Whats the SD on Magic Jack?

You know, the guys that say just plug in this jack and we can give you phone service for $19.95 a year…whats the Straightdope? Anyone have experience with it? Any good?

Yes. No.

We tried it, hoping that it’d be a good replacement for Vonage. It…well, it occasionally worked. We didn’t renew when the year was up in March.

Seems to vary a lot in quality; I’ve heard people say it works great for them, some say it’s lousy.

The company itself has some detractors. IIRC, they put some sketchy bits in a customer agreement and tried to sue Boing Boing out of existence when it got posted.

The quality of any of these Internet-protocol phone services is critically-dependent on the quality of your internet connection. You need bandwidth! And it seems that 0.5 to 1 megabit per second is about the minimum. Logically, a full-duplex audio connection ought to take much less; in the traditional phone system it takes up around 64 kilobits per second. But the internet connection needs enough ‘room’ for everything else it’s being used for; if someone downloads a file, you don’t want your phone conversation to be squeezed out.

Contains spyware and ads. (2008)

MagicJack attempted a suit to stop disclosure of their spyware activities. The court ruled their actions a SLAPP suit and ruled against MagicJack.

A friend of mine uses it. He doesn’t have a job, and the price is right.

It was slightly off-putting when I called to leave him a message once and I found I had to listen to a short ad before I could speak. (this was on the voice-mail part. don’t know if they are audacious enough to make callers listen to ads when he’s home)

We have it at home, having previously used Vonage. Didn’t have a real problem with the Vonage service, but we went through tons of hardware, constantly replacing boxes that crapped out. And no, I don’t have this problem with any other electronic/computer hardware our house. That’s another thread.

Back to Magicjack, like someone mentioned, you really need a decent pipe. We live out in the sticks, and have something “less” than optimal throughput. The phone works fine if my son isn’t trying to do a bunch of stuff online, and just OK if he is. But, we have the house phone just because we have always had one. We use our cell phones on a more regular basis for both incoming and outgoing.
-JR

Previous threads on the same topic:

Since the responses are opinions, let’s move from General Questions to IMHO.

samclem Moderator,

If you have a good Internet connection and make a lot of long distance phone calls, it’s probably a no-brainer. It will save you plenty on phone bills and you can probably pay for it in a month or two. I know someone who just uses it for outgoing calls and it’s fine. Only problem is people with cell phones and caller ID will call him back on that line. Not a big deal.

Buy from somewhere like Walgreens so if it doesn’t work you can return/exchange it.

friend used it. it would cut out during calls and drop calls. it would lock up the computer even when not placing calls. he tried on more than one computer and he is skilled at getting computers to work.

I renewed mine for a year after the first year – a couple of months ago I renewed for five years.

For the price, you really can’t beat this thing but support from the company is almost nonexistent. Good source of information:magicJack Unofficial Support