magicJack PLUS Review


I’ve long been a proponent of Voice over IP (VoIP), having dumped the phone company over 7 years ago.  During this period I’ve used 2 major vendors and only  switched to the latest one because my former VOIP supplier was getting greedy.  The price performance has been outstanding and the quality has been more than acceptable.  I’ve never stood still and have continuously compared other VoIP providers offers, but I have not considered magicJack a serious player.  This is because the magicJack required your computer to be running for it to work.. That’s until now!   The new magicJack PLUS can be plugged into a router or broadband modem, just like the big boys.  Also, I got turned off by the extremely annoying video on their home page.

Before I get into the details, perhaps a little refresher is in order. To use the magic Jack, or any VoIP device for that matter, you’ll need a broadband Internet connection. For magicJack a minimum bandwidth UPLOAD speed of 128 kb/s is required.  This would probably be cable or DSL, but not satellite.  It doesn’t make sense for someone to subscribe to broadband just for the telephone capability, so Grandma and Grandpa may want to stay with Ma Bell.  You should also have a minimum understanding of your home network, because there will be times that you’ll have to reboot your modem and router to clear up problems.  You should also be aware that if you lose power or Internet connection, you’ll also lose your phone capability.  I’ve addressed the power issue at my house by plugging my cable modem and router into a UPS.  This gives me an hour before I lose telephone service and covers most short power interruptions.

Features provided by magicJack:

  • Voicemail
  • Caller ID
  • Call waiting
  • Call forwarding
  • Your own phone number
  • Unlimited free calling within the US and Canada

There’s really not much to the device.   You may not even need the smaller of the two cables.  It’s a USB extension cable and you may be able plug the magicJack into your computer without it.

I decided to see how idiot proof the installation was, so I plugged the device into my LAN, via a powerline Ethernet adapter, hooked up the phone and within 30 seconds had a dial-tone.  There’s no computer involved in the configuration, but to keep the device active, you’ll have to register the magicJack online within 48 hours of installing it.  To minimize the number of variables when testing this thing, I used a corded phone, so the sound quality wouldn’t be affected by cordless phone issues.

Here’s a closer look at the setup.  The magicJack plugs into the AC adapter, which plugs into the AC outlet.  On the left of the unit you have a socket for the phone cable and one for the LAN cable.  You could of course run the LAN cable from your router or switch.  I like using powerline Ethernet because I can locate the phone anywhere there’s an AC outlet.

Here’s the setup when using the magicJack with a computer.  Because of the clearance to my USB ports, I needed the extension cable.  If using a laptop, this probably wouldn’t be necessary.  This setup is simpler, in that all you have to do is plug a phone into the phone port.  Power is supplied by the USB port.  However, to run in this configuration, the computer must be on and the softphone magicJack application has to be running.

The first time you plug the magicJack into a computer, it loads the softphone application and has to be registered.  This process takes about 14 screens of selections.  Here you will get an online account and select a phone number.  Unfortunately there wasn’t a number available in my home state of New Hampshire, so I elected to get a California based number.  There is the option later of changing the phone number, for a fee, if one you want becomes available.

Be very careful when navigating the registration screens.  Most of them have an up-sell button and of course, it is the biggest.  If you don’t pay attention you could be signing up for more than you expected.  The above screen shot is one of the less egregious examples.  At the end of the process you should have a phone number and online account.  Also, be sure to use the address where you expect to use the magicJack, when you sign up.  This address will be used for the E911 service.

Now that we’re all registered, we can either leave the device plugged into the computer or plug it directly into a LAN port.  I’ve opted to use the LAN port option because it doesn’t require the magicJack application to be running.  However, when traveling I can take the device with me and use it with my laptop and when configured this way, I can either use a telephone plugged into the device or I can select to use the laptop speakers and microphone to make calls.  This is changed in the softphone application.

When plugged into the computer, the above screen will pop up for an incoming call.  At this point if you are using a telephone you pick it up and answer as normal.  If using the computers audio, you would click on accept and begin speaking.  You can also use the pop up window to place calls and listen to voicemail.

click image to enlarge

Regardless of whether you connect via the LAN or PC, you can access your magicJack account via a web browser.  Here you have some options that can be changed and you can access your call logs.  You may notice the switch for stutter tone at the bottom.  At first this didn’t work, but now it does and it triggers the voicemail indicator on my phone.

Now the question is “how’s the voice quality?”  I must admit I am pleasantly surprised at the quality of the conversations I’ve had.  With all the VoIP devices I’ve owned or reviewed, I’m used to echos and delays, but I’ve experienced none of that with the magicJack.  This runs counter to what I’ve read about the device in online forums.

In short, this latest version of the magicJack could make them a serious player in the VoIP space.  I now am considering dumping my current provider.  If you’re thinking about jettisoning your POTS phone, the magicJack Plus may be the way to go.  They do give you 30 days to try it out, so you don’t have much to lose.  Now if they’d only do something about their annoying home page and stop the bush league up-selling on all their screens.

