Ooma and MagicJack are two popular VoIP service providers catering to residential users.
Unlike most VoIP services, Ooma and MagicJack don’t charge a monthly fee. Instead, you pay a flat-rate upfront and receive the VoIP service as an adapter.
However, if you dig a little deeper, then you’ll find that you do pay a small fee per month for both Ooma and MagicJack, although it’s still considerably less than what you pay for a month by month VoIP service provider.
With that in mind, let’s compare these two popular VoIP services today and decide which one is best for you.
Both Ooma Premier and MagicJack Plus come with free trials.
Ooma does not have a direct monthly fee. However, it does have taxes that are due every month, amounting to about $3.50 in additional charges.
MagicJack, on the other hand, has an annual fee of $29.99 (breaks down to about $2.49 per month).
In addition to these small monthly fees, both devices come with an upfront cost:
- Ooma Telo: $119.99
- MagicJack Plus: $49.99 (includes the first six months of service for free)
There are two types of Ooma devices: the Ooma Telo and the Ooma Hub, although the Ooma Telo is the only one you can buy today (the Hub is an outdated version). MagicJack’s VoIP service is sold through the MagicJack Plus service.
You can save more money with the MagicJack Plus if you subscribe to a 5 year service plan. In that case, your monthly fee drops to $19.95 per year instead of $29.95 per year.
Ultimately, the Ooma is the more expensive device by far due to the fact that its upfront cost is over twice the price as the MagicJack. It also charges a high monthly rate, at $3.50 in “taxes” compared to about $2.50 for MagicJack ($29.95 per year).
Ooma also comes with a Premier plan with added features (like 3 way calling). The Premier plan is priced at $119.99 per year, or $10 per month.
Ooma and MagicJack are well aware that they’re each other’s biggest competitor, so the features across devices are pretty much the same.
3 way calling on Ooma, however, only comes with Premier (priced at $119.99 per year). Certain Ooma features are also restricted only to the Ooma Hub device. you can only use the online phonebook, for example, over the Ooma Hub.
Other key services offered by both providers include free in-network calling. You also get international calling at low rates that are similar to the rates offered by most other VoIP providers (about 2 cents to 25 cents per minute to most countries in the world).
MagicJack Plus Features:
- Works without a computer and uses an ATA
- Unlimited calling within the United States and Canada
- Call waiting, 3 way calling, and caller ID
- Call forwarding
- Voicemail and voicemail to email
- Call back to the United States or Canada for free when traveling abroad
- Emergency 911 service
- Number porting ($19.95 fee to keep your current number)
- iPhone app
- Unlimited calling within the United States and Canada
- Caller ID and call waiting
- Take the device anywhere
- Emergency 911 service
- Number porting ($39.99 fee to keep your current number)
- Online call history
One of the most valuable differences between Ooma and MagicJack is that the Ooma device can be taken and used anywhere in the world. If you have a high speed internet connection, then you’ll be able to use Ooma from wherever you are. Regardless of where in the world you’re using Ooma, calls to the United States will be free and calls outside of the United States will be subject to international rates.
Technology and Hardware Requirements
- Does not require a phone to function (it’s an ATA), and you can use it over a computer via a softphone, although the computer must be on in order to receive calls; can also plug it into a computer via USB or to the wall, router, and phone, or even connect it over the Wi-Fi connection
- Cannot upgrade old versions of MagicJack to the new MagicJack Plus or other newer versions; you must purchase a new Plus device
- Requires a minimum bandwidth upload speed of 128kb/s
- Can plug into a router and regular telephone
- Can upgrade to Premier from the Ooma Telo or Ooma Hub without paying for a new device; you just pay the new $119.99 annual subscription fee
- Requires cable, DSL, or fiber-optic internet connection (Ooma doesn’t specify a minimum required speed)
Other Things to Consider
You No Longer Have to Leave your Computer On All the Time with MagicJack
The original MagicJack provided the same affordable VoIP communications as today’s MagicJack, but it required your computer to stay on all the time. Many customers didn’t like this, because the electricity costs of leaving their computer constantly running wiped out some of the cost savings. That’s why in 2011, the company came out with the MagicJack Plus, allowing you to plug directly into your wired internet connection (your router), which means you can use MagicJack Plus with or without a computer.
Ooma Has Better Customer Reviews Online
Both Ooma and MagicJack have been around for years, and you can find thousands of customer reviews on the internet. After analyzing these reviews, Ooma typically comes out on top. Customers frequently mention the affordable price of MagicJack as being a huge advantage, but complain about the poor customer service and call quality issues. Ooma, on the other hand, locks you in by forcing you to pay higher upfront costs, but customers generally report good call quality and a helpful customer service department. Take a look at the reviews collected by our friends at WhichVoIP.com, for example, who concluded that Ooma has a 4 star rating out of 5 (73% recommended percentage) while MagicJack has a 3.2 star rating out of 5 (40% recommended percentage).
Downsides of MagicJack
- Customer service is often poorly reviewed and is only available over online chat; the online tutorials found on the MagicJack website are sparse and not overly helpful
- Some users report having technical problems where they have to frequently reconnect MagicJack in order for it to work
- Keeping your existing phone number doesn’t just cost a one-time $19.99 fee: it costs $19.99 for the first year and then $10 for future years
- You cannot call 900 numbers or other pay-to-call numbers (of course, some people see this as a benefit)
Downsides of Ooma
- You have to buy the Ooma Premier plan to enjoy certain extra features, like blacklisting, mobile apps, a second number, and international calling
- The device is physically larger and cannot connect to Wi-Fi networks, which can make it more difficult to travel with
- Higher initial price than MagicJack
Which One is Right for You?
Ooma is a pricier solution but offers some major advantages for certain types of people. If you travel a lot and want to bring your Ooma on the road to connect to phones, then you can do that.
On the other hand, MagicJack is significantly cheaper and also comes with a free iPhone and Android app. It works over Wi-Fi and is way smaller (it’s about the size of a USB thumb drive), making it easy to travel with. You can connect it to any computer over USB and then use a softphone on your computer to make outbound calls.
The only real downside to MagicJack is that upgrading to a more premium subscription – like MagicJack Plus – requires you to buy a separate device, while Ooma allows you to just upgrade your subscription and use the same device. However, since the MagicJack is $50 compared to the Ooma’s $200, it’s still cheaper overall.
That being said, MagicJack’s lower price comes with some significant customer service complaints about quality issues and other problems, while Ooma is generally rated as being a better provider overall.
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