Ooma Telo

 Should you make the Ooma Telo your new phone system?
Editor's Rating
4 stars
Pretty Cool
Average User Rating

Pretty Cool
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  • Pros:
  • Free US Phone Service
  • Sleek, modern looking box
  • Integrating answering machine
  • Can work in tandem with old phone line
  • Optional Premier Features
  • Cons:
  • Does have fees (annual taxes)
  • May get charged if not careful to cancel Premier trial
  • Plays Ooma tone when callee picks up
  • Features that are normally free are part of Premier
  • Questionable business model

The Bottom Line:
The Ooma Telo is not without its surprises and slight disappointments. We wish the annual taxes had been revealed before we bought the box, and that some of the desired features were available for free and not through Premier. However, with the chance to make back your initial investment with just 10 months of service, and with the high sound quality, we thought this was a pretty good buy

 
Let us know what's in that head of yours





Pros: saves so much money in the long run
* don't have to keep your computer on (like with Magic Jack)
* clear and consistent phone quality

Cons: * very poor customer service
* still havent been able to set up my incoming calls
* very difficult to route all of your phones through it...
* if you lose power, you will not have a phone line (meaning - no 911 calls in power outages!)
* if you don't route all your phone lines through it, you have to keep your phone near your cable modem / router

The Bottom Line: So far, I've been pretty satisfied with the Ooma. Outgoing calls are crystal clear, and I like having a landline (I was using just a cell phone beforehand)

HOwever, I have not been able to get any incoming calls. When I first noticed the problem, I went to the web site. Nothing in the FAQ. I then tried calling customer service. I heard "Press 1 for .... press 2 for...". It did not matter what number I pressed. Their touch-tone system did not work!!

I emailed customer service about this important issue (as I am using my Ooma for work!) and it took them several days to get back to me. They told me it was probably a firewall problem and asked a few questions. I responded to the questions, and a full business day later am waiting for a response.

I still gave it 3 stars because it is saving a lot of money over a landline and I'm assuming we will fix this incoming call issue (though I will update this post if not).

Oh - one more thing - don't rely on it solely for your 911 service... if you lose power or lose your cable/DSL, you will not have phone service at all. Not the safest, if you ask me.

UPDATE: After once again emailing the company about my lack of incoming service, I was called by a representative who said it had something to do with my phone service provider (or somthing like that) and that he would take care of it.

Within a couple of days, I was able to receive incoming calls.

Now, I am VERY happy with my ooma so far. The incoming caller ID works perfectly (UNIDEN cordless phone) and I am very happy.

Recommended: yes

R T does not own this product

by: R T
5/4/2010 4:59:41 PM
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Pros: Free domestic phone calls if the company lasts.

I timed the Tech Support hold time at 6 min on a Sunday morning.

Cons: Company could go out of business.

Hidden hardware needs premier service. They need an asterisk next to that feature stating the need for their hardware.

Telo headset has proprietary batteries.

Bottom Line: Something not covered in your review was the need to own a Telo headset in order to add an extra phone number. So you sign up for the premier service to get an extra line only to find it does not work unless you have a Telo headset. When you sign up for the premier service you are given an option to either receive a Telo headset for free, or get port forwarding for free. If you are like me, you will want to keep your home phone number. So of course you want free port forwarding, but then later you find out the you are still in need of their phone. Which by the way has gotten some bad reviews, and also has proprietary batteries. I know you have the free trial that "might" give you time to figure this out, but most people say it takes 3 to 4 weeks to complete the port forwarding.
So now how much money do you have wrapped up in hardware from a company that many speculate might not be able to stay in business. Why not just charge everyone 5 or 10 dollars a month to put us at ease?

Recommended: yes

babycody does not own this product

by: babycody
1/31/2010 1:57:43 PM
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That's annoying that you had to use the Telo handsets.

I think if you have home distribution set up, you do not need to use the telo handsets. However, that is not so simple for everyone to do - you need to then either disconnect your landline (from phone company) or have home phoen wiring that uses "two pairs cabling". They have info on their web site.

http://www.ooma.com/support/knowledgebase/distributing-ooma-dialtone-all-phone-jacks

I also thought - before reading this - that it would be easy to get all these features without having to purchase a special handset. There is always a catch.

