NetTALK vs magicJack is a discussion that comes up frequently at WhichVoIP, as many people are trying to decide which of these residential phone service solutions is the best option for their home calling needs. Specifically, the magicJack PLUS and netTALK DUO products are the most common topics of discussion, so let's examine what each has to offer, what sets them apart, and if either of them is a good choice for you.
Before jumping into lengthy details on the pro's and con's of each service, we are first going to give you a bird's eye view of what each product offers. While this might actually provide all the information you are looking for, continue reading the remainder of this article if you are interested in the finer details.
|Product||DUO II||DUO WIFI||DUO WIFI||Plus|
|Length of Service||3 Months||1 Month||12 Months||6 Months|
|Unlimited USA/CAN Calling included with Service|
|Initial Cost (excluding taxes & fees)||$34.95||$29.95||$64.95||$39.95|
|Cost after initial service period is over||$39.95/year||$39.95/year||$39.95/year||$5/month,
|Number Porting Fee||$19.95||$19.95||$19.95||$20 port in
$30 port out
|Fee to keep phone number||No||No||No||$10/year|
|Money Back Guarantee||30 day||30 day||30 day||30 day|
|Unlimited monthly calling usage limit||1,500 minutes||1,500 minutes||1,500 minutes||Not Stated|
|No number blocking for some free conferencing services|
|No Charges for calls to conference lines|
|Free in-network worldwide calling|
|Connect via WiFi|
|Connect via Router|
|Connect via PC|
|DID (phone number) Included|
|411 Directory Assistance|
|Caller ID Number Display|
|Caller ID Name Display|
|Caller ID Blocking|
|7 Digit Dialing|
|Meet-me Conference Calling|
|Voicemail to Email|
|Works with a Fax Machine|
|SMS Text Messages|
|Online Management Portal|
|Mobile App||iPhone, iPod, iPad, Android||iPhone, iPod, iPad, Android||iPhone, iPod, iPad, Android||iPhone, iPod, iPad, Android|
|Free App to App Calls|
Essentially, the netTALK DUO device works the same way as magicJack PLUS and and can be used as a phone service (either to replace existing or as a 2nd line) that leverages the Internet to make calls, while allowing you to continue to use the same phone. You can also make calls with the netTALK mobile app from your Smartphone or other mobile device. NetTALK has the same policies as magicJack in terms of free calls between network users, free calls to the United States and Canada and free calls between Smartphones worldwide through use of the mobile app.
International calls are charged on a per minute basis with rates varying depending on the country being called. There are also add-on plans available that provide unlimited international to certain countries for an annual fee.
Both the Duo and the magicJack Plus are compatible with fax machines and both of the services allow for voicemails to be emailed to you.
There are however a few extra features that make netTALK different. Unlike magicJack, netTALK allows you to connect exclusively with a WiFi signal if you want to avoid dealing with the clutter of Ethernet cables. Another added bonus that makes netTALK better for cell phone users is their integration of free text messaging. While magicJack PLUS simply transfers your existing phone number, netTALK also offers you another free phone number in addition to your existing phone number when you sign up. Plus, you can block callers and use enhanced 911 (E911) to automatically send your location to an emergency-response team.
According to the rates listed as of February 2015, the netTALK DUO II that does not have WiFi costs $34.95 with three months of free phone service included, which is less than the included six months of phone service offered by magicJack. On the plus side, all plans come with a 30-day, money-back guarantee if you're not satisfied with the service.
There is no annual phone number fee with this service as compared to magicJack which charges $10.
The cheapest netTALK DUO that includes Wi-Fi service is just $29.95, but that only comes with one month of free phone service to start. If you decide to continue with the service you will need to purchase a basic call plan that provides service for one year at a cost of $39.95. For added value in the long run, you can opt for the DUO WiFi with one year of included phone service for $64.95. This is one of the most competitive offers available for home phone service.
MagicJack can completely replace your residential phone service by allowing you to make calls via Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology. One of magicJack's unique advantages is that it doesn't require a computer if you have a broadband Internet connection. All you need to do is attach the little, black magicJack Plus Analog Telephone Adapter (ATA) to your Ethernet cord and phone cord, while plugging it into a power outlet. If you prefer to use another Internet source from your computer, you can also make free calls from your home phone by connecting the magicJack PLUS adapter directly to your computer's USB port, and then plug your phone cord into the magicJack. You can use magicJack PLUS to make unlimited calls to anywhere in the United States or Canada from your laptop, home phone or mobile phone via the magicJack app. Both Android and Apple devices can download a free magicJack app.
