magicJack Review: A Quick Look At This Phone [Updated for 2020]

What Is magic Jack?

magicJack, in its most basic sense is a telephone service provided by magicJack VocalTec Communications. Generally used as a home phone service, it can also be used for business lines through the new magicJack for Business phone service the company launched in 2016. The phone service runs over VocalTec’s private VoIP network and can be used by anyone that has purchased one of their devices, has an active subscription and a high-speed Internet connection. It provides subscribers with unlimited local and long distance calling to both the United States and Canada all for one low yearly fee of $29.95 with the option to purchase a 5-year plan which further reduces the average yearly price to just $19.95.
Original magicJack
Original magicJack – The Device Where It All Began

How Does magic Jack Work?

The service started out an as As Seen on TV product and works pretty simply. First you will need to purchase one of the company’s VoIP devices – the original magicJack, magicJack Plus, magicJack Plus 2014, magicJack Go or magicJack Express. There are also more complex phone systems you can get for magicJack Business. The first generation device hooks directly into any computers USB port and requires a small software install in order to register the device and begin making calls. The second and third generation devices and beyond have a very simple setup using the www.MJREG.com Register site  and work by hooking them directly into any modem or router and an electrical outlet. Once the device is hooked up simply attach any regular telephone to the other end and you can begin making calls right away. Don’t forget, a high-speed Internet connection is needed in order to use the service.


What Features Does The Service Come With?

It comes with unlimited local and long distance calling to anywhere in the United States or Canada for one low yearly fee. Standard features that come for free include everything you are use to getting from traditional land line providers. This includes caller ID, call waiting, voicemail, call forwarding, free conference calling, free 411 directory assistance, and much much more.


What Is The Cost for magicJack Phone?

The original magicJack has been discontinued but it was originally sold for $39.99 for the device and one year of phone service. The second generation device, the magicJack Plus, is very hard to find these days but originally sold for $50 (plus shipping and handling) which includes the device and one year of service. It is no longer available through the magicJack website but can still be purchased from various third party retailers online. The magicJack Plus 2014 was again sold for roughly $50 but the free service was cut form 12 to 6 months. It is also no longer available through the official website and hard to find.

Both the magicJack GO and magicJack Express can be purchased on the company’s official website. The GO’s regular price is $59.95 but specials are often ran where it costs just $35. The Express has a regular price of $39.95 but specials are often ran for $29.95. All purchases comes with a 30-day risk free trial that allows for a full no questions asked returns for any reason whatsoever. For business services the prices vary greatly depending on what phone system you choose.

magicjack go
The incredibly popular magicJack GO

How Much Does The Service Cost?

As of the spring of 2017, regardless of which of the devices you are using, once your subscription is up you can renew for just $35 for one year or you can get a 5-year plan for just $99.75 ($19.95 per year). At a super low price of under $3 per month magicJack phone service is an amazing deal. The daily cost comes out to under $0.10 for a fully functioning home phone with unlimited long distance minutes. Yep, its under a dime a day and a lot less than you are probably paying for your land line right now. Gone are the days of spending $50 per month for home phone service.


Can I Make International Calls With magicJack?

Yes you can make international calls but they are not free. In order to calls outside the U.S. and Canada you will have to purchase prepaid minutes. These purchase can be made after you login to your my.magicJack.com account. Although not free the company does provide very competitive and often times some of the cheapest international calling rates around.


Can I Keep My Old Number If I Switch To magicJack?

Most numbers can be ported over to the company’s telephone service, although they do not guarantee that any and all numbers can be switched over. If you are thinking about getting magicJack and keeping your number is important to you then you should contact customer service before purchasing.


Can The Service Be Used With Smartphones?

