Ooma Telo quarterview
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Free home phone service with Ooma; Free calling in the U.S. to any phone number; caller-ID, call-waiting and 911 included; No computer or headset required; Option to keep your existent phone number; Low-cost global rates starting at pennies per minute
- Amazon Sales Rank: #30 in Office Product
- Size: One Size
- Color: Black
- Brand: ooma
- Model: 100-0211-100
- Format: CD-ROM
- Number of items: 1
- Dimensions: 7.50″ h x 2.00″ w x 5.50″ l, .88 pounds
- Revolutionary device that gives you free calls within U.S. and low rates for international calls
- Works with any corded or cordless phone; easy installation with no computer required. Not compatible with Ooma Scout.
- Includes caller-ID, call-waiting, 911, and a heap of other calling features
- Includes 60-day free trial of Ooma Premier — a suite of heightened calling services features
- Includes everything necessitated for installation; backed by 30-day money-back guarantee and extendable 1-year warranty
905 of 932 people found the following review helpful.
Excellent design, service and value
By Ashok Aiyar
We purchased an Ooma Hub & Scout in April 2009 to replace a Vonage VoIP connection. We are very satisfied with the hub, and therefore purchased an Ooma Telo for a second location. This review describes our Ooma Telo experience so far, and compares it to the Hub/Scout.
The Telo is well designed and sleek. The controls are touch controls and very sensitive. There is a USB port in the back – presumably for future expansion. Like the hub, there are two RJ45 ethernet jacks – one to connect to the “internet”, and the second to connect to one’s home network. There are also two RJ11 phone jacks. One to connect to your existing landline, should you have one, and decide to integrate the landline and Telo. The other is to connect to your phone.
The setup instructions are simple. While it is recommended that the Telo be connected directly to your cable/dsl/wimax modem (i.e. before your router), it works equally well after the router. We chose to connect the Telo to the router rather than the modem.
We were treated to a red & blue patriotic light show for about 20 minutes when the Telo was first plugged in, while it apparently downloaded firmware/software updates. I was a little puzzled by this, but presumably there have been updates from the release date (October 1) to our purchase date (October 3), or the first set of units were shipped without the latest firmware/software on them. In either event, there has been a second firmware/software update since then, so clearly Ooma are keen to improve Telo as feedback/complaints from early adopters rolls in.
Unlike the Hub, the Telo doesn’t support the Scout. But this doesn’t mean the Telo cannot provide a dial tone at other phone jacks in your house. For this, simply connect a splitter to the phone jack in the Telo, plug one line into the telephone adjacent to the Telo, and the second into the nearest wall jack. If the phone wiring in your house is intact, you should be able to connect a standard wired phone to any other phone jack. The Ooma Hub also supports this feature, which isn’t readily documented in Ooma’s product literature.
The Telo and Hub are indistinguishable in every aspect of call quality. Off course the Telo supports up to four DECT 6.0 handsets, and Telo to Telo calls will offer HD voice. The Telo will also support Bluetooth, and cell-phone integration. Although these features will be available in future firmware/software updates.
There are differences in the level and cost of service that I have described below.
For current Ooma Hub owners:
Ooma Core includes 5000 minutes a month, voicemail and caller-id and is free of regulatory fees for the life of the hub.
Ooma Premiere includes a range of additional features, including a second line, 3-way calling, multi-ring, call fowarding and many others. This costs $9.99 a month or $99 a year.
For future Ooma Hub owners:
Ooma Core will include 5000 minutes a month and voicemail. From the second year, it will cost $12/yr to recover regulatory fees.
Ooma Premiere will include enhanced voicemail, and the other premiere features. Ooma Premiere will cost $9.99 a month or $120 a year.
For Ooma Telo:
Ooma core includes 5000 mins/month & voicemail, and $12/yr from the second year on to recover regulatory fees.
Ooma Premiere will include enhanced voicemail, and the other premiere features at $9.99 a month or $120 a year.
For both the Hub and Telo, the cost of Premiere includes either a free handset a year (a $49 value), or a free number port (a $39 value).
This change in pricing strategy has made some claim that Ooma is no longer “free”.
Well, it never was, although current Hub owners will not have to spend another dime for the life of their unit.
New Hub & Telo users receive 5000 mins/month and voicemail for the cost of the unit, and have to pay $12/year from the second year onwards to cover regulatory fees.
In my opinion Ooma continues to remain a good value when compared to other VoIP providers, although clearly early Hub adopters received a better deal than Telo users.
I want to note two other things that are common to the Hub and Telo. Our number ports were quick and efficient. And, while customer service can be difficult to reach, there is excellent support available from the Ooma community on Ooma’s website forums. The Ooma employees who moderate the forums also provide support in a very timely manner.
Bottom-line, if you have Vonage or Packet8, or have phone bundled in with your cable, strongly consider getting a Telo. You will save money for service that is as good or better. With the Hub, we saw savings with the first six months. With the Telo it will be about 14 months before we start seeing savings.
