MagicJack USB Device Worth The Hype? An Honest Magic Jack Review

Magic Jack is the home VoIP solution that is taking on the big boys like Vonage and enjoying great success. The MagicJack, which is primarily advertised as an “as seen on TV” product is gaining some serious traction among the thrifty that are looking to cut costs on their monthly bills. With phone companies usually charging around $30.00 a month for phone service, it’s no wonder that the device has been so popular since the service costs only $20.00 a year. There are Millions of people using this cheap voip service now, which is a testament to its legitimacy. However, this does not mean by any stretch that the product is perfect. In fact, some people of gone as far as to scream Magic Jack scam.

 

100% Risk Free – Try Before You Buy http://www.magicjack.com

 

 

The Magic Jack is a little bit smaller than a credit card and plugs into one of your computers usb ports. The device has a RJ11 input to plug your standard telephone into. Set-up and installation is a snap; the Magic Jack instantly loads its own software and then you can let the free calls begin. The device does require a high speed internet connection so make sure you have a quality cable or DSL connection. Almost all computer operating systems are supported by the device, including Windows XP, Mac, and Windows Vista. At the time this article was written there are some hiccups with getting the Magic Jack to work with Windows 7. The company does offer a download to make the product work with windows 7 http://upgrades.talk4free.com/tools/magicJackUpdate.exe however I have not be able to test this yet.

The fact that you simply plug the MJ into your computer, plug in your phone and start calling for free has attracted many users. After you purchase your Magic Jack USB dongle you receive a unique phone number that is completely yours and lasts for life, this in itself is something other phone companies cannot deliver. During the free trial there is a 100% risk free period which allows the end user to make as many free calls as they desire. There is free local and long distance calls for owners; there is also free directory assistance, free call waiting, free voicemail and free caller ID. The quality of calls you can make with the MJ is very good and the products recent popularity has only increased the features and service you will receive with this product. The online based customer service for the Magic Jack has also been very well received for the most part however there have been some very vocal individuals on the web complaining about the online customer service.

 

100% Risk Free – Try Before You Buy http://www.magicjack.com

 

 

It’s no big surprise that up to 10,000 of these units a day are being sold with a total incurred cost of $19.95 per year plus a $40.00 dollar upfront cost for the magic Jack device it’s self. Once you have paid these dues, you are able to make all the local and long distance calls for $0.00. There are no restrictions on the length of the call or what time the call is being made. So, you are probably wondering what other features you get with the MagicJack. One would think that there would be hidden fees for advanced features such as caller id or voicemail. Another bonus feature that often does not get mentioned is the ability to call 411 directory assistance for no charge as well. This is where the Magic Jack shines, providing voice mail, caller ID, call forwarding, call waiting and 3 way conference calling all for FREE. The only thing that does cost money is International phone calls. However rates are much lower than the local phone company or Cell Company or many VoIP companies. To clarify things a little bit, you can take your Magic Jack USB phone and a laptop out of the country and make phone calls to the US for free.

 

Now that we’ve established how exactly it functions, let’s look at how many different ways this can go wrong:

Internet Issues = No Phone

Family and friends with standard cable/DSL connections call me to their homes all of the time to fix their Internet connection. This usually involves tweaking/resetting the (usually wireless) home router, or likewise power-cycling the modem. Other times, the issue is on the end of the ISP or an issue with the local machine. The point is, stuff goes wrong in home networks all of the time.

Well that’s a huge problem when your landline phone connection goes through the same connection. Need 911? Having Internet problems? Forget it. And if your cell phone, if any, is also experiencing problems along with your Internet connection then you have no way of calling your ISP (or “geek friend”) for assistance.

The best part about this, is that most cheapo Linksys/D-Link/Belkin home routers usually need resets every now and again when being run with a ton of traffic (e.g. magicJack VOIP traffic or BitTorrent).

So expect the complete loss of your landline phone connection with the loss of your Internet, or for that matter:

Problems With Your PC

Windows isn’t the most secure or stable operating system, but that’s an entirely different rant. Here’s the thing: if a virus is eating up all of your bandwidth or CPU time/memory, then bye bye reliable phone service over VoIP.

And since MJ relies on a _working_ Windows PC, power outages or other mishaps mean you also lose your home phone service. Is it still worth the price? Even with a cell phone to back it up, nothing beats a reliable land line for emergencies or other needs.

 

100% Risk Free – Try Before You Buy http://www.magicjack.com

 

 

Did You Read The EULA?

When doing a little research on this product, I found something very disturbing on the Wikipedia Entry for the magicJack regarding the EULA’s respect for privacy and any legal issues.

The End User License Agreement specifically states (as of this writing) that:

You also understand and agree that use of the magicJack device and Software will include advertisements and that these advertisements are necessary for the Magic Jack device to work … Our computers may analyze the phone numbers you call in order to improve the relevance of the ads.

By “Necessary to work”, they mean “completely optional for all practical purposes but we need something to pay the bandwidth/telephony costs”. Right. Surrender all privacy regarding who you call, because Big Brother is watching you, only using the “magic Jack” instead of the conventional Telescreen (reference: George Orwell’s 1984).

Also, the EULA goes out of it’s way to protect the product’s parent company of any possible legal liability that may result from usage of the product. If you don’t believe me, read the current (as of this writing) EULA.

Other Issues

Did they mention that the free voicemail the service offers is stored on remote servers maintained by the company itself? Another point of failure to consider when using the service, combined with the other issues outlined here. You better hope they have sufficient redundancy for their datacenter, else you just lost all of your voicemail.

