Content Nav Menu 

netTALK DUO Review

on September 30, 2010 9:30 am

It’s my belief that if you have a broadband Internet connection, you should dump your legacy phone service and join the growing number of people who embrace VOIP.  There are many products and providers to choose from and now netTALK has come out with a convertible product which can be used with or without a computer.I switched to VOIP about 5 years ago having become frustrated with the ever increasing fees and nickel and dime charges from THE PHONE COMPANY.   I finally threw off the yoke of Ma Bell when they wanted to charge me $3 a month for caller id and my monthly charges were almost $30/ month for a toll-free calling radius of 10 miles!  Today I pay my VOIP provider $20 month for unlimited (actually 5,000) outgoing minutes to the USA and I have all the features offered by the phone company, included!  Today I’m considering the netTALK product in an effort to reduce my costs further.      

Features:      

  • Free U.S. Phone Number
  • Call Waiting, 3 Way Calling and Caller ID
  • Voicemail to Email
  • 411 Directory Assistance
  • Enhanced 911 Service
  • Priority Call Forwarding
  • Customer Portal
  • Technical Support
  • Fax Friendly/Compatible
  • Free nationwide calling throughout the U.S. and Canada
  • Free calling to any other netTALK device worldwide

      

In the box you’ll find:      

  • One netTALK DUO (CE and FCC approved)
  • Power adapter with regionally appropriate connector
  • 3-foot USB to Mini A connector used to connect to power adapter or to computer USB port
  • 3-foot Ethernet cable to connect to modem or router
  • Quickstart Guide

      

The DUO device has 3 connectors; a mini usb on one end and an ethernet port and RJ45 socket for the telephone on the other.  There are several LEDs that indicate the status of the DUO.      

Before making your first call, you have to register and activate the DUO.  I logged on to the netTALK web site and accessed the customer portal using a temporary username and password that came in the box with the hardware.  The process of activation entails choosing a telephone number and setting up e911 service for your physical location.  There were phone numbers available in the area code I wanted, but I couldn’t get a number in my local exchange.  I didn’t consider this much of an issue, so I picked a number from an adjoining town.  Also, at this time you select your permanent username and password to allow access to the portal.      

Router Setup

The next step is to connect the hardware.  There are two options; connecting to a router or via a computer.  The router setup is recommended so I took that path.  Using the router was simply a matter of connecting the phone, ethernet and power cables in a certain order and waiting until the phone rings once, which indicates success and you should now have dial tone.  When connected to the router, the usb cable is plugged into a supplied wall wart and powers the device.  When plugged into a computer the usb cable connects the device and is powered by the usb port of the PC.      

I was ready for my first call and dialled my home number.  Oops, I received a number not available message.  I called another number without problem and was also able to ring my home phone by calling my google voice number which is forwarded to my home phone.  I was also able to call other numbers in the same local exchange so I guess it has something to do with the fact that both the DUO and my home VOIP telephone adapter are on the same LAN.  That issue aside I was able to call friends around the US without any problem.      

Laptop Setup

I then removed the DUO device from the router and installed it on my Windows 7 laptop.  This was more involved and it first required that I download a USB driver from netTALK.  Unfortunately, the 64 bit driver I needed was a beta release and could only be run in Windows 7 “testing mode”.  The accompanying release notes warned that there could be unresolved problems.  I gave it a shot and after starting the driver I plugged in the DUO and made a couple of calls.  I had the same problem calling my home number, but other than some transient error messages and warnings popping up on the screen, it seemed to work.  However, I decided that the 64 bit driver isn’t ready for prime time and didn’t want to chance corrupting my laptop, so I installed a full release 32 bit driver on a Windows XP laptop and all was well.      

The ability to use the device via the router and also with a computer is very useful.  While at home, I keep it plugged into the router and I don’t need the computer on to make phone calls.  When I leave the house, I can take the device and my laptop with me and if there’s broadband access I have my home phone.  For example, when watching the grandkids at my daughter’s house, I can bring the DUO and the laptop and connect via their WiFi.      

