The netTalk Duo is a VoIP device that basically gives you a phone line with calling coverage across Canada and the U.S. for as little as $40 per year. It’s great to have all that at your fingertips while you’re at home or travelling with your Windows PC (the VoIP dongle won’t work with a Mac, but will work in a hotel with an Ethernet cable plugged in one end and into the phone on the other), except you can now extend that using your iPhone or Android handset.
The Android app itself isn’t new, but what you can do with it is. First, some background. The netTalk app lets you make calls over Wi-Fi, 3G or LTE to any number in Canada and the U.S., just like you would with the dongle at home. In cases where you may want to call another country outside of either side of the 49th Parallel, you can now buy credits directly from within the app, which you couldn’t do before. This is pretty useful if you want to keep in touch with a friend or relative in a foreign country and want to keep constant track of the minutes you use.
Of course, you could also use a calling card, but it also depends on what you get. With netTalk, you can opt for $8, $12, $16 or $20 (all figures U.S.) prepaid amounts. The amount per minute for the country you’re calling will determine how much is taken off the amount. Note that calling a landline or mobile phone can mean two very different rates (mobile usually being more expensive), so be sure to check the country you wish to call in the menu inside the app.
The iOS app pretty much works the same way, except that you have to go to the netTalk mobile website to actually buy credits. You can’t actually buy them in the app itself. That might change with the next update though. Since moving to iOS 6 and the launch of the iPhone 5, it hasn’t performed well for me. It keeps crashing and when I am able to make a call, it has to be over Wi-Fi. The update was submitted to Apple on September 28, so these issues will likely be fixed in mere days.
Unfortunately, the netTalk Duo and the apps don’t converge. You have to have separate accounts for each service, which is a shame because any credits you buy to make calls are mutually exclusive. You can’t use credits from one for the other.
Still, even if you just use the app to make calls within Canada and the U.S., you can do it almost anywhere you have data access. There are plenty of VoIP apps available for iOS and Android, so netTalk isn’t in a league of its own, but it does come in handy here and there when you need it. Just keep ignoring the annoying ads at the bottom.
netTALK DUO II lets you free yourself from fees for calling Canada and the US using your existing internet connection. This VoIP telephone device connects to the internet through your computer or router and lets you make calls anywhere for free. Three month subscription is included. Each additional year is $29.95 (subject to change).
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