Yes! VocalTec released the magicJack App in 2012 and made a huge update in 2016. The app can be used for FREE by anyone with an iOS or Android device including the iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and the ever popular Samsung phones along with all other Android phones. Use of the service is super easy. Just download the app from iTunes or the Google Play Store and you can begin making calls within minutes. After download you can make calls instantly without a phone number or you can sign up for a free account and the app will automatically assign you a number. Current magicJack subscribers have the option to login to the app with their account which enables them to take their magicJack home phone number on the go with them. The company began charging for use of the text function of the app in 2015. Paying subscribers are to be able to use the app for free while current free users that want a phone number are charged one super low yearly fee just like regular subscribers.


How Does The Service Work And How Is It So Cheap?

Magic Jack technology is simple; it takes any traditional land line phone call and re-routes it over the Internet via the company’s dedicated VoIP servers. The callers voice is transferred into data packages on one end, then sent through the network, and ultimately spit back out as the callers voice on the other end of the line. The result is that neither you nor the person you are calling will be able to tell any difference at all. In fact, nowadays VoIP voice quality has actually improved to the point where it is usually better than through traditional telephone lines. Speaking of telephone lines and infrastructure, that’s where the cheap price comes in. Without the need for expensive lines stretching miles and miles across the country magicJack is able to keep its fixed costs down and in turn pass this savings along to you, the customer.


Does the Magic Jack Really Work?

YES! In fact, magicJack was the winner of the 2013 Frost & Sullivan North American Consumers’ Choice Award as best overall VoIP service provider. Millions of individuals use magicJack each and every day, in fact the company says they have sold over 15 million devices, and there is a reason for that. The reason is simple, because it works, and very well. When the original device came out there were a lot of questions about its call quality but the VoIP industry as a whole has come a long way since it’s release in 2007. With each subsequent device release the company has improved call quality by more than doubling the processor speed of the device and also adding various features such as HD Voice and Echo Control. The company also has and continues to pour money into its private dedicated VoIP network, with the aim at providing the best call quality possible.


What Do Users Have To Say?

In the past there were quite a few users that complained about technical difficulties and poor customer service. With a new CEO, new management, and a renewed focus on the customer the majority of these customer service issues are in the past. As far as technical difficulties go, most of them have been eliminated as a result of upgrades to the magicJack network along with the new devices that simply work better. When magicJack first came out VoIP technology was rather new and it has taken some time for companies to perfect to technology. The newer magicJack Go and Express not only provides better call quality but really up the game in regards to ease of use. Past devices required you to plug the device into your computer and go through a complicated registration and install process but with this new device it’s as simple as plug and play straight out of the box.

The biggest thing to remember when reading about the device is that the when any company has sold in the neighborhood of 15 million devices they are bound to have some complaints and unsatisfied customers. And we all know its always the unsatisfied customers that are going to complain, while the happy ones aren’t even thinking twice about the service or that they should go and give it a glowing review.


magicjack user reviews
See Below For Real magicJack User Reviews

Do You Have Any Reviews Submitted By Users That I Can Read?

Yes, we have a large number of reviews that have been submitted by email and also left in the comment section. We have listed several reviews here.

Shawn said… 

“My father purchased a Magic Jack device a few years ago and my nephew brought it over and we tried it out. It worked the way it was supposed to. We made some phone calls with it, but since I had cell phone service at the time, with nationwide calling, it really wasn’t that practical for use in my home, but it was cool to try for the moment.

With that out of the way, I work for a company, which shall remain nameless just to keep on topic, which deals with electronics and services and deals with millions of customers. I get calls all day long about this and that about how great things work and how crappy things work. It’s electronics people. Made by HUMANS! Show me one human that doesn’t make a mistake or who’s head isn’t always screwed on tight! People tell me to guarantee them they will have trouble free service. I cannot, nor can anyone guarantee that I will not hit a deer on my way home from work.

The Magic Jack for all intense and purposes does what it is supposed to do, make phone calls. If it doesn’t work right, then there’s either something wrong with the phone, computer, the internet, internet provider, the Magic Jack itself or something else. That doesn’t make the company a crappy company or the the Magic Jack device a piece of crap either. To me $46.95 is a lot of money for the first time buy, but within a year, $46.95 is a drop in the bucket compared to regular phone service and will not change my life if the Magic Jack, which I just made a purchase for yesterday and awaiting the shipment, doesn’t work properly all the time.”


Trevor said…

I just installed a magic jack on a computer with a Suddenlink high speed cable connection. It connected and installed perfectly. There were only a limited number of locations for my phone number, and all were long distance. (I live in rural NE Texas) Still it worked perfectly. I have installed it on a tablet PC that was gathering dust in my closet, and I plugged it into my Panasonic phone system. It is now line 2 on my phone system and is working from all of my phones in my house. At least for me, this device is working great and saving me lots over my previous line charges.”

Wil said…

“We live in Thailand and travel all over the world for work. MagicJack allows us to have an Indianapolis number while in Thailand or anywhere else we travel. We have one unit dedicated to our home here and one that we take with us on the road. Since we have a unit at our Thailand place that lists as an US number, we can call from Australia, Europe, or China back to Thailand for free. The system thinks it’s a call from the US to the US when in fact we’re calling transcontinental. AMAZING product that we’ve convinced all of our friends to purchase and utilize.”

Denise said…

“Let me start out by saying I am the most skeptical person you will ever meet! I recently purchased my first home and where it is located I don’t have great cell phone service. Some parts of my house it’s great, other parts I have to sit up against the window to get service! I contacted my cable carrier to see how much it would be to bundle and add phone on my existing cable/internet package. Of course it was an additional $39.99 and that was for local calling only. 

As I was thinking about it that’s an extra $480.00 a year, not to mention additional charges for long distance. I was prety upset when I heard that. So I thought about the magic jack. I remember all the infomercials about it and kept thinking there has to be a hidden charge, or it can’t work that easily. So I went to my local Radio Shack and talked to the sales rep there. She said that the only complaint is that if the power is off on your computer it will go to voicemail, and there isn’t always a local number available. 

I thought ok I keep my computer on all the time so no problem there, and everyone I know has a cell phone, so the local/long distance wont matter. So I decided to purchase it. I got it home plugged it in, and followed the on screen prompts, I got the same area code as I live in. 

It was VERY easy to set up, and I had service within minutes! I have been using it now for about a month and it is awesome!!! I forward all my cell phone calls to my magic jack and I have no problems what so ever!!! I can’t believe I actually love something I was so skeptical about!!! This is a wonderful product!!.. By the time my house is paid off I will have saved well over $15,000.00 on phone service!!!! Thank you so much to the creators of MAGIC JACK!!!!”

Chevron7 said… 

“This has to be one of the best purchases of my life!!!! I bought it at Wal-Mart for $39.95. That includes 1 year of free service. It is extremely easy to install on my computer. I did not have to use a credit card – so they don’t have my credit card information. It’s like I never had my regular phone shut off. It works great! I have call waiting, caller ID, call forwarding, voice mail, it’s AWESOME! 

I registered it with my e-mail account so when I’m not at home, I will get an e-mail and I can actually listen to my messages at work on my computer. How handy is that! Who cares if you have to dial the area code every time you call someone, it’s a FREE call! 

So far I have no complains. I had phone service within 10 minutes, installation was so simple a child could do it. I went immediately and registered my new phone on donotcall.org that way I won’t have pesky telemarketers calling me. 

They are up front and explain everything in detail on their website and I’m not disappointed at all with my purchase.  In fact,it’s the best purchase I’ve ever made. We were paying $900 a year for unlimited long distance and local calling and I thought THAT was a good deal. Now I can use that money for vacation every year!”

Ryan said…

“I have had a Magic Jack Plus for a few months now, and save for a minor installation difficulty at first (now fully resolved), it’s been a great device. The calls are clear as a landline and sound great, and the cost can’t be beat by any other telco.

