The Magic Jack was the best known among the USB dongles that helps in making inexpensive telephone calls. This was possible due to the virtue of its TV commercials. The recent netTalk duo is another USB dongle offering the same service and it is capable of challenging the Magic Jack’s supremacy. Similar to the magic HJack, the netTalk duo also employs the VoIP to help making the low cost long distance telephone calls. Unlike the magic Jack, the netTalk allows the users to connect a traditional handset directly to the router. The netTalk duo is available for a cost of $69.95 for a service of one year. Later on the users have to pay an annual subscription fee of $29.95. These rates may be high when compared to the magic Jack, but the features possessed by the netTalk make it more compelling.
The netTalk Duo measures only 3.7 x 1.1 x 1 inches in dimension and hence it looks like a tiny portable device and it weighs around 2 ounces only. The design looks good with a glossy black plastic material and a chrome plastic lining around the sharp edges. This chrome lining covers the flat side of the netTalk Duo. The curved design of the device and the manner in which the bottom and front are sloped are attractive. The netTalk Duo has three ports on it. There is a micro USB port on the curved front side while there is a standard telephone jack and an Ethernet jack on the flat side. The device has three LED lights on it such as a green power light in the front, a green light to the right to indicate the connection and a yellow light to the left of the Ethernet jack to indicate the internet connection.
Installation and Setup
The netTalk Duo connects directly to the router by the Ethernet or to a notebook by the USB and use the notebook’s Wi-Fi to connect to the internet. Both these connection methods are easy and take less time. The direct connection to the router was a cinch. It requires no installation process. The netTalk Duo is connected to the router by means of the Ethernet cable and the landline phone is connected to the telephone port. The connection to the Wi-Fi using a laptop requires a quick installation of the netTalk driver software that is provided in the included disc.
The overall call quality was on par as the ones with the cell phones. It possessed a distant quality but the words were heard clearly. The calls that were made with the direct router connection possessed less background hiss than the calls that were made with the notebook connection. All the calls experienced occasional pops and there was interference of electronic sounds.
The netTalk Duo can also behave as a regular telephone line with its entire suite of useful features. These features include the call forwarding, three way calling, caller ID, 411 directory services, call waiting, enhanced 911 services and fax compatibility. It also supports the voice mail feature. It does not have a message inbox and the voice messages are sent to the user’s email address as a WAV file and they can be played or saved from there.
The netTalk Duo is great mainly because it can effectively replace the landline. The call quality of the device is not better than the one provided by the magic Jack, but the real capability of the netTalk Duo is that it can be used with the telephone at the home as well as with the laptop when in travel. It also offers a live technical support and provides excellent after sales service.