NetTALK Duo Review with NetTALK VS. MagicJack

nettalk NetTALK Duo Review with NetTALK VS. MagicJack

Traditional landline service is dying out at a rapid pace, and now even popular VOIP service like Vonage are losing customers to super inexpensive cheap calling services like Skype and MagicJack. The netTALK Duo gives new life to your landline phone and enables unlimited calls to the U.S. and Canada for just $29.95 a year.  No monthly bills and no long term contracts required. If that sounds familiar, that is because the netTalk Duo is in direct competition with MagicJack, and more particularly their new upcoming MagicJack Plus, which we recently reviewed.

It’s difficult not to talk about the netTALK Duo, without also talking about MagicJack,since both companies offer such similar products. As a brand, MagicJack is a bit more well known than netTALK, but MagicJack has until now been hampered by the fact that it needs to have a computer turned on in order for it to work. But that is all about to change now that MagicJack Plus is coming out, which bypasses the need for a computer altogether. That said, the netTALK Duo device has been around for over a year, and it works independently of a PC, so you could say that the folks over at netTALK have gotten a running start in this area.

Setup

Setup with the netTALK Duo is simple. The box comes with a USB cable, AC adapter and ethernet cable for connecting to your router. All you have to do is connect the Duo to your router via an ethernet cable, and to a landline headset. Alternatively, you can connect the netTALK Duo to your PC using USB and bypass having it connected to your router. Once you have plugged the MagicJack device into your router and a landline headset, the Duo will auto-sync with netTALK’s servers to activate the device, and the phone will ring to indicate that the device has been activated. This happened almost instantly for us. You’ll then have to log in to netTALK’s account management system online to set up a phone number. The set-up process was very quick, efficient, and painless. NetTALK did not bombard us with any additional offers the way MagicJACK does the first time you set-up your device. Alternatively, if you decide to use your netTALK DUO device by connecting it to your PC, you will have too go to www.nettalk.com/downloads to download its USB driver. This is unlike MagicJack PLUS which has its software preloaded on the MagicJack Device.

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Features

Some of the standard features that come with netTALK’s year of service include 411 directory assistance, call forwarding, call waiting and caller ID, Visual Voicemail, Voicemail to Email, an Online Customer Account Management Application, and a free U.S. phone number. netTALK also offers a Canada Call plan which includes a free Canadian phone number. Unfortunately, at this time number porting is only available in certain areas for the netTALK DUO. On the other hand, number porting will be available for MagicJack Plus.

NetTalk Duo VS. MagicJack Plus

NetTALK Duo costs a bit more than MagicJack Plus. The device costs $69.95 with a year of service included upfront, versus, MagicJack Plus which will cost $59.99, when it finally goes on sale. Each additional year of service costs $29.95 for the netTALK duo, while MagicJack Plus costs $19.99 a year. Both services provide you with free calls to the U.S. and Canada. NetTALK Duo is also fax friendly, which is something that Ooma and MagicJack don’t offer. We’ve also found that netTALK’s international rates are significantly more competitive than MagicJack’s international calling rates.

Another area where netTALK shines, and manages to really one-up MagicJACK is the fact that they offer smartphone apps for iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Mobile. This helps NetTALK not only compete with MagicJack, but also Skype, since you can use the service over 3G, 4G or Wi-Fi to make unlimited calls from your smartphone – even when you’re abroad – sans the netTALK Duo device. The app even lets you record conversations. The app does have some limitations though – for starters, it limits you to 30 minute calls at a time. But future versions of the app will let you link your netTALK DUO phone number to the app, it will add international calling, and the ability to receive calls on your iPhone to your netTALK number – without paying for cellular minutes. Overall, the app really has the potential to be a Skype mobile replacement, even if it doesn’t offer all of the features that Skype mobile offers. That said, the netTALK app is totally free to use – even if you don’t have a netTALK Duo device. It’s free for everyone to download and use.

We also found that netTalk’s account management interface to be more modern and polished than MagicJack’s user interface. This isn’t quite a deal breaker, but MagicJack’s account interface really needs a face-lift.

