MagicJack PLUS Review – Now with No Computer Required

With cell phone plans getting cheaper, landlines are dropping like flies. Many people are even dropping more affordable VoIP services like Vonage and Lingo. Yet, it was only a few years ago when MagicJack came out with a pricing scheme that blew the competition away. The premise of MagicJack is pretty simple—buy the MagicJack device for $39.99, and you get a free year of calling to the U.S. and Canada. Each year after that costs just $19.99. MagicJack also provides users with Voice Mail, Call Waiting, conference calling, call forwarding, and 911 assistance.  To get up and running all you had to do was plug the MagicJack into your computer via USB, then plug a landline phone into the MagicJack via a telephone cable. Unfortunately, the biggest pitfall of MagicJack has been that it’s dependent on a computer. Many users, like myself, would prefer to use MagicJack without having the computer turned on. Fortunately, MagicJack has heard our calls, and their next generation MagicJack PLUS addresses this issue and more.


The new MagicJack PLUS is a petite and portable device, just like its predecessor, and will still work if you plug it into your computer. We tried plugging it into our Mac and the MagicJack software was up and running in just a moment. Once you have signed up and gone through the initial MagicJack account set-up, it takes almost no effort to start making calls. If you choose to use MagicJack Plus with a computer, you can use it while connected to a landline handset or with a headset – the same kind of headset and mic that you would use with Skype. We tried using MagicJack PLUS with our computer, but we were even more excited to try MagicJack without a computer, by plugging one end of it into our router, then hooking up our landline headset into it. However, keep in mind that you will have to connect the device to a computer the first time you use MagicJack PLUS. Once you have set up your account, you can use MagicJack without a computer altogether. A USB extension cable, AC adapter, instructions, and an ethernet cable for connecting the MagicJack PLUS to your router are all included in the box.

When you first set up the device on a computer, you’ll be given the option of choosing a vanity number or a Canadian number, both for an additional $10 a year. You can also choose the last four digits from a list of available numbers for $3 a year. Finally, during the MagicJack set-up process you can also purchase replacement insurance for just $10 a year, or upgrade to 5 years of additional free local and long-distance calls for $69.95.

When it comes to making international calls, MagicJack offers an option to purchase prepaid international minutes. Their international rates are not that great – especially when calling mobiles in certain locations overseas. Either way, we wish MagicJack also offered a pay-as-you go option for international minutes.

New Features

Aside from the ability to work without a computer, MagicJack Plus can also work over a Wi-Fi or 4G connection using your computer. MagicJack PLUS also now offers number porting for $19.95. To get your number ported, you’ll have to log onto your account on the MagicJack website. Unfortunately, the account interface looks quite antiquated. It works, but it’s a bit shoddy. Either way, the ability to port your number to MagicJack is great news, since it will make it easier for people to do without their pricey landline – or even their pricey VoIP line, since they can now take their number with them.

Call Quality

With MagicJack PLUS, the company has improved the call quality experience using Echo Control and HD Voice. At first I couldn’t hear callers well, but I fixed that by increasing the volume in the MagicJack software’s settings. Call quality with MagicJack PLUS has so far been pretty good. Callers sounded clear, and they said that I sounded clear as well. However, I could hear a faint static noise in the background, and they said that they could hear it too. Overall, quality is not quite as good as my previous VoIP provider, but it’s still good.


MagicJack PLUS’ closest competitor is the NetTALK Duo, which is a bit pricier; it costs $69.95 for the device and first year of service, and $29.95 thereafter. Until now, the NetTALK Duo one-upped MagicJack by working without a computer, but now that MagicJack PLUS is available, more affordable, and can also work without a computer, the competition between MagicJack and NetTALK is really heating up.

When it comes to MagicJack PLUS, setup is a breeze, even on a Mac. So, don’t throw away that landline handset just yet, because MagicJack will give it a new lease on life. Plus, because MagicJack is so portable, it’s also very convenient to take with you traveling – especially when you’re traveling overseas. As long as you have an Internet connection, you can save tons of money calling your friends and family back at home in the U.S. or Canada with MagicJack PLUS, – it’s like you’re getting unlimited international calling to the U.S. It could also pay to purchase MagicJack PLUS just to ship to friends and family overseas who call you a lot, too. Try doing that with Vonage or Ooma, and you’ll regret it since their VoIP systems are not readily portable. In this way, MagicJack is similar to Skype. Besides, now that MagicJack works without a computer, why should anyone bother with pricier VoIP services like Vonage and Lingo anymore, especially if you just require basic calling services? MagicJack PLUS will be available soon and will retail for $50, which is just $10 more than the original MagicJack. Considering how much more it offers, that is a very fair price increase.

The Good: Cheap unlimited calling to the U.S. and Canada, portable, easy to set up, works without a computer after initial setup, number porting, serious alternative to Skype

The Bad: Shoddy website interface, international calling rates aren’t that great, device gets very hot when plugged into AC adapter

Update 9/12/2011: We’ve just heard from the MagicJack PR team that MagicJack PLUS is set to go on sale this week! Here are the details –

  • The magicJack PLUS will be officially available this week on www.magicJack.com. Available in major retailers before the holidays.
  • Number porting capability will be included.
  • The magicJack PLUS will be sold for $69.95 but all current users of the original magicJack will be able to upgrade for only 50% of that cost for 60 days. This will include the device and first year of service.
  • Renewal will remain at the $29.95 annual rate. This is an increase from what it has been in the past.  It was always $19.95 before, now it will be $29.95. This is the first price increase magicJack has ever had.
  • Also, a magicJack mobile app called magicJack APP for iPad, iPhone and iTouch (effectively turning the iTouch into a phone – a rather cheap one) is in the works which should be available by the end of the fall.


