MagicApp Review: Free Calls to the United States and Canada

Free Calls to the United States and Canada

Woman making call on smartphone
Making free calls. Atsushi Yamada/Taxi Japan/Getty

MagicApp for Android and iOS is a VoIP app that allows you to make free calls to other users of the MagicJack service, which are not many but also to make free calls to the United States and Canada. It also gives you a second phone number of your choice with the Premium plan. Calls are cheap over VoIP to other phones worldwide, but the rates are worth considering only for certain destinations. 

The Service Behind

MagicApp is the app released by MagicJack for iOS and Android mobile devices. Some years back, MagicJack came on the market along with the VoIP wave and offered free phone calls to any number in the United States in Canada. However, the inconvenience was that you needed to buy a pen-drive like device (it was cheap) and have it plugged to your computer and your Internet modem or router to work. Now, they have come up with a new device called MagicJack Express that does not need a computer and works in a way similar to Ooma. This app is the extension of that service on mobile services, and it is a bold business move from them. 

Installation and Interface

You can download and install the app for free on your device, provided it runs iOS and Android in their latest versions. There is no app yet for other platforms. Installing the app is very easy and straightforward. If you have apps like WhatsApp and Viber then this one should be quicker since it is easier. It recognizes you through an email address and not your phone number. So you can use it on devices like tablet PCs on which you may not have SIM cards. You enter an email address and confirm by opening an email they send to you. 

The Interface is quite nice, with clean and straightforward tabs for contacts, dialing, recent calls and messages. The contact list synchronizes automatically with the contacts on your phone, and any MagicJack user is automatically identified. 

The interface is particularly slow especially all the things it loads take time. The app is not only quite bulky when loaded and ran, but it also consumes a relatively higher amount of battery juice, even when not running. There is a bunch of communication apps that have this problem, like the Facebook app and its Messenger. It occurs most probably with some inefficient management of push notifications and other stuff related to listening to communication events while in the background, thereby eating up battery power. 

The Cost

The app is free to download and use. You even get a free magic number with it, which is a special number that starts and ends with an asterisk, and that can be used to make and receive calls to and from other MagicApp and MagicJack users. It is a means of identifying you on their number. What else is free?

MagicApp allows you to make unlimited free calls to the US and Canada. The calls we made, even from outside of the US, are clear and crisp. So this app is one of the many interesting ones you can consider for calling for free to North America. Of course, to be able to make these calls, you need to use your WiFi connection or mobile data plan. 

Are also free and unlimited the calls you make to other MagicApp and MagicJack users wherever they are all around the world. This is a feature that runs common among nearly all VoIP calling apps for smartphones and computers. If you have a MagicJack device and run the app on your smartphone, both devices will ring at the same time upon an incoming call. 

You can also make paid calls for other numbers worldwide, at cheap VoIP rates. Well, cheap when compared to the high cost of traditional telephony, and considering only some destinations. But on the VoIP market, MagicApp's rates aren't the best, although quite typical for its kind. Some destinations are just not worth it. It gets quite expensive, some up to half a dollar for a minute. Others have rates that go as low as 3 cents a minute. India is one example. France and the UK carry a cost of around 10 cents per minute and are too expensive for what they are as destinations, compared to what other services offer. 

Then there is the premium plan, which costs around ten dollars a year. This plan allows you to obtain a US number that you can use with your app. You can also choose to port any number of your choice to the service. This way, when you can for free or for cheap using the app, you appear as yourself in your correspondent's phone and not an unknown number. You can also allow other people to call you for free on your MagicApp number over traditional lines. The premium plan also gets you unlimited text messaging to any US number, but this is not worth a big deal. You also get some features like caller ID, call forwarding and some others. 

Bottom Line

MagicApp is a nice app, well designed, and has a good service behind. Should you install it on your mobile device? Not if you don't live in the US or Canada, or if you have to talk to people there regularly. Free calling to these places is the one thing that, according to me, makes this app worth having, despite the other features. The cheap calls are not the cheapest on the market, the app consumes battery and resources, and competitors like WhatsApp and Skype are way forward in terms of availability of contacts and number of users.