Does magicJack Work? How Does it Actually Work?


Does magicJack really work?You may have seen the magicJack ads on TV that say you can get home phone service for $49 per year by using your computer’s broadband Internet connection. If this sounded like a deal to you, you next wondered if it actually works the way they claim it does.

Overview
The industry for telephone service has gone through a lot of changes in the last 10 years. As more and more calls are made using cell phones and PC to PC calls, the need for a home phone has been drastically reduced. The folks at magicJack want to extend the life of the home phone for a little longer with their service.

The Claim
magicJack creates a new phone line by plugging a standard phone into magicJack and then plugging it into a computer with a broadband connection. There isn’t much explanation as to where the magic is, since this is not a new technology and there’s nothing clever or ingenious that’s involved with using it.

The target market that they seem to be aiming at is those people that are still paying for home phone service and are amazed at being able to use your Internet connection to make a phone call. This seems like it would be a very small segment of the US population, but it is large enough to make the creators of magicJack a lot of money.

The Hype
The hype is that this is nothing new. magicJack is just VOIP technology, which has been around for several years. The idea of using your computer as a phone line may be nothing new, but offering at such a low price is what interests most consumers.

The Cost
The cost of magicJack is probably its biggest draw, and the reason so many people are interested in getting it. If you are used to paying a monthly phone bill, magicJack will seem like a bargain at just $39.95 a year. If you’re paying that much per month for regular phone service, it is quite a bargain.

The Commitment
There isn’t much involved in using magicJack. You just have to install the software on your computer, and insert the gadget into an available USB port on your computer. Some complaints have come in that it is too hard to uninstall the software once it’s on your computer, but as long as it’s not doing anything malicious to your computer there shouldn’t be much harm in leaving it on there, even if you’re not using it.

Evaluation
It’s been getting good reviews and has been evaluated by some pretty trustworthy companies like PC Magazine and Consumer Reports. Since it’s an annual fee you won’t have to worry about your credit card being auto-billed every month for a service you’re not using.

Does magicJack Really Work the Way it Says it Does?

It’s not very hard to imagine that magicJack works as advertised. They aren’t re-inventing the wheel, they’ve just put it in a nice little package, and used a good marketing strategy to bring it to consumer’s attention. They’ve also gone the annual fee route rather than charging monthly and this would appeal to many people who are already paying for a high-speed Internet connection.

Our Recommendation
There are plenty of ways to make free and cheap calls using the Internet. Skype will let you make calls to other Skype users anywhere in the world, and Gmail lets you make calls to any number in the US and Canada right from your email inbox.

It doesn’t make sense to still be having a home phone bill, and the act of paying for home phone service seems a bit archaic. In addition, most cellular phones are able to call numbers all across the country so this should eliminate the need for a separate home and cell phone bill, or the need for a long-distance carrier.

If you like the feel of using a regular phone instead of a headset at your computer, it may be worth it to get magicJack, but for the extra cost involved this would be an option only for those that really want it.

Official Website: MagicJack

What do you think? Does magicJack really work?


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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Debbie October 21, 2011 at 5:22 pm

Having ordered “MagicJack” and installed on my computer found that they recommend that you keep the landline in place, so where was the savings in that. If I had to keep the landline anyway, I already had unlimited long distance, it was rather redundant to keep both. The “MagicJack” went, no sense in the extra expense if I was trying to save money.

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Etak January 17, 2012 at 10:10 am

My friend tried to tell me to get one of these MagicJack’s.
After a quick lesson in Skype she got rid of hers…
The MagicJack method is so old school, and as @Debbie says you are advised to keep your existing landline anyway!?
Just use Skype, especially now it’s available on mobile phones too!

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Garou August 17, 2012 at 11:59 am

If you have cable internet MagicJack is worth it as its cheaper then the cable phone services. If you lose your cable you will lose your phone anyway. The main reason they sugest having a real line is for 911 calls but since the article was first posted they have a reliable 911 service when you register your product. It calls the 911 service for your home area.

Now there is the MagicJack Plus which no longer requires you to install software on your computer. It uses a lan port to connect directly to your router and then a regular phone jack to your phone. You no longer have to have your computer running to use the device. This is just like a cable companies phone service, Vonage, or any other internet phone service. You can still connect through your omputer while on the road but the 911 service will connect to your home area if you do not change itI. highly recomend the new product over the old one.

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BC January 6, 2013 at 3:58 am

I’ve had the original Magic Jack now for over 4 years and I’m very pleased. I’m a Boomer so having a regular telephone at home is still a meaningful thing to me. My cell is just a basic service phone. Not one of these slick new smart phone thingies. Magic Jack, combined with my high speed cable internet gives me everything I ever had with a traditional home phone without all of the expenses. Also, unlike Skype and most other VoIP services I’ve experienced, I’ve had zero service issues. Even when power and ISP service was questionable (or extremely slow), My Magic Jack continues to give me clear telephone reception & service. There may be slicker or more flashy options available. But if you just want a home phone system and service that works, get a Magic Jack. And the price is pretty good too.

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Jeff P. Omaha July 5, 2013 at 2:16 am

I have used Magic Jack for over 4 years now. 9-1-1 service is automatic and there is no need to keep your old land line. I have no idea where others have seen that as the company’s recommendation. It never was recommended to me in the dark ages. I have used this device in the USA, in Mongolia and Haiti (after the earthquake when Internet access was back up). It worked flawlessly. There is a new Magic Jack Plus 2014 that can plug directly into your wall outlet, no computer needed. I do not know how this works but I am interested in trying it even though I have another year left on my service. I was able to purchase 5 years of service for $100 and that is still something they offer.

Some of the reasons I like having the Magic Jack in addition to my cell number are:

1) It is a number I can give out to acquaintances and/or companies that I do business with who I do not want calling my cell phone. How many times are you busy and the cell phone rings, you answer it and you are getting a call from the bank, power company or whomever with some offer or sales pitch? Under the Do Not Call List rules, if it is someone who you have a business relationship with, they can robo-call you at will. The Magic Jack has free voice mail and I can listen to the calls at my leisure, even through my email.

2) In an emergency the cell towers will be jammed. Any natural or man-made disaster (Boston Marathon Bombings, Sept. 11) causes mass calls and the cells towers are jammed. You can get on the Magic Jack and call away to your hearts content.

3) If you do any international travel this is a marvelous device. You take it and a cheap phone and call back to anywhere in the USA or Canada for free. Maybe not as convenient as having a cell that people can call you on anytime, but international calls on your regular cell phones are like buying gold and buying an international cell phone and local SIM cards are a hassle. This is hassle-free.

4) Ever misplace a cell phone, been the only one home and wish you had some way to call your cell? Admit it. We have all done it. Drop your cell into water? No way to call anyone until you get a replacement. It never hurts to have a back up. This is CHEAP back up.

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Vanessa B. July 9, 2013 at 2:10 am

I have the Magic Jack App on my iPad and it’s completely free! I mostly use it for making calls when my cell phone’s battery has died or when I can’t find my cell phone. I think the biggest benefit of Magic Jack is for international users. I have several friends who use it when they go back to visit their home country, and that way they can call the U.S. and I can call them without having to pay extra fees for international calls.

Jeff has a lot of good points as to its benefits. I never thought of the fact that if cell service went out, Magic Jack would still allow you to make calls.

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