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MagicJack Plus Vs. NetTalk Duo WiFi: Either Way, You Win

By Guest Blogger(view all posts by Rick.Broida)
at 3:09PM Thursday May 24, 2012
under Stuff We Like

There's never been a better time to ditch your landline.

If you're already paying for cable or DSL Internet service, you've got everything you need to kiss your local and long-distance telephone companies goodbye.

Well, almost everything: The missing ingredient is a voice-over-IP adapter, which sounds complicated but isn't. It's a little box that sits between your existing phone (or cordless phone system) and your router and provides full-featured home phone service. For pennies.

You've probably heard of one such product: the MagicJack, an infomercial staple. A few months back, I reviewed its successor, the MagicJack Plus.

Today let's talk about its latest competitor, the NetTalk Duo WiFi. It's quite similar to the MagicJack, but with one key advantage: Wi-Fi.

Both the MagicJack Plus and the original NetTalk Duo need to plug directly into your router, which could prove inconvenient.

For example, my router lives in my basement, while my cordless phone system's base station sits in the kitchen. There's no easy way to connect the latter to an adapter that necessarily sits beside the former.

But the Duo WiFi requires no physical connection to the router; you simply plug it into an AC outlet that's near your phone or base station and you're good to go.

I recently had the opportunity to test-drive the Duo WiFi, and it worked like a charm. The initial setup was a bit tricky, but if you follow the installation instructions to the letter, you should have no trouble. And if you do, NetTalk offers toll-free phone support on weekdays and Saturdays. MagicJack support is available only online.

On the feature front, the two products are pretty evenly matched. You get voicemail, call waiting, caller ID, three-way calling, and my favorite feature of all: voicemail via e-mail (meaning messages are delivered to your inbox as audio files).

But the Duo WiFi has, well, Wi-Fi, making it my preferred landline alternative. What's more, it costs $5 less: $64.95, versus $69.99 for MagicJack Plus. Both products include the first year of unlimited local and long-distance calling; after that, it costs just $30 per year.

Whichever gizmo you choose, you'll pay considerably less than you do for traditional landline service. Sounds like a win-win in my book.