Ooma Telo: The Anti-MagicJack

By  |  Tuesday, November 16, 2010 at 4:44 pm

Last Gadget Standing Nominee: Ooma Telo

Price: $249.99

Ooma may be a VoIP system, but it’s got a spin that doesn’t bear much resemblance to something like MagicJack. It’s built around a classy-looking box which you plug into a telephone and your home network. Calls are in what the Ooma folks call “high definition” quality. Once you’ve paid for the device, US calling is free (a $9.99/month upgrade, Ooma Premier, adds features such as call forwarding, simultaneous ringing, and a second line). And options let you use your cell phone with the Ooma box or use your iPhone with an Ooma number over any 3G or Wi-Fi network.

Other VoIP options such as Vonage don’t involve a big-ticket piece of hardware, but do require monthly charges–Vonage is $25.99 a month. The Ooma folks are hoping that you’ll do the math and decide it makes sense to pay up front for the hardware. Is anyone reading this an Ooma customer?



30 Comments For This Post

  1. Brett Schulte Says:

    Isn't Ashton the money behind this?

  2. davezatz Says:

    Ashton hasn't been involved in like forever. They've had significant management changes.

  3. @gglockner Says:

    Happy Ooma customer. Been using it for a year. The initial release of the Telo hardware had firmware issues

  4. @gglockner Says:

    but that's long since resolved. (sorry for splitting that)

  5. John Says:

    I received my Ooma as a christmas gift. Just think of that… I got free calling for as long as the device shall live as a Christmas present. What an awesome present!

    It took some setup with my firewall so that I didn't have to make it the backbone of my network (I run a sonicwall so thats likely more involved than most will need to deal with). And I got 6 months of the premier service for free, which I absolutely loved. (I ditched the premier though and its still more functional as the $15/month

    I think it is so compelling I have been dolling them out to others as gifts. My mother-in-law in mexico has one now so she can call the US free!!!

    Harry, if you haven't considered this yet and you are looking for phone service in your house, this really is a viable alternative to the cable or phone companies.

  6. Bill Baker Says:

    Been using the Ooma Telo for about a year. I actually use a Google Voice # that points to my Ooma Telo #. That way, I get some of the advanced Ooma features that they charge for (from Google Voice), but without paying the $10.00/month.

    Works fine for me, though occasionally there is some noticeable latency/echo.

  7. scott Says:

    I've had the Ooma Telo for a couple of months now. It's worked fine so far. I don't make a lot of calls, and I wanted to get rid of my land-line, but my family was concerned that I wouldn't have 911 service. With the Ooma, that problem's solved, and I should dave a lot of dosh.

  8. chris watts Says:

    I signed up with Ooma when they first came out. I've had ZERO major problems with it since I installed it. I did have a minor issue with sound quality at the beginning- the customer service rep solved it in half an hour. I paid $250 for the box and dropped another $50 on international long distance credit ($28 left after two years of occasional use) and I haven't paid a dime since… well, since i upgraded my service to Premier. The upgrade came with a free 2nd number port (for an AWESOME number from Toktumi) and some features that are arguably superfluous but definitely fun.

    For me, it's been a great experience and a stellar bargain.

    Ooma's great. If it wasn't I'd say so.

  9. Heather Says:

    I have the older Ooma Core/Hub system and have been using it for more than a year. The service is great and it's perfect for users like me who don't use their home phone much but still like having it available. I recommend it to anyone who is using any other VOIP service.

  10. Robert Says:

    I've had my Ooma Telo since June 2010. I do like it as it you can't beat the price/feature ratio for a local phone.

    I do like the Ooma Telo device. As an "answering machine" you can play, save, delete voicemail directly from the device. I do pay for Premium service and like the emails with voicemails attached, call forwarding to my mobile (when my internet goes down), and other services.

    However, I do have issues when using the service. When calling "long-distance" there can be up to a 2-3 second delay. It doesn't always happen, but it gets very annoying "talking over" each other (if you both start talking at the same time). Many times, when calling smaller markets like where my parents live, I will get "cannot connect at this time" errors. I end up resorting to use my mobile phone to call them…

  11. Karl Says:

    I'm very satisfied as well. Service and quality are great. I have web access to voicemail, the ability to block specific callers, and I have have a text message or email sent to me when someone calls or leaves a message.

    Once, I had some outage problems with my internet provider, but it didn't affect me much because I easily had ooma forward calls to my cell phone during any internet outrage.

    I'm completely happy with Ooma and recommend it.

  12. Brad Says:

    Have had Ooma Telo for about 6 months. Voice latency is horrible. Think of what u experience when talking on a cell phone except 50 times worse. Other than that, it is awesome. Again though, voice lag is beyond atrocious.

  13. Stephen Says:

    I've been using Ooma for about a year. I did a price comparison with Vonage. Vonage costs much more when you add in their fees.

    I had a few hiccups with the Ooma Telo for about a month when I first installed it, but it's been running 100% ever since.

  14. Bryan Says:

    I have been using the Ooma hub and Scout for about 15 months and had no issues. Service has been great. Definitely recommend it.