The feature set of the netTALK DUO is not as extensive as my VOIP service provided.  Actually I consider it a rough draft.  The voice mail function is rather rudimentary.  You cannot select the number of rings before it goes to voicemail and when a message is left you get an email with a .wav file attached.  You can also listen via the portal, but again it just downloads a .wav file.  There is no access to your vopicemail by dialling in.  Call forwarding is all or nothing.  There is no conditional forwarding.  There are really no instructions easily found for any of the features.  I had to dig through the FAQs and even then the speed dial instructions don’t work.  I would have called customer service, but they are a 9-5 operation and I was outside their window.     

 Sound quality was good, but then again I am used to VOIP phone calls.  Sometimes the quality can get as bad as a poor cell connection, but that’s very rare.  I’ve decided that the netTALK DUO won’t replace my current VOIP provider,  but will complement it.  My current provider has more features that I use and provides 24/7 customer support.  Sometimes though support can’t resolve the issue and then it would be good to have a backup.  Just last week I couldn’t call any numbers in the 518 area code for several days and just as mysteriously as it appeared it disappeared.  The support people had no idea what the problem was.  The DUO is cheap enough to justify and worth it for the insurance.  I also use google voice,  Gmail phone, Skype and other call applications, but they’re very geeky and require a computer to work.  I like the DUO because it gives me flexibility and at less than$3/ month it’s affordable and given time I hope netTALK will spruce up the portal,  and come out with more features.  When that happens, I may switch providers.  Right now it’s more of a work in progress.

 

Product Information

Price:$69.99 includes 1 year of service then $29.95 a year thereafter
Manufacturer:netTALK
Requirements:
  • Broadband, telephone and if using computer PC only.
Pros:
  • Works with and without a PC, inexpensive, simple to set up
Cons:
  • 11 digit dialing, short usb cord when used for power, limited feature set with confusing instructions

Comments

  1. 101
    Bill Kuch says:

    TLF,

    Yes and no. If the ethernet port requires authentication (asks for a login) it probably won’t. If it doesn’t it should work. I haven’t used the Duo at a hotel yet, but I’ve used other voip T/As and they work within the preceding restrictions. If it doesn’t work directly, he can plug it into his computer and use that way.

  2. 102
    carlos dudas says:

    Here’s the list of Canadian area codes for nettalk duo as of March 2011 (found on a amazon comment thread for the DUO)
    ———————————————————————
    BC : 778 (Vancouver)
    AB : 587 – 403
    ON : 647 – 289 – 613 – 705 ( Toronto,Mississauga,Ottawa,Sault Ste. Marie )
    QC : 438 ( Montreal)
    ———————————————————————-
    not sure on how accurate this information is but here is the source: http://is.gd/nettalk

  3. 103
    Theodore Zipes says:

    Have had a duo for about 2 months now. Local call to 505 area get cut off frequently. Reported problem and so far they have done nothing to alleviate the issue. Did not have this problem with Majic Jack, but got tired of having to leave the PC on all the time. Finally gave up and went back to telco service. It is not worth the hassle.

  4. 104
    Robert Park says:

    I’ve had Net Talk for over six months now. NO problems at all.

  5. 105
    Richard says:

    …have both Vonage and MagiJack…

    Vonage’s World Plan provides unlimited (3000min) land line larga distancia to Mexico, along with 60 other countries, and a direct connection to the router …albeit for $30/month….more or less Telco prices for a basic no frills local phone service. Vonage gives you the full meal deal, caller ID, long distance to 60 countries, and voicemail with comparable Telco voice quality.

    The Vonage works in Mexico (or any other country) and because in country Mexican long distance rates, even to other land lines, are quite high; taking a Vonage modem with you to Mexico and using it IN Mexico, even though it’s a Canadian phone number calling, saves us one heck of a LOT of money.

    If I didn’t require the included free long distance in Mexico, to Mexican numbers, I would seriously consider the netTALK service, giving me a Canadian phone number and local calling home. If you lived in Mexico and needed a local portal for calls back home…without needing the computer always turned on then this would be the service for you.

