Who, do you ask, is Magic Jack? Some kind of prestidigitator named Jack? A lot of people have heard of the Magic Jack of course, and I’ve read about it myself in the last couple of years since it first came out, but I found no reason to obtain one since I have been using my cellphone and Skype for telephone calls ever since I stopped using a landline. I’ve managed with those so far even though I couldn’t receive incoming calls in Skype, though you can subscribe to that service if you wanted to for additional bucks. Since I’m not a big phone user, my prepaid cellphone service and outgoing Skype calls have sufficed. But my Skype credit is down to 93 cents and it was either put in more money, or try something else. Hence, I bought the Magic Jack yesterday. All that was required for it to work is a computer and high speed internet connection. You can use a corded or cordless phone, but it’s not necessary.
I remember last year when my brother and his wife called me from the Philippines using Magic Jack with an Arizona phone number. I answered my cellphone out of curiosity to find out who would call me from Arizona and was surprised to hear my brother. It turns out, someone from the U.S. had given it to them as a present.
Now it is my turn to try this device. I plugged it in a USB port on my computer, the built-in program tried to install itself, then nothing else happened. So I read the instructions more closely and it said, plug in the phone to the device before plugging the device to a USB port. When I did that, the software installed and asked me to register so I can obtain a new phone number. So far so good. I have an old cordless phone at home which is what I plugged into the Magic Jack, but I didn’t get the expected dial tone. However, if I used my computer’s speakers and microphone, I was able to make and receive phone calls. I concluded that my old cordless phone’s battery was dead and was no longer charging. The next day, I went to Walmart and bought the cheapest corded phone I could find (six bucks), even though it was tempting to get one of those DECT cordless phones. When I got home, I disconnected the non-functioning cordless phone and plugged in the cheap corded one. I got my dial tone at last!
The Magic Jack has worked pretty well so far when I made a couple of calls from it yesterday. There was some occasional choppiness as can be expected from internet telephony but not any different quality that I get when using Skype. My internet connection isn’t that fast anyway, only 1 Mbps, so I can live with the choppiness, I’m sure. I don’t know what the quality will be like yet if I’m uploading or downloading something, but I hope it would not be too degraded. Even though the instructions said that I should plug the device into a main USB port and not in a hub, I have mine in a hub and it has worked just as well. You can dial from your telephone keypad or on the pop-up keypad on your computer screen. So there it is. This is not a review, of course, but just my experience with the device so far.
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