Forum Thread

The Official Guide: Ooma vs. Vonage vs. Obi

getdealsonline 6,483 6,475 January 20, 2012 at 04:31 PM
We have many VOIP players in the market and I am starting this forum to have a collective discussion on the major services .. please feel free to add more services and their reviews if you know some: I am starting with putting out:

Ooma vs. Vonage vs. Obi

Need for:

1. Call Locally within US/Canada
2. Call Internationally, one or two odd countries

what do you guys think? suggestions please
Ooma vs. Vonage vs. Obi - Choice of SD?
Ooma (84)
37%
Vonage (16)
7%
Obi (122)
54%
Calling Cards (6)
3%
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66 Comments

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#2
I've had ooma for around a year now and it's been great. I like their online management system for history, vm, etc. Never called international with them.
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#3
I have ooma hub (no switch and no premium plan, just the basic, free no tax plan) for about 1.5 years now and agree everything Dr. J said. It's basically a product that sell service-for-life, nationwide-free-call (for the life of the hardware) phone service with $100-140 upfront fee (and requires certain amount of Internet bandwidth which is really not that rare nowadays).

It's so much better than getting charged for $27/mo with local-only plan (not even the whole state) by Verizon.

I don't have experience with ooma international calls either.

Can't really vote since I've never used the other two products.
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#4
I'm rather curious about this as well - I recently setup Obi110 with Google Voice for a home phone and it was pretty easy. The only downside was deciding which number to take that I could remember fairly easy (all good ones are taken, just like email) and I don't think you can make 911 calls from it.

(I had Vonage like 8 years ago and it was terrible - and their support was terrible - I'm sure it's improved since then, but it was such a hassle and bad experience, that I won't even consider them)

On the plus side - the Obi110 cost me about $48 and with Google Voice - calls anywhere in US & Canada are FREE for 2012

Also, for international - Google [google.com] seems to have slightly lower prices than Ooma International [ooma.com] - For example:

France:
Google: .02 landline/.10 mobile
Ooma: .02 landline/.199 mobile

India:
Google: .02 landline/.02 mobile
Ooma: .085 landline/.085 mobile

This forum also has some good info regarding differences between Oobi & Ooma: Obi110 vs Ooma [amazon.com]
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Last edited by boboli January 20, 2012 at 05:56 PM
#5
I don't have any experience with Vonage or the Obi so take my review with a grain of salt like the others...

A few years back, we got the Ooma and the Scout as a gift from our buddy and ended up using it as an office phone for our company. I don't know if this was due to our particular setup and the fact that we added multiple lines on top of having about 16+ computers connected to the internet (both wired and wireless) but we needed to increase our bandwidth otherwise when someone was on the phone, internet speeds drop drastically.

Keep in mind this was the older version (new at the time) so I have no experience with the current version of Ooma and we used it primarily with our business so the usage may differ heavily with what you may use it for. But aside from needing to up the bandwidth of our internet connection, everything else was perfect. I had an awesome experience otherwise.

Disclaimer: For full disclosure sakes, I am friends with the founder and he was the one that gave us the gift. But even if that weren't the case, I'd still recommend the Ooma.
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#6
thanks guys for sharing your views ... am also inclined on ooma .. vonage is just sucking up a lot of $$!
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#7
i went with ooma from a cost perspective - even though I still pay around $3.50/mo (taxes, etc), payback for the unit (capital cost + recurring) is less than a year because even the most basic package with AT&T is still rather expensive.
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#8
I have to say I've been very satisfied with the nettalk duo. When I looked into it, it was cheaper that ooma and vonage. It's $50 for the devcie plus one year of service, then $30 per year afterwards. Contrary to what you might think from visiting the homepage, you don't need to buy the North America package if you just want to call the US and Canada as these countries are included with the basic package. You get free calling to US and Canada, free caller ID and voicemail (voice mails are emailed to me as WAV files) but I don't know about international rates. I use my tracfone to call international (they have a great 1-800 service that makes these calls the same price as domestic calls). Before that, I was using the Jupiter card from comfi.com with my nettalk for international calling and found it very cheap.

