Magic Jack, officially “magicJack”, is small easy to use device that allows you to make local and long distance calls in Canada and the United States starting at $35 CAD per year (12 months free for first time customers). That’s a pretty good deal ain’t it? 

See the plan details below for first time or new customers planning to enrol in Magic Jack (magicJack) 

When I hear numbers like that, the first thing that crosses my mind, and probably yours as well, is that there must be some sort of catch or the entire thing is a scam.

However, I have to admit that I was very intrigued so I started researching the device thoroughly with cautious optimism and finally purchased one about 6 months ago.

magicjack

We have been using it successfully ever since and I’m happy to report that it is definitely not a scam! That’s not to say that there weren’t any problems with it, there were, but they were trivial in comparison to the amount of money that magicJack will save us every month for as long as we continue to use it.

How Does The magicJack Work ? 

The magicJack device uses Voice Over Internet Protocol (“VoIP”) to allow you to make local and long-distance calls to the U.S. and Canada using an existing internet connection.

You can make and receive calls using your computer or regular telephone. No additional telephone service is required.

magicJack is easy to set up with your existing high-speed internet connection and home phone. You are only a few quick steps away from making ultra-low cost internet phone calls.

 

magicjack

magicJack Installation

There are two ways to connect the magicJack – 

Connect magicJack using an existing modem – 

magicJack is easy to set up with your existing high-speed internet connection and home phone. You are only a few quick steps away from making ultra-low cost internet phone calls.

Connect magicJack using a computer – 

It’s really easy to set up magicJack on your computer. Use your home phone or the magicJack desktop application to make calls.

magicjack

To get the magicJack up and running all you need to do is plug it into your computer and it will automatically install itself. You will still have to go through a somewhat lengthy registration process. It may also automatically download and install necessary updates during the process, so be prepared for this. 

Make And Receive Phone Calls on the magicJack

There are two ways to make the phone calls. The easiest and most convenient way is to use regular or cordless telephone that you plug into the device.

You make calls how you normally do except that you must always dial the complete 10-digit phone number, even when making a local call in Canada.

However, you can prefix the number with a 1 if you want to, but it’s not mandatory.

The second way to make phone calls is directly on your computer using the included software Softphone.

Softphone is simply a software based dial pad that appears on your screen whenever magicJack is up and running. You punch in the number you wish to dial using your mouse or computer keyboard and the call will be connected. It’s as simple as that.

You will need either a microphone and speakers or, preferably, a headset to transmit and receive the audio in better quality.

Receiving calls is just like a regular phone in that people dial your magicJack phone number and your phone will ring as you would expect. If you don’t have a phone plugged in then the call will ring on your computer and you can choose to answer it there as well. That’s way similar to the Apple products ecosystem. Exact replica of it.

If your magicJack isn’t connected, or your computer is switched off, or if there is problems with the device or connectivity, the call will go to the magicJack voicemail.

 

magicJack

magicJack vs Skype? Key differences and the edge

  • magicJack can be used without a computer
    Skype must be used on a computer and the computer must be on
  • magicJack is an easy-to-use portable device that allows you to use a traditional telephone handset to make and receive calls.
    Skype is a software program and accessories must be purchased separately
  • magicJack software runs automatically
    Skype software must be installed on your computer
  • magicJack utilizes a dedicated telephone network and provides crystal-clear call quality.
    Skype uses a peer-to-peer network.
  • magicJack provides a free telephone number.
    Skype charges up to $72.00 a year for a telephone number
  • magicJack provides free voicemail.
    Skype charges up to $24.00 a year for voicemail

magicJack

 

What are the basic requirements I need to use magicJack?

To use a magicJack, you MUST have the following:

  1. Any computer with Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1. Windows 10 or Intel-based Apple MAC operating system

  2. One of the following types of internet connection: DSL, Cable, or Broadband high speed internet connection, with at least 5 mbps download speed and 3 mbps upload speed

  3. Your present corded telephone or cordless telephone system (you can also use a headset or your computer’s microphone and speakers)

Features Included With magicJack (What’s included in the box) – 

  • A free USA-based phone number

    • Canadian numbers are available for $10 more per year

  • Unlimited local and long distance calling

  • Voicemail

    • An email with a voice file is sent to you if you don’t pick up the call

    • Voice mail will still pick up even if your magicJack isn’t running

    • You can use a standard answering machine with magicJack as well

  • Caller ID

    • Only the number will be displayed, not the name

  • Call waiting

    • Works by pressing the flash button as with a regular phone

  • Call forwarding

    • This can be set up by logging into your account

  • Conference calling

    • You can set up a conference call 

    • 3 way calling on incoming calls used to be included but it was buggy and they replaced it with this conferencing solution.

  • Use with any computer anywhere

    • You can bring your magicJack with you and use it anywhere around the world to make calls back home or to anywhere in Canada and the USA for free.

  • 911 service

    • 911 service is available if you register and keep your location updated with magicJack.

    • Using magicJack as your only means of dialling 911 is definitely not recommended.