The voicemail service is mainly to cover for another issue at hand: if the PC is off, the phone is unavailable. So the call made to an off or otherwise unavailable computer with MJ is instead routed to the failsafe voicemail system, hosted on the company’s servers (as mentioned above). While this saves the hassle with failed incoming calls, it still doesn’t justify downtime’s effect on outgoing calls, especially those needed during serious emergencies.

Uninstallation Troubles

Not that I have any love for conventional phone companies, but should you have the desire to uninstall this POS after reading this, expect editing the registry because another common complaint is that this ad-ridden, naturally-flawed product is difficult to uninstall due to lack of a traditional Windows Installer uninstall utility.

Last Remarks

 

100% Risk Free – Try Before You Buy http://www.magicjack.com

 

 

While conventional home phone service isn’t 100% perfect, this product throws way too many other common points of failure into the equation. With viruses like Conficker running on too many machines as it stands, the possibility for the complete loss of privacy as a result of using this product is disturbing to say the least given the appropriate security compromise.

I don’t mean to completely knock Magic Jack as it may seem from reading this post, but I feel it is necessary to outline the potential problems that may come as a result of using it. I value having a hard-wired home phone connection with guaranteed reliability regardless of the Internet connection and power status, because some emergencies also entail the loss of both and a cell phone may be out of reach or uncharged.

Other VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) services like Vonage require only a base station and the standard Internet connection, independent of a PC (OR Mac) status. Still susceptible to power issues, but that’s a small subset of the factors associated with routing your entire phone connection through a Windows PC.

Take it form a Networking professional: don’t trust your life and privacy in the hands of this product any more than you would your power, PC uptime, and Internet connection at the same time.

A Recent Review From One Of Our Readers Also I since this post started it has amassed a ton of user comments. I have started a new post for magic jack reviews so feel free to make your comments there as they will more likely be read.

Magic Jack has exceeded my highest expectations! Received the device in 2 business days (from Florida to NYC). Set up was a no-brainer. Picked my area code and MJ assigned the phone number. Avoid all the extras . . . imho, they are not worth it. My internet connection (TWC NYC) is excellent, so MJ works like a charm. Quality is excellent! As good as it ever was with Verizon. Very intuitive and easy to use all the features. Conference calling is terrific! Again, quality was without peer. Sure hope that all the good stuff continues. As for the much talked about “spyware” issues, if they’re out there, no one is bothering me . . . and, who really cares. If you use Amazon.com, Google, et. al, they alreeady have your ticket. Well worth the price . . . btw, we use MJ as a second line, as our main line in Vonage, which also works extremely well.

Update: FemtoJack The Magic Jack For Cell Phones

The company Ymax which is behind the MagicJack has been working a new product for some time that will utilize femtocell technology. The product they are calling FemtoJack is similar to the MJ but will allow you to make calls from your cell phone and the FemtoJack will transfer the call through the internet so you will not have to use up your minutes on your cell carriers network. It is rumored that the device will come out in the second quarter of this year and will cost less than $100 dollars. You can imagine that the cell companies are not very happy about this announcement. I will make a post soon on more of the details of this new device.

 

100% Risk Free – Try Before You Buy http://www.magicjack.com

 

 

Jovan Washington

I have always been very fascinated in all sorts of technology since I was a small child. I discovered the joys of having my first tech item that changed my life in the 90s; an IBM computer. Today, I express my love in the writing that I do for many tech sites all over the web, reviewing many products and writing about many things. Inspired by Leo Laporte and many more, I will continue to live the present and dream the future.

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184 Comments

  1. Melvin W January 30, 2010

    I’ve had my Magic Jack for over two years. When I first installed it I had problems with the voice being choppy. After using the Magic Fix, the problem was fixed. No more problems after that. No choppy voices, no dropped calls, no problems. After my first year expired, they had a special, 5 years for $59.99. Needless to say, I jumped on that deal and am extremely happy.

  2. I was thinking of dropping my land line anyway since it’s only me that lives here and I rely solely on my cell phone I see nothing but a win win here.

  3. Well, I’m amongst the unsatisfied customers I’m afraid. Received my Magic Jack by mail yesterday. After 5 horrendous hours with customer service (support?) at a higher level ???? it still is not working.

    Customer service is really bad, they take 2 or 3 customers at a time so they get lost in where they were at with you, in one case, I got the next step only to be told in bold letters to ignore that as it was for another customer, lol not funny at all. They don’t have time to read and they don’t read what you wrote and since you often have to restart the computer you have to continue with another agent who doesn’t have time to read what the previous guy did. SO AGGRAVATING.
    They had me download tons of stuff that I don’t need and it didn’t help, played with the computer’s configuration and messed up my computer, took me over and hour to get things back to function ALMOST properly, computer won’t restart now, I have to turn it off manually and then turn it on again. In other words, CUSTOMER SUPPORT SUCKS. I still don’t have a phone, would have been great if it had worked.

  4. If you want long distance calls the best is VOIP.com
    it works and it is cheap!

  5. Gary (Austin, Texas) January 28, 2010

    I’ve had Magic Jack for almost 1 year now. The service works very well however its always best to have a solid DSL/or Broadband Connection whenever using it as otherwise voice quality becomes intermittent and causes those on the other side of the call not to be able to hear you. In rating this company out of a 1 (poor) and 10 (excellent) I’d rate then 8.5. There’s a bit of more improvement on their side technology wise however this is really a very good value and good service.

  6. “It’s no big surprise that up to 10,000 of these units a day are being sold with a total incurred cost of $19.95 per year plus a $40.00 dollar upfront cost for the magic Jack device it’s self.”