Note:  The Gadgeteer is not affiliated with the Magic Jack company in any way.  We don’t provide customer support for them.  However, many of our readers seem to have chosen the comments section for this review as an informal peer support forum.  There are hundreds of comments with this review, and it’s likely that your question has already been asked and answered.  If not, and if none of the other readers can help you, you’ll need to contact Magic Jack directly.


Product Information

Price:$50 for the device and first year service; $19.95 per year thereafter
  • Broadband Internet
  • Inexpensive, easy to install, many included features, very good voice quality
  • Account web portal needs some work. Not intuitive.
Posted in: Home and Kitchen, Reviews

{ 2341 comments… add one }

  • Lorenzo August 7, 2014, 12:23 pm

    @ Billy Jack

    I made the switch immediately cause I wanted to use a right angle AC adapter as shown in the photos at the top of this page. MJ had switched to a straight in-line adapter.

    The MJ device seems quite happy across a reasonable range of power output

  • Billy Jack August 7, 2014, 1:15 pm


    I have the adapter that is shown in the pictures in the review at the top of this page, I guess I bought mine before they made the switch to the type of adapter you’re referring to, the only reason I don’t care for the power adapter is it becomes EXTREMELY hot in a VERY short period of time and I don’t really use my home phone that much. Its not like it doesn’t get ventilation, cold air is aimed right at my desk by an A/C vent in the ceiling, everything in my office runs cool except for that adapter!

    My guess is MJ didn’t put much money into the adapter and its just cheaply made…I’ll switch it out with an LG adapter that is the same configuration and add a 3ft male to female USB cable to it so it easily accessible as I may have to power it off and on to reset it every now and then…I didn’t have to do that when I had it connected to the thin client, I don’t even remember the last time I had to touch it to be honest with you, its probably been years, it never gave me a problem…

  • Lorenzo August 7, 2014, 1:29 pm

    @Billy Jack

    Just for yucks I bent down by my desk power strip on the floor and felt my LG adapter that my MJ+ is plugged directly into. I’ve essentially ignored it for over 2 years. The adapter is barely warm and the MJ+ is only a bit warmer. It’s not blocked by anything but no added ventilation either

  • Jonathan August 8, 2014, 3:04 am

    @ Billy Jack,
    Similar to Lorenzo, I plugged my LG AC adapter to a surge protector under my desk & MJ+ directly into it w/o USB extension cable, no cooling fan needed & it’s been working fine. For troubleshooting purpose, I suggest to plug your new AC adapter to a wall outlet then MJ+ then an Ethernet cable & phone cable to verify it works for a short while. If all works fine then just move the whole set up under your desk. In my opinion, the 3-ft USB cable is unnecessary, but it should be fine for your set up cuz I don’t expect power loss at that length significant enough to impact MJ+ functionality.
    As I recalled, your MJ+ is connected to a thin client to eliminate the occasional beeping sounds during calls. Hopefully it won’t reoccur with the standard set up with new AC adapter.

  • Regena Osborne September 11, 2014, 1:57 pm

    Please forgive my ignorance. I know absolutely nothing about, computers and such things.. where I live I’m unable to get Internet, cable or cell phone services. .. I just had satellite installed. .. I’ve puck as ed a laptop to attempt to stay in contact with my children. .I call them from my cell phone, when I go to town…
    I was wondering if you knew of something like jack plus that might work with satallite internet. .

    Regena Osborne

  • SteveHC September 11, 2014, 3:39 pm

    Regena – It depends largely on the actual 2-way speeds of the satellite Internet service, length if delay in transmission, and other “quality ” aspects of the service. If you already have Internet service you can check such things out by going to and go to the advanced testing area.

  • Jonathan October 6, 2014, 1:00 am

    @ All,
    Does anyone know how to remove a mobile device from the list of MJ App Mobile Devices in your Account Details tab? Mobile device name can be cleared and changed but no option to remove it from the list.

  • Bob October 6, 2014, 7:38 am

    Guys, i would like your thoughts here. I am considering going to a +model of magic jack. What are your recommendations? I am using my ancient computer plug in type which i take on my travels and it works very well with just barely adequate “broad band ” services. BTW I have not been actively using my MJ except for its email answering machine services. I do travel into relatively tech backward places. Good you are all still here. Thanks?

  • Tom October 6, 2014, 7:50 am

    Bob: I have a older + when they first came out and still have it with no problems and it does the job I want it to do. I learned a long time ago if it works leave it alone, next one may not be nearly as good and some have been sorry aft4r “upgrading”. If you use it primarily when traveling you most likely will not have a handy router to plug the + into anyway and will still be using the USB on you laptop….so what is the gain there?? I use mine primarily as my dedicated fax line and it does great, some say theirs will not work on the fax, so I will wait for mine to die before making a change I guess. I have mine plugged into power all the time, no heating issues, internet coming from router the line goes to my printer with another line out of my printer to line 2 of my two line phone. Line 1 is my primary line using a different VOIP provider and all works fine??