    MagicJack has greatly improved their service over the past few years…for some reason calls to Alberta were dodgy at best with limited bandwidth while the rest of the country was OK. Things are better now..for random calls on the road while traveling.. MagicJack works pretty good.

  6. 106
    Pierre MERCIER says:

    Why I regret buying netTALK.
    While netTALK provides a Blackberry app for some models. None is available for OS 6.0
    See https://shop.fgmicrotec.com/
    One can get third party generic software from fgmicrotec
    https://shop.fgmicrotec.com/blackberry-voip-torch-9800-p-72.html
    to link virtually any VoIP provider to a BB OS 6.0 user
    User manuel states that one must provide the SIP address and password to setup the link between the VoIP provider the BB phone. See:
    http://appworld.blackberry.com/webstore/content/16942?lang=en
    Don’t try your luck with netTALK, they will not reveal your unique SIP adrress and password
    See also:

  7. 107
    Jim says:

    In the past I championed NetTalk (NetDuo device), however, after about two weeks in use the device no longer worked. I contacted NetTalk support but everything they had me do did not work to fix the problem(s). I sent it back and they gave me a full refund which included the S&H charges and since they already enclosed a prepaid shipping label in the package I wasn’t charged to send it back to them either. Nettalk’s device just didn’t work for me (not really sure why).

    Now that MJ has officially released the MagicJack Plus I will try that and see how it goes. Looks like they also support # porting which NetTalk currently does not do. Its kind of hard to give up a phone # you’ve had for over 20 years which is a major drawback for me. and MJ’s device and service appear to be the same price as NetTalk.

  8. 108
    don schie says:

    Magic Jack ,worked fine for a long time but it would cut off quite often . teck support is a real bear .no person to talk to. they asked me to call someone to see if it worked. I said how about you call me . but they refused. anyway I could repair my mj by switching my usb port and the right no# would come up . The mj still will not ring and it cuts off a lot.

  9. 109
    phillip says:

    I buying netTALK DUO. IF any usage in excess of 5,000 aggregate minutes per month Your phone service will change by nettalk to a sip services you have add money to your account to make a call, To get back your original plan you have to spend $69.95 but a new nettalkDuo Don’t Activate it call nettalk to transfer your Phone number to the new one. NETTALK Terms of Servce

  10. 110
    phillip says:

    Buy A magicjack Plus the phone line Loop current is better than NettalkDuo.

  11. 111
    Simon Schwarz says:

    Here is the best way to go (by a mile):
    The OBi100 @ $44 with your choice of service providers and plans. You can use Callcentric, VoIP.ms, Sipgate not to mention Google Voice. The adapter’s phone port is rated at 5 REN so pretty much every phone in the house can be rung. They have live tech support and the company was founded by the inventor of the VoIP telephone adapter. If you want to ease off the telco (or your current VoIP provider) you can use the OBi110 and its line port feature.

    The Gadgeteer reviewed it here:
    http://the-gadgeteer.com/2011/09/15/obi100-voip-telephone-adapter-and-voice-service-bridge-review/

  12. 112
    jiminy says:

    I just purchased this unit and although the voice quality and everything works fairly well I am extremely disappointed in the bait and switch Nettalk has just performed by changing the usage minutes from 5000 to 3000 a month. Although I don’t think I will use 3000/month on average over the year I do have guests who like to call long distance and they can be on the phone for extended lengths of time. I called Nettalk to inquire on how the additional billing is performed after the 3000 minutes/month are used and this is what I was told. For example since I just purchased this and have several relatives staying with me calling friends locally as well as long distance I could easily exceed the 3000 minutes this month since 183 minutes were used yesterday, Nettalk customer service told me that once that happens I am on a pay as you go until the rest of the term (in my case 1 year less a month since I just purchased it), THEY COULDN’T TELL ME WHAT THOSE COSTS WOULD BE THOUGH, saying it will depend on where you are calling. The last thing I have time for is checking my online statement daily to see how close I am to the 3000 minutes/month.