    You make it seem that the first year is $60. The first year is $40, subsequent years are $20.

    I appreciate your article. There are a lot of haters/lovers out there, and it’s nice to see potential problems laid out in front of you.

  7. Got Magicjack almost as a knee jerk reaction to a lifetime of being gouged by the big boy phone companies.
    Even if this article is accurate…I am willing to put up with the minor issues belabored by the writer. I still have my cell phone as a fail safe and even if it turns out that Magicjack becomes more problematic than I’d like…I’ll go to the next best thing like Skype, if necessary. Thank God for these alternatives to the rip off Verizons and MCI’s of the world. No more “advance” $153.00 Verizon bills (sent the first week of being switched) for me my friend.

  8. can magic jack be installed in a macbook air. can you let me know how, if ever. thanks

  9. This article is nonsense. I’ve got 2 magicjacks and they work great. In fact, my magicjacks are by main Business Lines (I have a Project Controls Consulting Business).

    The author rants on about his junk Windows computer which is obviously his trouble. Mine are plugged into Macs which are always on 24/7 and I’ve had absolutely zero problems.

    Windows is a necessary evil that I need to conduct business on and use on 2 old Junky PC’s, and my server is running Ubuntu. For my business and personal mail, magicjack, or any critical application – I would never subject myself to the net through windows….

    Have fun chasing down Conficker there son. Magic Jack works great here – - – - I doubt it is the least of your problems.

  10. I had an old laptop with a broken LCD and dead battery, i installed magicjack on it and disconnected my primary line. I’ve been using it for about 6 months, saving about $50 a month. Sometime calls don’t dial out the first time and with some callers who are also on VOIP tech I get echos and some latency. I think since a lot of people are ditching traditional landlines this is a good transitional product.

  11. I am working on a PhD in the UK, and teach online at several colleges in the US. Magicjack has worked great for me begin overseas, because I needed a US phone # in case a student needs to talk to me. It is not the best product in the world, but it is excellent for my situation.

  12. Plug and play for magicjack? Ridiculous.Unless you think your time is worthless, then maybe it’s a good deal. New computer, fast and dependable. Magicjack offers nothing but dropped calls, poor sound quality, and atrocious customer support

  13. Disappointed January 15, 2010

    Let me tell you, I’m pretty disappointed. My girlfriend currenlty lives in Colombia, so we need a cost-effective way to stay in touch every night. So the MJ was a no-brainer. I was very impressed. At first, no problems for a month. Then echoes. Then dropped calls. Then complete connection failures. We used to use calling cards before. Might have to go back to them to avoid all these problems.

  14. majicJack killed my XP machine, up to 16% of CPU usage even when no phone call is in process. I’m going to try for a refund.

  15. John Hancock January 13, 2010

    It is cheap. That’s the only advantage. The only other advantage is you may use it oversea over internet. That was the reason I bought it. Do not expect quality or reliability. The voice is choppy, if you are lucky to get it through and start conversation. Lot of times, parties at the other end do not hear my voice as if my mute is on in my computer. Other times, the other end only can hear white noise. It is so inconsistant, I have to unplug and replug everytime before I use. And make the first call to myself to ensure it could go through without any problems.
    It constantly has problems.

  16. Edwin BS January 12, 2010

    Magic Jack is good but it is not perfect. It has some hiccups but it is still acceptable.

  17. I have a very fast stable pc but Magic Jack has a ways to go! You better keep your primary line as Magic Jack
    drops calls and can be iffy! If you need to make an emergency call do not rely on magic jack. Last but not least, if you are playing a game or doing another task it will knock you off when a call comes in. It is not a memory problem as I have 2.5 GB! It works fine sometimes and long didtance is free as well as directory assistance.

  18. Janis Miller January 9, 2010

    We have a Comcast cable connection. First we installed MJ on a wireless computer. The connection was very bad and conversations were choppy. Then we installed on a wired computer with XP. This yielded the blue screen of death. We are now using it with a wired Vista computer that has been upgraded to Windows 7 with upgraded software installed. Phone call quality is OK for the most part, but the computer freezes at least daily and must be restarted. This happened before the upgrade! :(

  19. This product has a lot to be desired. I hear people say how wonderful it is. Let me tell you something about this product. I’ve had it for two years. I’ve run it on a laptop and two desktops, all new computers. I have had nothing but nonstop problems. First, it hangs up all the time. Second, the sound cuts out and friends hate calling or taking my calls when I use it. Third, customer service is absolutely atrocious. You will never get a real conversation in any way other than chat. To get them to advise you to simply restart your magicjack takes their representatives 10 minutes, no joke, to do. They help too many customers at a time that you should plan on spending an hour or more in correcting a problem with their tech support. Also, plan on having to explain your problems twice because they will need to transfer you always to the next level. In the two years that I’ve used magicjack, I had one replacement sent and both items were crackly on all three computers. This item is great for a messaging phone, but if you plan on talking to anyone, this is the worst option you could have. You may like it for several months, even a year, but the product and quality get worse and worse. This is not a product anyone should feel proud of selling to people. The only reason I still use it is because when I bought it, the first couple of months I had it, I thought it was absolutely wonderful and made the decision to buy their special 5 year service package….. dumbest mistake I’ve ever made.

  20. Clean smooth operating workstation – Vista OS
    Good bandwidth via Verizon FIOS

    Installed MagicJack without a hitch (less than 3 minutes), found a phone number in nearby town, connected to JWin corded phone and operating smoothly for the past 36 hrs.
    I was fearful due to some reviews but think it is simply unclean workstations or low bandwidth as it is an exceptional product with great connectivity.

