Well, I have to admit that the new MagicJack Plus device is MUCH better than the previous device! *
I have previously compared the (old) MagicJack (MJ) device to some of the more common Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) services (see here). In that comparison, the MJ did not fare very well. However, with the new MJ Plus service, the company has answered one of my most serious criticisms – the old device had to be connected to a computer running Windows.
The new device will operate WITHOUT a computer – after the initial registration – which must still be accomplished via a Windows or Mac computer. That is a very welcome change!
Price: MagicJack (standard) costs $39.95 plus shipping and handling. The MagicJack PLUS costs $69.95 plus shipping and handling. One year of free local and long disance calling to the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands is included with your initial purchase. You can purchase an additional year of service for $19.95 for MagicJack and $29.95 for MagicJack PLUS. If you purchase their “five year plan”, the cost is as low as $13.99 per year or $19.95 per year respectively.
Voice Quality: Voice quality is good on both ends. I have not done any scientific comparisons but my “ear test” says that the voice quality is only slightly poorer than the same phones using my Ooma service.
- Potential Problems: The Terms of Service (see their TOS here) have some VERY discomforting issues. Here are a few:
- They can CHANGE your phone number at will
- They can BLOCK calls to selected numbers
- They can TERMINATE your service if you exceed their estimate of how much you should use the service. (Their “excessive use” includes you dialing more than 50 different number in a day and using more than 20 times the “average” use.)
- They can RECLAIM your phone number if you do not use it within 90 days.
- ADVERTISEMENTS “may include certain communications, including but not limited to service announcements, administrative messages and newsletters, and you will not be able to opt out of receiving them.” (Quote taken from the terms of service.)
Bottom Line: If you purchase the device and their five year service plan, the total cost is $170. That equates to under $35 per year which is less than any other non-computer service that I am aware of. The only reservation is their TOS.