Magic Jack Informative - Magic Jack Does What It Says And Works Great
For those not familiar with Magic Jack, it is basically an alternative to your standard telephone service that uses the internet to place and receive calls.
I recently purchased one of these devices from Radio Shack. My average phone bill was running about 50 dollars a month which equals out to be 600 dollars a year for something I don't use much. Magic Jack seemed liked an interesting product so I thought I'd give it a try. It costs $39.95 which includes 1 year of service and the device itself. Each year thereafter, it will cost $19.95 a year which includes free long distance to anywhere in the USA, free call waiting, caller ID, call forwarding, 3 way calling and voice mail. They also offer a 5 year package for only $59.95. The unit itself is a small chrome plated box measuring about 2 1/2" X 1 1/2" X 1/2". It has a see through window which shows the internal circuit board lighted by a blue led. It has a USB male connector on one end and a telephone jack on the other end.
Setup was extremely easy, just plug it in to an available USB port, plug in your telephone and wait 3-5 minutes while Magic Jack auto-loads itself to your system and connects to the internet to download files it needs to operate. Once that is completed you will need to fill out a registration form and click on the link with the return e-mail they will send you to complete final activation. Your Magic Jack is now ready to use! An on screen GUI will appear on your computer and it has telephone buttons, a SEND button and an END button so you start and stop calls just like on your cell phone. This interface also allows access to a phone book that you can create with all of your favorite numbers, a redial button, voice mail button and a 411 information button. Simply click the phone number you want with your mouse and hit send, the only thing that you will need to get used to is having to dial the area code, even for local numbers.
If you forget to dial the area code, an automated voice will remind you. You can also make a call by simply using a standard telephone handset as you normally would without the need to do anything on the computer (other than having it on). It can also be connected to your wireless phone master base and all of your wireless extensions will work just like a standard phone. NOTE: This device requires a good quality high speed internet connection with at least 3-5 megabyte capability. If you have the low end 1 megabyte service, your phone conversations may be choppy making it difficult to understand each other. I also tried to use this product with an encrypted VPN and had bad results with that (choppy, broken conversations) so if you use an encrypted VPN/IP changing/hiding program, you will have to temporarily disable it to receive/make calls.
I kept my original phone service active during the Magic Jack test period (in case it was a dud) but this product did everything it said it would do and was incredibly easy to set up. I'll be giving Embarq their walking papers on Monday! The other nice feature about this product is that you can take it with you and receive calls from your number anywhere you go in the world, just plug it into any other computer and your back in business. Magic Jack assigns you your own new telephone number (you can't keep your old number and you cannot transfer your Magic Jack number to any other phone service). with regard to 911 service, it is available if you register your name and address. This service, or any phone service will not be available if your computer is not on. Overall, I would rate this an excellent product and would suggest it to anybody who is tired of high phone bills or if you need to add a second phone line for the kids.