On top of that, netTALK also offers a Videophone application for PCs that lets you make and receive video calls using your netTALK account, and it also lets you do five-party conferencing. However, your netTALK Duo device will have to be connected to your PC in order to use the Videophone software. And unfortunately, this software is currently PC only.

Call Quality

So far we’ve found the call quality with the netTALK Duo to be better than MagicJack Plus. Callers sound louder and clearer to us, and we have been told that we sounded sharper to callers as well, compared to when we called them using MagicJack plus. That said MagicJack Plus’s Call quality is fine, but netTALK’s call quality is a little better – and most notably, it is able to get louder.

Conclusion

On paper, netTALK pretty much one-ups MagicJack in many respects. We love that netTALK offers you smartphone apps too. That means that you don’t even have to travel with the netTALK DUO device to save money making calls, especially when you are traveling abroad. Personally, I have a Skype unlimited calling to the U.S. plan that I use when I’m overseas, but I’m going to cancel it and just use the netTALK Duo app instead. The netTALK Duo device itself is pocket friendly, if you want to use it while traveling too. netTALK Duo does cost a bit more than MagicJack, but the price difference is negligible, especially since netTALK also boasts Live Tech Support, which is something that MagicJack doesn’t offer. Overall, both devices offer great value, so it’s hard not to recommend either. But at the moment MagicJack PLUS seems to be delayed and it hasn’t landed on store shelves, so unless you need to have a number porting option available to you, the netTALK Duo is highly recommended for its ease of use, convenience, solid call quality, and competitive international rates. The netTalk Duo retails for $69.95, with the first year of service included and a 30 day money back guarantee.

The Good: Very easy device setup, very good call quality, free smartphone apps available, Very competitive international rates, device works independently of a computer

The Bad: The Videophone software is PC only, smartphone app has limitations

Update 12/9/2011: netTALK Duo is now offering free number porting.

Update 3/17/2012: netTalk has just announced the netTALK Duo WiFi

Leave a Reply

  • Mgarcia

    Yes, this has been a great value product(DUO) for me, both domestic and Internationaly.

  • Some

    I am using nettalk from the last 4months its best thing i ever bought. I took my magic out and now i think its somewhere in the garbage. You guys also forget that nettalk also offered free phone tech suppot and also they have a very good customer support.

  • Some

    I am using nettalk from the last 4months its best thing i ever bought. I took my magic out and now i think its somewhere in the garbage. You guys also forget that nettalk also offered free phone tech suppot and also they have a very good customer support.

  • jctejada

    I’ve been using the NetTalk Duo for months now and I haven’t had any problems with the device. My cable/Internet service went down briefly a few weeks ago and it affected the operation of my NetTalk Duo since it’s connected to my cable company’s router but I don’t blame that service interruption on the NetTalk Duo I blame the cable company for that. I can’t believe I was paying $30+ a month for my phone service using my phone company then my cable company. Now I’m paying $30 a year using NetTalk. This is one of those too good to be true that actually is true! I don’t like to give out my cell phone number to just anyone so NetTalk is a great alternative for a home phone number.

  • ctbear

    Awesome review…though I have a QUESTION:

    How did you confirm that Magic Jack Plus will INDEED have number porting available upon its release?  As of now, the NUMBER PORTING feature on the magic jack website still shows it has being in BETA TESTING.

  • http://www.chipchick.com Chip Chick

    This is what we were told by MagicJack’s people. But being that the device’s release has been delayed, it’s difficult to know for sure

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  • Will D

    Customer support at NetTalk is a facade.  i’ve had NetTalk about a year and had to call them up for their faulty product multiple (upwards of ten times) this past year.  Everytime it was not resolved, or was a problem they were resolving.  90% of my complains to them was I was NOT getting an email attachment of my voicemails, or even notifications.  Each time they said, “We got it, not to worry.”  Never fixed it.  

    The deal is- MagicJack sure they don’t have customer support.  They rarely NEED it.  It works.  NetTalk’s facade of customer support makes it more frustrating when you find out it doesn’t work AND they lie consistently about fixing it.  I told them and decided months ago I’m going with Skype after this (having used MJ and NetTalk now) because I like the videocall option.  Sure it’s $66 for unlimited and a number every year- but at least it works and there’s video chat.  