    • You should at least have a cell phone for backup.

What magicJack Costs

The initial cost for the magicJack device is is about $50 Canadian, which includes 1 year of service!

For every additional year of service after the first included year, it costs only $20. If you are willing to prepay for several years of service in advance, then it will cost even less per year. The current 5 year package is priced at $69.95, which works out to $13.99/year.

Canadians will most likely want to have a Canadian number associated with their magicJack. You can get a free USA number in Beverly Hills, New York City, or anywhere else in the USA, but unfortunately Canadian numbers cost an additional $10/year.

magicJack numbers are available for almost all major cities throughout Canada, with the exception of the 506 area code which typically isn’t available with VoIP services at all.

  •  

You will have the option to choose a Canadian number when setting up your magicJack for the first time.

Is magicJack really good? Should I give it a try ? 

In my opinion, it’s a fantastic product that works really well relative to how much it costs! Most likely you will have a few problems you need to face with, but as long as you don’t expect perfection then you should be really pleased with it as well.

Usability

Using magicJack couldn’t get much easier! I use magicJack as a home phone replacement with prepaid cell phones as our backup for important and emergency calls and so far it has worked out just fine. It works just like a regular landline for a fraction of the cost.

Prior to magicJack we were using Skype hooked up to a Skype adapter as our home phone. It only worked for making outgoing calls, didn’t come with an incoming number at all, had fewer included features, and cost more per year to use.

Not only that, but it was much more complicated to make calls and harder to setup, install, and maintain. When not using Skype, I was either using calling cards or Google Voice to make long distance calls which were equally as cumbersome.

Compared to those other solutions, magicJack is like a breath of fresh air!

 

Call Quality

The call quality is generally excellent and crystal clear. There is the odd time where there will be some garbled speech or an unusually long delay, but that can usually be fixed by hanging up and dialling the same person again. I almost never have someone complain about call quality when using magicJack as the quality is probably superior to that of a typical cell phone conversation. I’ve had many more people complain about call quality using my high end Bluetooth headset with my cellular than I’ve had with magicJack. The only noticeable difference between magicJack and a regular phone is that there might be a small half second delay between when you speak and the other person hears you. I don’t find this to be a big deal and rarely find myself talking over the person on the other end.

You do have to be aware that the call quality is linked to the quality of your internet connection. As long as you have a decent high speed internet connection that is 2 mbps or faster with good latency, then your calls should almost always be great. If you are using a wireless connection, there is a lot of computers active on your network, or there is a big download in progress in the background then your call quality may suffer. Most routers have ways to prioritize VoIP internet traffic so you may want to look into that if you have quality issues.

I personally have magicJack plugged into a wirelessly connected home theatre PC on a 50 mbps internet connection and it works fine.

Reliability

Using an internet software based telephone is definitely not as reliable as a traditional landline telephone. The main reason for this is that there are more points of failure including:

  • Computer

  • Internet connection

  • magicJack Software

  • magicJack device itself

  • Telephone hardware

  • Electricity

A normal telephone is only dependant on two things for it to work: the telephone and the telephone line, which has its own power supply. If any of the above six things were to malfunction, then chances are that your magicJack is going to stop working along with it.

That said, I haven’t found this to be much of an issue as the majority of the time I pick up the phone there is a dial tone and everything works as it should.

Technical Support

While doing my own research on magicJack I did encounter several remarks about their customer support being terrible. However, in my own experience I have found it to be just the opposite. I have contacted them probably 4 times now and each time the representative was knowledgeable and very helpful.

In fact, I found their level of knowledge and professionalism to be much better than I am used to from big telephone companies like Bell and Rogers.

Of course, with a service this cheap there does need to be some sacrifices. You will find there is only one means of contacting support and that is through a live chat application.

Having a second computer on hand when contacting support is definitely handy so you don’t have to interrupt and restart your chat with a new representative for system reboots or other reasons.

The other thing you will notice is that there is a bit of a delay from when you send your last message and their response back to you because they are obviously engaging in multiple chats at once.

I didn’t find it to unbearably slow though because their responses were clear and to the point making for efficient communication and troubleshooting.

To get through to technical support follow these steps:

  • Go to their tech chat support page.

  • Type in anything at all into the search box and click search.

  • On the search results page a banner labeled I’m Online Start Chat will appear.

  • Click the banner to start your live chat!

What is magicConcierge ? Costs associated and feature review 

magicConcierge is a premium support service offered for magicJack customers. It costs $14.99 for an entire year of service. 

Here’s a couple of important yet useful features of magicConcierge – 

  • You the convenience of premium, hassle-free support PLUS discount on a replacement

  • Phone-based Support – Now you can talk through your questions or concerns on the phone.

  • Premium Support – Expert service to help you with anything you may need to get the most out of your magicJack.

  • Discounted Device Replacement – Get a new device at a discount, only available with Concierge.

magicConcierge

Problems I’ve Experienced With magicJack

There are some common problems with magicJack and I think I’ve experienced most of them, which is good so you will know what to expect and how to deal with these problems should they arise.

