*Update: As of October 2015 MJ has now come out with 3 new devices and an APP. The 2014 magicJack Plus, magicJack GO and magicJack EXPRESS. The app is called magicAPP and you can see our review of it here). Each device has it’s own advantages and drawbacks relative to other device release by the company.
After its release in 2007, the magicJack device brought the technology of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone service to the mainstream. This technology allowed its users to make and receive unlimited phone calls to and from the United States and Canada for the unheard of low price of only $19.95 per year (with purchase of a 5-year plan). Millions of these devices were sold across a huge portion of North America, and with short, memorable television advertisements, their popularity continued to grow. For its cost, the magic Jack delivered exceptional phone service, and outside of a few minor call quality issues, the devices worked very well.
We all know by now from the many reviews on our site that it isn’t perfect and it clearly had some issues, and annoying ones I might add. But we also know that it costs only $35 for a year or $99.75 for a 5-year plan and that’s why millions of us have chosen to use it anyway. We have decided that its annoyances are worth dealing with if it means that we save $500 a year, especially with this down trodden economy we are in.
Okay, so what about the new Plus?
Well, if you thought the Magic Jack was cool, flaws and all, then you are really gonna love what we discovered during our review of this new VoIP device. The Plus is basically the first generation device with several improvements aimed at eliminating the problem issues that the original device came with.
When I say it’s basically the same I mean just that!! It costs nearly the same price and comes with all of the exact same features and services including unlimited local and long distance calling to both the United States and Canada with the ability to make international calls for an additional per minute cost. The only difference from the old device is the upgrades that make it work better and a slightly different, more sleek design.
The Plus also costs a bit more with the device and the first year of service costing $69.95 and renewals running run you $29.95 per year (they can be had for the old price of $19.95 if you are willing to pay for 5 years in advance when going through the installation process). The old device cost just $39.95 with renewals for $19.95 per year.
With the new device the company is now offering the ability to port a phone number that you already have for a $20 fee and they are also now offering some sort of replacement insurance on the device that costs just $10.
Included with your purchase will be the device, USB cable, AC power adapter, Ethernet cable, and the owner’s manual/instructions. Features include everything you are use to getting with a traditional landline phone company including voicemail, call waiting, call forwarding, 3-way calling, caller ID, and much more.
How Has The New Device Addressed Past Issues?
The original device has been known to be a problem because with it you are required to keep your computer on all the time in order for it to work and also because involving a computer in the calling process opens up the door for many complications since everybody has differing computers and operating systems. The new Plus addresses this concern by coming with the ability to work via direct connect to a modem/router.
This new features means that you don’t have to hook the Magic Jack up to your computer anymore (although you still can) thus totally eliminating the need to keep your computer on or deal with computer related issues that bog down and complicate the service. Instead just hook the magic Jack plus straight into your router.
A second concern with the first gen device was its call quality and this has also been addressed with the new gadget. The new Plus comes with two very important features that Dan Barislow, magic Jack’s founder, has promised will allow it to skyrocket into the upper echelon of telecommunications companies in regards to call quality. This two upgrades are being called HD voice and Echo Control and these upgrades alone will allow your device to reach a Magic level of call quality that hasn’t been seen anywhere to date with VoIP services.
A third concern with it was that installing it and getting it to work can be quite confusing. This issues has been addressed with the new device by the fact that it can be hooked directly into your telephone. The installation process is simple, all you have to do is hook it up to your computer the first time you use it so that you can register for a magicJack account and telephone number. Then simply hook the magic Jack Plus into your telephones phone jack port and you can make calls right away.
Besides these concerns the only other concern has been its customer service and that is something that isn’t likely to change, though they are trying. In order for them to offer service for only $30 per year they simply can’t provide telephone support. Perhaps they should offered tiered services where you can pay more in order to have access to telephone technical support? However if they did offer this I bet most complainers would go for the cheapest versions that only offered chat support. The good thing however is that with the improvements to the new Plus device it is a lot less likely that people will need to contact support for anything.
How Do You Setup The Device?
Our reviews showed that the new device is extremely easy to setup and you can be up and running within just a couple of minutes. When you first receive the device you will need to hook it up to your computer via its USB port. This needs to be done so that you can go through the steps to register for an account and get your phone number. Once hooked up to your computer all you have to do is follow the onscreen prompts and you’ll be ready to go in no time. Here you can either choose a vanity number for $10 or pick from available numbers that are listed for $3. Once setup you can either continue using it on your computer or you can now take the device and hook it directly into your modem or routers Ethernet port. The only step left at this point is hooking the other end of the device up to your telephone and you’ll be all all ready to go.
