MagicJack Product Review, Comparing Magic Jack to Skype

I’ve been seeing the commercials and ads all over images MagicJack Product Review, Comparing Magic Jack to Skype the Internet, TV, and yes my own blog, so I thought I should review this product and compare it to Skype to see which one is better.  The following is my MagicJack product review and comparing Magic Jack to Skype.

Pros and Cons of MagicJack

MagicJack Pros:

  • Plugs into your computer and turns your computer into a regular phone jack.
  • Can hook up any existing phone to the jack and start making VOIP calls.
  • VOIP calls are free and unlimited so this could save money over long distance calling.
  • No additional software of CD to install to make it work.

MagicJack Cons:

  • Your computer must be on in order for this to work.  If your computer is turned off, then your service won’t work.
  • This is a service and the price per year is $20.  I believe this only allows you to call out, and doesn’t provide you a phone number for others to reach you.
  • There is no local phone services with this service so no local 911, fire, or paramedics.
  • It’s a system program that takes up resources on your computer and has alerts that pop up while using the computer
  • The unit cost $40 to purchase on top of the $20 a year fee.

MagicJack compared to Skype:

  1. Skype doesn’t require you to buy anything.  You can turn your existing computer into a phone with a mic and speakers, which most computers come with.
  2. Skype has products that allow you to use their service without your computer being on, and therefore makes it a true stand-alone phone system.  I have the Belkin unit at home and have review it on my website here.  You can learn more about the Belkin product from my other posts.
  3. Skype has low cost plans that have unlimited calling to anywhere in the world, as well as provides a phone number that others can call you on, with a voice mail, call forwarding, caller id, and many other preminum phone services.  I have the complete unlimited plan with a local number, voice mail, unlimited calling, etc, and I only pay $60 a year.  If you noticed that the MagicJack costs $40 plus $20 per year so you area paying the same amoutn and don’t get the other features.
  4. The Skype extras include a ton of great services like mp3 call recording, free radio feeds, sharing programs, and much more.  This makes the service on your computer much more worthwile and provides many more tools that you can use.

All in all, I would say that MagicJack is not that great of a product and I would still stick with Skype.  However, there are people out there that want something as easy as possible, even if it doesn’t work the best or has the best features, if it’s easy they want it.  I can see MagicJack being one of those products that non-savvy Internet users, or people that don’t want to do anything else but get some free calls would like and use.  I personally wouldn’t recommend MagicJack or Magic Jack as a reliable product, and would still recommend using Skype for VOIP services.

24 thoughts on “MagicJack Product Review, Comparing Magic Jack to Skype”

  1. I have Skype and like it, and am still undecided as to try MagicJack but it is only $39.95 total for 1st year and includes the USB toggle and phone # for incoming calls and $19.95/ each additional year. The biggest downside to me is having to have a landline type phone with you to plug into toggle.

  2. I didn’t read any where on their product info about the incoming number. Do you know what numbers they have to chose from, are they in limited area codes, or is open to most area codes like Skype? Like you said, you still need to have a traditional phone to plug it into and then you are connecting to the computer. The computer needs to be one to make the call so I’m not sure I like that. I use skype with a wifi phone so I don’t have to have any computers on to make or receive calls. It works like a regular phone.

  3. has anyone checked the amount of a wifi phone they are almost 200.00 dollars, thats crazy. Majic jack 39.95. I power my computer mostly down and have a back up power supply in case I lose power it will stay up for up to 12 hours.

  4. Thanks Gray for your comments, and yes you are right about the stand alone wifi phones costing around $200, but there are some that start at $100. I’ve got one that was about $130 and it’s completely wifi and wireless enable. I can take my wifi phone to stores, hotels, restaurants, and other places and still able to connect and make free phone calls. If I really wanted to have a computer phone that works when I turn it on, then just buy a mic and speakers and get skype for free. From there, is only $36 a year for unlimited dialing to any US or Canada phone. And, you don’t even have to be at your computer or only use it solely at your house. The skype service works on any computer as long as you have Internet. I don’t see why I need to buy another device just to hook up my existing phone to the computer. A computer is already a phone so I can easily have the same thing without buying their jack and yearly service.

  5. MagicJack® Set Up

    How many USB devices are currently plugged in?
    Power-Hungry Hubs (Quote from an unknown informed source)
    A USB hub will expand the number of USB devices that you can plug into your computer, and these days, with cameras, scanners, printers, keyboards, pointing devices, PDAs, hard disks and many more peripherals using the USB interface, the number of devices you want to plug in often exceeds the number of USB ports on the computer. Some hubs have their own power adapters, but others run off the computer’s power through the USB bus. This is more convenience since you don’t have to plug in a separate electrical cord, but it’s also easy to overload the USB port if you plug a lot of devices into one of these hubs.

