tone. If you have a phone next to the Ooma Telo, you'll need a line splitter for the outgoing port so you can connect the phone to one side and the nearby wall jack to the other. This is important! Once you get set up and get a number you should get a dial tone within an hour or less. Go around with a phone to each jack and make sure you get the Ooma Chime Dial Tone. If you do not get the Ooma Chime Dial Tone you have a set up problem that must be corrected. Some issues are: Phone lines that are connected to Surge Protectors, remove the Surge Protectors. Old analog equipment connected to the lines. Ooma is a 100% digital service and does not get along with very old phones, and analog caller ID boxes. Remove them. Once you get all of your phone jacks to give the Ooma Dial Tone your internal wiring set up is complete. The two indications I had that something was not right was getting a regular dual tone or getting a constant busy signal or off the hook beep beep beep.
If you decided to just take the new Ooma phone number your done. Your not done yet if your Porting your old number. At this point, you should have your Ooma service and if your Porting your old number a temporary phone number. You'll be able to experience the Premium Service perks during the 60 day trial period. However, if all you've done is set up your account, your number is not going to be ported until you complete the request. Just because you selected the option to port your old number during set up, you have not started the official process yet. You'll need to decide if you are going to subscribe to the Annual Premium Service or stick with Basic. Once you've decided, go to your PC and sign into your old phone company account. Bring up a copy of your last bill and save it to your PC in PDF, JPG, or GIF form. Then go and sign into your account on Ooma. Select Add-On's. Find the Porting option and click it. Enter the number to be ported and your address as requested. Click on the link and upload the copy of your old phone company's bill. Important!! If you are sticking with Basic Service, click the $39.99 option and move onto the next step. Ignore the ** footnote that says if your on Premium Service you will not be charged the $39.99. That ONLY APPLIES if you are already a ANNUAL Premium customer and NOT on the Free Premium Trial. The Free Premium Trial does NOT count towards the free Porting offer. If you want the Annual Premium Service and Free Porting, select the $199.99 option. This will get your the Free Porting and Sign you up for the ANNUAL Premium Service. Move on to the next sections and complete the Porting request and submit it. You should get an e-mail confirming that the request was received. You will get periodic e-mail notifications as the Porting process moves forward, or notes that there are issues if any. Sometimes a number cannot be Ported, it happens. If you make a mistake, and select the $39.99 option like I did thinking that the Free Premium Trial qualified you for the Free Porting, they cannot cancel the request at customer service so do not bug them about it. If you want to even the playing fields for $40, hold off on buying the ANNUAL Premium Service for 4 months after the 60 day free trial expires. That's $10 a month for 4 months that Ooma does not get from you making things even.
Once you've made your Porting request its a waiting game as Ooma is at the mercy of the phone companies. Once your number is Ported and only then, you should call your old phone company and cancel their phone service. Some DSL providors are being nasty and requiring people to have both phone and DSL or nothing. At that point, its time to swap to cable if you can for your internet.
If you subscribed to the Annual Premium Services, you can sign into your account on Ooma and go to Account and start setting up your preferences. You can have calls forwarded to your cell or another phone if the Ooma service or your internet is down. You can set up call blocking. You can set up how to handle solicitors and other pests, and a variety of other settings.
I've had my Ooma now for a little over a month. I like it a lot so far. We do not use a land line much, mostly to get doctor appointment notices, and to send an occasional fax. That was why I wanted to get rid of the $40 a month land line bill and get something for around $10. Ooma fit that bill, and offers all the services I had before and more. My calls although very few and far between are clear and I've never experienced drop offs or noise. Set up can get tricky and you have to know what to look for, or the system will not work correctly. People experiencing dead or dying Ooma Telo's typically have them connected to wall jacks with the old land line service still active or connected to the street, make sure your old service is "cut off" literally. Make sure you get the Ooma chime dial tone or you have an issue somewhere in the house phone wiring. Make sure you have a strong internet signal and connection. Lastly, ensure that no connections go to older analog equipment or through Surge Protectors. The Ooma signal does not like them as its 100% digital. Lastly, you CAN send a fax using Ooma and a fax connected to an Ooma connected wall jack. You must dial ** then the number to enable the Ooma to accept the fax. This is in the instructions that came with the Ooma Telo unit.