An added bonus for travelers is the ability to make unlimited free calls back home from any location in the world using magicJack PLUS. Additionally, you can make unlimited, free international calls to any other magicJack devices abroad.
The potential downside of both magicJack and netTalk services is that when you're using the magicJack app to make calls from your cell phone, the calls aren't really free unless you're only making calls from free Wi-Fi hotspots. You still need to pay for a data plan on your phone in order to use the service everywhere you go. If cell phone service providers allowed for data only plans, you could technically replace your standard cell phone voice service with any VoIP app. This would likely require you to buy a larger data plan to support this service though. On the positive side, the magicJack app offers the added value of letting you make free international calls from your cell phone to anyone else who also has the magicJack app. However, you do have to buy international prepaid minutes in order to make overseas calls to regular landline phones and mobiles, which is a standard policy that's very similar to Skype and most other VoIP services. For more information on this, please read our article on low cost international calling.
The magicJack app (or magicApp as it is called) does not support any emergency 911 calls. Additionally, any 911 calls made via the device will incur additional 911 calling charges. The is absolutely no guarantee that 911 calls will work correctly and all calls are made at the caller's risk.
As of February 2015, you can get your first six months of phone service for free when you purchase a magicJack PLUS package for $39.95, and that includes free caller ID, free voicemail messaging, free call waiting, free call forwarding and 411 service. After the initial six months, you can choose from plans starting as low as $5 monthly, $35 for a year or even $99.75 for five years of extra savings. International prepaid rates vary according to the country that you're calling and average at around two cents per minute. Remember that some additional taxes will apply to these rates.
Some netTALK DUO users commented that they had issues with install, number porting, reliability, WiFi, customer support and actually getting the product to work in the first place. It's also important to note that without a high quality, high-speed Internet connection, the sound quality of your phone calls can become less than ideal. While netTALK's prices are good, netTALK's customer service ratings are generally their lowest-ranking area, and this is partially due to their live chats often directing you to fill out support tickets resulting in a delayed response.
With magicJack PLUS, customers have experienced better sound quality than earlier versions of magicJack due to the ability to connect directly to the router. Typical issues are often related to billing, subscriptions, refunds and call disconnections. Customer service from magicJack currently has live-chat support available seven days a week while netTALK only has live chat available for five days a week, making them difficult to reach outside the hours of your typical day job. Generally, magicJack customers are most happy with the amount of money that they save on their phone bills.
|Number of User Reviews||18||114|
|Ease of Ordering||(3.7)||(3.9)|
|Ease of Setup||(3.2)||(3.8)|
|Value for Money||(3.2)||(3.1)|
|OVERALL AVERAGE RATING||(3)||(3.1)|
|Link to Reviews Page||nettalk Reviews||MagicJack Reviews|
Overall, both these services are relatively cheap and offer what can be considered to be a no frills option for home phone service. The lack of responsive customer service support should be a big concern for anyone considering these products as most home networks are becoming complicated, resulting in the majority of people requiring support help to get a service like this up and running. Ask yourself if you are willing to put time and effort into getting this up and running and then figuring out how to support it in the long run.
Both products get low overall scores from WhichVoIP visitors. These services may however still be attractive to you as the cost is relatively low and there is the off chance that you will not have any issues. Whatever you decide, make sure you test the services for a while before even considering porting your home number over to them.
Remember that these are just two of many options when it comes to finding a low cost solution for your home phone service. It is highly recommended that additional residential phone services are evaluated prior to making a decision. Many of the alternative options are similarly priced while having a lot more features, a more reliable service and more accessible customer support.
Published: by WhichVoIP
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#1 : Posted by Beach Potato on April 3rd, 2015:
I switched from NetTalk to MagicJack because of dropped calls and no help from NetTalk. MagicJack is clearer and there is also an app for the smart phone to get calls to it. I also like getting an email when I get a voicemail stored. The equipment from MagicJack seems to be higher quality.