    I would argue if you computer hangs or slows down for any reason in normal operations this product is not for you but otherwise, visit RadioShack or Walmart and enjoy!

    I’m using this product as a 2nd line to my mobile phone which is my primary phone number. Someone calls on my mobile and I’m at home near my computer I call them back via MagicJack.

  21. I have just spent over a year trying to get a refund back for an extra jack I bought. I receive the same answer time after time. “we will write a report and send you the results via email” code for so long sucker!

  22. Dragon Blogger January 5, 2010

    I call conference lines (866, 888, 877) numbers all the time from my MagicJack without issue. It works great except can lag and create audio artifacts if you multitask on your computer that has magicjack connected and in use at same time.

  23. I have had the MagicJack since June, 2008. Other than a few times where the quality had some static, this little device is wonderful. I primarily use my MagicJack if I am out of town and have access to free internet via WiFi or Ethernet Connection.

    First, I have never experienced any unwanted advertisements. All ads that show up are on the main MagicJack Userinterface on the computer. There are no windows, or popups. If I use my desktop computer (which is over 6 years old) for my MagicJack, then I do experience some slow down, but that is because my desktop computer is old. When I run the MagicJack on my laptop, it runs perfectly fine without any slowdowns.

    I think this device is perfect as an alternate form of telephone service. Not as a main line, but a wonderful alternative to saving money.

  24. why dont they have a software option? why do we have to use a hardware device and tie up a usb connection? why cant this thing work like skype where u can use a mic and speakers? why dont they have apps for smartphones such as iphones, windows mobile phones or symbian phones? why isnt this available on a voip device that doesnt need a computer and just plugs into the back of the router? WHY is our only option a hardware device that requires us to keep our computers running?

  25. I have windows XP on my laptop. When ever I hook magic jack up in USB, I see you you USB drives with MAGIC JACK name on them. Also, When Magic jack is connected, my laptop does not recognize any other USB drive or any device hooked to it. In order to get this rectified, I have to disconnect magic jack from the USB, and re instal my USB drivers. and restart. THIS sucks …

  26. I have had the MagicJack for 1 1/2 years and I use it as a primary line, The exchange selected is a local call for one of my children. The only caveat is it does NOT WORK WITH EVERY WINDOWS XP -PC. My experience has been you need Service Pack 3. It is best to reboot your PC daily and be prepared to keep your restore points up to date. I like the MagicJack very much and it has saved me a lot of money. It has never conflicted with web browsing etc when waiting for a call. When a call comes in, it is best the PC actively running other programs.

  27. I just installed MagicJack and it is working great. I chose MagicJack over Ooma because Ooma charges 99 cents for directory calls. I wanted
    free directory assistance and was tired of paying
    AT&T for all their add on fees!

  28. 1supermomof5 December 19, 2009

    I just purchased MJ yesterday. I am so damn excited!!! I just plugged it into my computer. It is the fastest software that I have ever watch load. Everything was so easy. I was immediately able to start calling. Everything is running smoothly. My computer is running the absolute same.

    I am going to save so much damn money dropping AT&T. I won’t pay that monthly fee which includes all of those various taxes. I still cannot believe I paid only $40.00 to get going with the MJ and I will not have to pay anything else for 1 year. This is crazy! I love it!

    I also have a cell phone and so does my teenagers so I am not concern about power outages effecting my MJ. The cell phones are my back-up. Now I can redo my budget and take AT&T completely off!! YES!!

  29. My 2 main issues with magic jack
    1) you cannot call a conference call number with them. (unless it is a magic jack number)
    2) The buttons on my phone (I call from Israel) for some reason is incompatiable with the magicjack service. If I need to push a button, I have to do from the computer screen
    otherwise I am happy with it

  30. Anyone that relies on a wireless phone or any VoIP device for emergencies is a complete moron.

    I can’t tell you how many people I’ve run across in my life that have NO IDEA that only their land line will work when the power goes out.

    I’m not saying don’t use this product or don’t have a wireless phone. But ffs, you can still have a land line for as little as $5/month for emergencies.

    $60-$100 for a year of piece of mind is cheap. Don’t be stupid and rely on any VoIP or a wireless phone.

    And also, keep in mind that your digitally transferred data can be stored and accessed by someone at any time.

  31. p.s. can you video conference with MJ?

  32. So – I live on a sailboat at anchor – middle of the harbor – all power is by WIND GEN – I turn on laptop I am eating up power for lights. Use a WIFI signal from a 1/2 mile away through a cheap USB antenna rigged to a satellite dish (works great – bumps range 4 times further) but is spotty because boat drifts around and antenna must be within 5-10 degrees or signal falls of fast. Had cell phone for years – it fell in harbor last week (OUCH) and said “Ok – time to try SKYPE” – I sing in rock bands and use a studio quality mike for my calls – people say it sounds totally awesome – better than any person they ever spoke to on phone – running on tiny sony laptop (power saver) and W2000. Skype slows PC down A LITTLE – not much. I pay $13/month for 40 countries – unlimited – but got dropped tonight talking to a cell phone in Mexico from San Fran (my place). Thought I would look at MJ but the BANDWIDTH issues – for a guy on a satellite dish extended signal range – seems like a bad choice – good price – bad idea if it slows down PC, eats up band width, requires a powered USB hub – sounds kinda iffy – would rather pay the $13/mo for skype and folks with cell phones can – well – get skype. I’m also a software engineer and have repaired PCs and written more code than any 10 of you hacks combined – so I sorta understand the variable problems folks have had – and the spyware/TSR etc. issues that can cause the slow-down issues – one reason I run W2000 since its rather robust – smaller kernel – but from what I am reading about MJ – especially customer service issues (always a KILLER), while call quality is great IF all equipment is in place – and the price is GREAT IF everything is working right – I can’t figure out why I should switch from skype when it doesn’t slow my sys down, works well enough and the diff between $13×12 or $150/year and $40 or $20 or whatever for MJ is peanuts – $100 bucks is a dinner for two – so it ain’t the price – its the performance and in my case is there anyone here that can say they are getting great signal/voice quality/no calls dropped/no slow PC running MJ on an old beater laptop like mine? Doesn’t sound like MJ is really downward compatible – buy skype has performed. For folks with a fast PC/Laptop and tons of power for the hub – sounds like MJ is IFFY (again customer service issues). Skype customer service? I doubt they have one – haven’t gone there yet – but it just seems like the entire BE ON SKYPE AND WE ALL TALK FREE is still the best deal going in this arena. I swore I’d never use it and now I am hooked.