Quick summary – highly recommended!
1017 of 1087 people found the following review helpful.
Buyer beware —— of uninformed reviewers! Update: 1 year later
February 11th, 2011 — update:
It’s been a little over a year since I wrote this review. Approximately 6 months after installing the Telo, I wrote an update that outlined an issue that diminished my initial enthusiasm about it. That update concerned an annoying delay that we experience, likening some conversations to that heard with 2-way radios, where it’s easy for users to “talk over” one another.
This update, however, reports on the failure of my unit and Ooma’s customer service response in addressing it.
Sometime during the post-Christmas, year-end holiday chaos, my I noticed that when I would press the Play button on the unit to play back messages, there apparently weren’t any messages to play. But I use the feature found in the Premier service that allows you to listen to the messages online, so I didn’t really think too much about it and didn’t really seriously consider that it was a failure of the unit. After things settled down into the new year, I did look into it and discovered that it was, indeed, a defective Telo.
I called Ooma support and they told me ‘Too bad – your warranty expired LAST YEAR!’ Yeah, they were right — it expired on December 29th, 2010 and it was now January 2011. They steadfastly refused to consider the hustle & bustle of the holidays, and said that I hadn’t reported it before the warranty expiration, so there was nothing they could do for me. I reported my experience in their customer support forum online.
Several days later, I received an email offering an extended warranty for $39.99. I checked to make sure that they would replace the device under the extended warranty, despite the fact that I was purchasing it after the original warranty had expired and the unit had already been reported as defective. I was told that it would not be a problem.
The bottom line is, I accepted their terms and they have replaced my Telo under the extended warranty. They shipped a new unit before requiring the return of the defective one, and they even supplied a prepaid shipping label. While I’m still a bit aggrieved that they were so inflexible about the original warranty expiration, I am grateful that they extended an offer that I found palatable. I’ve downgraded my overall impression of the unit, somewhat, and only offer conditional recommendation of Ooma, based upon the voice delay issue and the what I consider to be a premature failure. I’m not suggesting that there’s a lot of evidence that this is a chronic problem for the Telo or that the same thing will happen to you, but it is something to consider when making the decision to purchase.
Now — my original review:
After reading many reviews of the ooma Telo here on Amazon.com and elsewhere, we decided that it sounded like a product that would be helpful in reducing our monthly phone costs while maintaining our current phone number and equivalent basic functionality. We actually received the unit on Christmas Eve, but haven’t attempted installation until today – nearly a week later.
We found the installation to be a very simple process, accurately described and directed by the Quick Start guide included with the unit. All of the uncertainties that arose in my mind while reading some of the negative reviews here quickly vanished, one-by-one, as the clear, guided steps left no unanswered questions. It is because of this that I’m prompted to write a review.
Several reviewers have complained that ooma is ‘sneaky’ or ‘deceptive’ in their business practices — that ooma signs you up for the premium service and automatically bills you monthly without your foreknowledge. They also claim that they take pains to hide the fact that the Federal government has begun to assess a yearly fee of about $12 for using the device.
These reviewers – to be charitable – are terribly under-informed. They have failed to avail themselves of the copious information available on review sites or on ooma’s own website, or they’re just lunging ahead with activation and installation without bothering to read the instructions.
For example, during the activation process, which is the first thing you’re instructed to do with your new Telo, you are presented with the following admonition: “At the end of your trial period, you will automatically be enrolled into Ooma Premier and charged $9.99/month. If you do not wish to keep Ooma Premier, you can opt-out inside My Ooma and not be billed.” That seems pretty clear to me.
The yearly Federal service charge also seems to be ‘hidden’ in plain sight. It’s printed in 2 different locations on the box, and also appears on the ooma website, as well as in several reviews. And it’s not necessarily in ‘fine print’, requiring you to strain your eyes.
I’m all for writing negative reviews that are fact-based and created by users who do their homework and try to educate themselves about a product. There are plenty of bad products out there and they should be exposed. But I find it misleading and unhelpful to rush headlong into something without understanding the technology or reading and following setup directions, and then write a scathing review that says “this sucks”, when it’s consumer ignorance that has produced an unsatisfactory result.
As for my brief evaluation of the Telo, it’s very positive. Activation online was easy, as was installation. My Telo connected reasonably quickly and was ready to try out in about the amount of time estimated. (20 to 30 minutes) After that, I placed a call from my cellphone to the temporary number given to me while my home number is waiting to be ported. Voice mail picked up and I left a message, which I was later able to retrieve after returning home. I also placed a call to a friend to evaluate voice quality, which we found to be excellent.
That’s it for the first day — not a big test, but it worked as-advertised and I believe we’ll be very pleased with the service.
To clarify for those who have read the review expressing uncertainty about when it’s safe to use the service after initial installation: During the first phase of the connect/update process, the ooma symbol, a flower-like design located in the center of the telo, blinks repeatedly, and all the other symbols are unlit. At some point, the bottom row of symbols, which are used for navigating through and playing back voicemails, are lit and unlit sequentially, like a theater marquee. Finally, when it’s ready to use, all the symbols are illuminated blue. And you’ll probably see that there’s a blinking red light, indicating that you’ve received a voice message. (it’s from ooma, welcoming you to the service and helping you set up the voicemail features)
445 of 479 people found the following review helpful.
