netTalk Duo is one of the best landlines money can buy

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netTalk Duo is one of the best landlines money can buy

by Blogger TeddyK on 09-30-2011 03:48 PM – last edited on 10-06-2011 12:54 PM



I realize the headline sounds a lot like an endorsement, and in some respects it is. I haven’t had a traditional landline in over a year now, mostly because I moved to a new place and used my cell phone and Skype to take care of calling needs, but with a netTalk Duo, I can have a landline for a full year at a cost of just $80 — with calls to all of Canada and the U.S. included.

The netTalk Duo is one of those utility devices that both small business owners and students would benefit from. The service offers up all of Canada and the U.S. gives you your own number (unfortunately, you can’t port your old landline number to it) and makes it easy to use when you travel, too.

VoIP dongles like this and the magicJack aren’t new, but in the past, they’ve been tied to a computer that must always be on. In the case of the Duo, it plugs right into the router, so it’s always on. Use it with a cordless phone setup with one base and a few phones, and you can cover a house quickly and cheaply.

You get voice mail, caller ID, call forwarding, and call waiting. Long distance calls to other countries are also at pretty competitive rates compared to other vendors. The Duo also offers free 411 service, and three-way calling can be initiated by pressing *46# during a call with another caller waiting.

The only requirements are a broadband connection with a minimum 128kbps upload rate, so dialup or satellite service in some rural areas might not be able to use this.

For whatever reason, the Duo driver can only be installed on a Windows PC, even though I could set up my account and phone number using Firefox on a Mac. You do have the option of choosing a phone number from a different area code, so if all your friends and family are in another city, you can make it easy for them to call you without paying long distance.

Aside from a router, the Duo also only works with a PC when plugged in directly, which is a big minus against it because there’s no Mac compatibility yet (though netTalk says it’s coming).

Call quality is consistently clear, and definitely better than what you would expect from a mobile phone.

And then there’s the cost. The Duo is an upfront cost of $79.99 that includes both the device and 12 months of service. Each additional year is a flat fee of $39.99.

Not a bad way to save a lot over the course of a year talking to anyone and everyone in two countries, right?