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Review: NetTALK Duo Wi-Fi VOIP system

- February 18th, 2013

DuoWifi

There doesn’t seem to be a shortage of phone lines in my household but truth being told, with Skype, Facetime and my iPhone readily available, I hardly use them. While I’m not sure I’m ready to totally cut out the cord, it would be nice to find a way to cut down some of those monthly expenses.

So I thought I would checkout the NetTALK DUO Wi-Fi VOIP (Voice-Over-Internet Protocol) System.  It’s an out of the box solution that retails for $74.95; it includes an adapter, a free Canadian phone number and extendable one-year of service, which after 12 months is $39.95CDN per year (multi-year discounts are available).  It allows you to hook up a standard telephone handset to make calls and even send faxes via the Internet. It’s flexible allowing you to connect to the Internet three ways; through your computer, router or anywhere you have a Wi-Fi connection.

duoConnect

It offers a number of features you’d expect to get from your phone company and they’re all included free with the NetTALK service. The obvious ones are Call Waiting, Caller ID, Call Forwarding and Voicemail. Visual Voicemail is also available as messages can be sent to your email address and you can listen to them while on the fly. You also get 3-way calling allowing you to add a 3rd person to a call or for a conference call for up to 20 people, you get a dedicated number – likely a 305 area code number, and a pin number access code.

 

Enhanced Services

411 directory services is also included and Enhanced 911 service, which is configured by supplying your physical address during the activation process.

Two new features that have been recently added are Call Blocking and Caller ID Blocking. Call Blocking allows you to “blacklist” a phone number, like from some of those annoying telemarketers so if they call you from a given number, they will get a busy signal.  Caller ID Blocking enables you to suppress your number when making calls for added privacy

Long Distance & Text Plans

You can make calls anywhere to the US and Canada and optionally you can add low-cost international call rate plans add-ons to 60+ countries starting at $10/month.

Calls between two Duo numbers are also free.

NetTalk app

Text Plans are available for only $40 per year. It gives you the ability to send and receive text messages using your Duo phone number through a free downloadable app via compatible iOS, and Android devices and Kindle Fire.

Set-Up

Setup can be fairly easy. The Duo has an Ethernet and phone port on one end while on the other end is a micro-USB connector, which allows you to power the device from either a USB or AC adapter (both supplied).

A card with login information including initial User Name and Password along with the unit’s serial number and MAC address located right inside the box gives you a quick start. It also includes a link to the activation portal. Now I did say the setup can be easy. Remember there are three ways to connect; you can configure your setup automatically or manually and depending on whether you are using a Mac or PC. For Windows/XP/Vista/7 users, there’s a configuration tool. I did find myself a little confused at first. I eventually configured the device by hooking up to my router. My suggestion – don’t be a hero, read the manual and setup instructions. There is an FAQ and a number of videos online to guide you. You might just discover as I did that you can get your system’s IP address by pressing *41# on your phone. Who knew?

If you really get stuck, there’s an (PC/Mac) app you can download to get the folks at NetTALK to configure it for you. Live toll-free technical support is also available seven days a week, but only during selected business hours.

You can also select to assign your phone to a number with any Canadian area code. In fact something new in the last month is the ability, for a fee, for Canadians to port their existing numbers over to NetTALK. (Of course there may be some restrictions, but the online portability checker can confirm).

NetTALK is very similar to MagicJack. The latter, although a little cheaper, does not have Wi-Fi capability nor does it support faxing. Comparing it to Skype OUT, which runs about $3/month, it’s nice not to have to pay extra for a phone number nor do you need a specialized phone to use it.

Line Quality

As for call quality, I used 2 identical Panasonic DECT 6.0 cordless handsets to make calls from both my landline and NetTalk. While the NetTalk was quite clear, it wasn’t always as crisp and prominent as the landline – perhaps much more similar to cellphone quality. With heavy bandwidth use, I also discovered some degradation in call quality. I also experienced occasional tininess. I did have the odd dropped call and had to do a reset, but for the most part the experience was quite acceptable.

NetTalk POrt

Likes

What I like about the NetTALK is that you can get a phone line for a mere fraction of what it would cost through a traditional phone company.  NetTALK provides long distance and many other features as standard while those same features are “extras” elsewhere. I like that you can assign any Canadian area code and the ability to port your existing phone number is a bonus.  Another plus is the ability to use any standard handset, connect wherever you have Wi-Fi and call forward your phone to multiple numbers in a priority sequence, ensuring that you can be found, somewhere.

Challenges

As for who would cut the cord completely, it might work for some, but not others. There may be an issue for those who have an alarm system that relies on a traditional landline.  The NetTALK adapter relies on the Internet and external power so if the Internet is down or power goes out and you have no battery backup, you have no phone. While voicemail is flexible, it is only kept for 30 days and I have not been able to find a way to illuminate my voicemail-waiting indicator.

Finally, live technical support has limited hours and wait time in the queue can be a bit long. Of course you need to keep in mind you’re not paying for a traditional phone company’s infrastructure either.