  33. I’ve had MJ running for over 9 months now and not had an issue with it. I can’t believe how much better than expected this product has been. I’ve saved so much money it has paid for my internet connection in savings month after month. I have my media server (xp pro workstation) running in the basement with a small UPS supplying backup power to my internet router and computer so even when the power is out my internet and computer with MagicJack is running. I use a cordless phone with 4 handsets throughout the house and nobody would know that this is an internet phone. I have a cell phone for backup if the power should ever go out for a long time. I think people that have issues may be using to slow of an internet service. I would suggest 512kbs upload speed for any VOIP even though “theoretically” it “should” work with much less. Once I was able to get 3MBs down and 512kbs up with Vonage all my issues went away. With MagicJack I’ve never had an issue with this internet speed.

  34. harbinder November 29, 2009

    Dales complains that MJ only works when his computer is turned on…well DUH !! We’ve used MJ for 3 months to save on long distance charges…works like a champ. No major problems to whine about. Wouldn’t want to give up my landline, but to save on long distance it’s well worth the cost. I think you’d be wise to confirm that you have high speed internet before spending the money though…me thinks alot of problems are related to your ISP’s stability…except for Dale; keep on smiling Einstein !

  35. John Anthony Castro November 29, 2009

    I agree with the article, and I’ve been looking for a forum to vent my frustration. MagicJack was awesome the first few weeks, but then problem after problem. Sometimes, for no apparent reason, people tell me I sound like I’m talking from inside a box (i.e., muffled). The other person sounds choppy because someone is downloading music on a computer connected to the internet in the home (and it’s not massive; it’s an iTunes music download of 6Mb tops).

    Basic point: MagicJack is not worth the $1.95/month fee ($19.95/year actually). Someone else made a good point that in the event of a power outage, you have no phone. I wouldn’t buy it if I were you, but you’re gonna do what you’ve set your mind on doing anyways, so go ahead and stick your hand in the fire and learn for yourself.

  36. SCConsulting November 27, 2009

    I’ve had this piece of equipment for over a year and have had no problems. However, I only use it to make calls that would chew up my minutes on my cell phone – I don’t use it as a primary phone. When everything is working (power’s on, Internet connection works, router, etc) you can’t beat MJ.

  37. I went to a VOIP reseller and bought a local phone number for $1.49. I pay 1.2 cents per minute, get voice mail emailed to me, caller id, 3 way calling and even hold music.

    I did need to buy my own equipment, a linksys 2102 SPA device. for about $60.

    For the $18/year + usage, I get 600 minute per year of talk time before exceeding $25.

    It hooks up to my router, not my computer.

    Not a bad deal and I don’t have to deal with the advertising.

  38. i hate that stupi thing

  39. Just hooked my MJ up, went and bought a wireless phone set and everything works great. I was told by friends going into the MJ purchase that I might want to have MJ on a machine by itself and I do. I think the occasional reboot of the router or machine MJ is sitting on will not be problem especially when I think of all the money I’m saving. I spent in one month what the MJ will cost me all year for the land line each month….Great product, so far

  40. You’re right, magicJack is a POS. It works only if the computer is turned on, and then it is
    hard to do anything on the computer as it runs like sludge! It only works with XP. I have a feeling it has the potential to be a really fine product if some of the issues were resolved, but right now I would give it two thumbs down!

  41. Cabledoc64 November 20, 2009

    M72 has hit the nail on the head. A powered USB adapter is the answer; along with the right hardware. Use current Hardware with current technology (cheapopotomus) (via a decent computer) a 7 MG DSL line AND follow the directions to a “T” and you will be fine. Critics always look for uptown quality at downtown pricing. Defrag, Defrag, Defrag…….!!!!!!

  42. In case anyone is worried about reaching emercency 911..that feature is available thru a landline phone even without having a working landline phone number at a residence etc..it’s the law and was passed years ago within the USA! MJ is wonderful for me and I actually love the fact that I can turn off my pc and not be annoyed with incoming calls 24/7 but If I want to talk I just forward my mj cals to my mobile.

  43. whatdoyawant November 19, 2009

    39.95 + tax is the initial investment, 19.95 for one year renewal and 59.99 for 5 year renewal…Most of us pay out more than this for 1 to 3 months of internet access. Affordabilty should never negate acceptable fuctionality but, good grief people, how pathetically bitchy do you want to sound?
    I have used the magicJack for about 8 months now on XP home with a Acer Aspireone netbook at home and out on public wifi, it simply works! Each user experience will be different and the good ones don’t cancel out the bad ones but, how much are we expecting for how little? I’ve been a Skype user, a Vonage customer and a Packet8 customer and never had call quality like the MagicJack gives me. I spent large amounts of time trying to point the finger at my ISP for packet shaping (not saying they’re innocent, I just gave it a rest finally) and done tons of system tweaks…nothing came close to current MJ quality.

