magicJack Limitations

I’ve been using my magicJack for over a year and have found that, while the audio quality is usually just fine, there are some significant limitations that prevent it being “ready for prime time.”  Here are my findings.

  1. Call duration limitation.  Do you get on a conference call with co-workers and customers?  Do you stay connected for over 2 hours?  I do.  I’ve found that at the 120 minute mark, my magicJack call simply terminates.  That’s not how a production-ready voice service should operate.  UPDATE 2010-02-05 – I was on a call today with a guy from the U.K.  He was calling me on my MJ and, while the connection was very good (like he was next door), it kept dropping about every 5-10 minutes.  For our two hour call, I finally had him call my cell phone as he called me back about 5 or 6 times on the MJ.  NOT a good experience!  UPDATE 2010-05-12 – Again, on a call with a guy in the U.K. and the call dropped every 5 or 10 minutes.  Possibly due to network latency?
  2. Calls to conference call services diverted to magicJack’s free conference call service.  Has someone invited you to a conference call using one of the several free conference call services?  If so, plan on not being able to participate.  Some time in 2009, magicJack decided that the termination charges for these type of calls were more than it could afford so it unilaterally decided to intercept the calls to these numbers and redirect them to their free conference call service.  To hell with you if you were invited by someone to the conference call and have no control over what service is being used.  Can you imagine if AT&T started looking at the numbers you were calling (perhaps a store) and redirecting them to a number of their choosing (perhaps a store they own)?  Do you suppose the FCC would let them get away with that?  This prevents magicJack from being a useful business tool.
  3. Software stability.  After some software update at some point in time, my Windows XP SP3 machine and Vista machine both started freezing up after using the magicJack for 20 or 30 minutes.  There’s some magicJack process that starts hogging the processor(s) on my machines until they become unresponsive.  I noticed today that (2010-01-07) “Lucky You” was getting another upgrade.  Maybe this will be the one that makes it stable again.  With the instability in the software, this makes magicJack nothing more than an interesting toy.  This is the most serious issue (and may be resolved) preventing it being “ready for prime time.”  I’ll be providing an update here after I use it again with the new software update. UPDATE 2010-01-07:  I have been using my MJ today and haven’t experienced the software instability.

When it works, it works well.  I used it while I was in Cancun and everyone wanted to borrow it to make calls back to their friends in the U.S.  Audio quality for me has always been outstanding, until the software instability destroys it.  I’m really hoping I can get more business value out of the device in 2010.


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