  15. cevan Says:

    I have been using Ooma for about 6 months. I bought the hub and 1 handset. I have it as a bridge between my Comcast modem and Apple Airport Extreme router. I then connected a Sony cordless phone system with 3 satellite phones to it. Installation was seamless. I had a few service interruptions in the beginning which customer service immediately fixed. Voice quality is great on both ends. I love the 2nd number feature since I have 4 children in the house 3 of which are teen girls. Considering that you pay nothing for the service, I have no complaints. Good-bye forever to that $70 per month home phone bill. If Ooma gets there mobile app up to speed it's good bye to my $$$.$$ cell phone bill.

  16. Ken Says:

    I have been a user for 1.5 years. great product. i haven't missed my monthly phone bill at all!!

  17. @nc10 Says:

    Currently, its not really "free", you have to pay a few dollars monthly with the new telo system, to cover taxes/fees. http://www3.ooma.com/tax_calculator.php

    I have the older ooma core/hub system (which truly is free), and find that it works ok. Voice lag isn't too bad, but it is a noticeable problem, which seems to be worse when you receive calls from cell phones. I think the quality is acceptable. Porting your old number costs $40 (also included with the premier option), which is an important feature for many potential customers. If you are considering dropping your land line, to save money, but want to keep your old number, Ooma is a good choice. Most people will find it only takes 4-6 momths to save enough to cover Ooma's up front cost.

  18. TechTeachToo Says:

    I purchased the basic Ooma a month or two ago and have been very pleased. Easy install, faint latency on some calls but I’d recommend it to anyone.

  19. Janice Says:

    I am a happy Ooma customer for about a month now, my 1st # just ported over a few days ago. I am saving about $100.00 a month.

  20. SeanT Says:

    I have ooma telo. Voice is great as long as you don"t need to fax. ooma support will tel you fax is best effort. Best Effort… What kind of BS is that. I nave needed to keep my vonage line to fax. If you need to fax go Vonage. Voice only… ooma is great.

  21. SusanH Says:

    What do people do for faxing – both sending & receiving? With Oomla are you able to plug in a fax machine?
    Currently I have a Qwest landline which is a "placeholder" or backup line, but it's too expensive; then this allows having a 2nd landline & paying a modest amount for that with unlimited long distance which I dedicate for fax. What do people suggest for running a business from home?
    Comcast is my internet provider.

  22. Michael Says:

    I've had Ooma for over 4 years and fax all the time. Dial *99 (pause) then fax number and my Brother MFC-465CN fax works great. Hope this may help. (make sure the ooma device is connected to your internet before any other device (like computer, etc) or it can't prioritize packets.)

  23. Michael Says:

    Had mine since inception of product. Paid over $400 for hub. When Ooma reduced the price on their hardware they made me a premier member for life. I haven't paid for telephone service in over 4 years. Ooma rocks!!

  24. guest Says:

    I have had OOMA for over a year; – – no complaints; riding in on backbone of AT&T U-verse, excellent sound quality both ways.

  25. Eddie Says:

    I've had my Ooma Telo for about a month. Installation was easy and call quality actually improved over my 60 year old house telephone wiring. No more line static!

    I've been following the Ooma forums for the past month and it appear to me that when people have issues with the quality of the calls, they either have a slow broadband connection or did not follow the recommended Ooma configuration. This configuration places the Ooma box between your internet cable/DLS modem and your home router.

  26. Lou Jacob Says:

    Funny, I can't get our FAX machine (Samsung 4826) to work at all with our Vonage. Getting ready to dump Vonage (after over 5 years) for an OOMA TELO. Should have done it long ago, but I hope it works out.

  27. Jerry A Says:

    We've had an Ooma Telo for one year. The call quality ranges from usually excellent to sometimes mediocre due to cellphone-like delays. The hardware works very well and was easy to set up. I have the Telo feeding dial tone throughout my whole house using my regular wiring and telephones. The only down time has been when my internet service is out, which is quite rare. We have basic inexpensive 1Mb DSL with one router, nothing fancy, so you don't need a high tech setup to use this service.

  28. Anna M. Says:

    I have had serious problems with Ooma. The call quality is often very strange with computer-like glitch sounds during which they can't hear me and I can't hear them. It's embarrassing because we use this for business (trying to cut costs).
    Also, forget faxing. Believe me, we have a tired everything suggested, *99, *99 then pause, *99 and then the number without a 1 before it, changing the speed and a host of other very technical suggestions. Nothing has worked. Since we fax a lot, Ooma has proved a waste of money for us. I am very disappointed. If they marketed it as just for calls, we would not have purchased it but for that purpose alone, I guess it's a good deal.

  29. Jon Says:

    Ooma is refusing to activate a Telo I purchased from a (historically reliable) eBay seller. Beware purchasing outside Ooma's "authorized retail" channels, or you'll be left with an unusable purchase. Their customer service staff actually told me to return it and repurchase from an approved channel. This is a ridiculous policy for any company trying to grow a customer base, and it caused me a giant hassle.

  30. Gary Says:

    I have 7 phones in my home plus a Fax machine. . Does Ooma work with the extra phones ? The fax? Do I have to buy extra devices? Does my PC have to be running to receive calls? Can I surf the web while making or receiving a phone call? Can someone enlighten me.