    Privacy issues?!?! Between Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, social networks(FB,Myspace, Twitter etc), credit cards, public records, traffic cams and anything else we’ve dumped our personal info into or can monitor our data/actions…what do you think may be still a mystery about yourselves as far as “Big Brother” is concerned? Somewhere between 19.95 and up can get me so much info online on just about any person’s name I can pull out of the phone book, off a property search, a marriage record (public record), domain name registration, certification records and the list goes on. You’d have to live 100% off the grid, no cellphone, internet, credit cards, ID of any kind, GPS (pattern of travel is info), no regular employment, lease agreement…if you don’t get it by now, in simple terms in your day to day life you give up so much information about yourself, it’s real late in the game and silly to think MagicJack is a major privacy concern over all the other things out there gathering/sharing your “personal” information.

  44. Hey Rob – maybe you should have checked magicJack’s TOS before buying. It’s understandable that you are upset, but it is not their job to make sure that you read their terms…that would be your job.

    And, as an IT reseller, I would like to thank you and all of the people that are just like you, for feeling that it is within your right to dispute something with your bank when you are clearly at fault. If you don’t like the terms, then don’t do business with them – if you don’t bother yourself to even read the terms, then be prepared for a response that you might not like.

  45. I do not work for Magic Jack!
    I have not had ONE significant problem in over a year. Have made calls from my home in Canada to 14 States, 4 Provinces + l-d ( at 2 cents a minute on MJ’s plan ) to England, Scotland, France, Australia, Moscow, and New Zealand. All transmissions were crystal-clear. My friend in Australia said that I sounded as though I must be in Australia. I joshed him by saying that I was on his doorstep and he got up to open his front door. No one there. “Where the hell are you?”.
    ….. “At home, mate.”

    Their website is a bummer and customer service was ok on the 2 times I used it.

    I suggested a friend borrow mine for use on his trip to China to try it out. No, he bought his own! He travels the world on business and is up-to-date on tech. stuff. He made 70+ MJ calls in the 20 days he was there, to his home in Ohio and customers in the USA and Canada. NOT ONE problem.

    I’ve just renewed my MJ for 5 years at a cost of $1 per MONTH . That’s pretty damn good for unlimited l-d in North America + a second-and-private phone line ( no phone tussles with wife or children )…… MJ’s a no-brainer!

  46. Magic Jack did not work for me, and the company refused to refund my prepaid calling charges.

    I am a very dissatisfied customer, as you can tell by the chat below.
    Rob
    ____________________________________

    Please wait for a site operator to respond.
    You are now chatting with ‘Keira’
    Your Issue ID for this chat is LTK419084664594X
    Keira: Hello, how may I help you?
    Keira: Hi Robert.
    Robert Martorana: I would like a refund on the $40 I spent on a Magic Jack prepaid calling card.
    Keira: May I know why you want a refund for it?
    Robert Martorana: Certainly, Keira. The voice quality is poor, and I am returning the product to Radio Shack. I tried it on two phones, and it just sounded awful.
    Keira: I see.
    Robert Martorana: Can I get a refund?
    Keira: Please be informed that we cannot refund you international pre-paid purchase.
    Robert Martorana: Why not? I haven’t used it, and it has been less than 30 days.
    Keira: One moment please…
    Keira: Thank you for your patience. I will transfer you to a higher level of support. Please hold while I transfer you.
    Please wait while I transfer the chat to the best suited site operator.
    You are now chatting with ‘Abigail’
    Your Issue ID for this chat is LTK419084664594X
    Abigail: Hi, this is Abigail. I will be assisting you. Please let me review your previous chats. I’ll get back to you in a while, thank you.
    Robert Martorana: Thank you.
    Abigail: Thank you for waiting. Allow me to inform you that we can no longer refund you for the IPP credits that you ordered since IPP is not refundable.
    Robert Martorana: This doesn’t make sense. I was not told this when I bought it, and MagicJack hasn’t provided any service. I bought it for a Mission trip my church is making to Haiti.
    Robert Martorana: I am unsatisfied with this response. What are my options?
    Abigail: That is on our Terms of Service, Robert. IPP is not refundable.
    Robert Martorana: Thank you. Unfortunately, I am very dissatisfied with this policy. I will take this up with my credit card provider, and take my complaints to the appropriate providers. Magic Jack has scammed our church out of $40, and the firm’s owners should be ashamed of their deceptive marketing practices.
    Robert Martorana: I am copying this chat message in its entirety.
    Robert Martorana: Do you have any final responses before I go?
    Abigail: Alright, please refer to our Terms of Service to make it clear for you.
    Abigail: http://www.magicjack.com/tos/
    Robert Martorana: Thank you. I will proceed with a charge back to TD Bank.
    Abigail: Okay, havea good one.
    Robert Martorana: Thank you, you too.

  47. Like it or not, we’ll all be using VoIP in the coming years – 10 maybe. I subscribed to magicjack, but cancelled my order the same day. I wanted the service (we don’t have a landline) so I could work from home occasionally. I cancelled after reading so many complaints about the QoS dropping off after a month – funny but that’s the same time period as their “money back guarantee”.

    For those who have it and find it a good service – I’m glad for you. But to me, it sounds like they are playing some bandwidth games, and I’m not into that at all.

    Here’s an idea. Download wireshark for free and start it on your NIC card. Make a call, and save the trace when you have issues. Send it to the Customer service reps – that’ll freak em out!