Take the device out of the package and hook it up to your computer. Once this is done just follow the on-screen prompts and register your device, selecting a new phone number or porting over your landline number or even the number you had with the old magicJack. After you are done with this take the device out of your USB drive. Hook the AC adapter into the MJ+ and an outlet. Then hook the ethernet cable into the device and your router/modem. Finally, hook the device up to your telephone, pick up your phone, and you will hear a dial tone. You are now ready to go and can make and receive calls immediately.
Can I Upgrade From the old device to the new one?
If you have the original you will need to purchase the Plus and during registration of the device you will need to select that you already have an account. In doing this you will have the option to transfer your old number over to your new device. This upgrade however does not include a transfer of subscription, which doesn’t seem right to us. Your new device however does come with a full year of service after which you will have to renew.
What’s the final word on this product?
The magicJack Plus provides consumers with one of the cheapest options for home phone service and does this while allowing users to enjoy all of the features and benefits that come with more expensive traditional landline service. It is super easy to setup, super easy to use, and its call quality rivals that of all other service providers all while allowing users unlimited minutes and free long distance for just $29.95 per year. Of course you can also take this “home phone” with you wherever you go since it can be used via a USB port as well. Considering it’s price, quality, and easy of use you can’t go wrong with it. The old one may have had a few minor issues and all of them have been tackled with the release of the new device.
Update – Our Review Of The MagicJack Plus After Testing The Device
Our tests of the MagicJack Plus have seen excellent call quality. When testing its call quality it has been excellent and a big improvement over the original magic Jack. This is in part due to the new echo control and HD voice features along with no need for a computer. Without involving a computer in the process their phone service has been greatly simplified and outside factors related to each persons computer performance have been totally eliminated. This alone has been the biggest factor in improving freeze ups, dropped called, and static.
We have moved on to using a cell phone exclusively so we only tested the Plus this time around and don’t use it daily but we didn’t have any problems when testing it.
Although that magicJack Plus won’t be for everybody we see little reason why anybody would go with any other home phone service considering its easy-of-use, low cost, and new level of nearly perfect call quality. As we see it you get everything that other companies offer but at a significantly reduced price!
Wondering minds can only imagine what’s next for magicJack. Perhaps a totally wireless device that works via Wi-Fi? Or maybe a 4G/LTE capable device that can also bring cheap Internet service to its users?
Reasons Why You Should Get The magicJack Plus
No Computer Required – The elimination of needing a computer means that it will work almost flawlessly just as your regular home phone does. Now you won’t have to keep your computer on at all times or move your telephone so that it sits near your computer.
Super Low Price – It comes at an insanely low price! For just $69.96 you get the device and one year of service with future years of service costing just $29.95. The initial cost for one year of service is equal to or less than your are probably paying through a traditional home phone company each month. Nobody in the telephone industry can rival this price.
Some Of The Best Call Quality – The old device has call quality issues but the new one was given specific updates to combat this. These updates have allowed it to reach new heights in regards to call quality. Get the best all quality out there while also paying almost nothing for it!
Ability To Take Your Home Phone Anywhere With You – With it you have the ability to take your home phone with you no matter where you travel. All you need is the device, a regular telephone, and an Ethernet port. Or when traveling you can connect it via your computers USB port and use the PC softphone.
Free International Calling To The U.S. – Take it with you when you travel outside of the country and you will have free calls back to the U.S. and Canada. No matter where you are in the world all calls to the U.S. and Canada are free. You can also considering buying it for someone you know that lives overseas and give the gift of free calls to you along with all of their other friends and family back in the U.S.
Update – A Real User magicJack Plus Review From Dan
I’ve been using magicjack for 2 years now, no complaints, it works, I can call out, can call in. It can’t be beat for the price. It won’t work for everybody and if you’re one of them, just find another solution, but for those of us that it works for it’s great. Sound quality is good, can’t remember it ever dropping a call. Last year I would hear a beep on the phone every now and then, but not lately. Occasionally when I would call home on my AT&T cell phone I would have to dial an extra number to connect, but that was a minor annoyance. My wife uses it to call her kids in other states and has no complaints. In a service vs price ratio it’s one of the best deals around. I’ve spent less than $100.00 total for local and long distance phone service for 2 years.