    This is extremely poor customer service since they are charging a yearly fee but penalizing the remaining contract period which should be only charged on the months I go over not on the remaining length of the contract, so I will be returning the Nettalk Duo immediately and going with a company such as OOMA Telo that has dealt with large minute users much more effectively.

  13. 113
    Val says:

    I got one the last week. The unit looks good and all connecting hardware were there. Unfortunately the service is …….. that bad. First it took 20 min on Friday to get to the technical service (I was #10 on the list). After a 30 min of powering unit ON+OFF we got some progress and the phone line gets to some kind of connection. I called to disconnect my line phone provider and as soon as the main line was disconnected the DUO stop working. From 9:30am till 1:20pm we are (tech & I)trying to troubleshoot and finally the technician get the verdict – the unit is not good and I have to ship it back and after two weeks of waiting try to purchase another hopefully working unit. To call managers to resolve this time wasted option I have to go back on line to technical services and that time I was #25!!!!
    It may be that it is unfortunate event, on the other hand poor knowledge of their tech service and hiding management behind long waiting line of tech services speaks volumes about the company.

  14. 114
    Michael says:

    Horrible Services:

    When it stopped working, I tried to contact them several times in a week but not help. I sent them email, their answers meant nothing. Many people are the same with my situation.

    Stop choosing this product!

  15. 115
    Mark Sourek says:

    Buyer beware. If you pay for cheap phone service that is exactly what you will get. When Nettalk does firmware updates automatically your unit can be fried or deactivated and you may not get a replacement or refund. On April 7, 2012 they did an update that deactivated or fried thousands of units. It took me 5 days just to finally get through to get something done about it. I have had my unit about 8 months. Their customer service is horrible…. just absolutely horrible. No one seems to know what they are doing or even how to help you. You are lucky if you actually get someone on the phone you can understand. I will get a replacement about 17 days after the original unit went dead. If something happens to your replacement you are SOL according to their policy. You may want to get a free sipgate account and use it with google voice or use a sipgate account with a Linksys pap2 VOIP unit. And as horrible as Magic Jack is they are even better than Nettalk. I have had them all. You can fax with sipgate.

  16. 116
    RB says:

    I switched from Vonage about 2 months back to NetTalk and I have to restart the device every 2 or 3 days. Suddenly there won’t be any dial tone on my phone. :( I had this kind of problem with Vonage too but may be 2 or 3 times in 2 years.Yes I was with Vonage for 2 years, never I had to talk to their tech support. You get what you pay for. You cannot reach Nettalk tech support, not before waiting for at least 1.5 hrs on phone.Frustrating. Another problem with Nettalk is – you have to dial whole 10 digits even for numbers in your own area code. What the….? I paid them extra for Intl. calling. No complaints with with call quality though.

    Stay away, pay a little extra and buy peace of mind. Vonage worked good for me.

  17. 117
    dan says:

    I have had all positive experiences with Nettalk. I live in Winnipeg. 204 area code was available. It took 2 minutes to set up. I have had this for 2 months now and cannot believe how well it has worked. Call quality is good. It is all that I need. Yeah, you can’t transfer your old number. If you have a business and have 15,000 business cards out there, maybe it is not for you. But as for a secondary line, why pay 25 bucks a month?

  18. 118
    dan says:

    I have had all positive experiences with Nettalk. I live in Winnipeg. 204 area code was available. It took 2 minutes to set up. I have had this for 2 months now and cannot believe how well it has worked. Call quality is good. It is all that I need. Yeah, you can’t transfer your old number. If you have a business and have 15,000 business cards out there, maybe it is not for you. But as for a secondary line, why pay 25 bucks a month?

  19. 119
    Chris Vitas says:

    Just got one as MagicJack has grandiose probles and no customer support, besides their chat which take up to 2 hours and they repat the same answer over and over. Until they MJ made an account the phone worked OK. Now with netTalk, there is no option to change the number of rings, bothersome, is 6 rings before voice mail. People hang up after 3 rings. Darned, I think I will return the item. Not good for my use.Why no option for Voicemail is beyond me.

