Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Magic Jack: Good or Bad?

Hello to all you Googlers who have come here to see what one man's opinion of this device known as a Magic Jack is.

It's coming close to 2 years since I first got the Magic Jack device. I was going through some financial rollercoaster rides - still am actually - and decided to save money where I could. I had heard about the Magic Jack and decided to give it a try. I actually believe it was one of those "too good to be true" stories, considering they only wanted $19.95 per year for the service plus another $20 initially to get the device.

I figured if I could make it work at all, my $27.95 per month home phone bill would go away and that would be a substantial savings right there. Note that that phone bill was bare-bones, basic service that still came out that high every month, mostly because of unbelievable taxation.

I had some problems getting the thing to work at first. Number 1, if you have more than one account user on your computer, the device will automatically reload the software on each user's account as different users access it. When more the Magic Jack is loaded more than once onto the same computer - look out, cause' it ain't gonna work. You have to go into the other user's account and end the duplicated software running itself twice.

When I did get the thing to work, I was amazed at the quality of sound in making phone calls. It's not some thing that has a bunch of background noise and being hard to hear what a person on the other end is saying, it's pretty much crystal clear. Long distance if free. The thing will send your voice mails to your email account - you can actually play back your voice mails on Microsoft Media player! I'm serious, I get an email, click on the link and it takes me to that software and plays it back.

So the pro's and the cons.

Start with the downside: You MUST have high speed internet for it to work. I had that at the time anyway, no problem there and I am not getting rid of high speed internet if I don't have to.
The device itself? Where the nub sticks into a hub portal? Treat it like a package with Fragile written on it - it can't take a lot of "abuse", meaning plugged in and removed too many times. It will loosen up and the device will quit working. Well, really, if you just are careful with it, I'm sure it will be alright. I had a person in my house who would yank the jack out of the hub on my computer, take it to his room and plug it back in.

He was not being careful with it and I demanded he stop doing that. That person no longer lives at my house.

The other con, again, is that sometimes you have to unplug the thing and then plug it back in to get it to work. Not that often and not a big deal. Whether it's plugged in or not, you will still receive voicemail to your email account or, of course, you can call to get your voicemail as well.

Another thing that I don't like about the service is the fact that if you have a problem, you cannot call the company. You have to go to their website and jump through a lot of hoops to get to a "live operator" that is just an Instant Message type of thing. I have yet to "speak" to any of them that actually KNEW - ANYTHING. They all type unbelievably slow making a conversation with them take for freaking ever. I have only had to do that a couple of time, fortunately. Well, one time I did call the inventor - I found his phone number by searching the net for a while, called his home and asked for a new magicjack for free - the old one broke and they refused to send me a new one free. As I said before, you really need to treat these things with care, they ARE a bit flimsy.

The pro's:
Works beautifully, crystal clear sound.
Can change your phone number at any time.
Can take it with you if desired anywhere you go, if there is a computer with high speed internet, you can have free phone service.
The price, obviously, is what is drawing people to it. It's as good as Vonage without the high price tag. In fact, I HAD Vonage - for one month and then dropped that sucky service.

There isn't much to not like about it. At the price, anyone can afford to at least try it once and see if you like it or not. They give even lower prices if you buy 5 years worth at a time. Will the price always be $19.95? I have no idea. I can see where some company will buy it out and jack up the prices, at least a good possibility of that. Still, what do you have to lose? The total start-up price is $39.99 plus tax.

I do not work for Magic Jack, I am a pretty happy customer with it. I have started to turn this particular blog of mine into a critique of different companies and dealings with entities and decided to write one up about this particular product.

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