netTALK Reviews



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netTALK Review by WhichVoIP

Headquartered in Miami, FL, the sunny south of the USA hosts the main office for the publically traded VoIP Company, netTALK (NTLK). After initially incorporating in 2006, the company began operations in 2008 with a focus on eliminating outdated technology, that is, the landline telephone.

The Good

The company netTALK provides three main VoIP service products: the DUO, DUO II and DUO WiFi. Each product is a small ATA (analog telephone adapter) that connects a regular phone to your Internet. The DUO and DUO II both require Ethernet cables to connect to a router or Internet modem while the DUO WiFi can wirelessly interface with a network.

The least expensive package can be purchased for $29.95 and one month of service is included along with DUO WiFi hardware. The DUO II (no WiFi) package currently costs $34.95, but only includes 3 months of service while the DUO WiFi tops the list at $64.95 and includes one year of service. The service included with each product is their Basic Call Plan that allows unlimited calling to other DUO users as well as calling to the USA or Canada, a unique phone number and 911 service.

Each additional year of phone service for the Basic Call Plan only costs $39.95 (plus applicable taxes and fees), making netTALK incredibly competitive with other similar providers. The basic calling plan includes free calling to USA and Canada, free calling in-network (DUO to DUO), and a handful of features such as call waiting, call forwarding, call blocking, caller ID, conferencing calling, voicemail to email, and e911 service. An online account manager allows you to manage your phone service easily and support is via live chat or customer call back.

It is possible to upgrade your Basic plan to their North America Add-On plan for $80 a year (or roughly $6.67 per month), allowing unlimited calling to any number in Puerto Rico and Mexican landlines. For $130 per year, or about $10.83 per month, the International Add-On Plan provides unlimited calling to 60 countries or international calling can be billed as it is used (pay as you go). To upgrade to these enhanced plans you need an active Basic Call Plan to start with. One neat way to get cheap international calls to a friend or family member who lives abroad is to buy two DUOs and send one to them (both activated with USA numbers). It is free to call DUO to DUO no matter where in the world they are located.

There are two mobile applications provided by netTALK - the "Free Calls+Cheap International App" and the "Text Using Your DUO App". The calling app is simply a softphone that allows you to use your smartphone instead of a phone paired with a DUO device. This App includes free App-to-App calling and you can buy "TALK credits" to call anywhere in the world at low rates. With the texting app, you can purchase a SMS text plan from netTALK for $29.95 per year and you can send and receive SMS text to and from USA or Canada using mobile data or WiFi, even when abroad. Supported devices are iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Android phones and tablets, and Kindle Fire.

The service includes a 30-day money back guarantee and is backed by live technical support (available Monday through Friday). A netTALK support application is available to download that allows support to customize your device.

The Bad

Between the DUO and DUO II, there is virtually no difference in operation. While not necessarily terrible, it is a little confusing to those who may rack their brains trying to figure out the difference between the products. The only differentiating factor is initial term of service and the lettering design on the devices. Also, none of the DUO products support batteries, much less are they equipped with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. This means connection to an AC outlet will be necessary, which is not ideal for everyone's living space, unless the DUO is connected via USB to your computer.

The DUO WiFi does have a wired connection, which is convenient for some situations and essential in others. As there is no way to remote into a management system on a DUO device, you must have access to a router to pair the device. This means using the wireless capabilities in places like a hotel not possible unless the device is connected to a computer that has Internet access. It is also worth mentioning that netTALK makes no claims of using any encryption.

There does not appear to be any extra fees hidden in fine print. However, with any service, taxes will amass every month for federal, state and emergency fees. These fees are generally small - most areas in the USA have fees below $5 a month - but this will make the yearly payment increase so worth noting here.

Compared with other service plans available from other providers the list of features is minimal and mainly focused on call management functions. This may not be a big deal for many home users and may be offset by the low cost.

The pricing structure is higher for Canadian users.

The Bottom Line

  • New Users: You need to purchase one of the DUO devices to use their service. The first version of the DUO is no longer available. The DUO II is $34.95 for USA users and $44.95 for Canadian users, and includes 3 months of phone service. The DUO WiFI device is $64.95 for USA users and $74.95 for Canadian users, and includes 1 full year of phone service. All pricing is in US dollars.
  • Basic Call Plan: For a year of unlimited calling to USA and Canada, you only pay $39.95 plus taxes in the USA and $49.95 plus taxes if you are in Canada.
  • Enhanced Plans: For an additional $80 per year you can upgrade your service to include unlimited calling to Puerto Rico (landlines and mobile) and Mexico (landlines only). For $130 per year you can upgrade to the International Plan, which includes unlimited calling to 60 countries.
  • International calling is very inexpensive or can further be "duped" by setting up local numbers with a DUO and sending a unit overseas. All DUO to DUO calls are free (or included in basic plan).
  • Additional Fees: If replacing a landline, the number porting fee is only $19.95. The mobile applications are free and allow the same terms as the contract selected. A year of unlimited SMS texting to the USA and Canada is only $29.95.

Overall Thoughts

Unfortunately, the feature set of the netTALK products is extremely limited so this is not a great solution for anyone seeking a robust VoIP solution. It is also worth noting the DUO WiFi is not as portable as most would like, though it can interface via USB with a computer connected to the internet.

With that said, as a replacement for a home landline, netTALK is one of the better deals on the market. The DUO products are great for the less talkative crowd or as a cheaper solution to call a friend or family member living overseas. The simplicity of the DUO products makes their very low price tag all the more attractive for just about anyone who just needs a simple home phone service.

Use the link below to browse the user submitted reviews for netTALK to see what others are saying about their service.

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