  48. Wow – we LOVE magicJack! So there. :p
    Granted, when we had it plugged into the Mac it didn’t so as well as in a PC, and frankly I find it annoying not to be able to turn off my computer.

    On the other hand – has anyone looked at how so-called “land lines” are hooked up anymore? They ALL use the cable – power outages, ISP hiccups – it all spells “no such thing as emergency calls in time of need” like the old days. My wife and I use cell phones, but we wanted a home line for our children just in case. magicJack has proven itself every bit as reliable AND ENJOYABLE as the high priced spread we USED to pay (not 5 times – lessee $50 per month vs $60 for 5 years) … FIFTY TIMES AS MUCH.

    My wife’s from China, and we just bought some 2 cents per minute bulk time, too – crystal clear calls, no more hassling with calling cards – just pick up, dial, and talk with the family.

    Hahahahahaha – I don’t know about anyone’s freaking out about magicJack being big brother – isn’t the what Google, Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, and (even) BIG BROTHER are doing, already?? I did look at the contents of the USB device’s storage media – phone numbers, folks, useful for redialing and speed dialing and caller IDing – oooooooo, scary.

    Nothing’s perfect, but at 1/50th the price, this service is money well spent. For those of you still driving Hummers you replace every year, who eat out often with money to burn and egos to strut, this isn’t for you.

  49. I have magicJack and it is easy to setup “plug and play” but i have had really bad sound quality i have search google for 2 days and came up with a few things that helped,

    for quality
    1. do a speed test at or do a search for voip test http://myspeed.visualware.com/voip/ i found that my hub is a pile of junk for voip so i used a usb cable from modem to my main pc seems to have solved the quality issue

    for droped calls
    1. right click on my computer go to manage on the left side click on device manager on the right side click the + sign next to universal serial bus controllers, double click th USB root hub click the power management tab and uncheck the “allow the computer to turn off this device to save power” do this for all USB root hubs.

    so far so good for me hope this helps :)

  50. CraigTPE do you cut and paste your remarks on all reviews – I found your exact word for word review over at pcmag – i’m trying to find legit reviews about magicjack – seriously thinking about going this direction…

  51. dtaberer October 26, 2009

    I have a fast cable connection and a relatively new laptop, and purchased Magic Jack. Its ‘Jack’ alright!!! Calls just drop after 2 mins of conversation, the quality is poor, its lousy software has created junk on my laptop, etc etc. The TV ads are clearly a misrepresentation. This product just totally stinks. And I think Eric at the top of this thread either works for Magic Jack or has some kind of investment in it.

  52. Magic jack is def not worth the price. I have wireless here in Portugal and the signal is perfect but the calls sound terrible! If your lucky you can talk for a few minutes without it sounding muffled or like the other person is a damn malfunctioning robot. I hardly ever use it because of Skype and Yahoo phone service which is about 1 cents a min to the US. Magic jack is a load of crap if you ask me and not worth the price…

  53. BillyMays October 11, 2009

    Landline. Now there’s an oxymoron if I’ve ever seen one. I’ll bet most of you didn’t know that your beloved AT&T runs their so called “land lines” over the internet. And what is that called? VOIP, my friends. I have not tried MagicJack, but am considering it, as well as considering dumping my “land line” real soon.

  54. Cautious Consumer October 10, 2009

    CUSTOMER SERVICE IS AN OXYMORON AT MAGICJACK

    I bought a magic jack about two weeks ago. The quality is spotty. Sound to other person fades in and out. But most importantly, I had to speak with three different customer service agents (online, of course) … and I got three different answers to a support problem. When I finally got someone on a higher tier, he said that I had been given incorrect information by one of their customer service reps (they work from their homes), and that the company would not stand behind the problem resolution offered by their own employees. We’re talking $20 here, but even their higher tier support people don’t have the authority, or the business sense, to back up their own employees. I was told that the “offending employee would be sanctioned”, but that the company would not stand behind the solution that was proposed to fix my problem. I think they just don’t care what the customer thinks/experiences once they’ve made the sale. It was like talking to a rock. Their “customer service” is an oxymoron. No wonder American businesses are having a hard time competing in the marketplace, if they don’t back up their own words with actions. $20 is worth more than customer satisfaction. I’m glad I saved the transcripts of the service reps “chats”, where they acknowledge their own mistakes, but refuse to “do the right thing” with the customer.

  55. THe guy is right, all thing should be considered, and it is nice ot have sources to gather info to make a decision. Since installing mj, I cannot put my computer into sleep or hybernation mode – not even my monitors. When contacting their tech via livechat, they say the mj prevents those power settings, and I can manually turn off the power on the monitor. I see this as a shortcoming I wish I knew about before making my decision. Also, if I am playing a computer game, and a call comes in, it automatically minimizes the game and presents the call in the foreground. Same when making an outbound call – doesn’t initiate a call in the background. Some may not see these issues as a big deal where others might. Nice to know these things beforehand where possible. Other than these issues, it is a product that functions affordably.

  56. Thanks CoffeeDesk for all the pros and cons, interesting reading, still not convinced though, I also thought about internet connections down, etc., and don’t like the fact that it is through my comp. I Was watching CNN about Big Brother just last night. Amazing how much they know about us already. Thanks again.

  57. Magic Crack September 11, 2009

    Dave…What division of Magic Jack to you work in?

  58. Fearmonger…this product has worked better than my cell service OR my landline. All I had to do was invest a couple of bucks on an uninterruptible power supply for my PC and Router/Modem. What a deal at $19 a year!!!