    If you want my advice, use MJ if you don’t are about video chatting, and DO NOT use NetTalk PERIOD.  Sounds great on paper and from the sales staff, it’s a lemon.  

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  • Anonymous

    WARNING:  NetTALK has instituted a limit of 3000 minutes a month for NetTALK Duo users – both incoming and outgoing calls count to this limit.  This means you can only use NetTALK Duo about 1.6 hours a day.  If you go beyond this limit, NetTALK cancels your account – or you have to pay forever by the minute.

    This is a HUGE limitation that MagicJack Plus does not have.

  • Jgilbert

    Another area where netTALK does not shine, and manages to really one-up MagicJACK is the fact that they offer smartphone apps for iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Mobile. This does not help NetTALK not only compete with MagicJack, but also Skype, since you can use the service over 3G, 4G or Wi-Fi to make unlimited calls when it works from your smartphone – even when you’re abroad – sans the netTALK Duo device. The app even lets you record conversations when it works. The app does have some limitations though – for starters, it limits you to 30 minute calls at a time when it works. But future versions of the app will let you link your netTALK DUO phone number to the app when it works, it will add international calling, and the ability to receive calls on your iPhone to your netTALK number – without paying for cellular minutes. Overall, the app really has no potential to be a Skype mobile replacement, when it works. even if it doesn’t offer all of the features that Skype mobile offers. That said, the netTALK app is totally free to use, when it works – even if you don’t have a netTALK Duo device. It’s free for everyone to download and use when it works.

  • Givenhimpraise

    thats not good that will hurt nettalk for sure i just bought the nettalk and if thats true about the 3000 mins a months i for sure will be taking it back to bad, thought i had a good thing good bye nettalk helllo magicplus

  • Egay

    I have an AT&T DSL service and ehome router.  Does anyone have any experience with these devices on nettalk dou wifi or magic jack plus ? Not tech savy.

  • Mel

    You can use the magic jack/plus and nettalk on your router. I have a magic jack and I have the app for the iPhone and I have it installed on my iPod touch. I can make calls and receive calls from my iPod touch and the app is free.

  • Gpblight

    Will there be a NetTalk customer furry?  I just got cut off.  I presume for overlimit.  I can’t get a response from the cs email address about what are the choices of plans for being cut off…

    What does this mean?  We should get 2 net talk devices?  Or go to the 5000 minute plan?  Or do the $20 monthly plan or the $70 annual plan/???

    This is all so confusing…AND there is NOT a fast response to the cs email address.

    Customer Service cannot give info on this.  It merely refers to the cs email address.

    Anyone got any tips?

    The regulators need to do a better job keeping these telecommunication companies under control.

    MJ service was HORRIBLE here in 60624.  Calls were cut off.  It was hard to hear…Now NT cuts a person off and am without phone service again.

    I would say that offering something with a $30 unlimited annual fee, putting lots disclaimers plus a $10,000 legal fee mumbo jumbo in a dicey warranty disclaimer…warrants a regulatory watchdog eye.  I think the UNLIMITED needs to be dropped.  3000 minutes is not UNLIMITED in any shape or form.

    UNLIMITED with a disclaimer to change plan terms at any time with no penalty to the company is a “buyer beware”.

    Too bad!  This is a quality product.  It is just the terms are dubious.

  • Guest

    My account was restricted as of yesterday for going over the 3000 limit.  I’m a cancer patient and had extensive calls to my doctors this month. Too bad I didn’t read the fine print before I paid $70.  I’m going back to the Magic Jack now that they have the Magic Jack Plus.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/hollanddebra Debra Holland