Thanks for the info! I think its a very helpful addition :)


Infomercial Junkie does not own this product
by: Infomercial Junkie  
4/27/2010 9:29:51 AM
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Pros: Being able to call anyone, at any time, without having to pay a phone bill has been the best part. We don't know anyone out of the country so the fact that it doesn't work internationally was not an issue for us. It is easy to set up and simple to use. Plus, we were able to use our existing phones.

Cons: Getting our phone number changed over took a little longer but we are glad we waited for it rather than having to change our phone number. Sometimes calls are dropped but not very often.

Bottom Line: We have been using the Ooma for about 4 months now and couldn't be happier. It works as advertised and we are happy that we no longer have to pay a phone bill. The only issues we have had with it is that once in a while we lose a connection while talking to someone but it is not that often and is a minor issue for me. My parents also have been using the Ooma and they are the ones who convinced us to buy it. Best investment we have made and it paid for itself in about 4 months for us.

Recommended: yes

gardeneyes does not own this product

by: gardeneyes
1/9/2010 2:52:50 PM
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This reviewer is wrong about one thing: Ooma does allow international calling at very low VOIP rates, about 2-3 cents per minute for most countries. Their main web page advertises international calling.


anonymous coward owns this product
by: anonymous coward
8/20/2010 3:38:23 AM
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Product looks good but could not use. Customer care was terrible... I would use a diffrent product..   

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by: anonymous coward
1/31/2012 3:52:45 PM
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Is there any known SIP-ALG ViOP capability issues with modems like the Motorola SURFboard Gateway SBG6580 DOCSIS 3.0 Wireless Cable Modem?

Thanks,
  

anonymous coward does not own this product

by: anonymous coward
9/1/2011 1:21:11 PM
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will omma telo work with clear DSL?   

anonymous coward does not own this product

by: anonymous coward
2/20/2011 2:30:43 PM
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Does the Ooma have caller ID standard or is that part of the "premier" package?   

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by: anonymous coward
2/16/2011 10:49:16 AM
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You video review was great for me. First time looking into the type of phone your review answered most of the questions i have for this product. To get incoming calls is important to me as well so that is an issue.

How much would it be to call out of US or in Canada for example? Thank you.   

anonymous coward does not own this product

by: anonymous coward
1/2/2011 6:18:45 PM
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DO NOT BUY IT from E Bay ! The activation codes are BLACKLISTED !   

anonymous coward owns this product

by: anonymous coward
11/8/2010 8:58:34 PM
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Actually, you CAN turn off the Ooma dial tone by logging into your account, so that's not a problem. I also really like the fact that you can use their black list AND make your own based on the calls you get (even if its just a crazy ex and not a telemarketer!). I did have some issues with upgrading to my Telo from the old system but it turned out to be a bad modem on my end. It took me awhile to figure out and yes, I agree--tech support is not good. The best tech support actually comes from the user forums. Its a mix of users AND Ooma employees and they really seem to be more on top of things going that route. There's also a little blue tooth usb add on that's now available that lets you receive your cell phone on the Telo system without using your airtime minutes. You can also use your bluetooth headset to answer both your cell and your Ooma calls. I really think this company is coming along nicely and well worth the money.   

anonymous coward owns this product

by: anonymous coward
8/19/2010 11:34:20 AM
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Pros: I have the original core, with no fees for life! I am very happy with the product, and so is my wallet!

Cons: only cons here are if ooma ever goes out of business, I would miss them dearly!

The Bottom Line: Great product, we are saving a lot of money and feel the ooma is a valuable savings tool. GREAT PRODUCT! I hope they keep coming out with new products and can keep offering such great services at minimal cost. THANK YOU OOMA!!

Recommended: yes

happyoomacustormer does not own this product

by: happyoomacustormer
6/7/2010 10:51:26 PM
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Pros: Works as advertised. Its a phone!

The Bottom Line: I paid $230 (including the Ooma phone) at Costco. Everything worked as advertised. I will have paid for it in 6 mos. How can anynone complain about this deal? It does what the company said it would do. By the way I had to call customer service (on a Sunday afternoon). My waiting time was less that 2 mininutes. My question, about how to enter a po box address, was answered promptly and the nice lady stayed on the line to make sure I was able to complete my registration.

