Magic Jack is The Cheapest Phone Service

Posted by Dan Ponjican | 10:15 AM | | 0 comments »

We purchased a Magic Jack on a tip from a fellow tech blogger a few months ago. We were admittedly skeptical being that the only advertisements and marketing we saw of this product was on late night infomercials. The product claims to be a small, USB device that turns any computer with an available USB port and a broad band internet connection into a portal for ultra-low cost phone service.

The device is very simple. Slightly larger than a standard thumb drive with a standard phone jack on the other end. It really couldn't get any simpler than this. The software is embedded on the flash device and installs once the USB device is recognized. It will map two drives on your PC. You will be prompted the first time installing to setup your account and choose a new phone number. There are growing their list of available area codes and region exchange codes everyday. We found our local area code and were able to pick a number from a list of several dozen.

Once installed, you can operate your new Magic Jack phone one of two ways. A softphone software automatically installed, allows you to place and recieve calls from your computer using your PC's audio device (you will need a microphone and speakers). This works well with a decent headset with a microphone and is great for those extended calls with tech support.

The other method is to plug any standard phone into the analog jack and operate the phone as you normally would. We had a cordless phone set that broadcasts from the base to three handsets. This is an ideal setup for this type of phone service. You don't have to worry about re-wiring your house to push the phone signal from your outside phone company line to this new Magic Jack phone service. This allowed us to plug the master base station into the Magic Jack by the computer and place two other slave handsets throughout the office (or house).

Service quality was at first poor. We found the audio to be very low volume. After playing with the volume on the handsets we got it barely acceptable. Later we discovered there was a setting on the softphone software that controls the volume by clicking on the small "Menu" button. This brought the handset volume up dramatically.

Overall, this is a great alternative to home phone service and certainly your cable companies VOIP service. Most VOIP phone services will still run your between $20 - $30 / month. At less than $20 a year, the value is obvious. We found this to be a great solution to making international calls as well. Take the device with you when you travel internationally, and plus it in to a computer with high-speed internet and you can make calls as if you were still in the USA.