With an incredible amount of money invested in advertising, it’s almost impossible to have missed the ads for the Magic Jack. Essentially the product claims to plug into your internet connected computer and allow you to make local and long distance calls via the internet. While VOIP (voice over internet protocol) have been widely available with companies such as vonage, it’s never before been so inexpensive. The $40 price tag works out to about 20 bucks for the magic jack itself and 20 bucks for the first year. After the initial year of use, the service is 20 dollars per year. There are also premium services available that will allow you to call worldwide for free.
Down to the nitty gritty, the Jack works. The sound quality is acceptable for a second line but can degrade when bandwidth is being used. If you are thinking of using this as an alternative to a primary land line you might be a little dissapointed. The magic jack is ideal for folks that have their cell phones as their primary line and don’t want to burn minutes while at home.
There are some great features available with the magic jack:
- Free local and long distance
- Caller ID
- Voice mail
- Directory assistance
- Call Waiting
While the feature package is pretty standard, the one option that makes the magic jack pretty cool is the option to receive your voice mail via email. As calls come in and go to voice mail the magicjack service will send an email with a .wav file attachment.
Final Judgement: Worth the price, if only to save minutes on the cell phone. If you have a friend or relative that loves to chat on the phone and you find your bill skyrocketing, this can be a great investment. If you are planning on travelling abroad or have a child headed off to school this can save you some serious ducats. You MUST have a decent internet connection, slow connections will lead to degraded sound quality.