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OBi VoIP Telephone Adapter Review

by retirebyforty on June 15, 2012 · 23 comments

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OBi VoIP telephone adapter review

Are you currently paying for a landline? If you are already paying for an internet connection, why not take advantage of the OBi VoIP system to make free phone calls within the US?

The OBi 100 is the size of a pack of cards and hooks up to your internet connection and your regular phone. Once you set it up, you can make calls within the US without having to pay any more monthly fees. The OBi100 cost about $45 and the OBi110is about $50 at Amazon.

The folks at OBi sent me the OBi 100 and OBi 110 to review and I like it. I tested the OBi 100 and will save the OBi 110 for the next giveaway. The OBi 110 has an extra input port for a land line. This input will enable you to keep your current land line service and use the regular emergency service while also taking advantage of VoIP for long distance calling.

Setup

It was pretty easy for me to setup the OBi 100. I signed up for a Google voice account and configured the OBi 100 according to the included instructions. It took me less than 15 minutes from unpacking to making a test call. The instruction is straightforward and I think most people won’t have much trouble with the setup.

Voice quality

The voice quality is good for me. Your internet connection needs to be pretty good for VoIP to work well. If your latency or jitter is bad, then your VoIP phone calls will suck. Check your internet connection’s QOS (quality of service) here at voipreview.org.

Concerns

You have to give OBi your Gmail address and password if you use Google Voice. This is a security risk if you use Gmail for business or confidential emails. A business specific voip phone company might be a better option in this scenario. We always hear about security breaches these days and the fewer the places that have your password the better. Didn’t LinkedIn just lose millions of passwords recently? If you are concerned, you can create a new Gmail address and set it up with that instead.

Google Voice is not capable of calling 911 so you need to set something else up with another VoIP provider. Read this calling 911 page from Obihai for more details.

Summary

All in all, I like the OBi. I despise paying recurring fees and avoid them as much as possible. I’d rather pay a onetime fee and call it done. I can use my cell phone to call 911 if I need.

 

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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Darwin's Money June 15, 2012 at 6:21 am

That’s really interesting, never heard of this company before. It’s annoying, but Comcast makes the “bundle” deal so efficient and going with just 2 of 3 services becomes expensive, but I would like to reduce my overall spend.

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retirebyforty June 15, 2012 at 9:37 am

I know what you mean. I want to go down to just internet connection and they really don’t want me to do that.

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David June 15, 2012 at 9:43 am

Of the different VOIP options you’ve tested, which do you prefer. I’d like to get to internet only as well and go back to satellite for my sports, but I haven’t found the right combination yet.

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retirebyforty June 18, 2012 at 11:05 pm

I like Ooma because I had the old version and don’t have to pay any monthly fee. If that one break down, I would consider getting the OBi because Ooma charges a monthly fee now.

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Thomas S June 15, 2012 at 11:19 am

I know what you mean, I tried going the internet only route too? With all the other options to get movies these days, including TV shows i thought about cutting out TV. But canceling TV and going with Internet only would have increased my internet price to a point where the savings wasn’t worth it anymore.

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retirebyforty June 18, 2012 at 11:06 pm

We only watch news and Jeopardy so I really don’t want to pay for TV. I’ll cancel it when the promotion pricing is up.

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JW @ AllThingsFinance June 16, 2012 at 11:20 am

I’ve never used VoIP before, but it’s something I’ve considered. For the last 5 or 6 years, the only phone I’ve used is my cell. The one-time fee is very attractive though and it has me considering this route.

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retirebyforty June 18, 2012 at 11:07 pm

VoIP is nice so I don’t have to use minutes when I’m home. Anyway, I don’t want to use the cell phone all that much because of the possible radiation.

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Cherleen @ My Personal Finance Journey June 16, 2012 at 11:35 pm

I am using MagicJack to make calls via internet. I wonder how this service can be compared to my MJ?

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retirebyforty June 18, 2012 at 11:08 pm

I haven’t tried magicJack, but I thought it needs a computer to run. I guess the new version doesn’t anymore. I’ll have to take a closer look.

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Timothy McDoniel June 20, 2012 at 11:07 am

I own 2 Obi devices and then bought another one and sent it to my wife’s mother in Germany so that she could have a local number in our city. We love having no landline phone bill.

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retirebyforty June 20, 2012 at 9:15 pm

I want to buy one for my parents in Thailand too, but they don’t have a good internet connection so it won’t work. Too bad. :(

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Timothy McDoniel June 22, 2012 at 10:13 am

If you can find a local VOIP Thailand provider that would provide you with a local DID (Direct Inward Dial). I just googled on it, and they’re out there. You could setup the 2nd Obi line with the information and then you’ll have a Thailand telephone number that your parents can call. I’ve setup one for my wife who’s family is in Germany. So if her Grandmother, sister, cousins, etc. want to call her, they only have to call a local Bremen, Germany telephone number rather than calling the U.S. number. :-)

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retirebyforty June 26, 2012 at 7:33 am

That’s a great idea! I’ll try it out.

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Chinarut August 6, 2014 at 8:07 pm

so awesome to find your adventure looking for a way to put a Thailand # on my new Obi! did you figure it out? I’d love to hear what service you went with & how you set it up. look fwd to catching up with you on all fronts :)

Tech Dude June 20, 2012 at 7:26 pm

Just a heads up on the password concern for Gmail and Obi – I just turned on 2-factor authentication in Gmail and generated a specific authorized password just for the Obi.

PS, Magic Jack isn’t as good call quality AND there’s no monthly/recurring fee’s with an Obi.

Hope this helps,

Tech Dude

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Gearscout June 21, 2012 at 4:29 pm

Who makes the Obi?

I take it from your article that there is no possibility of “porting” your existing home number to use with Obi?

I use Ooma and really, really like it. Yes, there is a $3.75 monthly fee for taxes. I actually subscribe to the ‘Premier’ plan, so I have two lines…but that’s also around $10 a month, if paid on an annual basis.

I actually listen to my messages now because I can do it anywhere from a computer or smartphone.

I have Ooma’s $10 App for iPhone that allows me to make free calls home or very cheap calls anywhere (approximate rates compare to Skype) from that iPhone or even my iPad touch whenever connected to a wireless access point. I use it for unlimited calls home when I’m in Europe, South America, Asia or Africa. Downside: they can’t call you…it’s outgoing calls only.

I’ve been with Ooma for more than 2 years and don’t miss AT&T. The quality is excellent and no one is required to have a computer.

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retirebyforty June 26, 2012 at 7:28 am

I think there is a way to port your number, but it’s a bit convoluted. I’ve been using Ooma for 5 years and I’m quite happy with them. I hope my unit keep working with no issue.

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Timothy McDoniel June 22, 2012 at 10:02 am

Yes, you can port your number to a Google Voice number. I ported my home number over, but there was a trick to it. Google Voice only permits you to port cell phone numbers, not land line numbers. So I had to first get a prepaid T-Mobile card for like $6.00, activate it, and then port my home number away from AT&T/Bellsouth over to T-Mobile. Once T-Mobile owned the number, I ported it over to Google Voice which costs a one time charge of $20.

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retirebyforty June 26, 2012 at 7:33 am

Thanks for the info! That’s really helpful.

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John September 27, 2012 at 7:15 am
retirebyforty August 7, 2014 at 10:33 am

I think you can just set it up in the US, then bring it to Thailand and hook it up. From what I heard, it works fine like that. I haven’t tried, though.

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