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Obi vs Ooma

Updated on January 23, 2013

Obihai Vs. Oooma: The VoIP Showdown.

Obi Vs. Ooma? Which one is the better system. Here's a run-down comparison of the differences in costs, benefits and features of both the Ooma and the Obihai Voip systems. Click here to check Ooma and Obi prices on Amazon

I'm a huge fan of VoIP. Frankly, its the best thing since sliced bread, and a great way to finally save some money on the phone bill.

My wife and I have been researching these systems and we are getting ready to activate our very first VoIP system at home. Between that and some pay-as-you-go cell phones, we should save about $60 every month. Can't Wait!

Here's the Ultimate Guide to Obihai vs. Ooma - You let me know who wins!

Both Obihai and Ooma make an incredible system. In a nutshell, they can save you a heap of money by allowing you to use your internet connection as a phone.

Third Party Phone Service Vs In-House

The Ooma gets a lot of attention because how simple it is to use. Basically, you plug it into the internet and plug your phone into it. Five minutes of configuration later, you are ready to go. The simplicity comes from the fact that EVERYTHING is handled by Ooma: Your phone number, your phone service, your voicemail... everything.

The Obihai requires a little more finesse. Not much, mind you, but it really is a geek's toy at heart. With the Obi you need to set up a third-party call handler such as Google Voice. This company will set up a phone number and route the call -- via the internet -- to your Obi where you can answer it on your phone.

3rd Party Vs In-House

Ooma handles everything "in-house". After you buy the unit, you can either pay $39 to port your old number to the device or get a number from them (more on that below). Basic phone, Caller-Id and Voicemail is covered at no added cost. For an added fee you can get extra features such as their "second-line" feature and some enhanced caller Id and voicemail features (such as voice-to-text)

Everything on the Obi is handled by your third party VoIP provider. Google Voice by far, is the most popular, since it is free. So with the Obi, Google Voice would assign you a phone number, handle your voicemail (voice-to-text is included) and caller Id. This means that you would need to setup a profile with your VoIP company and give them some Obi information to get everything talking to each other nicely. Should be simple, but people who are not as comfortable with Techy stuff might feel more comfortable with the Ooma.

Some people worry that Ooma will go out of business and leave you with no phone service. That would be a bummer. With the Obi, you can choose from several VoIP providers so that is a much lower risk. However, if Google Voice ever starts charging for their services, it will remove the "free calling" benefit from the Obi -- although you will still probably save money when compared with other landline services.



Take a Break From All This Text and VOTE! - Ooma vs. Obi. Let's Hear it!

Which one are you going to go with?

Image Courtesy of stockimages on
Image Courtesy of stockimages on

Other Important Factors to Consider

Monthly / Recurring Costs

The Ooma is required to collect several taxes, and those add up to about $4 per month for most users. If you go with their Premier service, its going to run about $10 a month extra. Still, not shabby. And The Premier service has so many cool features such as three way calling, call waiting, second line...

The Obi -- when you set it up with Google Voice -- has no recurring costs. Of course, if Google Voice ever changes its pricing...

Both of these systems allow free Nationwide calling and extremely inexpensive International calling plans.

Although, Google seems to be winning with their "free" model. I wouldn't be surprised to see it continue for quite some time.

Local Number Vs. Non-Local Number

The Ooma tries to get you a more local number. Which is really cool, especially if you have friends and family who will call you frequently. Additionally, with the Ooma you can port an existing home phone number over to it. Google Voice cannot handle ported numbers so you would have to get a new number with the Obihai.

With the Obi, on the other hand, you pretty much get whatever number Google or your other VoIP gives you. For most people that won't matter, but for me, it's a major deal since my work only lets me call local numbers from the break room.

Sound Quality

For the most part, the Ooma and Obi get pretty similar reviews on the sound quality. It seems like the Obi might be a little more susceptible to slow ping times... but then, it could be that only Obi users are geeky enough to compare sound quality and "ping times". Basically, they both have a ton of great reviews on sound quality, so, no problems here.

That said, some users talk about using QoS routing on their Router to designate priority to the Obi. Just an idea for better sound.


The Obi does not have 911 compatibility. The Ooma has your address on file and uses that to help route your 911 calls. So if you go with the Obi, maybe you will want to keep a cell phone around to handle 911 calls? Just an idea.


Both systems come with a one-year limited warranty. Reviewers for both companies say that the warranty service is excellent.

So, which one is better? I love the Ooma for its local phone number, for its wireless features (optional), for the fact that it can act as an internet bridge, for the way it supplies a dialtone to all of the jacks in the house, for its bluetooth compatibility...

But the price tag on the Obi is soooo sweet....

What do You Think of VoIP?

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    • profile image

      C. Leak 2 years ago

      Google will port your phone number for a fee of $20. I've poured my old number to Google while using my OBI202

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Actually, you can get 911 service on Obi. You can sign up for a $12/year service with another 3rd party provider. Also you can program it to dial your community 911 number I think (of course you can always program that number in your phones speed dial).

    • DeborahDian profile image

      Deborah Carr 5 years ago from Orange County, California

      I haven't tried any of these services, yet, but I am thinking of switching to one.

    • PhoneGuru LM profile image

      PhoneGuru LM 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Cool stuff! I think that must be the best kept secret on the 'net.

      Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      You CAN port your number to Google Voice. Head to Google Voice's Settings and click on the "Change / Port" link under the Phones tab. They'll give you a bunch of warnings, but once you finish agreeing to all the terms (and paying Google their $20âwhich is all you should have to pay throughout the process) your porting should be underway.