  20. 120
    TechDepot says:

    Prior to owning the Net Talk Duo device and service I was Magic Jack customer for 3 years. What enticed me to switch to Net Talk Duo was the fact that their device was able to plug directly into a router and free up a computer. After getting my Net Talk Duo device configured and using the service, I noticed that the call quality was slightly better than the Magic Jack service and figured that I had made the right move, then my device stopped working! I followed all of the troubleshooting tips from the website but was still unable to resolve my issues. I then noticed that I was not getting any blinking lights from the network cable port on the Net Talk Duo device. I then went to the net talk website and opened a high priority support ticket. Two days later someone from support contacted me and wanted me to go through the troubleshooting tips on their site. I explained that I have already done all of this and will need the unit replaced. He said he would check on what can be done. A week goes by and no word, so I check the status of the case and call the tech number listed on their site. I get a live person from their “Tech” department and the gentlemen said that he is not in customer service and can’t replace my unit and gave me the direct email to the customer service side. I then write up an email including my support ticket info and explaining everything hoping this would expedite my case. Another few days go by and I get an email asking how long I have had the service. I reply with how long I have had the service, and then get a reply stating that since I have had the device longer than 30 days I cannot get a refund. This goes back and forth for about 3 weeks and I am told that I will need to buy a new device and they can transfer my number over. Initially I was going to go with that option but from the experience I had with their customer service and cheaply made device, decided not to buy another unit in hopes that it will last beyond a year. Net talk claims to have 7 day customer service but this is a farce. I am going to cut my losses and try another VOIP service. I do not recommend the Net Talk DUO, Net Talk DUO II or Net Talk in itself!

  21. 121
    Stan says:

    I use a OOMA phone. I pay no phone bill at all… just my High Speed internet bill. I also have a magic jack that I keep in my laptop bag pocket for when I travel… I have to pay $19 per year on that, but it is worth it to makes calls.
    I also sent a magic jack to Brasil for my wife’s family to call us on. They now have a US phone number on their jack and they chat all day long on it with my wife…. Sweet…
    The Vonage is a rippoff! Same bill as hte land line companies.. and calling India? Are you kidding? They offer calling to countries that I would never want to call or go to. It is better to send a magic jack there for them to talk to with a US number.. You can pay two magic jack lines for you and them, and still be a fraction of the price of one vonage line.. Talk about non-competitive! This nettalk device is a little high on pricing for service in my opinion at $29.

  22. 122
    Bill says:

    Like many DUO NetTalk users, I’ve had more than my share of problems. It is great when it works right ! It took several months to iron out the issues before I could get it to work properly. I’ve also have used the MagicJack, and even faxed on it when a good connection is established. I bought several DUO’s for family members once I got mine working. However, I still have issues with poor connections with incoming callers dropping out now and then. Additionally connections with cells phones has been shaky at times as well. People calling me from cells phones often sound broken up to where I have to repeatedly call them back to establish a better connection. I know it has something to do with the networking problems of NetTalk, because I can call the cell phone caller back on my own cell phone and have very clear uninterrupted conversations. I recently bought the ” MagicJack Plus “. I’m almost afraid to try it out, but purchased it because it added the ethernet connection ( where you don’t have to use your computer ) just as the DUO offers. My kids had the same issues with their DUO’s, and are now just using their cell phones instead. I now have two unused DUO’s that I had bought for more family members, but I’ve had them too long for a return……. I’m a retired senior, so I have to use my small Soc. sec. check and can’t afford a land line provider anymore, etc.
    Well, I guess we ” Get what we pay for ” or should I say ” Buyers beware “…… Best wishes to those who don’t have any problems with there’s…….

  23. 123
    steve hollenkamp says:

    The worst thing I ever did w as get nettalk. It worked for a month and then stopped. Their tech support is always closed or impossible to get ahold of. I forked out $2300 in advertising with this # and it has been out for over a week. I lost everything. People should start getting together and go after these bastards in the media

  24. 124
    BobY says:

    I’ve been using NetTalk for probably 2 years no and have had no problems at all. I use my phone’s answering machine which works perfectly. And for $30/yr, how can you complain?

Leave a Reply