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Real User Reviews
We are on year four with magicjack. We upgraded to plus a couple years ago. You do pay an extra $5 per year to keep your same number, but since my elderly parents are calling, I don't want them to have to change every year. The call quality is no different than cable or local phone company. This is just as good for $35 a year (keeping your same number) vs. about $360. It's a no brainer.
DO NOT BUY, IT'S JUNK!!!!! I have had nothing but problems with it hanging up while speaking to whoever. Also there is still that irritating dial tone or beep that pops up throughout your phone call. "Magic Jack" has no live person by phone. They call you only when they try to get more money from you to buy another version. Which is what I did. Bought the Magic Jack Go. The live chat tech always tells you to do the same damn thing and nothing gets resolved. They don't care!!! They already got your money!!!!! DO NOT BUY!!!!!!!!
I used mj for 6 years everything was fine, just re-upped a years worth of service. Then my magicjack stopped working, no new device unless I paid for it. THE CUSTOMER SERVICE WAS HORRIBLE ,I WILL NEVER USE THEM AGAIN. I gave them a 1 because I couldn't give them nothing.
We are sorry to hear about your dissatisfaction with magicJack, Terry. The device apparently did work great for 6 years for you, did you expect it to work forever considering it was so cheap? All tech gadgets wear out eventually, especially cheap ones!
Customer service has always been just 30 seconds away on the contact page of the official magicJack website for computer chat. They have quickly fixed any issues I have had configuring the service. You do however have to have some basic knowledge of how to use a computer in order to get it up and running. Don't expect the chat customer service to be able to hand feed you everything in order to get issues resolved. The directions they provide can be complicated for some, and for those it may be better to stick to something different.After 2 years I have no problems at all with the magicJack original and PLUS. The PLUS version works exactly like a phone line as long as you have it connected to the broadband router which everybody already has for high speed internet. I look forward to their new version that is rumored to come with wifi capabilities.magicJack may not be the easiest company in the world to deal with but can you really blame them when they offer the service for $20 per year. I can't, you get what you pay for in most cases and this certainly isn't one of them. You pay very little and you get a lot more. However, don't expect to get the same that you get from a full fledged landline company that charges 20 times more per year for their services.
I live in Canada, so I had the magicjack when it could only be used for long distance calling. As soon as started offering Canadian phone numbers I added it. Because I pay for a cell phone every month (3 of them) I didn't want to have to pay for a landline also. I just upgraded to the magicjack plus a couple of weeks ago, and its awesome, because it doesn't have to be plugged into your computer anymore.I am a gamer, so when someone would call me it would pop up in the middle of my screen. I would end up turning it off, but with the plus I keep it on all the time now. I don't have anything popping up on my screen anymore while I'm gaming or doing anything else. I only pay $19.95 plus $10.00 dollars for a Canadian number. I'm paying a total of $29.95 a year, rather then the $30 plus dollars it would cost me to have a landline. It is my landline. It has all the same features as any other phone company offers, just at a much better price, so for anyone that thinks it is a scam. If it is, they can keep scamming me for $29.95 a year. If you don't think your phone company isn't scamming you and overcharging, think again!!!
I am from Canada, all I have to say is that the magic jack and plus are both amazing devices, and would recommend them to anyone. I have used the old one for 3 years, and its fantastic. Now I have the new one (the plus). The call quality is very good, easy to register, easy to use, surprised at reading all the complaints regarding customer service, I found customer service great and 100% helpful. I am very happy with their service, and the savings on my long distance calls.
I HAVE BEEN A CUSTOMER FOR 3 YEARS. TODAY I BOUGHT THE MAGICJACK PLUS. THIS THING IS INCREDIBLE. I INSTANTANEOUSLY TRANSFERRED MY OLD PHONE #. EVEN THOUGH I HAD 3 YEARS OF SERVICE LEFT ON THE OLD ONE,(WHICH YOU LOSE WENT GETTING THE NEW ONE) IT WAS WELL WORTH THE COST!!!! MY CALLS HAVE ALWAYS HAD GOOD QUALITY SOUND...... BUT THIS NEW UNIT IS OFF THE CHARTS AS CONFIRMED BY THOSE THAT I CALL.I HOWEVER ONLY GIVE IT 3 STARS SINCE THEY STEAL AWAY YOUR PREPAID SERVICE TIME. FOR NEW CUSTOMERS ITS A 5 STAR PRODUCT. YOU WOULD THINK THEY WOULD TAKE CARE OF THEIR LONG TIME CUSTOMERS, GUESS NOT!