Overall so far I'm fairly happy. I have to say every time I have e-mailed their customer support, they have always responded promptly usually within an hour or two unless I sent my message late in the day, I usually have my answer the next morning. My only disappointment was with the confusion surrounding the Free Porting. The Free Premium Trail does NOT count and will not get you the Free Porting, you have to be subscribed to the Annual Premium Service or select that when signing up for the old number Porting. This was NOT clear at all on the web site, and I got stuck paying the $39.99, and customer support cannot cancel the Porting request or back off the charge and change your selection to premium. My work around is to wait 4 months before I sign up for Annual Premium thus denying them $40 worth of business.
77 of 83 people found the following review helpful
on October 7, 2009
After Reading all the great reviews on the original Ooma Hub and Scout. I decided to wait until the telo came out. I ordered mine direct from Amazon and opted for overnight shipping and received the product the next day. Installation was a breeze no problems whatsoever. Once you unbox the unit you are instructed to go to the ooma website to activate your product. I chose not to port my own number over right away just in case I didn't like the service. You can opt for a temporary number and you can I always port when you are ready. The setup time is about 30 min because you have to wait for the telo to download all the updates before it becomes active. Depending on your connection speed it can take up to 30 min.
Once setup there is a unique dial tone. Call are very clear. It is definitely as good as a land line or cell phone. I have mine connected to a Panasonic dect 6.0 phones. Works absolutely great. Both incoming and outgoing caller id works great.
I also made an international call to cell phone and it worked great. So far so good. I just started the port process for my number which they say takes 3-4 weeks. I haven't had to call customer service yet so I can't comment on it.
My overall experience is great. The MY OOMA section of the website works great. You can see call logs, check voicemail. pre pay for international service and manage your premier or basic.
A few things. The premier service is 119.99 for the first year which includes either a free port (39.99) or free dect 6.0 phone (49.99). It's at least worth it for the first year my opinion of course. Also after the first year there is a 12.00 per year surcharge. Other than that it's a great product that works well for the money. My phone bill used to be 80$ per month. Now if you calculate over the course of 1 year 30$. The ooma pays for itself in no time and from then on its all cash in your pocket.
192 of 215 people found the following review helpful
on December 2, 2009
Firstly, I bought the Ooma Telo with full knowledge that there were promised features that had not yet been delivered (Google Voice extensions). My break even on switching to the Telo was less than 6 months, so I consider this to no longer be a trial or experiment and will continue to be a customer for the foreseeable future. But while the initial impressions are undeniably attractive, I still caution that there are some disappointments in the switch:
1. Ooma's recommended configuration is to place the Telo *between* your modem and router so that it can automatically apply Quality of Service (QoS) prioritization for voice calls (so you don't sound like you're talking in a tin can). But because the Telo also acts as a router (and its router functions cannot be disabled), this results in a 'Double NAT'. While this is a fairly techie complaint, that the Telo includes super simplistic router functions that cannot be disabled (via changing it to 'Bridge' mode), it may not be a valid concern for typical customers. However, for more technical customers, a 'Double NAT' can cause connectivity issues establishing a VPN connection to your work/office network or may even interfere with some of the interactive (remote multi-player) functions in some gaming systems. The alternative is to install the Telo *after* your existing router, which now means that you'll want to get familiar with the QoS settings on your original router.
2. One of the main selling points for the Ooma Premier subscription is the Instant Second Line. Whereas with the older Ooma Hub enables the second line function via Ooma Scout extensions, the Telo *requires* the Telo handset. And although Ooma typically offers a free Telo handset as part of the enticement to upgrade to the Premier service, the Telo handset doesn't have a headset jack?! The alternative to handsfree operation is to add the Ooma Bluetooth adapter to the Telo, but this too is problematic due to the significantly reduced range of Bluetooth (~30 ft) as compared to modern DECT 6 phones. And within our household, using the Telo handset as a speakerphone simply isn't an option, thus Ooma's decision to omit a headset jack is the primary reason why we won't add Telo handsets or upgrade to the Premier service level.
I've had my Ooma Telo for over a year now and definitely appreciate the cost savings. But buyers should be forewarned that while Ooma is cheaper than Vonage or a traditional landline, it is not without its bugs and quirks. They have a fairly good track record of improving their software and rolling out new features and I'm hoping that they continue to improve it. One final concern is that while the one-time/upfront hardware cost for the Ooma is great for consumers, it may not translate into the type of income that Ooma needs to survive.