USB Review: MagicJack PhoneREVIEW OF MAGICJACK PHONE The MagicJack phone is a simple device which is specifically designed to connect your regular [and current] land-line phone to the internet for Voice Over IP calling. I ran into one of the project managers of MagicJack from a different business deal and he sent a phone for review. I’ve mentioned the MagicJack phone before, but this is my first experience using the product.
OVERVIEW The MagicJack is a small device [2.5″ x 1.5″] and works as a USB dongle which connects to your computer via USB port. The MagicJack phone does not require a Hi-Speed USB connection and thus will work on your front USB connection of a PC tower or the slower ports off your laptop docking station. The USB MagicJack costs about $35-$40 depending on where you get it. You then pay $19 [the year after you buy it] for unlimited calling in the United States, Canada and parts of central America. Calls outside this region are then chargeable, but very reasonable. I looked up rates to the UK at it was $0.02 per minute. Not bad at all. WHY IT’S UNIQUE The MagicJack phone is unique because it has a regular phone jack connected to the dongle. This means ANY phone can be plugged into the device and used for VoIP calling – to get those ultra low rates! This means non-technical people can use the device with their regular land-line phone, business can use the device without additional investment in new phone hardware and it’s portable. The MagicJack can be taken from home to work and back again for savings throughout the day.
Why is MagicJack different than Skype? First off, Skype is the #1 VoIP service for internet calling, but the big draw back is Skype using an “name” or email address as your phone number. This means Skype doesn’t work with a standard phone. MagicJack does. In addition the MagicJack software established a phone number for you which anyone can use to call you. SETUP / INSTALLATION It was easy. Crazy easy. I can sum up the installation by asking you questions. Can you plug in a USB cable to your computer? Can you enter your information to establish a phone number? If you can answer Yes, then you’ve [essential] just set up a MagicJack phone. Serious though – Upon connection, the MagicJack is auto detected by your host computer. It then auto launches software which guilds you through setup. The setup is easy. You provide some basic information such as area code, location and address for the installation to complete. Why does MagicJack as you for this information? Answer: In the event you cancel your phone line and use only the MagicJack phone you do need information in case 911 is dialed for an emergency. This information will be used for emergency agencies such as fire, police and parametics to know where you are located. After your information is entered, MagicJack then established a phone number for your location. This is the number anyone can use to call you. At this time, MagicJack does not have the ability to assign specific phone numbers or transfer phone numbers to the device. However, my contact says “we are working on phone number transfer functionality.” So here is what the software interface looks like:
FEATURES AND USE On the left side you see advertising. I’m OK with this because the savings in phone bills is so huge, some graphic art with occasional great deals is fine. In the center is a dial keypad. You don’t use this when a land-line phone is used, but you do use this if you switch to a headset. On the right side you see all the options, tools and resources MagicJack offers. Lets run through some:
- Menu – Switch to headset, download Outlook plugin, and other configuration options.
- Contacts – This is your list of contacts for quick reference.
- Calls – This provides call history. Using this feature allows you to quickly and easily reconnect to past calls.
- Favorites – This lists your favorite contacts like Mother In Law, Sister In Law etc.
- Redial – redial
- Vmail – This lets you set your own voice mail. To set MagicJack voice mail message you must login to their website and select user options to set voice mail for different locations.Â I also like the fact MagicJack sends an email with the .WAV file of the voice mail.
- 411 – Is an internet linke to Free411.com.
- Google – A simple hot link to Google for web searching.
- 911 Address – This function defaults to your original entry in MagicJack, but it also gives the benefit of adding multiple address in case you use this at work, home, families houses etc.
If you like this review or it provided you valuable information on a buying decision, please use this web-link to purchase your MagicJack phone from Amazon.