Gadgets 273

Published on December 23rd, 2008 | by Greg


Cut Your Phone Bills With Ooma

We confess- we didn’t have a landline. It just doesn’t seem worth it, since we use our cell phones everywhere.

Thanks to Ooma, we don’t need to worry about the terrible cell signal in the office. Their Core VoIP Phone System frees you from phone bills- call anywhere in the United States, anytime, at no cost. They system uses your internet, and requires high-speed internet access and some technical knowledge for the initial setup- but very little beyond that. You get caller-ID, voicemail, and call waiting for free, can chose your new number from any region in the US, and can even keep your existing number for a $40 charge. The Premier service costs an extra $100 a year but offers more features, like a second line, custom rings, voicemail forwarding, and conference calling. A trial of the Premier service is included in the basic package as well. And because you register your address, Ooma does offer enhanced 911 service.

The included Hub and Scout units look pretty nice, aren’t too bulky, and plug directly into your existing telephone set, your router or cable/DSL modem, and power outlets. We found call quality to be on par with landlines for most calls, with little of the unreliability we’ve found with free services like Skype. Of course, your connection speed and network setup matter, and those without high-speed internet would be unable to use this device. Also, the company warns that the device is for personal use only, and that faxes should be used through the Hub (rather than the Scout)

For $220, this is a great purchase that can save heavy phone users a lot of money- even up to several times the price of the device within a couple of years. The only issue we could see was if Ooma went out of business- but they’ve been consistently improving the device, and offer strong support and a growing list of features. No more phone company hassles? Sign us up.

About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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