DISCLAIMER: I am not in any way affiliated with Nettalk, I'm just really happy with the service. The only downside I can point to is that, maybe three or four times a year the service drops and I have to unplug the device for about 20 seconds and plug it back in. This can be annoying when you are trying to call home from somewhere else and the person at home doesn't realize the service has dropped. However, the unplug trick works every time and you can tell that this needs to be done by looking at the device. If the light isn't a steady green, it needs to be unplugged and plugged back in
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Last edited by hbarnwheeler January 21, 2012 at 09:49 AM

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#9
Here's my review from Amazon:

I have been paying far too much for home services, with my bill from ATT recently going over $250 a month after some promotions wore off. I have Uverse with 32/5 speed profile and 4HD/0SD tv profile, U400 with DVR and 3 other STBs, "max turbo" internet 24M/3M(with 1HD stream I can still pull 24Mbps, any more and it starts eating my internet bandwidth), and HAD the uverse unlimited local and long distance package with unlisted number. I was paying over $50 a month after taxes for an IP phone I rarely used as I usually use my cell for US calls or GV via my phone if I'm calling to one of our offshore plants. I spotted this fine piece of equipment and had to give it a try, for $40 at the time how could I go wrong.

I ordered the obi 110 one morning with free second day prime air, but it showed up the next day via ontrac(I love these guys, 'pay' for 2nd day, get overnight). My wife called and told me it had arrived and I was chomping at the bit to go home but had a 5pm call with a subcon overseas so I didn't get home until 7. Anyhow, geek xmas commenced and I tore open my box with a sparkle in my eye. I had already read reviews on Amazon and had a game plan in mind. Since I already use GV for quite a bit and I didn't really want my subcons and vendors harassing my wife at home I sent her a gmail invite and had her setup GV ahead of time. I plugged in the Obi, followed the setup page and went to obitalk to set it up. 2 minutes later I made a test call and it worked great. I setup a callcentric account with enhanced 911 and threw enough funds in there to keep it happy for a year. I logged back into obitalk and edited the outbound call route, configuring callcentric only for 311 and 911 calls based on a website I had found. I also edited the digit map so that it wouldn't wait after 311. I tested 311 and it worked so I'll have to assume that 911 will work, although I plan to schedule a test to make sure. All told, I spent about 30 minutes getting the Obi110 how I wanted and I haven't touched it since.

After one month of using the obi and my wife has given it a huge thumbs up. She really likes the idea of not having to hassle with skype when I'm offshore to call me as well since I put some funds into her GV account. I just got off of the phone with ATT and no longer will be gouged for US calling, especially $50 a month for an IP phone. Of course they tried, "oh I can put another promotion on which will give you $5 off. Oh wait, here I can do $10." I told her what I was doing and funny enough I spent more time telling her about the obi which she seemed genuinely interested in than I did the actual cancellation. She mentioned she looked at another competitors $200 unit(OOMA), as well as another VoiP company which charges the same as uverse after it's promotion has worn off, she was unaware of such an inexpensive solution. She also mentioned, "I hope more people don't discover this, I might have to find a new job," to which we both chuckled.

It will be under 2 months ROI between the unit, callcentric, and putting some funds in GV, but I look forward to a long time of savings. Although this started a trend, I also have silicondust 6cc tuner ordered and look forward to ending my TV bills as well : Hopefully ATT will let me keep the great DSL I have or I'll be looking elsewhere for that as well Big Grin


TLDR: Obi works great. I pay a nominal monthly fee for E911 because I have kids in the house, if you are comfortable without it, then for under $50 one time charge you can have unlimited US and Canada calling(for now) and dirt cheap offshore calling.
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#10
Question: can you transfer an existing home phone # (Comcast) to Ooma or Obi? (thinking about setting this up for my parents as well if you can)
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#11
Quote from boboli View Post :
Question: can you transfer an existing home phone # (Comcast) to Ooma or Obi? (thinking about setting this up for my parents as well if you can)
I know you can with Ooma but not sure with Obi.