  1. Hi Zambia,
    unfortunately, the device was supposed to be available late July, but it seems to have been delayed. We’re still waiting to hear back from MagicJack regarding when it will become available

  2. after talking with Magic Jack Chat, they say that the stated update in this post is not true. current customers do not get %50 off for upgrading to the MJ+. They also say you can’t credit any current subscription they up sold you to the new service. I’ve been using MJ for years but it might be time to switch to netTalk instead. 

  3. “Their international rates are not that great”.  You mean they’re small, and that would be “Good”.

    “It was always 19.95 before, now it will be $29.95.”  You can buy five years at $19.95/year.

  4. How can I port my home number over to MagicJack service? When do I do that? During registration, there is no option to do so. Only have options to choose Vanity number or not.

  5. Should be able to — but might not!  I’ve been round and round with MJ techs becase when I try to port my Verizon Fios number I get a message saying it can’t be ported and to try sometime in the future and MJ says there’s nothing they can do about it — one tech says it’s because too many customers signed on in my area while another says some numbers can’t be ported and he doesn’t know why.

  6. I bought one of these at Radio Shack- and returned it the same day. The Wifi feature was completely non-functional, and the unit had an incredibly loud ‘Transformer Hum” when it was plugged into the power adapter. I have the original device that has worked quite well for more than 2 years. I was very surprised that the MJ Plus was so lousy. Also- the Radio Shack personnel stated that I would be able to transfer the 5 year plan that I had purchased for the original MJ to the Plus: this was not true.

  7. Are there two diferent  USB s to conect too power mdul ie europ canada united states.  I ive in the U.S.

  8. this MAGICJACK PLUS SUCKS it never works the plug in addopter does not transmit the internet unless you jiggle the cable contently and also the calls keep droping i have one for my computer but i can”t be on the computer and the same time i”m talking on the magic jack 2 magic jacks and very poor quality for the price.((cust, ralph lopez))

  9. this MAGICJACK PLUS SUCKS it never works the plug in addopter does not transmit the internet unless you jiggle the cable constently and also the calls keep droping i have one for my computer but i can”t navigate  the computer at the same time i”m talking on the magic jack 2 magic jacks and very poor quality for the price people sound like robbots.((cust, ralph lopez))

  10. *** DANGER *** If you have regular MJ and then upgrade to MJ Plus you WILL NOT get 911 service with the new device.   MJ will not do anything about it.  I made the mistake of porting my home phone number to the new device (from the old) and several months later had an actual need for 911.  I’ve since contacted MJ and was told to go fly a kite.  They can’t / won’t change the 911 service to the PLUS nor will they refund the new device since it is more than 30 days.  I would have NEVER made this move had I known this was going to be the case.  It was never noted, especially when the new PLUS product was being pushed heavily by MJ.  If anyone knows which government agency oversees this stuff the information would be helpful as I intend to pursue the issue.  Bottom line BEWARE!!! 

  11. says in the ad that your card won’t be charged until you have had the device on trial for 31 days but if you go through the application it says on the last page that your card will be charged the same day you are completeing the application. Then they leave no method of backing out once you have reached the last page of the application. lieing bloodsucking bastards!!!

  12.  I’m using Magicjack Plus for about 1 month, it’s connected to the
    wireless router. I discontinued the regular phone line ($20/month). There were small
    issues when connecting Magicjack Plus and were promptly resolved thru chat. Thru
    Magicjack Plus sound is not very good and often when on call the sound
    disappears and had to redial. I use Magicjack mostly for inbound calls,
    for calls out I use Skype which sound is superior and the combination of
    the two works for me.  Skype to phone no. costs $30/year, the same as Magicjack. I couldn’t port my old phone no.(in Canada) and had to pick another local no. which is fine.

  13. I don’t get it.  This post is titled “MAGIC JACK PLUS REVIEW – NOW WITH NO COMPUTER REQUIRED”.   Reading down, it still says you need to plug it into your computer or router to work.  I have no computer or router, so how can it work ? 

  14. There is no computer required, after you have installed and set-up the device. In other words, your computer doesn’t have to be connected to it for it to operate

  15. What about faxing with MagicJack – new phone number: with or without computer? How is that done?

  16. What about faxing with MagicJack – new phone number: with or without computer? How is that done?

  17. hello I had the same problem today. so I had a chat with them and they helped me fix that. so here is what they told me to do, I had to log in my magic jack account click on phone numbers tab. in the magic Jack and magic Jack PLUS devices: if your old magic jack is using the same phone number that was port it to your new plus that’s why 911 not working, change the old magic jack to a different free phone number. then it will save click on the Call Features tab then click 911 you should see
    Address (click drop-down to change 911 address)
    911 Status a.. on the magic jack plus click to change address or add your Address and it will save and that’s all… You will see 911 Pending after that’s clear it should work. I hope this helps 🙂
    sorry about my writing

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