Low Call Volume

Resolved – When I first started using magicJack I had to turn the volume up to full on my cordless handset and I still could barely hear the person on the other end. After some Googling I found out there are two places you can adjust both speaker and microphone call volume. The first is in the magicJack settings; I cranked that up to full and it wasn’t much better. The second is the usual place in Windows where you adjust speaker volume. A new device gets added into the mixer there and cranking those up made the sound come through loud and clear.

Incoming Audio Dropping After 5 Minutes

Resolved – Ever since I first got magicJack I noticed a very strange phenomenon of the call seemingly going dead. I later discovered that it was always happening exactly 5 minutes into the conversation, only the incoming audio was going dead (the other person could still hear me talking), and the problem only happened when I was making outgoing calls (it didn’t happen when people called me).

I contacted support and they had me do all sorts of things including opening ports on my router, adding firewall exceptions, changing DNS servers, and a few other things. None of those things helped. Eventually they transferred me to advanced support where we tried more troubleshooting steps that didn’t work and he finally came to the conclusion that my account needed a “refresh”. I think what this means is that your account gets transferred to a different server in their server farm. I was told that they would have to send in a request to do this and it could be a few days before the problem was fixed. Being skeptical, I figured this wouldn’t work and I would have to contact them again shortly but to my surprise the problem did go away after a few days as promised.

If you are experiencing this problem, it may speed things up to ask support for a refresh of your account immediately without going through all the other steps. Based on forum reading, this problem is particularly prevalent amongst Canadians.

Audio Dropping Entirely

Resolved – Over the Christmas holidays I noticed that when making a call I got absolutely no audio at all right from the start. I couldn’t even hear the sound of the phone ringing. However, the call was being completed and the phone of the person I was calling would ring. I didn’t bother contacting support about this problem because I assumed it was due to high call traffic from the holiday season or that my computer was having an issue. The problem resolved itself after a few days.

If you have this problem you might try rebooting your system and restarting your magicJack to see if that fixes it. Also make sure to check your volume settings to ensure that nothing is muted.

Caller ID Not Showing Up On Handset

Known Solution – This is a problem that I have still not resolved. The caller ID works fine on the soft phone as the number of the person calling me always displays there. However, 9 times out of 10 the number of the person calling me won’t display on my cordless phone. Based on my internet searches, apparently there isn’t enough power supplied by most USB ports for magicJack to power the caller ID properly. There are a few things you can try to fix this:

  • Try another phone. Some phones are more prone to this problem than others.

  • Use a USB hub with a dedicated power supply to make sure magicJack is getting enough juice.

  • Install a resistor on the phone cable between the magicJack and your phone. Apparently this works most of the time.

    • Someone developed a $10 product called magicMojita that fixes this problem without any rewiring or technical knowledge required.

Canadian 1-800 Numbers Not Working

Resolved – It is a known problem that most Canadian toll free numbers will not work with magicJack. I believe that they are working on a solution to this problem, but there is no guarantee that it will ever be fixed. To get around this, you can usually find a direct dial local number for the company you are calling and use that since long distance is free with the magicJack! 

Update: I have been making a lot of calls to toll free numbers lately that are supposedly for Canadian companies like Dell Canada, Toys “R” Us, Evenflo, Bell, and they all have worked just fine so my thinking is that this problem is no longer an issue.

magicJack

Tips For Making Your magicJack Experience Much Better

  • Use an always on home theatre PC to host your magicJack so your phone is online 24/7.

  • Use the free magicBlock software to stop magicJack from annoyingly popping up whenever somebody makes a phone call.

  • Consider buying the Magic features software to add many powerful features to your magicJack and generally make it work better.

  • Check the unofficial magicJack support forums whenever you encounter a problem with magicJack that you can’t solve.

Refund and return policy of magicJack?

The magicJack Money Back Guarantee policy ensures your complete satisfaction. If for any reason you wish to cancel service within 30 days of your purchase from magicjack.com (which is the date you order the magicJack), we will refund your money when the terms of our Money Back Guarantee are satisfied.

If you purchased your magicJack at a retailer, the retailer’s return policy applies. Please return the device to the retail location where you purchased it with your original packaging and receipt.

Making Calls to Countries Outside the US and Canada With magicJack?

Yes, magicJack allows you to call almost anywhere in the world:

  • If you are visiting another country, calls made from your magicJack to the US or Canada are free.

  • Calls made from a magicJack to another magicJack in any country are free.

  • Calls made from the US or Canada to the US or Canada are free.

  • Calls made from your magicJack to another country (other than the US or Canada) require the purchase of prepaid international minutes.

 

magicJack

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Conclusion

I really believe and firmly say that magicJack is a worthwhile investment and an easy cost-efficient way for most people to save money on their monthly communication costs and budget spendings.

A good place for Canadians to buy magicJack and read reviews is at thesource.ca website. magicJack comes with 30 days return policy so you are all good there just incase you don’t like the product or for whatever the reason be. 

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