The following is a post by Allison. Allison and her husband Kevin are missionaries in Albania. I’ve heard a lot about Magic Jack so I asked Allison if she could write a review about it since she regularly uses the product. As a missionary I’m always looking on ways to cut the cost of phone calls overseas.
I didn’t plan to post this article today, but since I was talking about Skype this morning I thought it might be a good day to just take care of all our phone call related posts in one day :).
We live in Albania and have been using our Magic Jack for over a year. We use MSN and Skype to talk with our families, but some of our family members and supporters do not have internet or have connections that are too slow to support Skype (Craig here – FYI you can use Skype to call landlines from overseas). After buying the Magic Jack, our phone bill went from $50 dollars a month to $5. The nice thing is we can talk for as long as we want and not worrying about a phone card running out. We can also use it to contact our family members when they are not in front of a computer. We can call both land lines and cell phones because all calls in the US and Canada are free of charge.
One of the best parts of the Magic Jack is that we have been able to call the States whenever we want, provided our internet is working. Also, our family and friends can call us and talk to us at the charge of a call inside the US. You decide what zip code you want associate with your number.
Magic Jack Benefits
Another benefit is travel. People can reach you at your number anywhere in the world where there is an internet connection, DSL or faster. With Wi- Fi in most airports and a lot of cafes around the world, it is far cheaper than buying a phone card.
Calling Magic Jack to Magic Jack outside US:
If I have a Magic Jack and a friend of mine in another country has one we can talk on the telephone using American phone numbers. Some of our friends in Greece have one, and we have talked a few times.
Calling other countries:
With a Magic Jack you can call foreign countries at a reduced rate. Some of our friends use it all the time to call Australia to talk with their parents who do not have an internet connection. For them it is cheaper to use the Magic Jack then to use a phone card.
One of the biggest benefits for us is talking with 1-800 numbers because they are not free when called internationally and being on hold for a long time can really add up.
Magic Jack Drawbacks
- When there is a problem with our internet connection the calls are slower and more broken up.
- If we’re on Skype or MSN we have to unplug our Magic Jack, but we set-up voice mail that goes right to our e-mail.
- If you have one computer in the house, it is tied up while someone is talking, and the computer must be turned on for the Magic Jack to work.
The start up cost for Magic Jack is around $39.95. When you guy Magic Jack you also get the first year of service free. Each additional year is $19.95 after that. There are special offers – if you pay for multiple years you can get it at a lower yearly rate. You will also need some sort of a microphone: a regular telephone works fine, a webcam with microphone or a headset with microphone all work well. The phone is great for at home, but carrying it around traveling can be cumbersome. You also need an internet connection that is DSL or faster.
To buy Magic Jack click here.
If you would benefit of calling anywhere in the US or Canada it is worth the price. We have saved a lot of money. Also, for someone living abroad with an internet connection and relatives in the US and Canada it can be a useful tool.
Anyone else have any thoughts, experiences, or feedback regarding Magic Jack? Which gets the “better product prize” – Skype or Magic Jack?
Craig here. I didn’t know our family members could call us just like we had a US number. That’s cool. However, we also don’t get online very much so when we are online we’d also be accessible via Skype. Since Skype doesn’t require any extra hardware purchases and saves me 98% On Overseas Phone Calls I think I’ll stick with them. We’ve spent between $20-$30 total on Skype over the last 18 months so I think Skype is also a cheaper option for us.