Tech Thursday – Ooma Telo Internet Telephone
This is another review of a device I have owned for some time, and feel it's really worth the money I paid for it. Plus the fact the basic service is free, makes Ooma Telo a great replacement for a land line phone.
If you've seen the MagicJack commercials on TV advertising lower cost telephone service using your Internet connection, then you have a really good idea of what the Ooma service is. The Telo is just one of their products that gives you VoIP, Voice Over Internet Protocol. The Telo device itself is pretty simple. Plug it into your home network and connect a phone to it. Then you log on to the Ooma website to register your device and choose a phone number. Depending on your area, you could get a local number in your town, or if available, you could also have your existing phone number ported to your Ooma service so you don't have to remember a new phone number.
Once you have your device up and running you can start to make calls to anywhere in the U.S. for free. International calls require you to add funds to your Ooma account, but calls to most countries are pennies a minute. When I call my sister living in New Zealand, it only costs $.03 a minute.
The call quality to regualr phones still on the land lines are the same quality as before, simply because you're using the copper wires on the poles to complete the call. But calls to other Ooma users are very clear. They sould like they are almost in the same room as you.
The Ooma Telo device itself supports Dect 6.0. There is also an optional Ooma Handset that is Dect 6.0 that gives a couple of neat features, like taking your address book from your computer and loading it up on the handset. You also get voicemail and can manage account setting online as well as see a log of your calls. Plus you get call waiting and caller id like all the other phone services out there. All that is part of the basic package.
The Premeire, which will cost you a few bucks a month gives you a host of other options. Voicemail to text, voicemail forwarding, Do not Disturb and instant second line. Handy if you have a chatty child and need to return a phone call.
All in all, it's a pretty decent device, with a couple draw backs. There have been a few times that service wasn't that great. Loss of data causes the phone call to be come broken up. And if you use your Internet account for downloads or something bandwidth heavy, you could run into problems with getting in a call or getting one out till that is resolved. Usually when that happens to me, I just hang up and redial and that does the trick. Also, since this is a virtual phone for all intents and purposes, you need to make sure your 911 address is correct on your account, so if you do call for help, your info shows on the emergency services end.
Other than those things, I have enjoyed using it and for the price, is not a bad replacement for a regular phone if you're looking to save some money.