Personally, for an initial investment of about $75 (or less) and $40 a year thereafter, I think this product has huge value and is ideal for someone who can overlook its shortcomings. This might be someone who hardly uses or doesn’t rely on his or her landline for an alarm system. It seems well suited to replace secondary lines, especially a kid’s line or fax line and it’s an even cheaper solution for those who use SmartRing (two phone numbers on one line).

It’s available with a 30-day money back guarantee and can be found through many of your favorite retailers such as London Drugs, Best Buy & Future Shop as well as Staples and Amazon.ca. For more info visit NetTALK.ca.

FREE TEXT for a year

During the month of February, NetTALK is offering a free unlimited netTALK Text Plan for a year with a Duo purchase. Use code LOVE2013 when registering your device.

Rating: 3.8 / 5

Photos courtesy NetTALK. 

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Greg Gazin is the Real Canadian Gadget Guy.

Follow me on Twitter @gadgetgreg or Empire Avenue (e)GADGET1.

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123 comments

  1. Darlene Dreams | April 8, 2014 at 9:35 am

    Nettalk sucks – I had mine for two weeks and it quit working, it has now been three months of trying to get support for it, and it still isn’t working. I work the hours they have support, and you have to be at your computer when they call. I arranged for them to call me at the beginning of their open hours to catch me before I had to leave for work, but the one time they did call it was an hour too late.
    Now I am so pissed with this piece of junk I am just going to go get something else that actually works.
    Check support and customer service on what you buy, it is definitely worth paying a bit more to avoid the headaches

  2. Melissa | April 22, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    THEY TOTALLY SUCK!!!!!! I can not get anyone on the phone. They took money out of my bank account & I have NO CLUE WHY THEY STOLE MONEY FROM ME. I DO NOT have service with this company!!!! WORST COMPANY EVER!!!! NO CUSTOMER SERVICE WHATS SO EVER!!!! THEY SUCK!!

  3. Melissa | April 22, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    OH AND I WANT MY FREAKING MONEY BACK!!!!! NOW!!!

  4. Warning - Do not buy | May 15, 2014 at 9:11 am

    The promise is great, nearly free phone through internet with this device. When it works it is great, but if you have any problems [...]… My phone has not been working now for over 2 months, and I can’t get it fixed. There is no way for me to get back my money that I put in my Nettalk account to cover long distance calls.

  5. Don't do mistake !!! | May 15, 2014 at 10:04 am

    Don’t buy that device, don’t do mistake. NetTalk has no support at all. if you will have a problem, but you will have some kind of problem for sure, no one won’t help you there. They have support via online chat only from Monday to Friday between 10am and 4am only, not always replay back. No one to talk to. You will stay with your problems for long time and doesn’t matter if you have no phone line.

  6. NetTalk Customer | June 9, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    NetTalk has no support at all !!!
    Never get close to the NetTalk, after 3 months trying to get support, I’ve returned the device back to best buy and got my money back, they know about NetTalk support issues.

  7. NetTalk Customer | July 15, 2014 at 11:46 am

    I guess they do not have a support team at all .. May be no humans as well .. Because each time i tried to reach an associate on, i just got a message “There are currently 24 people ahead of you in the queue”, and then at 30th minute the chat got auto-disconnected … No result.. Waste of money… Waste of time …

  8. Abdul Qureshi | July 17, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    I used this device and port my home number, few days ago, I annual subs. expired so I paid the fee but my phone was not working, I contact with help desk using online chatting, I surprised and shocked, they told me you exceed 1500 minutes last month so it is now blocked and will restore on 1st of coming month. If this the issue, Why they advertise as FREE Canada / US,, it’s not free then, If I will use it home purpose.. Any way, I am seriously thinking porting my no. some other good service. I bought another Netalk, but luckily I did not open that package.

  9. Junior | July 27, 2014 at 10:03 am

    Hey, if you dont want more problems in your life dont buy that product. the Nettalk customer service is garbage, I bought one 3 months ago and it worked for 1 months now I lost my money because the dont replay to the emails or online chat. that company is a fraud.

  10. Paul | July 28, 2014 at 9:13 pm

    It’s a neat concept and the price is right as long as the device works. When it periodically stops working (and it does) it is impossible to reach customer service (by phone or ticket) to resolve the problem. If you’re willing to put up with MANY bumps along the way and spurts of time being without a phone, then this device is OK. However if you depend on your land line, don’t bother.

  11. MYron Lasch | August 1, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    The people who comented on the nettalk phone system what abot the WIFI model I am sure all the people with negative reviews used the standard model any reviews on the wifi model

  12. Francois | September 6, 2014 at 9:18 pm

    Just to let people know. I use a competitor, its called Freephoneline.ca . I combined it with an adapter that I can plug my normal phones in. It’s a Spa2102 (from a company known for making router). While the service is free, there is an initial cost for having access to personalized settings (used to make it work with the VoIP adapter) and also for porting your existing number. It is better for the tech savvy, but it worked for me, its the line I use at home. Check it out for yourselves. (There is also a paid plan to have access to tech support, wich is around 5$ per month.)