A great looking and improved Ooma VOIP device
The Ooma Telo replaces or will replace the Ooma core system. The core system included a hub and scout. The scout and services of the scout are gone from new Ooma devices. In the future, some (but not all) services of the scout may return via the proprietary wireless Ooma Telo handset.
For those who don’t know, Ooma is an internet telephone company. This means it uses the Telo to make and receive telephone calls, instead of using your local phone company and its wired network, Ooma uses your internet connection. Companies that use internet to make and complete telephone calls are using Voice Over Internet Protocol usually referred to as VOIP. Older phone technology to a home is often referred to as POTS (plain old telephone service). With Ooma you can replace your current home phone, or you can use Ooma to supplement it. Ooma lets a customer decide how they want to use their service with respect to existing POTS service.
[…]. This will allow the Telo to make and receive calls using your current home phone number. Your number will be switched to Ooma, but still be in your name (you can port it to any other phone company if you want). Ooma becomes your host.
A reason people purchase a product like the Telo is to have low cost phone service. Most VOIP (including Ooma) do not discriminate between long distance and local calls. Ooma permits up to 5,000 outgoing minutes of calls within the U.S. per month at no charge. Incoming calls are unlimited and not timed.
Ooma has established itself as a high voice quality company with its first product (the Ooma Core). The Telo continues to build on that tradition. With any Ooma product voice quality is usually as good as a problem free home phone. The Telo builds on this, by offering higher quality voice than any traditional phone company, and better voice quality than most other VOIP companies by using a proprietary wireless handset. This looks like a traditional land line type wireless phone, but has much better call clarity than is possible for most other providers. This is one of the new, improved features of the Telo.
Ooma is also very easy to set up and operate. Many people report setting up an Ooma device within 10-20 minutes from the time they open the box. This means they can make and receive calls literally within minutes of getting their Ooma device home. Set up involves a physical set up, where the Telo is placed between the router and cable / dsl modem or behind the router. […]and follow the step by step instructions for a free activation. Part of the activation usually includes selection of a local phone number. Once you have completed the online activation, the Telo should be able to send and receive calls in minutes.
The Telo IS a work of art, it looks very nice, and has a wonderful aesthetic appeal. There are pressure sensitive buttons, and just about every button, plus a lot more is lit up with beautiful blue LED’s. When a line is busy, or the hub isn’t working properly the color of the appropriate indicator changes from blue to red. For example if you pick up the phone, the line 1 button will no longer glow blue, but will turn red to indicate line 1 in use. If there is any connection problem, the Ooma trademark symbol will glow red, this is very easy to see even across a large room. It usually indicates an internet failure.
The Telo works with wireless Ooma proprietary handsets which are optional. These handsets will support high quality (better than regular phone quality) calls between Telo users. The Telo continues to support traditional phones as well. You do not need a Telo handset to make and receive calls, your old phones will work just fine. In my home, I have disconnected the phone company wires outside the house, and plugged my Ooma Telo into one of my jacks. This permits the Telo to run all the existing phones in my home as if they were still attached to the phone company. The difference is not getting a monthly phone bill.
The Telo has a more advanced processor and is overall a more capable device than the older Ooma Hub (the Hub is the primary component of the older Ooma Core system). Ooma has promised new features to be released, which will be restricted to the Telo alone. This makes the Telo a natural upgrade path from the Core in terms of overall capability.
Current Ooma Core customers can upgrade to the Telo, and switch their account entirely to the new Telo device. The older Core / Hub can be sold or discarded. The old Ooma hub can be reactivated for a $[…] one time fee, at which point it will be considered as a new service.
The Telo is superior in almost all regards to the older Ooma hub.
The Ooma Telo will continue to provide free voicemail as the older Core systems did. This means voicemail will be supported by the Telo adapter, by your phone or online via the Ooma website. However the basic Ooma Telo plan will not include incoming caller-id name (it will include incoming caller-id number). This is a change from the older Ooma Core system. Ooma has indicated the cost of incoming caller-name lookup was significant, and that by eliminating this expense on future basic plans Ooma will be more viable.
As with all Ooma devices, Ooma Premier is free for the first 60 days. During the first 2 months, a new user will be able to make free calls to Ooma technical support. Thus any set up issues can be handled by a live Ooma customer service representative. After 60 days, Telo users are put on a Telo basic tier, where future support is handled via email and through the Ooma forums which remain free.
In summary, the new Telo is a great product. In years 2 and beyond there will be a $[…] per year regulatory recovery fee for Telo users. This is new for the Telo, those who bought new Ooma Core systems do not have to pay an annual fee ever. The fee is to cover regulatory costs Ooma is charged, not to charge for making or receiving calls.
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