Recommended: yes

Harry G does not own this product

by: Harry G
5/9/2010 3:14:34 PM
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Missing some info

Well in the hardware cost should include the cost of a PC seeing magic jack needs one to make a phone calls. It is acting like a server for the magic jack and with out a PC it is not going to work. so even if you include a PC the price will change for the price comparison to break even. lets say you get a PC for $200 then + $40 for magic jack = $240 now after 10 years at $20 = $200 and them together = $440 for total price after 10 years. ooma is cheaper than? magic jack.   

georgy does not own this product

by: georgy
4/23/2010 6:29:07 PM
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i guess if you dont have a computer already that you can use, you would be right initially. Though eventually, you woul dend up saving more money with the Ooma. It would just take longer.


Dana does not own this product
by: Dana
4/27/2010 11:42:20 AM
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There's also something called a "thin client" computer. These are very simple computers designed for simple tasks, and run on about 8-10 Watts of electricity. You usually find them at customer service desks and the like (I always see them at Costco and JetBlue's service desk- they look a little bigger than an external hard drive).

Apparently, you can pick one of these up on ebay for $60-$100 with Windows XP embedded, and they run Magic Jack perfectly. And use almost no electricty.

But no, I don't think it fair to factor in the cost of the computer, as most people wouldn't buy a computer just for this purpose. Personally, I repurposed an obsolete laptop from 12 years ago for the task. If you have the internet, chances are you already have a computer.


Mordy G. owns this product
by: Mordy G.  
6/23/2010 2:30:04 PM
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Ooma Telo is pis of sheth so komplikation propably is kontroling from thys skombok


anonymous coward owns this product
by: anonymous coward
10/30/2011 5:34:25 PM
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Editrial Review

Reviewed by: Mordy Gilden
Reviewed on: 12/23/2009 4:20:50 PM


Pretty Cool


What It Claims To Do: The Ooma Telo touts itself as a revolutionary device that allows you to make free nationwide calls without any monthly fees. The website claims low rates for international calls, easy setup, as well as other features you'd expect like voicemail, the option to port your old number and 911 service.

What We Found: Well, you guys told us you thought this was too good to be true. So at your suggestion, we tried the Ooma Telo for ourselves.

The Ooma Telo has an additional phone jack on it to support a back-up phone line. In other words, if you're not yet comfortable switching to an internet-based phone line, or need a non-internet based phone line for your alarm system or fax machine, the Ooma can work in tandem with your old phone line. This would allow you to choose the cheapest available landline option while saving on monthly fees through the Ooma. That's nice.

The setup process was pretty standard and straightforward... until we got to the part asking for our billing information. We thought the Ooma was supposed to be free after we paid the initial $300 for the device. Here's where it gets tricky: Ooma offers an upgraded service known as Ooma Premier, for which they charge $10 / month. Your Ooma Telo comes with a free 60-day trial of the Premier service, but if you forget to cancel, they will start billing you for the service when your trial is up. Some of the features allowed by Ooma Premier are: ability to check your voicemail remotely, send voicemails as email attachments, three-way conferencing, call-forwarding, and creating a custom voicemail greeting. We had to admit - some of the services that are included in the Premier are services we would have expected to have included with the standard Ooma.

We were also surprised to see that there is an annual charge of $11.75 for taxes and fees... and that the amount is subject to change. Small as this payment is, we felt somewhat duped.

A nice feature: you can plug the Ooma directly into the houses wiring to make all your phones work through the Ooma.

The Ooma has a funny little dialtone to let you know you're using Ooma as opposed to a landline. The sound quality was very good, though the quality you get will be dependent on your internet connection speed.

One question that haunted us though - what if Ooma goes out of business? Is the Ooma worth the $300 if I don't know how long they will be around? After some quick calculations, we realized that you can make back your initial investment in 10 months. We assume that Ooma will only continue to make enough money to survive if people sign up for the Premier service, and therefore, they are at risk for going out of business at some point if the Premier service does not take off. However, as we don't have any real reason to believe that Ooma will not be around in a year, and that in just one year you'll have made back your investment, we still think this has the potential to be a pretty good buy.

The Bottom Line: Overall, despite the small disappointment of having to cancel the free trial, and the surprise of the annual fees, we liked the Ooma. It had a good sound quality and nice features. We can't say you will have free phone service forever, but if Ooma is still around in a year, you will have made back your initial investment.



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