  13. Vick Sing | October 20, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    Stay away from Nettalk. Their customer service is HORRIBLE. I have been trying to get to tech help for about 2 weeks now. No phone number to call, Internet chat line takes hours and then they cut you off.

  14. YAKOUT SHALABY | October 26, 2014 at 9:25 am

    26 October 2014
    I HAVE NETALK HOME PHONE 2899140047 ALMOST DEAD ALL TIME WE HAVE TO DISCOEECT AND RECONNECT THE INTERNET LINE TO GET ALIVE FOR 30 MINUTES AND KEEP DOING THAT ALL THE TIME, WE KNOW SOME OR ALL ONES CALLED OUR DEAD PHONE BY EMAIL.
    HOW CAN YOU MAKE YOUR GARBAGE NETALK PHONE WORKING AS DECENT HONEST PHONE COMPANIES WITHOUT DISCONNECTING AND RECONNECTING THE NETLINE
    WILL NEVER RECOMMEND YOU AS YOU ARE REAL LOW QUALITY DISHONEST PHONE COMPANY WITH FAILURE CUSTOMER SERVICE POLICY, YOU GOT THE MONEY AND WE GET YOU BS DEAD PHONE. NO ONE SHOULD DO THE MISTAKE WE DID AND GET THAT PIECE OF NETALK GARBAGE PHONE FROM DISHONEST NETALK COMPANY OR ITS REAL NAME IS NOW NOT TALK GARBAGE PHONE.

  15. Sam Baidya | October 26, 2014 at 10:59 pm

    I bought Nettalk Duo from Walmart in Toronto ,as if it did not work I can return in 15 days. It worked pretty well, installation was easy for me although I am a senior. I paid $59.99 + Taxes in Canadian dollars that includes one year’s service. I had only few dropped calls but most of the time people say they can hear me clearly. I also make international calls, working well so far. But tried to use it thru wifi system of a hotel using my laptop, it worked but I could not hear clearly at all. I noticed it will work well with high speed internet and I have Rogers High speed Internet at home. Fax usage worked. I was able to send fax. Voice mail comes thru e-mail. So I cancelled Bell Canada land line ($57.99 month) and now paying $39.99 a year. and saving about $55.00 a month. 911 checked out, it worked. I think high speed internet is the reason I am doing clear phone conversations over this NETTalk. If someone has high speed internet,try it 15 days and then return. Do not cut your land line until you are getting clear reception. I can take land line again anytime, in the meantime I am saving $55.00 every month.
    Hey every body has a mobile phone too-so you are never without a phone, if net talk fails sometime.
    Oct/26/2014

  16. Billy | November 1, 2014 at 9:35 pm

    I bought a nettalk duo wi-fi to which I port my home number. I wanted to keep that number. I really regret it. This nettalk is a real piece of garbage. It does not work good at all. Sometimes I am trying to place a call and I can not. I get a message like this number is unavailable when the number is a good one. I also bought the SMS plan for a year. Not working neither. I also download th nettalk app and I can not make calls when I already have a device with nettak. Magic jack is much better, it work fine, much better than nettalk, with the magic jack app I can make calls for free. Very good device.

  17. Randy | November 6, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    Hi, I understand all of the negative comments about the Netalk service. I have had the Netalk service for 2 years now. When porting became available, I ported in my Telus landline number. I guess that I’m a very lucky user of this service. I have Telus high speed AND fibre optic right to my house. In the Summer of 2014 Telus called us and said that they would come and re wire the whole house with Fibre. What a difference it made! The Netalk number works great with fibre!

  18. Jan V | November 12, 2014 at 11:13 am

    I have NetTalk DUO and have not been able to use it for the past 2 1/2 weeks. Calls/chat/emails to NetTalk go unanswered. Do not buy this, you’re wasting your time and money.

  19. Sammy | November 15, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    Thanks guys. I just bought this device yesterday and came across this blog. After reading all the messages which is 99% Negative, I am scared and going to return it today instead of taking chances. One thing is sure that they don’t have tech support regardless of it will work or not.

  20. Sammy | November 15, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    By the way, any body know if I can get this device activated in any other country(like UK, France, India, China, or Sri Lanka) and use it locally other than Canada and USA? Please let me know. Thanks.

  21. Mona | November 26, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    I have a question please. I purchased the nettalk duo wifif a week ago. Everything is ok so far with a good voice quality. But when calling a cell phone, the call lasts for 15 minutes only. So I have to call this cell number every 15 minutes. This problem occurs only when calling a cell phone. I will appreciate anybody’s feed back about this.

  22. zonethier | December 2, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    Long distance calls to a specific landline number always stops after 15 minutes : haven’t seen any explanation yet. Voice usually good except at times, when Internet signal lowers with high usage.

  23. Dot Dallaire | December 4, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    I purchased the netTalk device and did all of the set up and got a dial tone – temporarily!! I tried for 10 days to get a response from customer service w/no luck. I have already set up automatic payment and now I am concerned that they will try to bill me for an item that I am not going to use! I called whatever phone numbers I could find to only get a recording and no option to speak w/a real person or leave a message. Going to the bank to stop any activity from them! Switching to MagicJack.

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