netTALK DUO Review BY TechnaPedia

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Review: netTALK DUO Canada

January 8, 2012Posted in: Household, Internet, Reviews

netTALK, a telecommunications company offering VoIP service in Canada since early 2011 has announced service expansion in Canada as of December 1, 2011 and has gone into full retail distribution through Amazon, Best Buy, Sears, Tiger Direct and Zellers. Standard service offers unlimited calls absolutely free for the first year when a netTALK DUO device is purchased for $79.95 and costs only $39.95 for each additional year with no long-term contracts. Features that would be expected like Caller ID, Call Forwarding, Call Waiting, Visual Voicemail, Conference Calling and Voicemail to Email are present. netTALK DUO is not dependant on a computer; however it has capability to either connect straight to a router or to a computer through USB which allows for service to be used in public areas where one would not have access to the router. Continue reading for the full review and remember that we are giving away two of these netTALK units to our Canadian Twitter followers.


The hardware is very simple and looks like a larger USB stick. One side will give you standard RJ11 telephone jack to connect your corded or cordless phone and RJ45 Ethernet jack to connect the device to your router. There is a power indicator light up top which also serves as notification LED in case there is something wrong with the service. Around the back there is standard mini-USB connector that can be connected to power outlet via included USB power adapter. The same connector can be used to connect netTALK DUO straight to the computer. Capability to connect to the computer eliminates the need for access to a router, which in most cases is not possible if you’re travelling. Lastly there is the reset button in case if your device is not responding and you need to kick it back into life – Remember, you can also reset the device by dialing *61. If there is anything we would like to see in the next version of the netTALK’s portable phone device is wall mounting holes on the back of the unit – As it is, my netTALK DUO is hanging behind my desk. Otherwise, perfect.


A host of features are available, mostly all standard expectation from any phone service. Caller ID, Call Waiting and Conference Calling all work well. Conference Calling didn’t add any kind of delay and sound quality was maintained, we only tested three parties in total. We found voicemail to be exceptionally good, you can change your greeting completely with no mention of netTALK or a computer’s voice once customized, which helps targeting business users – however, the best feature that we like is Voicemail to Email. Instant email notification was received on our test iPhone 4S along with attachment of the voicemail message. The message is compatible with iOS and plays with a single click. The message was also compressed heavily so unless you’re on a very small data plan, there are no worries. A typical 2 minutes message was around 40KB.

Call Quality

Call clarity surpassed what one would expect from a typical Rogers cell phone. A conversation was tested from a Rogers cell phone to a Bell landline, then from Rogers cell phone to a netTALK DUO user and experienced louder and crisper voice on netTALK DUO. We did experience some stutter a few times but that is only because the system goes through an internet line and internet bandwidth can fluctuate depending on how congested the connection is. In Toronto, internet is almost always congested and experience with netTALK was still 9.5 out of 10. We have yet to experience a dropped call or a failed call with close to 40 different 1-800 numbers dialed and all calls were completed without any issues. We tested voice delay with the netTALK DUO system, a small portion of the test is also included in the video above, and however, it sounds confusing testing something like this on camera, overall experience was next to nothing for delay when speaking with the other party in over 150-minutes of conversation so far. Listen to a brief test below.

Call Control

One feature-set that is missing is the capability to block a netTALK DUO number from showing up on receiver’s end. There is no code to block call display but we found something in FAQ’s that suggests calling technical support to request it. With this being limited there is also no way to mimic another phone number as the Call Display number – for example, I wanted to call a friend but not present my netTALK DUO number, instead present my cell phone number because I know he does not pick up calls from unknown numbers, I couldn’t speak with that friend. I couldn’t find an option to set number of seconds phone rings before it goes to voicemail, I wanted to setup my netTALK DUO for outbound calls only and wanted any incoming calls to directly get routed to netTALK’s voicemail system. The netTALK system needs to work on providing more call control but luckily these features don’t hinder almost anyone’s experience.

Smartphone App

netTALK provides Smartphone apps for all major platforms including iOS, Android, BlackBerry and even Windows Phone. We originally wanted to test iOS, Android and BlackBerry with our test hardware but only ended-up testing it on iOS. The app is great and it’s free, allows a user to make unlimited calls to anywhere in Canada and USA; however it does not allow for calls to come in. Essentially making Smartphone app to save on long-distance and local minutes but does not make a complete solution yet. This limitation is because the Smartphone app for any available platform is not associated with a netTALK DUO account. Call display number presented to the receiver is not your netTALK DUO number, hence limitation to just outbound calls. The app works well, quality is good and is definitely useful for someone who wants to test out quality of service without spending any money and save on long-distance. netTALK promises incoming capability soon and that will make netTALK an unbeatable service in its niche.


Ultimately netTALK service with or without the netTALK DUO device is a pleasing experience. The company provides phone support from Monday to Friday, which isn’t any better or worse than big phone companies in Canada, like Bell. Why would anyone want to pay upwards of fifty dollars for the same service. Currently, netTALK service can be used as a secondary phone line because number transfer or porting is not available, so you can’t port your current landline number to netTALK. And for people with no landline (take me for instance) who solely work with cell phones, our bills can be quite high because of usual long-distance charges netTALK service can be a big savings – one could also be more social with people we otherwise don’t call that often because of these high charges. First year free with purchase of the device at $79.95 isn’t bad at all, however $39.95 per year after the first year comes down to $3.30 per month and that is a huge difference in cost that would force one to seriously think about alternatives. netTALK DUO can be purchased from local stores like Best Buy, Zellers, Sears and Tiger Direct or online from all of these retailers as well as – of course you can win one of the two netTALK DUO we have available but you have to have a Twitter account for that, it is pretty simple though, re-tweet and win.

Final Score

Hardware:  9 out of 10
Features:  9.5 out of 10
Call Quality:  9.5 out of 10
Call Control:  7 out of 10
Smartphone App:  7 out of 10

Overall Score: 8.4 out of 10

Related posts:

  1. netTALK announces service in Canada
  2. Contest: Win a netTALK DUO with 1 year free service

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