Magic Jack - First Impressions

Well, I finally got around to getting a Magic Jack from Radio Shack today and thought I would give my first impressions of the device. Like the commercial says, it is very easy to setup. Basically, you plug it into a USB port with your computer on and your browser open and it does the rest. It downloads and installs the software and pulls up the registration page when finished. Registration is straightforward and easy. Getting a telephone number was simple. I chose the area code and prefix and they gave me the last four digits. The entire process was amazingly simple and fast. It took all of 3-4 minutes from the time I plugged it into a USB port to being able to make the first call.

As for the audio quality, it is as good as any land line I have used. There is no static, volume is good and now skips or delay etc. I haven’t looked into all the features but you can get voice mail that will send you an email for notification and you can then download the message as a WAV file. I am using it with a DECT 6.0 cordless phone for those interested in such things. Overall, I am pretty impressed but this is the honeymoon phase so I will update this thread periodically as I get more experience with the device.

BTW, I have Comcast internet service, use Windows XP and have a basic run-of-the-mill computer with an Intel E6700 CPU. If you have any questions ask away but I tell you this was a simple process and I don’t have one glitch or complaint to report so far.

I didn’t have the same luck.I too bought a Magic Jack from Radio Shack.The problem was once I installed it & went to register I found out there were no local numbers available & as a matter of fact not even my same area code was available.
So I took it back for a refund which RS gave with no problem.I ask why they even sold them here or at least why not tell customers that there were no local numbers ?
I probably wasted a couple of hours or more.
So I went with Skype.Connected to a dph-50u & regular cordless phone.I’ve noticed some sound problems but otherwise it works well.

Skype costs some more especially when Magic Jack is only $40.00 total for the first year & $19.95 a year after that.
Skype costs about $60.00 a year every year.

They had several area codes for my general location. I know they show what area codes they offer on their web site so anyone needing a local number can check availability before buying.

I suspect that the no local numbers thing was a radio shack mistake (they shouldn’t have been selling them in that area or at least made it know that there were no local numbers). Magic jack is only in certain areas.
I have used both (skype for a year+ as they gave me some free time) and I am almost through a year on magic jack). Skype never had great call quality for me, but towards the end it got really bad. Magic jack has had its own but different problems. Call quality is almost always very good. It sometimes gets a little doggy, buy if you call the person right back, the problem consistently will go away. It doesn’t happen often, but I have found occasionally, it will not let me dial a particular number (it has happened with different numbers and areas). You can try calling again, and again, and it will just hangup the call (never connect). It seems to last a matter of hours, and then you can get through to that number. During that time, you can get through to other numbers just fine. I also noticed, sometimes it connects, but only one side can hear (you can hear them but they cannot hear you or vica versa). I also found, if you get a dial tone, then hang up the phone, and then get a dial tone again (just hold the hangup for a few seconds), it never does that. I suppose that could be a bug with my particular hardware version.

If I had to choose, I would take magic jack hands down. Its got its bugs, but most of the time it works fine and call quality has almost always been very good (if call quality is bad, call back and its good). I would not use it as your only phone as sometimes you cannot get through, but its still worth having. We use it as our only land line but have a cel as backup. I do plan on renewing soon when my year runs out as for 20$ a year, its a steal.

Just a note on both. Reading reviews heavily (in the past when I looked at them), it seems to vary from area to area. Some get good service from either, some don’t. Magic jack seems to get a lot better reviews all around though. A few other bugs I should mention on magic jack. It has quit working twice (in 1 year). Tech support is very good and got it fixed fast both times (quite acceptable to me). I had one computer that it would not install on at all (their tech support could not get it to work either). Luckily I have multiple computers and it has worked fine on two others. If you can get it locally at radio shack and therefor return easy, its certainly worth a try.

As UTR posted the MJ site does have the area codes supported I just didn’t think to check first.
They could put on the MJ home page to Please check for you area code & a convient link.
Radio Shack was good about the refund it would have just been nice if they had informed me about no local numbers.If I had a lot of long distance calls to make or only wanted to make outgoing calls the MJ would have worked .I guess that’s why they sell it in my area.
Because of the price I will be checking MJ & if it does get local for me I will try it again.
For now Skype will do.The only problem I’ve had with Skype so far is ocassianally the voice of the incoming sound will get “robotic” for 20 to 30 seconds then clear again.
For customer service MJ has live chat & I tested it & was satisfied.
Skype only has e-mail & are very slow with answers.

I read another thread about the Magic Jack (MJ) today and thought I would update this thread with my experiences with this device over the past two months. It has performed very well and I haven’t had a single issue with it since it was plugged in. Once I knew it worked I got a four handset Panasonic phone system and now have phone access through the MJ throughout the house. The call quality is indistinguishable from a the Verizon land line and seems to be just as reliable. Also, I can fax through it. In fact, you can even plug it into a laptop and them plug the laptop modem into the MJ and and fax from your laptop computer! The MJ works so well we dumped Verizon’s land line service completely and are now saving several times more in a single month than the MJ costs to operate all year.

Overall, I really like this device. I am sure it isn’t for everyone but those with a good high speed Internet connection and a decently working computer should see success with it, IMO. There are also ways to tap this into your house phone wiring system to have phone service through your existing wall jacks. You will just be able to run one or two phones from the MJ power supply if you use phones that need power supplied from the telephone jack. I think the way around this would be to use phones that require a wall plug adapter.

One last thing, I want to say that cordless phones using the DECT 6.0 standard absolutely rock! The voice quality is excellent and the range is fantastic. They are light years ahead of the older cordless phones I have used.