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magicJack: PC to Phone Jack
|Price:||$33.20 + $4.69 shipping|
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- Local/long distance/international calling
- magicJack is free for first year
- Each magicJack includes a free phone number to receive call from anyone in the world
- Free outbound local and long distance calls
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Add magicJack Telephone Adapter to your PC and you can make telephone calls within the USA and Canada for FREE! Skype uses a peer-to-peer network, whereas magicJack uses a dedicated telephone networkOther VoIP carriers do not have dedicated telephone networks, and lease this service from other companies. That means higher costs and poorer reliability. magicJack uses its own dedicated telephone network. You can use magicJack with either a regular telephone handset, or with a headset. You can also use both, and switch between the two. You can move magicJack between Internet providers. You can use magicJack from anywhere in the world (where broadband web access is available). It requires - PC - Windows XP or Vista operating system; (Mac/Apple expected soon); Broadband, high-speed internet, cable internet, DSL - WiFi - WiMax magicJack comes with an easy-to-use device to allow you to use a regular telephone handset. Service is free for 1st year. $20 per year thereafter.
From the Manufacturer
The magicJack uses your computer and Internet service so you can make local and long distance calls in the U.S. and Canada with no monthly bills. First you connect any household phone to magicJack. Then you plug magicJack into an available USB port on your computer, using the supplied extension cord if needed. Finally you wait for the completion screen to appear to use your phone like you always have. Installation is simple and takes 60 seconds.
Legal DisclaimerPrepaid Device - Not returnable
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Here's what we've discovered about it so far after about 1 month's use. We are using it with Windows Vista.
1) It's $19.95 a YEAR, so you have to assume there are going to be some problems and inconveniences, but, IT'S $19.95 a YEAR!
2) In order for it to work, your computer always has to be on (for us, no big deal we usually leave ours on anyway). You are actually using the internet as your phone. The problem was when the power went out a few days ago, we had no home phone. This is OK because we had cell phones and for that matter, we had no power to our regular phone either.
3) It comes with automatic voice mail which sends .wav files to whatever e-mail you choose or you can retrieve them over the phone. It also allows your phone to use its own voice mail. It DOES allow you to enter your home address for 911. 411 is free.
4) It has a computer interface which pops up every time the phone rings, which is kind of annoying if you are using the computer, but all you have to do is click it closed again. It's about as annoying as a pop-up window. I can live with this for $19.95/year. The positive aspect of this is I can see who's calling without looking away from the computer.
5) It does have caller ID, but it only gives you the number of the person calling. You can add the number to a contacts list and add a name then it will show you whose calling just like regular caller ID. This is actually pretty common with the proliferation of cell phones.
6) It is like a cell phone and is essentially unlisted.
7) The call quality varies from just OK to fantastic. We haven't had any problems with dropped calls. The only real problem we've had is occasionally you will pick it up and you won't hear a dial tone. If you press the phone "on" button once or twice the dial tone will come on. The phone we are using is just a normal (cheap) phone. I believe there are phones designed for VoIP which will work better with this system. Need more research here.
8) From the reviews I've read online, customer service is bad (not my personal experience, but it doesn't surprise me). They do offer a deal for 5 years for $69.99, but I'll give it a year or two before I jump aboard that deal, because I'm not even going to try to deal with CS and ask about a refund if I were to ever need one.
Bottom Line: If you are not incredibly impatient and you are OK with dealing with a few mild annoyances, you cannot beat this deal and MagicJack, at the very least, works. The jury is still out whether or not I am going to be an evangelist for MagicJack, but I've been pretty impressed so far.
UPDATE AUGUST 9, 2011: It's been several months now and I thought I'd update with current information. First, reliability: The biggest problem we have had is call quality. It does range from perfectly alright to unlistenable. I still haven't figured out what the variable is that causes the ocassional bad calls, but I'm sure there is one somewhere, maybe the internet speed. I have become somewhat adept at interpreting the calls in spite of the call quality when it is really bad. I have also not tried to switch out phones to see if that is part of the problem. When I do I will update.
I also purchased a MJ for my business which recieves some calls but is mostly conducted over e-mail and I haven't had the same problems with that unit that I've had with this one. In fact, that one works great every time.
Although I am backing off from being a complete pitchman for MJ (I wouldn't recommend the product to my elderly parents, or someone whose phone is their business lifeline, for example), for my level of usage I am still impressed with what I am getting for $19.95 a year. The amount of money I've already saved is remarkable. I am still absolutely resolute that, for me, I can live with the occassional problems because of the incredible deal.
UPDATE #2 JANUARY 4, 2012: We have never been able to resolve the inconsistent call quality which I mentioned in my previous update. It was not the phone and it was not the internet connection, so the only other thing is the unit itself. Calls were frequently garbled and it got so annoying that I was ready to dump the whole thing as people calling us could not understand what we were saying. The one I use at work is fine, so I think we just got a bad one for home.
HOWEVER: I am not going to change my review from 4 stars because as subscribers, we were offered one of the new MAJICJACK PLUS systems at a great discount and well...in for a penny, in for a pound, I tried it. I will review the MJ+ on the appropriate product page, but I can say here that the new unit works great! We do not have any more of the quality issues we had with the first unit. The other advantage of MJ+ is you no longer need a computer to use it. The disadvantage is the annual price goes up to $29.95/year. Bummer but, oh well, it's still a great deal.
The bottom line is we got a busted unit last year. When we got the replacement MJ+, the system worked as advertised.