1-2-3 Magic

Magic Jack, specifically.  

I often get irritated when commercials keep hollering how something is "easy as 1, 2, 3!"  That pitch is usually laid on thick by the least trustworthy person you could imagine.  Seems like we've heard that line for so many years it gets tougher to believe.  Well finally, here's one product that delivers on its promise.

As you know, commercials for the Magic Jack (www.magicjack.com) are spread across the networks.  But for months, I resisted the siren call of "phone service for $19.95 a year."  Many internet-type phone companies have launched a thousand tales of lousy customer service and terrible tech failures - including my own experience.  However, the Magic Jack message finally touched a nerve, especially when I realized I was rarely using my landline, and how much I was over-paying for that privilege.

So, I spent a few minutes on their website and found no "gotchas" in their free trial offer, which includes making all the calls you want.  I compared Magic Jack's free features to what I was paying my phone company extra for: voice mail, call forwarding, caller id, call waiting - even directory assistance.  Tough to resist.  Three days later, my unit arrived.  Wow, smaller than I imagined!  What's more, three minutes after opening the envelope - I was making calls.

Does it work with both Mac and PC systems?  Check.  Can I purchase credits to make overseas calls for low rates?  Check.  Can I pick the area code for my phone number?  In most cases, check.  And a huge benefit for me: it's just as easy to use when traveling overseas.  Yes, easy as 1-2-3.  

Simply plug one end of the Magic Jack into your computer and plug a regular phone into the other end.  When you pick up the phone, in the US or anywhere in the world, first thing you hear is our familiar US dial tone.  And, you can immediately dial anywhere with no codes or extensions to add.  It gives me a thrill to unplug the phone in a hotel room and plug in my Magic Jack to make calls - without going through the hotel switchboard.

In my testing, calls were just as clear as landlines - both here and overseas.  Often, people commented how our connections were more clear than those on cell phones.  Even when calling back to the US, there are no extras or hidden charges.  The only time you would pay more than $19.95 per year is if you dial a non-US phone.  If you do, you can check the rates in advance for any country right on the website: www.magicjack.com

This is a fun gadget that's practical, offering a new way to take your personal phone number with you anywhere you go - without worrying about cell minutes.  But, can this really replace your landline?  It sure replaced mine, with no difficulty.  Plus, I had no problem waving goodbye to my over-priced land line.  Magic Jack's flat rate and ease of use combine in a product that satisfies all the claims made on its commercials.  Take advantage of the free trial offer and save yourself a chunk of change.  Check the five-year, flat-rate plan for an even deeper discount.

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