WichitaKS -

Can you really make all the long distance calls you want through your computer for just $40 a year or less?

Magic Jack claims you can can. And it says it's only $20 a year for the second year on.

We found a computer expert, Ben Sundine, to give it a try. The idea sounds easy: plug the Magic Jack into your USB port on your computer, plug a phone into the Magic Jack and start calling. 

It took a little more than that on the first use. After we downloaded some software, we had to pick a phone number.  That's where it got a little complicated.

Magic Jack only offers the "785" area code for Kansas. That means anyone who calls you from Wichita will have to make a long distance call to you.

And when Ben looked through the license agreement, he found a section that said Magic Jack didn't warranty anything it sold. That's despite its 30-day guarantee advertised on the website. That bothered him. But for the purpose of the test, we agreed to the terms.

Ben's first phone call was to my cell phone. It went through just fine and the quality of the call was clear.  However, there was a noticeable delay. When we were in the same room, it was very bothersome. But when I made a long distance call later, it wasn't noticeable at all.

Does It Work?

Ben says "yes," but he says he'd rather keep his home phone line for the quality of service he gets. He says that's worth the extra money to him. 

The only place we found to buy Magic Jack is through its website.