magicJack GO is the fourth generation of the original magicJack which launched in 2007. It uses VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) technology so you can make and receive phone calls via your high-speed Internet connection. The most attractive features of magicJack GO are: 1. It is one of the least expensive VoIP phone services available (free 12 months service is included in the purchase price). 2. It allows unlimited local and long distance calling in both Canada and US.
With the newest generation of magicJack, the exterior has transformed from a boring rectangular shaped soap bar into a much sleeker looking device. We like the beveled edges of the new device. The decorative blue stripes also adds a modest flare to the exterior. The magicJack logo is slightly raised so the unit has a much more elegant look as compared to the old unit which had a tacky white logo on black background. Overall, we like the new design.
We are a little disappointed that the functionality of the magicJack GO has not been improved drastically to match its new look (although the previous version has already received a major chip upgrade). However, this is not a bad thing because why tinker with something that’s already in good working order. The new magicJack GO does include a new conference calling feature aimed at contractors and home-based business owners. The new VoIP device dropped its Wi-Fi capability from the previous version. After visiting some web forums about magicJack GO’s predecessor, magicJack Plus with Wi-Fi, it appears that the promoted Wi-Fi featured never materialized due to a few technical issues.
How to set up magicJack GO
You can setup the magicJack GO in two different ways. First, you can plug it into the USB port of your PC, go to the special magicJack registration webpage and setup your account. Once the setup is complete, you can make and receive phone calls immediatly. During the registration process, one of the insllation steps will ask you if you need a Canadian phone number for a yearly fee. If you decline, you are limited to selecting a US phone number.
By the way, magicJack GO in Canada can NOT port your existing phone number. The phone number porting service is only available in the US so please make note of this important difference. One major drawback of plugging your magicJack GO directly to the PC is: the PC must be turned on at all times or else you cannot use it when the PC is turned off. Also, with this setup, you will need to get a microphone if your desktop PC doesn’t have one. Quick tip, if you plan to use your PC to make and receive calls, you might as well use a free VoIP service such as freephoneline.ca which has no upfront cost or any monthly bills.
Most of us will set up magicJack GO using the 2nd method. The magicJack GO package comes with a wall plug in adapter and a short USB cable. The USB cable connects magicJack GO and the wall plug-in adapter. This adapter is the power source for magicJack GO.
For the 2nd method to work, the magicJack GO VoIP device needs to be close to both a power outlet and your Internet router (hopefully you still have an open port on your router). Once the VoIP device is connected to power, look for two ports at the back of the device. One is for connecting to the Internet router and the other one is a phone jack. We recommend connecting a base of a multiple handset coredless phone to the phone jack. This way, you are able to have handsets in different rooms of your place. Once the physical connections are set up, you will go over the same installation steps as mentioned in the first method.
Another feature worth mentioning is the magicJack App (called magicAPP) for your mobile devices. The magicAPP allows you to make free calls to most Canadian and US cities from your mobile phone or tablet. magicAPP is great if you are travelling to another country or running a home-based business. While travelling aboard, as long as you have cellular data or a Wi-Fi connection, you can take advantage of the same unlimited free calling to Canada and US. As a business owner, magicAPP allows you to reserve this 2nd phone number for your business. This way, you can hand out your magicAPP phone number to your business contacts while still enjoying using your mobile phone for personal phone calls.
VoIP phone service limitations
Please remember VoIP phone service is dependent on your Internet or mobile data/Wi-Fi connection. You will lose your VoIP phone service if there is a network or power outage. Also, you must keep your address up-to-date in case of emergencies because unlike traditional phone line, there is no easy way to confirm your location other than your last registered address with the VoIP phone provider. Lastly, given there are many variables that may interrupt VoIP service (E.g. network/power outage or any issues with your ATA, DSL modem or even your Internet router), it is not as reliable as traditional telephone (which still works during a power outage), it is probably not a good idea to use VoIP phone as your primary phone service; especially if you do not have a cell phone as backup.
- magicJack GO VoIP Phone Device. (see price here)
- High speed Internet.
- Ethernet router/DSL or cable modem.
- PC (for softphone).
- Mobile phone (Optional).
- Bluetooth enabled cordless phone with multiple handsets (optional). (see prices here)
You will appreciate magicJack GO because:
- It is one of the least expensive VoIP phone services.
- Very good value (12 months VoIP phone service is included in the purchase price). (see price here)
- Unlimited local and long distance calling in Canada and US.
- No Contract.
- Caller ID, Voicemail, Call Waiting and Call Forwarding are included.
- Conference Calling is now included (mainly for business).
- magicAPP allows you to use your mobile device (as long as you have data plan or a Wi-Fi connection) anywhere in the world and still get unlimited local and long distance calls in Canada and US.
- Improved look.
- PC is not required if you connect it directly to your Internet router.
You might not appreciate it because:
- Annual charge for a Canadian phone number.
- Porting/Keeping your existing phone number service is not available.
- Prepaid credits are needed to make international long distance calls.
- Voice quality and reliability may vary due to factors such as Internet speed, VoIP hardware, ATA/Router, phone frequencies/location, software compression, etc.
- Usability is susceptible to power/network outage.
- E911 service is dependent on point above.
- Not as reliable as a regular landline.
- Not recommended for use with home alarm monitoring system.
- Security concerns, given the voice data travels through the Internet, the data is vulnerable to theft, viruses, spam, etc.
How to make magicJack GO VoIP experience better?
- Always use your mobile phone as a backup in case of a power/network outage.
- If you use your mobile phone with magicJack’s magicAPP installed, you can purchase a Bluetooth enabled home telephone. Once your mobile device is connected to this Bluetooth enabled phone, it will allow you to use magicJack GO’s VoIP phone service as if you are using a regular landline telephone. (see price here)
- Use a cheap Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) to power your modem and Ooma Telo in case of a power outage. (see price here)
If you already own a magicJack and it works fine, then there’s probably no incentive for you to upgrade. Unless, 1. You still own the original magicJack which must be plugged into the PC to work, but if you’ve had it for this long then it probably doesn’t matter to you anyways 2. you see some value in the the new conference calling feature. If you are new to VoIP phone service, you will be glad to hear that magicJack GO is one of the least expensive VoIP phone service to own and operate. The VoIP phone device comes with complimentary 12 month VoIP phone service and unlimited local and long distance calling in Canada and US so it offers excellent value.
For traditional landline users who want to reduce their monthly telephone bill drastically and needs unlimited calling to US and don’t care to keep their existing phone number, then magicJack GO is an excellent choice. You do have to pay a yearly fee to obtain a Canadian phone number. For less than a dollar a month, we would go for it. Their mobile device app, magicAPP, seems to receive good reviews. This app allows you to bring your mobile phone anywhere in the world and still enjoy unlimited calling in Canada and US. magicJack GO is not without flaws. A number of users from online forums reported their dealing with magicJack’s customer service has been less than satisfactory. Therefore, we suggest scanning through reviews from website like Amazon or Bestbuy before you make your final decision.
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