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NetTALK Duo Review with NetTALK VS. MagicJack

Traditional landline service is dying out at a rapid pace, and now even popular VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) service like Vonage are losing clients to super inexpensive cheap calling services like Skype and MagicJack. The netTALK Duo gives new life to your landline phone and enables unlimited calls to the U.S. and Canada for just $29.95 a year.  No monthly bills and no long term contracts required. If that sounds familiar, in other words because the netTalk Duo is in direct competition with MagicJack, and more particularly their new upcoming MagicJack Plus, which we recently reviewed.

The netTALK Duo is simple

Setup with the netTALK Duo is simple. The box comes with a USB cable, AC adapter and ethernet cable for connecting to your router. All you have to do is connect the Duo to your router via an ethernet cable, and to a landline headset. Alternatively, you can connect the netTALK Duo to your PC using USB and bypass having it connected to your router. Once you have plugged the MagicJack device into your router and a landline headset, the Duo will auto-sync with netTALK’s servers to activate the device, and the phone will ring to indicate that the device has been activated. This happened nearly instantly for us. You’ll at that time have to log in to netTALK’s account management system online to set up a phone number. The set-up process was very quick, efficient, and painless. NetTALK did not bombard us with any additional offers the way MagicJACK does the first time you set-up your device. Alternatively, if you decide to use your netTALK DUO device by connecting it to your PC, you will have too go to www.nettalk.com/downloads to download its USB driver. This is unlike MagicJack PLUS which has its software preloaded on the MagicJack Device.

Some of the standard features that come with netTALK’s year of service include 411 directory assistance, call forwarding, call waiting and caller ID, Visual Voicemail, Voicemail to Email, an Online Customer Account Management Application, and a free U.S. phone number. netTALK as well offers a Canada Call plan which includes a free Canadian phone number. Unfortunately, at this time number porting is only available in certain areas for the netTALK DUO. To make up for it, number porting will be available for MagicJack Plus.

Bit more than MagicJack Plus

NetTALK Duo costs a bit more than MagicJack Plus. The device costs $69.95 with a year of service included upfront, versus, MagicJack Plus which will cost $59.99, when it when all is said and done goes on sale. Each additional year of service costs $29.95 for the netTALK duo, during MagicJack Plus costs $19.99 a year. Both services provide you with free calls to the U.S. and Canada. NetTALK Duo is as well fax friendly, which is something that Ooma and MagicJack don’t offer. We’ve as well found that netTALK’s international rates are significantly more competitive than MagicJack’s international calling rates.

Another area where netTALK shines, and manages to in effect one-up MagicJACK is the fact that they offer smartphone apps for iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Mobile. This helps NetTALK not only compete with MagicJack, however also Skype, since you can use the service over 3G, 4G or Wi-Fi to make unlimited calls from your smartphone – even when you’re abroad – sans the netTALK Duo device. The app even lets you record conversations. The app does have some limitations even though – for starters, it limits you to 30 minute calls at a time. Yet future versions of the app will let you link your netTALK DUO phone number to the app, it will add international calling, and the ability to receive calls on your iPhone to your netTALK number – without paying for cellular minutes. Overall, the app truly has the potential to be a Skype mobile replacement, even if it doesn’t offer all of the features that Skype mobile offers. That said, the netTALK app is totally free to use – even if you don’t have a netTALK Duo device. It’s free for everyone to download and use.

On top of that, netTALK as well offers a Videophone application for PCs that lets you make and receive video calls using your netTALK account, and it as well lets you do five-party conferencing. But, your netTALK Duo device will have to be connected to your PC in order to use the Videophone software. And unfortunately, this software is currently PC only.

On paper, netTALK pretty much one-ups MagicJack in many respects. We love that netTALK offers you smartphone apps too. That means that you don’t even have to travel with the netTALK DUO device to save money making calls, especially when you are traveling abroad. Personally, I have a Skype unlimited calling to the U.S. plan that I use when I’m overseas, however I’m going to cancel it and just use the netTALK Duo app instead. The netTALK Duo device itself is pocket friendly, if you want to use it during traveling too. netTALK Duo does cost a bit more than MagicJack, yet the price difference is negligible, especially since netTALK as well boasts Live Tech Support, which is something that MagicJack doesn’t offer. Overall, both devices offer great value, so it’s hard not to recommend either. But for the time being MagicJack PLUS seems to be delayed and it hasn’t landed on store shelves, so unless you need to have a number porting option available to you, the netTALK Duo is highly suggested for its ease of use, convenience, solid call quality, and competitive international rates. The netTalk Duo retails for $69.95, with the first year of service included and a 30 day money back guarantee.

The Good: Very easy device setup, very good call quality, free smartphone apps available, Very competitive international rates, device works independently of a computer

More information: Chipchick
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