My review of Callwave (I like it!)

I’ve wanted something like Callwave for a while now so when I read about it a couple of weeks ago on Lifehacker, I marked it as “keep new” in bloglines, planning to return to it… some time. Well, inspiration struck earlier this week.

Voicemail is a pain because

1. it’s not searchable
2. it’s not easy to access (Apple’s visual voicemail should help with this)
3. it’s not archivable (related to #1)
4. sometimes my cell phone won’t be getting good reception somewhere so it will fail to notify me about voicemails until long after they’ve been left
5. if I’m traveling overseas, I have to remember to make a long distance phone call to check my voicemail and once I’ve made that call, then I have to deal with #2.
6. I can’t forward a voicemail to someone in case I need to share a message

Over the past couple of years, I’ve moved all of my voicemail to email… My home voicemails get to my e-mail account courtesy of Vonage. My office voicemails get to me on e-mail via our office PBX. But my cell phone’s voicemails have continued to be locked up on my phone… until now.

Callwave’s setup was easy. I chose my provider, entered my cell phone number and Callwave gave me a command sequence to enter into my phone that changed where my phone would route unanswered calls. And, Callwave did a good job of anticipating my main questions before entering the command sequence: “What if I want to go back to my original settings? What if I need to check voicemails in my old voicemail system”. Answers to both questions were prominently visible at the right places during setup.

And that was it! Now, everytime I get a voicemail on my cell phone, I get an e-mail with the caller’s phone number, the caller ID (if it’s available), and the message as a WAV attachment. And if someone calls and doesn’t leave a message (even if my phone is off), I get an e-mail notifying me of the missed call with the caller’s phone number and their caller ID. Nice!

The fact that the service is completely free has me puzzled. A maximum number of messages per month? Nope. A maximum message length? The free version won’t send messages as WAV attachments? Nope. The pay version has some features that I can’t imagine myself being interested in (the ability to screen phone calls as they are being left and the subsequent ability to pick-up a call while someone is in the middle of leaving a message). I guess I shouldn’t complain about something being free, but it does make me concerned about whether the service will survive or not.

The only other complaint I have (did I really just complain that the service is free??) is that the audio quality is sub-par. I haven’t had any actual problems with it, ie all of my messages have been clear enough to understand, but I still wish the audio quality was better.

It would seal the deal on what is otherwise a perfect service.

2 thoughts on “My review of Callwave (I like it!)”

  1. The best part…. On my phone I always had to enter my pin code to check messages. Somehow, their service is properly calleriding me and not making me put it in. Nice

    I recommend using some company other than Callwave. I am having a very bad experience with them. I tried the free trial of their online fax service back in March. The number they assigned me wouldn’t answer on a Sunday, so I canceled the trial, and was told I would get a complete refund. I just assumed they would properly credit my card. On May 15 I called them after I noticed the credit was never issued. They assured me they would now issue me a full credit. The next day, the $22.95 credit was still not issued to my card. I called my credit card company to make sure it was not there are was not pending. I then called Callwave. They told me they show it was issued, and it would take 1-2 billing cycles to show up on my credit card. I told them I can check my credit card online, so I don’t have to wait for a statement, and that I called them to confirm. I tried to get a supervisor, but he was busy and was supposed to call me back. I called again the next day as they never called, and went through the same thing. The next day I finally got a supervisor, who told me it would take 1-2 cycles on THEIR end to issue me a credit, so in the mean time they will be earning more interest on my money as it’s in their account. I wonder if what they are doing is even legal.

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