    hollanddebra…. September 9th, 2012 A very unhappy customer: I looked at the Reviews they stink just like the Magic Jack customer service, and the way the terms they call it, is a Rip OFF ( I am calling the Better Business B… Maybe they will do something about them. This is a web site that had very many unhappy customers of magic jack. texmc…. August 29th, 2012 UNHAPPY CUSTOMOR VERY POOR SERVICE! they canceled me for execive use no warning no refund no reconect cant sell it to get money back ,cant be used again ever by anybody.I have 2 majic jacks one regular and 1 mj+ ,on the call log i exported it list calls made and received for both numbers they said this was not so so i copied and pasted to our chat still no luck there were a total of 140 calls over a 20 day period for 2 majic jacks and that was execive use ? ——————————————————————————– The same thing happen to me,but the calls were due to people trying to get me ,or me trying to get out with the stupid phone; However, there were not that many calls-I slept most of the day!!!!!!!!!!!!!! texmc…. August 29th, 2012 UNHAPPY CUSTOMOR VERY POOR SERVICE! they canceled me for execive use no warning no refund no reconect cant sell it to get money back ,cant be used again ever by anybody.I have 2 majic jacks one regular and 1 mj+ ,on the call log i exported it list calls made and received for both numbers they said this was not so so i copied and pasted to our chat still no luck there were a total of 140 calls over a 20 day period for 2 majic jacks and that was execive use ? hollanddebra…. September 9th, 2012 A very unhappy customer: I looked at the Reviews they stink just like the Magic Jack customer service, and the way the terms they call it, is a Rip OFF ( I am calling the Better Business B… Maybe they will do something about them. This is a web site that had very many unhappy customers of magic jack. texmc…. August 29th, 2012 UNHAPPY CUSTOMOR VERY POOR SERVICE! they canceled me for execive use no warning no refund no reconect cant sell it to get money back ,cant be used again ever by anybody.I have 2 majic jacks one regular and 1 mj+ ,on the call log i exported it list calls made and received for both numbers they said this was not so so i copied and pasted to our chat still no luck there were a total of 140 calls over a 20 day period for 2 majic jacks and that was execive use ? ——————————————————————————– The same thing happen to me,but the calls were due to people trying to get me ,or me trying to get out with the stupid phone; However, there were not that many calls-I slept most of the day!!!!!!!!!!!!!! texmc…. August 29th, 2012 UNHAPPY CUSTOMOR VERY POOR SERVICE! they canceled me for execive use no warning no refund no reconect cant sell it to get money back ,cant be used again ever by anybody.I have 2 majic jacks one regular and 1 mj+ ,on the call log i exported it list calls made and received for both numbers they said this was not so so i copied and pasted to our chat still no luck there were a total of 140 calls over a 20 day period for 2 majic jacks and that was execive use ?

  • Jim

    I had nothing but bad luck with NetTalk. I used to different boxes and got the same poor quality from both. Dropped calls with an ear piercing squeal. Voices sounded like they were starting to go under water. And delays in when I talked and when the other party heard me of up to 5 seconds, just happened at random. NetTalk is a piece of garbage for me. I’ve used MagicJack in the past, too. It’s only problem was dropping calls at the 2 hour mark, a length of conference calls frequently reaches that for work.

    Between the two, I’d rather have MagicJack, but don’t like the 2 hour limit. Is there something better that costs in the same neighborhood?

  • zach amin

    I had 2 Magic jacks for 3 Years. Voice quality suck big time. voice breaks, delay, low qualiy sound quality forced me to drop magic jack for good. I took Majic jack overseas and it didn’t work on even 1mb internet connection while Skype worked well here in the USA or overseas without any major issues. Skype has its own bad days but not as bad as majic jack. I can make and recieve calls and recive skype calls on my pohne for $60 a year. This comparison is between old majicjack and Skype, I have never tried majicjack + but It dosn’t matter because they have the same old garbage worhtless voiP server I guess.

  • Giuseppe Colato

    We have the same system–just don’t navigate while you’re on the phone. If you do, it will cut out on you and the person/people on the other end as well.

  • Mohammad

    Talknet is a money waste, when you call it will appear its ringing but they will getbthe call after 30 seconds only, poor customer service, you stay on phone for an hour to talk to a human who doesnt know english, also they dont refund the money in your balance if you bring it back, poor calling quality. Magic jack is the best and i just love it

  • Sathish Naik

    Nettalk duo sucks big time…..they cut you off after using it excessive of 3000 mins..that is not fair…no warning nothing….DO NOT BUY NETTALK……