See: http://www.ooma.com/products/port

To be fair, I've never ported a number to them (Ooma) and I've never had Comcast phone service so you should contact them to see how that works and what you need to do. I'd imagine its pretty standard.
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#12
Quote from steventruong View Post :
we needed to increase our bandwidth otherwise when someone was on the phone, internet speeds drop drastically.
Then your QoS is set up wrong. One call = 80 kbit/s (the codec itself is only 64 kbit/s the rest is overhead) If you don't mind going to G.729 you're talking 8kbit/s in each direction per call.
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#13
Quote from boboli View Post :
Question: can you transfer an existing home phone # (Comcast) to Ooma or Obi? (thinking about setting this up for my parents as well if you can)
Yes my old PSTN phone number was ported after I activate ooma service. There was a $40 fee and a 2-3 week wait (I got a temporary ooma phone number during the wait if I recall correctly). It's a little confusing and a little bit wait but it's not OOMA.It has something to do with paper work with the phone company and FCC. Once the paperwork is in, ooma just needs to "flip a switch" and it's done.
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#14
Quote from vivahate View Post :
Then your QoS is set up wrong. One call = 80 kbit/s (the codec itself is only 64 kbit/s the rest is overhead) If you don't mind going to G.729 you're talking 8kbit/s in each direction per call.
Most likely. This was a few years back and we didn't really dive into it too deep. We needed to increase bandwidth either way given how many computers were running simultaneously so when the issue was resolved in the process, we didn't really bother to fix whatever else might have been wrong with the setup as it worked perfectly otherwise.
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#15
Quote from jstillusion View Post :
Here's my review from Amazon:

I have been paying far too much for home services, with my bill from ATT recently going over $250 a month after some promotions wore off. I have Uverse with 32/5 speed profile and 4HD/0SD tv profile, U400 with DVR and 3 other STBs, "max turbo" internet 24M/3M(with 1HD stream I can still pull 24Mbps, any more and it starts eating my internet bandwidth), and HAD the uverse unlimited local and long distance package with unlisted number. I was paying over $50 a month after taxes for an IP phone I rarely used as I usually use my cell for US calls or GV via my phone if I'm calling to one of our offshore plants. I spotted this fine piece of equipment and had to give it a try, for $40 at the time how could I go wrong.

I ordered the obi 110 one morning with free second day prime air, but it showed up the next day via ontrac(I love these guys, 'pay' for 2nd day, get overnight). My wife called and told me it had arrived and I was chomping at the bit to go home but had a 5pm call with a subcon overseas so I didn't get home until 7. Anyhow, geek xmas commenced and I tore open my box with a sparkle in my eye. I had already read reviews on Amazon and had a game plan in mind. Since I already use GV for quite a bit and I didn't really want my subcons and vendors harassing my wife at home I sent her a gmail invite and had her setup GV ahead of time. I plugged in the Obi, followed the setup page and went to obitalk to set it up. 2 minutes later I made a test call and it worked great. I setup a callcentric account with enhanced 911 and threw enough funds in there to keep it happy for a year. I logged back into obitalk and edited the outbound call route, configuring callcentric only for 311 and 911 calls based on a website I had found. I also edited the digit map so that it wouldn't wait after 311. I tested 311 and it worked so I'll have to assume that 911 will work, although I plan to schedule a test to make sure. All told, I spent about 30 minutes getting the Obi110 how I wanted and I haven't touched it since.

After one month of using the obi and my wife has given it a huge thumbs up. She really likes the idea of not having to hassle with skype when I'm offshore to call me as well since I put some funds into her GV account. I just got off of the phone with ATT and no longer will be gouged for US calling, especially $50 a month for an IP phone. Of course they tried, "oh I can put another promotion on which will give you $5 off. Oh wait, here I can do $10." I told her what I was doing and funny enough I spent more time telling her about the obi which she seemed genuinely interested in than I did the actual cancellation. She mentioned she looked at another competitors $200 unit(OOMA), as well as another VoiP company which charges the same as uverse after it's promotion has worn off, she was unaware of such an inexpensive solution. She also mentioned, "I hope more people don't discover this, I might have to find a new job," to which we both chuckled.

It will be under 2 months ROI between the unit, callcentric, and putting some funds in GV, but I look forward to a long time of savings. Although this started a trend, I also have silicondust 6cc tuner ordered and look forward to ending my TV bills as well : Hopefully ATT will let me keep the great DSL I have or I'll be looking elsewhere for that as well Big Grin


TLDR: Obi works great. I pay a nominal monthly fee for E911 because I have kids in the house, if you are comfortable without it, then for under $50 one time charge you can have unlimited US and Canada calling(for now) and dirt cheap offshore calling.
that's a pretty extensive review. thanks! I don't know why I don't feel like the dependence on google voice when using Obi and without that I haven't heard much good with Obi, esp. if we have to call internationally .. right?
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