    Do your PC’s USB ports supply enough electricity to power all the devices you have attached to them? Plugging too much gear into a bus-powered USB hub (one with no external power adapter) can overwhelm a USB port by demanding more than the 500 mA it can supply. Check the power demands on any USB port in Windows XP by right-clicking My Computer and choosing Properties, Hardware, Device Manager. Double-click Universal Serial Bus controllers, double-click the USB Root Hub entry, choose the Power tab, and add up the amounts in the “Power Required” column. On the packaging that Magic Jack arrives in, there are warnings that some USB ports might not have enough electrical power for your Magic Jack to work properly. (Below is the advice which many people forget about.)
    Remember: magicJack® works best when plugged directly into a USB port on your computer.
    Do not plug into a multi port USB hub that is not AC powered. In a few rare instances, your USB port on your computer may not have enough power.
    Try using a externally AC powered USB hub to plug your magicJack® dongel into instead of using your computer’s USB hub if you have ‘many’ other USB devices connected to your computer.
    After you have connected the dongel for the first time, registered the device, and have the ‘softphone’ on the screen, you should probably run TCP Optimizer to “tune” your computer to work with it in an efficient manner; it can be downloaded from the following website:

    http://www.speedguide.net/downloads.php

    You can use the TCP Optimizer by following these short instructions:

    1.Choose your maximum Connection Speed from the slider bar (the maximum available bandwidth, in kilobits per second)
    2.Choose your Network Interface, or check to Modify All Network Adapters
    3.Pick “Optimal settings” from the radio-buttons near the bottom of the program
    4.Click on the “Apply changes” button and reboot

    MagicJack® Uses

    1.Inexpensive Secondary Telephone Service
    2.Excellent adjunct to expensive prime time and/or poor indoor Cellular Telephone Service
    3.Distribute magicJack® phone number to all contacts as primary contact number
    4.When outdoors have the magicJack® phone number forwarded to cell phone
    5.When indoors use magickJack® phone number to reach and be reached by contacts

    MagicJack® Support

    http://www.magic-jack.info/linkpage.htm

    Main Office: (561) 594-2140 this is just a recording telling you where to get support, you can leave a message if you want.
    Support: (281) 404-1551 open from 11am to 8pm EST

    How to save money and pay for MagicJack® Service with interest earned after one year!

    1.The average cost of land line telephone service (Verizon, AT&T, Cavalier, or Sprint) with all federal, state, and local taxes and fees is $60.00 per month
    2.Deposit $720.00 [12 months of land line payments saved] in an on line account (ING or HSBC linked to you Debit Card Account) earning at least 2.8% interest per year at the time you initiate magicJack® Service
    3.After one (1) year you will have earned enough money in interest to pay for the coming yearly magicJack® payment
    4.Transfer the interest earned to your Debit Card Account and pay your magicJack® service fee
    5.This account will allow you to use [OPM] “Other People’s Money” to pay for your magicJack® service for each year you chose to maintain it

  6. It’s nice to see some common sense users of this product for a change. The only issue with this device is IGNORANCE. After reading hundreds of “I love it”, “I hate it” posts, I’ve come to a few conclusions.

    1: Never buy ANY free 30day trial on ANYTHING!!! Get MJ from QVC, Circuit City, Amazon etc… Then you have a hassle free return. ALL 30 DAY FREE TRIAL AND GIVE US YOU’RE CREDIT CARD NUMBER Company’s will set on your money and give you the runaround, duh. Your and every other sucker’s money is letting them make interest off it. They ALL will bite you in the azz with the fine print. DON’T DO IT!

    2: For the people that think the thing that comes out after you press the button on the front of the computer is an automated cup holder, you’re too stupid to use this product. You probably have trouble operating a light switch or flushing the toilet. If you are a 1 on the (1 – 10) Tech Savvy Scale, save us the drudge of reading your negative post and don’t even think about getting this product. It’s way, way, way over your head. Go play with the light switch or something. MJ is a startup company running on a shoestring. It’s $40 dollars! It’s $40 dollars! It’s $40 dollars! It’s $40 dollars! It’s $40 dollars! What do you expect them to do, send a tech to your house? Come on people get real. If you can’t make it work then return it to Circuit City or QVC etc… Oh, you did the 30day free trial thing? DUH… you deserve the hassle. Just don’t bore us with your post.

