MagicTalk Free Phone Calls
I've seen something called MagicTalk that's supposed to give you free phone calls to landlines and mobile phones. Can I really make free phone calls, or is MagicTalk a scam?
Is MagicTalk a Scam?
For a limited time, you can download a "softphone" application called magicTalk and use it to call any landline or mobile phone in the US or Canada, free of charge. You can also talk to any other magicTalk user anywhere in the world for free. So what exactly is magicTalk, and is it worth trying?
MagicTalk is a new software-only delivery platform for a VoIP service provided by Vocaltec Communications, one of the oldest and well-regarded competitors of Vonage, Skype, and other alternatives to landlines and cell phones. VoIP is an acronym for "voice over IP" and for all practical purposes it means "voice calling over the Internet."
I've downloaded and tested out the MagicTalk software on my laptop, and it seems to do exactly what it promises. I made phone calls to a landline and a mobile phone, using a headset with built-in microphone. Voice quality seemed fine, even though my laptop was connected via wifi. I didn't even have to register or provide any personal info in order to try it out. The software allows you 30 minutes of talk time, or 48 hours, whichever comes first, before you are required to register.
Once you register, you'll get a phone number that can be used for incoming phone calls. When people call your MagicTalk number, your computer will make a ringing sound, and you answer the call by clicking on the screen. Registered users get call waiting, caller ID and call forwarding features.
On that basis, I'd have to say this is no scam. But I do recommend that you read the MagicTalk Terms of Service and the MagicTalk FAQ to fully inform yourself. Some users may be concerned that the TOS allows the company to provide your contact info to "affiliates and business partners".
Comparing MagicTalk and MagicJack
The company's original product, MagicJack, is a compact USB device that accepts a standard telephone handset to make VoIP calls plug-and-talk easy. But with the magicTalk softphone, you will need a headset with a microphone that plugs into mini-jacks on your computer. Dialing, accepting incoming calls, and other user interaction is done on-screen.
The magicTalk softphone and headset system is ideal for mobile users who don't have room in their notebook cases for a magicJack and a phone handset. The magicJack and phone system is good for stationary home and office users. Just plug them in once and they work like a regular desktop phone.
The MagicJack hardware costs $40 one time. The magicTalk software is free, because it eliminates the cost of manufacturing and delivering hardware for the company.
A MagicTalk Basic account is free, and allows you to receive calls from US and Canadian landlines and mobile phones. You also get free outbound calling until January 1, 2011. Users who wish to call you must call a MagicTalk access number, then enter your unique MagicTalk number. Upgrading to the Premium account ($19.95/year) gets you a US-based landline number, which can be called directly, and also includes voicemail.
MagicTalk and MagicJack are strictly voice-based services. Unlike Google Voice, you can't do text messaging or have transcripts of voicemail messages forwarded to your email inbox. But your voicemail will take messages even when your computer is offline, and call-forwarding to another number lets you receive calls when your computer is turned off.
Vocaltec maintains an extensive U. S. network of VoIP servers and dedicated connections between them, so the quality of its voice calls tends to be higher than some other carriers. However, there has been a recent wave of user complaints about not being able to get through to Vocaltec customers from other carriers such as Verizon, AT&T, etc.
The bottom line is that magicTalk is a high-quality VoIP softphone that's free of charge through January 1, 2011. After that, you can still call other MagicTalk or MagicJack users for free, or upgrade to a paid account to get unlimited calling for $19.95 a year. Is it a "Skype killer"? Perhaps not, but it's worth considering among the other VoIP options out there.
Do you have something to say about MagicTalk? Post your comment or question below...
Posted by Bob Rankin on 7 Dec 2010
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- MagicTalk Free Phone Calls (Posted: 7 Dec 2010)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved