Test driving the Ooma Telo

0est driving the Ooma Telo

Ooma with OBI and

 

Ashton Kutcher: ooma

 

Skype

There was one compelling reason I wanted this device and service. It has an average of about 4.4 out of 5 stars, on both Amazon and Walmart websites. There are about three thousand entries at Amazon and about five hundred at Walmart. Both have excellent extended warranties – excellent and very inexpensive.

As long as I mentioned them, let me talk about pairing. I’m set up on both Google Voice (i.e. Google) and Skype (i.e. Microsoft). Both are backed by big technology companies. As a backup and supplement, I have Google Voice paired with an OBI device (i.e. OBI110, but they also make OBI202 and OBI110). There are a couple of points here:

  • With an OBI device, you can call out and receive calls, based upon your Google Voice number. You can also set up cheap E911 services. Look at the article entitled Calling 911 with an OBi. Callcentric is the better option, as the 911 calls are not limited.
  • Skype was rated in the top-ten tier. Look at the article 2013 Best VoIP Service Reviews and Comparisons . If you set Skype to forward to your Google Voice number, either Ooma (I.e Premier features) and the OBI device, can pick up the call. A Skype inbound number and unlimited outbound call subscription are great features for Wi-Fi spots.

Straight Talk Home Phone

I read about Straight Talk home phone on the Walmart website. It has a rating of 82 out of 100, based upon Walmart reviewers. It operates on the Verizon network. There are some drawbacks, according to Walmart reviewers:

  • Long waits for customer reps (I recommend just emailing them and letting them call you back).
  • Doesn’t work in all areas (i.e. you can test it by putting in a zip code and see if the area services it).
  • You can’t fax, operate with a security system, etc.

All well and good. I have an elderly parent staying with me. This provides a good backup system to Ooma and I can set it up on Google Voice. More in a future episode. I recommend getting the Walmart protection coverage and buying this at Walmart.

Back to Ooma

English: Boost Mobile store, 29230 Michigan Av...

English: Boost Mobile store, 29230 Michigan Avenue, Inkster, Michigan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For Ooma to be optimal, the Internet service and infrastructure (i.e. modem and router) must be sound. I have Comcast and I have done past speed tests against ATT and a mobile internet solution. Cable beat both hands down. I have both Ooma and OBI working behind a Linksys router.

The Ooma premier features are worth the extra money. You can get these cheaper by contacting customer service and subscribing in advance. I noticed a dramatic decline in junk calls. It’s probably due to the community list filters. You should register all US numbers with the national do not call registry.

If you buy anything at Amazon – like I did – go with the protection plan. POTS is now dead for me. I do have a Boost mobile cell phone. But the Ooma, OBI, Skype and Straight Talk under Google Voice, makes a great replacement. And the total cost is cheaper than a Comcast or ATT POTS phone solution.

An Ooma glitch?

I don’t know if this is a glitch with Ooma or the Vtech Dect 6.0 phones.  I tried to set up an Ooma number on Google Voice.  When I entered the number code asked by Google Voice, it didn’t recognize the Ooma input.  It took many attempts to hook the number up to Google Voice.  Perhaps I should visit their forum sometime?

And Obi devices?  I’m not sure about their future integration with Google Voice.  It depends on what Google does with Hangouts.  For now, I’ll look at Google Voice being an umbrella answering and screening system, which will tie together Ooma, Straight Talk, Boost Mobile and Skype.

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