  59. Wow, how about talking about the ways your Internet could get lost along with your land line phone. Say perhaps a back hoe cuts the line, then what. What if he telco has hardware issues that take your landline down for hours (Happens alot) then you have no 911 or way to call.

    There are always issues with any device, the fact that you get an ad and “Big Brother” is watching is crazy. How about everytime you swipe a credit card or shopping card at the grocery store.

    THe cost is right and the service works. If want to also be mobile that is what this devise offers. It is great and works great. If you mind that your numbers you call are collected then do not have any phone land line or not. How do you think people call you at all hours of the night and day for sales calls. Most of this happens on the ” Landline”. Welcome the 21st century you are going to see allot of your communications and services being reduced to advertising supplemented services for free or practically nothing. I bet you cannot stand it when Wheel of Foturne is interrupted with a commercial either, yet you watch the TV for free, or pay large fees to cable and dish network providers. Those too will go by the way side when they figure out that people cannot afford 500 – 600 dollars a month in communications costs for 1000 channels they do not have time to watch or listen too. It is advertising that brought you 100 years of Radio and Television and will be advertising that is going to bring you the next 100 years in Web TV, Wireless communications, and most of your entertainment.

  60. Mike Bounds September 8, 2009

    If someone really wants free phone service without having to keep the computer on, then http://www.freecallsforlife.com is so much better. Better sound quality, better system and easier to use throughout the house. NO annual fees, either.

  61. I am thinking of getting the MJ and wondering if the $40 fee is a one time or annual fee and are there any subsequent fees that follow the $40.
    Can anyone clear this up for me?

  62. Thanks for your input Anthony. It’s exactly what I was looking for. Now I can weigh the pros and cons and make a more educated decision. For now I think I’ll retain my other line and try MagicJack as an additional line. Thanks again.

  63. If you want to remove Magic Jack, you can do it with http://www.magicjackuninstaller.com. Actually, if you are having problems and want to start with a clean slate, its the way to go.

  64. If you are having voice quality issues all you need to do is buy a USB port with an adapter. It takes lots of energy from the computer to make a call so when you have a powered usb you don’t have to worry about the computers usage. You can buy one for under 7 bucks at EFORCITY.com

  65. I’ve been using MJ for 4 months with no problems, voice quality is great and I have had had no computer issues. I suspect those that are having issues are folks that like to tweek their systems and now have a non-standard setup. I have plugged this thing into 4 different computers, vista, xp, win7 and it has functioned fine on all of them.

  66. OneGreater August 26, 2009

    Hey, life itself is a danger. You might wake up one day only to get hit by a car! Or your girl might dump you! Hell, you might even get a skin eating disease!

    Really, MJ works just fine for me. If you’re having issues with your computer, it’ll probably be solve by reformatting your hard drive and reinstalling the operating system (it what I had to do). And odds are you’re already having some problems with your computer (computer running slow, too many programs being loaded up on start up; add in adware, spyware and what-nots).

  67. Although I maintain service through VoIP via ViaTalk (similar to Vonage but cheaper & with more features); However, I’ve been using magicJack® for the past five months with zero problems.

  68. SamSmith June 24, 2009

    I bought MJ a few months now to supplement my cell phone, I only use it for out going calls. All incoming is forwarded to my cell.

    Never had a landline, and never will, I already got my $40 worth out of MJ so for the rest of the yr I basically have a free service. thx MJ

  69. We purchased MagicJack, and it works great. The computer on the other hand is a complete nightmare. I can’t even log in to my profile when this stupid thing is plugged in. Nor can I open iTunes. I can’t log out of a profile when it’s plugged in, nor can I shut the computer down. Once I unplug MagicJack, voila, everything works great.

    In short, this is one of the worst pieces of software I’ve ever seen. Don’t waste your money. You won’t get it back no matter how hard you try.

  70. user48 June 2, 2009

    One word, Ooma…

  71. I realize some people may be happy with magicJack (<- I think that’s the preferred capitalization, but I could be wrong). I’m just pointing out the reasons why it might not be optimal in the case of, say, a tornado that kills power and therefore Internet connectivity and PCs. I myself have a cell phone, as most do, but the redundancy of a (stable) landline that doesn’t depend on my PC uptime or Internet connectivity is reassuring for when something might go wrong.

    This might be where I’m a little paranoid from studying for a CCNS, but 1% of a possibility for a problem is still a possibility none the less, especially security-wise or for disaster-recovery, which I’m simply applying to telephony and personal safety in this article.

    But if you’d rather have a bargain-basement-priced landline in exchange for guaranteed personal safety, then I’m not stopping you. I can only suggest why that might not be a good idea.

  72. nilges May 31, 2009

    Landline why? Didn’t know Oklahomans read this blog.

  73. desktop May 30, 2009

    The other VOIPs have gone on a full fledged attack against MagicJack. Magicjack being 10 to 20 times cheaper have them very frightened. This article seems to be part of the effort to shut down MagicJack. I have it, it’s great. Go to Walmart, buy it for $40 so you don’t need to even use a credit card. Keep your home phone number for a few months until you are happy with it. I have had it for months, and am still waiting to see one of all these problems the MagicJack attackers talk about.

  74. TimTim May 30, 2009

    eric, what the fuck? The article makes a valid point against the usage of the product from the perspective of a seasoned professional (according to the site’s bio), so what’s your problem? Have YOU read the EULA?

    and nice grammar, by the way. It really helps your counter-point.

  75. eric m May 29, 2009

    Huh?! Did you write this article to simply fill space. The product is great and unless you are running some overworked overpacked piece of junk, the worry not. The EULA is tame compared to Google and other services you use everyday. Nice job trying to rehash the haters. Shame on you

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