  • SteveHC October 6, 2014, 12:58 pm

    Jonathan & Bob:

    Jonathan – There is no way to do it. Just be sure that auto-renewal for it is turned OFF (and ideally delete any credit card that you might have active on your MJ account).

    Bob – what Tom said.

    • RS December 12, 2014, 5:23 am

      Hi SteveHC, fell prey to the old MJ trick of my account set to AUTO RENEW Just came across your post. So, now I have disabled AUTO RENEW thanks to your advice. How do I delete my CREDIT CARD number ?

      • SteveHC December 12, 2014, 11:13 pm

        RS – I don’t remember exactly where in the account management website it is, but it’s there. Log into your account online & follow links or menu items to it. I believe it’s under “Account” then “Manage Payment Information” or something like that.

        • RS December 13, 2014, 6:24 am

          Thanks SteveHC. Got it !! It was in the MANAGE PAYMENT INFO.. now got rid of my CC number. Many thanks. Wish I had known about this earlier but better late than never

  • Bob October 6, 2014, 2:35 pm

    Thanks Guys, I will continue to have my old trusted model for travelling but was considering a permanent one for the home, for phone,fax etc and was surveying the reliability of the older models vs the newer ones which appeared to have more tech complicated issues. Your comments are always much appreciated.

  • David October 27, 2014, 11:16 am

    Can you FAX with MagicJack Plus?

    • Robin Connelly June 13, 2015, 5:22 pm

      I use an HP 8600 multi-function printer/scanner/FAX. Only change I had to make to get the FAX to run 100% of the time was to set the speed to 9600 bps.

  • David October 27, 2014, 1:23 pm

    When you Port your home phone to magicJack, how long does it useally take for the carrier, Cox, to disconned the old line?

  • SteveHC October 27, 2014, 7:03 pm

    Dave – As has been stated here previously >ahem< 😉 :

    Like all VOIP services, whether or not you can successfully/reliably fax on magicJack depends entirely on the speed and quality of your Internet service.

    Once your number is ported over – should normally take no more than a week but how long depends at least as much as how long it takes Cox to release your number over to Ymax (magicJack) as it takes for magicJack/Ymax to request it from them. And as soon as you've confirmed that calls to your Cox number are ringing on your magicJack you then need to call Cox yourself to make sure that they cancel your account and issue you a final bill.

  • paul November 12, 2014, 4:59 am

    I’m thinking of buying the Magic Jack Go. I plan to plug it in to the USB port of my computer. I hope I will not have any problems with it overheating !

  • DennyH November 12, 2014, 11:51 am

    You will have 30 days to try it and feel if it is hot with your fingers.
    I should be fine as long as the unit is allowed contact with the air (not covered up).

  • ann November 14, 2014, 1:25 am

    My magic jack phone makes an intermittent beep on the receiving call end. Everyone tells me I’m hitting keys while I talk, which I am not. I don’t hear it on my calling end. It’s making my magic jack virtually useless to use. Any suggestions?

  • Elise January 29, 2015, 3:16 pm

    I just moved and my phone is dead. I tried several outlets and pluged it in. AT&T.

    • SteveHC January 29, 2015, 5:45 pm

      Elise – You have not given us anywhere near enough info about your new, current setup for anyone to be able yo help you. Just for example, you say you have AT&T… AT&T *what* – phone service? DSL service only? And how do you have whatever magicJack model you have connected to whatever? Etc.

  • Elise February 2, 2015, 4:02 pm

    I am computer 101. So, I hope this is the information you wanted. I have AT&T U-verse. I got it for my computer. I have a magicJack+ that is about two and one-half years old. I think there was a new version just after I purchased mine.

    Let me know if this is the additional information required.

  • SteveHC February 2, 2015, 5:05 pm

    Elise – Exactly how/to what are your magicJack+ & telephone connected?

  • jean yves tremblay February 4, 2015, 3:37 pm

    I bought a laptop Dell in Fla.,and install it with a magijack and router, included 30.00 free for the c oming year service price. Now back in my home town I have to buy another router cauz I left it in Fla. The phone no given to me which i can use here as far as i buy the MJ and Router too. for a new installation, what Id like to know , can i still have Bell Canada and the MJ service too .figure i must have another connection from them and is one gig enough for this -as the speed involve must….

  • Tanstafl March 3, 2015, 11:19 am

    @ Steve HC Long time no see :) A question; my granddaughter has an iPod touch with the app and ‘upgraded’ to have her own number. Is there an easy way to switch her over to a new iPod touch with more memory…without getting the help desk all confused? Thanks.