    3: Paranoid people get up in the morning; check the weather etc… on Internet. Hello! Your ISP tracked what you did and the Weather web cookie and all the other cookies did they’re thing. Picked up your Cell phone and made a call, Hello! Your phone service tracked and logged your call, they also knew you were home because of the built in tracking system. Got in your car and stopped at intersection, got your picture taken by traffic cam. Somebody knows where you were at the time of day. Stopped to get gas, restaurant, shopping swiped your credit card, God only knows how many people got this information on what you bought. Went to work and your employer tracked every keystroke, oh and don’t forget to smile for the candid camera. I looked your name up in the White pages and Goggled Earth your address, WOW! You got a really nice house dude. Maybe I’ll pay you a visit and spy on you. You think MJ gives a rip about the above information? They just want to know local information so they can push you the latest add special from the local pizza place. Unless you live in a cave, get a life because this is your life, you’re just too ignorant to recognize it and all the bitching in the world is not going to change it. Install this on an old PC, stick in the closet, plug in a wireless phone and forget about it. Now it’s out of site and out of mind. Just like all the above listed things we ignore every day.

    4: It’s amazing! Carp computer + slow line + Magic Jack = Magic Jacks fault. You got to love it.
    This is a COMPUTER INTERNET device. For the slow people out there, this means YOUR PC AND ISP NEED TO BE ON FOR IT TO WORK! So stop whinning about your computer needs to be on for it to work. If you have a slow piece of crap computer loaded with God knows what (because you don’t patch, virus protect and properly maintain your PC.) your going to have PROBLEMS! If your Internet speed is slooooooow, guess what? It’s NOT GOING TO WORK WELL! So the folks that post, “I can’t hear”, “it’s full of static”, “it echoes”, “it sucks”, don’t buy it” and on and on and on. It’s your fault, not Magic Jack. If it wasn’t YOUR fault, we’d ALL be experiencing the same problems you are. So if you’re not willing to deal with YOUR problem, or simply ask people that have it working a few questions to help resolve your problem, then stop posting your ignorance.

    5: This DOSE NOT and SHOULD NOT replace you’re your phone system. Analyze what it can and cannot do for you. If it makes business sense then get it. If not, DON’T slam this product because it doesn’t meet your needs. This device saves me and millions of people like me lots of money.

    6: Read 1 – 5.

  7. magicJack® vs. Skype®

    I have looked into Skype® vs. magicJack® and have determined that the two services are very, very, very much alike! One is hardware based while the other is software based.

    If you know from my association with the computer world going back as far as the TI 99/4a that I have always been a hardware man. For that reason, I favor magicJack® between the two services.

    magicJack® costs $1.67 per month for calls to anywhere in the U.S.A. or Canada, $1.00 per month with a 5 year license; versus $2.95 per month with Skype®, $1.48 per month with a 1 year account.

    They both have conference calling, voice mail, and call forwarding. Skype® charges money for other features that magicJack® does not charge their users, however that is minimum -> however it still costs the user money.

    The magicJack® portability feature is the tipping point that makes it the better of the two services.

    magicJack® softphone features

    * Menu – Switch to headset, download Outlook plug-in, and other configuration options.
    * Contacts – This is your list of contacts for quick reference.
    * Calls – This provides call history. Using this feature allows you to quickly and easily reconnect to past calls.
    * Favorites – This lists your favorite web sites that you have listed in your browser giving you instant access to them
    * Redial – redial
    * Vmail – This lets you set your own voice mail. To set MagicJack voice mail message you must login to their website and select user options to set voice mail for different locations. I also like the fact MagicJack sends an email with the .WAV file of the voice mail.
    * 411 – Is an internet linked to Free411.com.
    * Google – A simple hot link to Google for web searching.
    * 911 Address – This function defaults to your original entry in MagicJack, but it also gives the benefit of adding multiple address in case you use this at work, home, families houses etc.

    Portability – this feature lets you take or send the magicJack® dongle overseas to call friends, family, business associates, and etc. anywhere in the world for just the cost of the device and its original service contracts. Sure beats a telephone calling card for members of the Armed Services, students, and vacationers.

  8. Jeez, u ppl have too much time on ur hands, and what’s with the anger and called people ignorant and paranoid? If you simply will read thoroughly about each product there are vast differences. Just one is that when I land at an airport, i can pull the Belkin Wifi phone ($100) out of my suit pocket and make free calls. Why take ur laptop out, plug in ur magicjack and, oh, then what? Plug in ur corded home from u brought with u? Not to mention I can type in what city i’m in and it will find businesses (restaurants, hotels, gas etc) near my location or that I can look something up on the internet, say a Starbucks & when i find the locations nearest to me, i can just tap on their phone number and it will dial for me. No need to even open skype or the phone. There r many others………take that rant of a letter about “a phone device” to ur therapist. Perhaps some misplaced anger??? just a thought my friend.

  9. Magicjack is very handy compared to Skype especially when you are going to other countries, calling from other countries. Where as with skype you have to buy skype credits. if you and your loved ones live far apart in different countries and have a high monthly bill, magicjack is the way to go.

    For instance, I buy my family back in the philippines magicjack so they can call me here in the US whenever they want with no limits! You cannot beat that for $19.99 a year! Talking LONG DISTANCE for $19.99 a year? How great is that!