Let me explain about that install difficulty I had: When I first got my MJ+ and got it hooked up to my phone & router, there was an awful noisy hum in the audio, in the phone’s receiver ear piece. Since I didn’t have any problems with the phone when I previously had it connected to a landline a few years ago, I assumed it was the MJ+ that was on the fritz.

I went and exchanged it for a new unit, but had the same problem again! So, I decided to try a different telephone set to plug into the MJ+, and lo and behold, it worked perfectly! The noisy hum was gone, just crystal-clear calls to be had! So, the MJ+ does tend to be a bit picky as far as the kind of telephone set you have connected to it. If you have a phone on you MJ+ that has bad hum in the audio, try a new set, it might solve the issue.

Besides this hiccup (and the common consensus that MJ’s technical support is lacking, which fortunately I have not had to contact yet), the magic jack plus is a very good product and quite a money-saver. I was originally thinking about getting a landline again from my incumbent telco (CenturyLink), but MagicJack is a much better deal. I’d rather spend $30 a year than $18 a month.”


So What’s The Catch?

There is no catch. It’s really quite simple. VoIP uses a completely different technology than traditional land line companies and with significantly less overhead and fixed costs magicJack VocalTec has chosen to pass this savings on to users like yourself. They run a very simple “Do The Math” ad campaign with a clear goal of being a price leader within the VoIP industry.

The only truly notable issue lies with the company’s customer service. In the past the company got a lot of complaints about their chat only customer service and customers inability to get the device to work. Again, the majority of these issues have been resolved with upgrades to the new devices and new management has also began to address these issues quite aggressively. In fact, in early 2014 the company hired a new Vice President of Customer Experience, whose job is to completely revamp the customer service department. The company is looking into providing more than just chat support but at such a low price point it’s not yet clear if they will be able to do this.

During this transition it’s important to take the savings and just remember if you are one of the unlucky few who have trouble, that you are saving $500 per year on your phone service! In a few cases users have blown their complaints way out of proportion and claimed that the service is a scam, of course in reality it is far from this. Any claims that magic Jack is a scam are quickly squashed by checking its rating with the Better Business Bureau, which is currently a B+ rating, with nearly all complaints resolved. It is important to note that though there are over 1,000 complaints with the BBB that’s actually a good thing considering they have sold 15,000,000 devices.


What’s Next For Magic Jack?

The company released the Go and Express devices in 2014 and 2015 and launched a service focused towards businesses in late 2016 but it is still a mystery as to exactly what they plan to offer next. The company offers a great product and service but seems to be lacking clear direction on where to turn for further growth. The business side of things was an obvious choice to grow into an untapped and potentially lucrative market. There seems to be a lot of potential with the app, considering what WhatsApp, Viber and other messaging apps have sold for in the last couple years, but company executives appear to lack the understanding, knowledge and focus that it would take to turn the app user basis into a valuation in the billions.
It had long been rumored that the company wanted to expand their services and provide both Internet and TV through the device for one low yearly fee. This idea however appears to be dead in the water because magicJack just simply couldn’t offer enough value to a potential partner with a 4G or LTRE network to make it a possibility.

 

 

 

save money with magicJack
Save Money With magicJack

Alternatives to magicJack

A few other providers we’ve covered that offer similar service include Vonage, Basictalk, and Nettalk.


The Magic Jack & VoIP Bottom Line

The company’s phone service and VoIP in general is a great innovation within the home phone market and it offers all consumers an excellent way to keep their home phone line while not paying the outrageous monthly fees that traditional phone companies charge. With cell phones dominating today’s market the land line phone appeared to be headed for extinction but with magic Jack and other VoIP companies people can now keep their landline for significantly reduced prices. In fact, it is so good and so cheap that it has its competition panicking at the thought of everybody making the switch. If you are thinking about getting the service we recommend that you give it a try and don’t doubt you’ll be satisfied. Of course, in the unlikely event that you are one of the few that isn’t you won’t be risking anything since the offering a 30-day risk free trial to all new customers.