  • SteveHC March 3, 2015, 12:25 pm

    Tanstafl – Hey there! The answer to your question is YES. You take the new iPod & download the MJ app to it from Apple’s App Store. Then start the app. The app will ask if there’s a pre-existing number to associate with the app – so just enter that phone number & proceed. The app will then connect with the MJ service & the account associated with that phone number, download any info relevant to that number/MJ account (such as her contact list), & then it’s good-to-go. But remember:

    A) before disposing of the old iPod in ANY way be sure to COMPLETELY wipe it clean;

    B) Go online into the relevant MJ account and adjust all settings for that NEW iPod’s MJ app installation, and – assuming the OLD iPod will no longer be used with MJ – turn off the “automatically renew” settings for the OLD iPod’s MJ app installation; and

    C) Go into the NEW iPod’s Settings and be sure to turn on all of the app’s Notifications etc.

  • Anthony March 26, 2015, 4:15 pm

    There hasn’t been much traffic on this message thread lately, so here goes.

    I have an older MJ+ that I use via ethernet, just plugged into one of the ports on 16-port switch, it works fine, but has that low audio volume problem. I would like to know, the newer MJ Go thing, does it fix the audio volume problem? If yes, then I am considering getting the Go, because the volume problem is just a real issue. Are there any known problems with the Go? I see that it will connect up to my ethernet just fine, so that’s not an issue.


  • Tanstafl April 11, 2015, 3:29 pm

    @anybody….What’s up with the latest MJ “update” for the IOS app? We have 2 iPod touches (one on a separate number). Since the update when a call comes in I have to a) unlock the device b) login to MJ….wait c) tell them which number the device uses…..wait…and finally its ready to answer the call. Meantime the caller gets about 10 rings, if they don’t give up sooner. Not cool. The help line answer, “sign in then don’t quit the app”. That is not easy to do the way the home button works. Thanks.

  • SteveHC April 12, 2015, 11:00 pm

    What I have discovered with *my* “upgrading” to the newest iOS app version is that when I *receive* a call, do not have the app already loaded & running, and “click” on the Notification to answer the call the app automatically loads and signs me into my magicJack account using the magicJack phone number that I last used with the app (it does seem to take a little longer to do this than it used to). But when I go to start up the app directly “from scratch” (like say with the intent of dialing to make a call) THEN it requires that I first log into my magicJack account and choose a number of mine to use.

    Clearly the app needs to be rewritten to be able to generate and make use of a preference setting in this regard.

    Aside from this, I think it’s nice to see the text messaging feature finally available but realistically its utility in today’s world would seem to be pretty limited given that it has been implemdnted only for iOS devices & works ONLY when your iOS device is connected to the internet; at least Apple’s iMessage system allows you to use telecom SMS messaging when either using an iPhone that’s not connected to the Internet or when iMessaging is otherwise not available.

  • Graham Hall April 15, 2015, 11:46 am

    What a total piece of junk the new MJ app is. I am currently travelling in Europe with my business line forwarded to my MJ number. When updating my IOS I was landed with a n app that does not maintain a connection even if I keep the app open all the time. I am unable to receive any incoming calls. It is madness to create a useless app that requires you to register each and every time you use it. Why did they try and fix something that worked perfectly. Bad move and very bad and totally useless app

  • SteveHC April 15, 2015, 4:33 pm

    MJ has adjusted things AT THEIR END such that you no longer have to log in via the new app to use it. However, this means that subscription and number reassignment to the app “on-the-fly” is not available. Texting still works and as far as I can tell works well but remember that it only works if you’re connected to wi-fi or cellular data (texting works even via a 2G data service connection); only SMS texting – no MMS.

    Also – If since upgrading the app you are not receiving Notifications on incoming calls and/or texts try quitting the app, turning off its Notifications settings, closing the iOS Settings app, then going back into Settings to turn on ALL of the MJ app’s settings (use ALERT, turn on Sounds, turn on Badge ivon, and make visible in lock screen). This worked for me.

  • Tanstafl April 15, 2015, 6:56 pm

    @Steve HC…..Many thanks.. the App is working again and the universe is unfolding as it should :)

  • Graham Hall April 19, 2015, 6:39 am

    I know that you should never look a gift horse in the mouth and that this app is free. However, having been satisfied with the previous version of the app, I threw myself at the mercy of MJ and forwarded my business line to the app before departing for Europe five weeks ago. Notwithstanding that everyone one seems to be satisfied with the new app and having tried all the suggestions above, I am still unable to receive incoming calls on the app on my iPad. I tap the notification of the call at the top of the screen which then goes to the dial pad screen followed by total silence. The call then goes to voicemail. Calling out is not a problem. Since nobody else seems to have this problem, what am I doing wrong.

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