It’s a fast-paced world, and you need phone service that works for you. Today’s high-tech phone providers, Ooma and magicJack, are offering users better alternatives to stay connected.
By relying on VoIP technology, digital phone providers are offering some of the most popular, effective, affordable and flexible tools. Use them to cut the cord on traditional phone companies, or use them as additional ways to stay connected.
Residential VoIP customers can use the digital phone service like a landline or on their smartphone via a calling app. Today’s business VoIP phone systems are setting the standard for current remote work environments. Companies can have a central mainline that integrates different branch locations or employees working from their home office.
The basics of VoIP and how it can help you.
VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol (also referred to as Voice Over IP, IP telephony or internet telephony). But to explain it simply, VoIP is an internet-based phone service. This means that instead of having your phone calls delivered through landlines or cell towers, VoIP technology works behind the scenes to deliver phone calls via the internet.
Making calls using a VoIP line is the same calling experience as a traditional phone. VoIP plans also include the basics such as voicemail, fax, caller ID, call waiting and messaging.
However, there are key ways this flexible technology can help you stay better connected.
Some providers allow you to integrate your phone service with smart home devices like Alexa, Nest or home security systems. There’s also a 911 notifications feature that can instantly notify an emergency contact if a 911 call is placed. Some plans also offer video conferencing that streamlines your communication with a single service for voice, text and video calls.
Keep in mind that each provider offers a different set of features, and the VoIP service you choose can affect how useful it is at keeping you connected.
Ooma and magicJack services are two popular solutions for residential and business VoIP communications. While magicJack’s low costs often catch people’s attention, Ooma’s high-quality, feature-rich and affordable service makes it a top alternative among industry experts.
How Ooma compares to the competition.
To help make your decision easier, let’s compare the pricing, features, contract terms, service reliability and customer service provided by each VoIP service. To start, here’s what one of Ooma’s long-time customers had to say.
G.E. Miller of 20SomethingFinance.com, who has been using Ooma for seven years, boasts:
“I have not had to call Ooma customer service for anything. Ever. The setup is easy, the hardware has worked beautifully and the acoustics are incredibly clear. There was one time over the last year that service was down (for an hour or so), and Ooma was very respondent and transparent about what caused the problem and how they were going to fix it. I have zero complaints.”
Ooma vs. magicJack: Plans and costs
Regardless of whether you need VoIP for work, family or both, pricing likely plays a large role in your decision making. While magicJack may entice customers with cheaper plans, Ooma is an affordable solution with options for free phone calls after purchasing equipment.
With magicJack, your annual costs could be between $40 and $60. This rate includes the USB device for your home system and the phone app.
Ooma offers two tiers of phone service. With Ooma Basic, phone service is completely free. Just pay a few dollars per month in taxes and applicable fees, and you get unlimited calling within the U.S. To access all of Ooma’s advanced features, Premier costs just $9.99 per month.
All of Ooma’s high-quality phone plans start with the Ooma Telo hardware, which typically retails for about $100. This device works with your existing phones—up to four—and can also be used with the Ooma Bluetooth Adapter and the Ooma HD3 cordless handset for crystal-clear calls.
Both Ooma and magicJack have free activation and affordable international calling plans that are significantly cheaper than the rates available through traditional phone service providers.
Ooma vs. magicJack: Features
After reviewing pricing plans, you also want to go over features that each VoIP service provides.
magicJack offers several common features, like voicemail, call waiting, conference calling, and the ability to receive calls on your smartphone. But overall, magicJack is more of a bare-bones solution.
With Ooma, essentials such as voicemail, caller ID and reliable 911 services are also free. But even Ooma Basic includes high-tech features. Unlike magicJack, Ooma can connect to many smart home devices. These integrations provide customers with added security and convenience, and they make the Ooma Telo a central hub of any smart home. In fact, with Ooma you can:
- Initiate phone calls through Amazon Alexa
- Receive notifications on your mobile phone when your Ooma smoke alarm is triggered
- Dial your local 911 dispatcher, even if you’re not at home
Whereas magicJack does not recommend that you use their phone service with an alarm system, Ooma integrates with the Ooma Home Security system.
Ooma Premier offers an additional set of advanced calling features like three-way calling, voicemail forwarding, additional app access, and transferring your existing phone number. There’s also a virtual second line, allowing two people in your home or office to make calls at the same time.
Ooma Premier customers can also use customizable call-blocking tools to protect against telemarketers and robocalls. Ooma gives you the tools to block known spammers, suspected spammers, anonymous callers and custom numbers.
There are additional integrations allowing you to connect to Nest alerts, Google Voice extensions or other smart home devices. In addition, you can customize incoming calls with visual alerts, such as applying a green background for known callers and red for unknown callers, by syncing Ooma Telo with LIFX light bulbs.
Furthermore, all Ooma plans use an advanced voice compression algorithm that reduces bandwidth consumption by 60% over standard VoIP technology.
Ooma vs. magicJack: Service and quality
MagicJack’s low service and up-front costs are certainly noteworthy, but PC Magazine gave magicJack only two stars and specifically cited poor customer support, ugly application interface, and excessive up-selling. It said: “Other [VoIP] products do it much better and provide better technical support and documentation.”
Reviewers have been nothing but impressed with Ooma’s quality, cost and customer service. In fact, PC Magazine named it, along with the Ooma Telo interface, an Editors’ Choice, saying the following:
“Ooma is distinguished by super-easy setup, a spiffy tabletop adapter with a speaker, a user-friendly web interface, clear voice quality and low cost — just about everything you’d want from an internet-based landline replacement service.”
If there are any questions or concerns, Ooma offers 24/7 chat support and phone support. Additionally, reviews indicate that Ooma’s customer service is helpful and efficient at solving any issues quickly and painlessly.
Ooma vs. magicJack: Business phone service
For business owners and entrepreneurs, both Ooma and magicJack offer digital phone service with helpful features for business communications.
When comparing business VoIP services, PC Magazine named Ooma top VoIP service for small business owners for eight years in a row. magicJack wasn’t included in the 2020 ranking, and in 2019, it came in 4th place, behind Ooma, 8×8 and others. In 2018, magicJack’s tech support was the lowest-ranked among all providers.
Ooma Office provides a full suite of business tools including a virtual receptionist, extension dialing, conferencing, mobile app, SMS messaging, music on hold, ring groups, virtual fax and a free toll-free number. Ooma Office is a flat rate of $19.95 per user per month. There’s even the option to upgrade to Ooma Office Pro to get additional features such as enhanced call blocking, call recording and a desktop app.
magicJack for Business starts with a basic plan of three-way calling, caller ID, voicemail, and other features. After adding the auto attendant, virtual fax, and toll-free number that are all included with Office, the cost is $35.99 per month for one user.
By choosing magicJack rather than Ooma Office, businesses could be paying $16.04 more per month. That’s nearly $200 more per year for one user.
Ooma, on the other hand, may require you to purchase hardware up front, but Ooma provides high-quality service that is consistent, reliable and flexible. In the end, you get what you pay for, and Ooma is overall a better value for VoIP services.
Note: Prices, offers and comparisons are current as of September 2020.