    And if want to call them– dial in their US number– use my cell phoone airtime minutes– and start talking! Yes they have their own US number! How cool is that?

    With skype, you cannot do that unless you buy their plans and still if you are in the philippines the IP on your computer prevents you from calling to the US. Unless you use a VPN number. But how many of you know how to get a VPN? much less know what it is? So ummm… sign up for a higher plan from skype you say? I dont think so!

    Do yourself a favor: buy your loved ones if they are in another country apart from yours Magicjack! It will save you money! and to hear the people you love for $19.99 a year, priceless!!!

    And for those yapping about having to keep their computers running all the time, put it on standby, yes magicjack still works! and you dont want to be bothered when you are sleeping right? So i guess its ok to shutt down that PC and turn it on when you wake up.

    So if you were to ask me, magicjack is more practical.

    By the way, I use my Sony ericson p990i for skyping. Yes it saved me money for i dont have to buy those ugly skype wifi phones that is limited only to skype not to mention how expensive they were. So i use my sony ericson as a cellphone and as a skype phone. But still I dont have my own US number on skype and my friends has to have skype just so we can make free calls.

    If you have questions, hit me!

  10. Good post but not cool enough to rule. I usually never comment on posts, and yet I can’t help leaving a comment: people never learn, they will always spam you! Amazing work.. beautiful ?

  11. I have had skype for the last couple of years and overall I love it. The voice quality, ease of use and features are excellent. It is cheaper than vonage or any other Big company phone service, has different connectivity options such as pc softphone which is free, has thier own phones which work with skype and landlines or just skype only which is similar to magicjack but without the restrictions of taking away phone serivce if you take it with you. It is not perfect however and there are cheaper free options such as those based on SIP and using free softphones but I believe that in the end it is up to the user to trully determine by examining all the features that are important to him/her and weigh that with the cost and ease of use into thier lifestyle and then you can figure out which one to pick as one size does not fit all unless your cheap then the choice is easy.

  12. I just bought the magicJack today and I am loving this device already. I bought it for $35.99 with one year free service. I got FREE American phone number, caller ID, call waiting, voice mail, etc.

    1. I believe so. You do get a number that people can call, but your computer would have to be on in order to receive it so people would need to have their computer and Internet connection on at all times to use it like a normal phone.

  13. Pardon my ignorance, but I have just one question for anyone satisfied with the MJ: Are your incoming calls debited from your line credits? For example, your MJ partner calls you for 5 minutes… Are you charged for those 5 mins on your own cellphone if you’re not using the unlimited plan on your cell? Your answer will determine whether I will buy this MagicJack for my family to call me from another country. – thanks.

    1. Let me see if I understand your question. If you make a call from MagicJack to say a cell phone, will the cell phone minutes used be counted. My thought would be yes. Minutes on a cell phone or other phone are counted even if you make a toll free call, so the same would apply for services like MagicJack. I personally use Skype and even though I’m unlimited there and can use it anywhere, the calls do show up on my cell phone and landlines as an incoming call and those minutes are calculated.

  14. Just to be clear on my question above: I was referring to incoming calls to a phone that doesn’t have Magic Jack. – thanks again

  15. I have a magicjack and it DOES give you phone number for incoming calls…they offer all US and Canadian area codes and they also allow you to have a vanity number now (example 1-800=eat-fish) for only $10 extra a year.

    calls are clear and free long distance to all north america. you do NOT need a phone plugged in for you can also use your computers mic and speakers/headset just like skype.

    only 19.95 a year..thats a STEAL of a deal.

    I love my magic jack and suggest you try it for you have 30 days to test it free now.

    Terry

  16. I have a computer (in a closet) that is running 24/7 as a server. It is already running for about 8 years, so it is old one. About 6 month ago I got a MJ and plugged it into this old PC. It works great and I use it now as my home phone. Also, I was able to setup MJ software running as Windows service, so no matter computer was rebooted, or someone working on it, or someone does remote desktop, MJ still working.

    In my case, MJ is used as regular home phone line. And for the money I pay, it is awesome.

    If I travel and stay in a hotel, I can take my home line with me as well, and if by some reason MJ is down, I will get voice mail by email on my Blackberry instantly.

    I’m glad I have one for myself and one for my family overseas.

    1. They have certainly come a long way and it’s a better service today than it was when introduced. However, I personally still use Skype as my personal home line and use a wifi phone with it so I can take it anywhere I want. I don’t need to have a computer and can make free calls anywhere that I have a wifi signal. I think this is cool and I can take my wifi phone to hotels and restaurants and be able to make calls easily. They are both good services, but I still like Skype better.

  17. I have ben told about a product that is available in the USA called “magicjack”. It connects to a PC through a USB socket. You then connect your landline phone and can make free phone calls…much better quality, apparently, than other VOIP services such as Skype.
    Does anyone know if there is a similar product available in the UK

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