After a pointer from Matt a couple of weeks back, I decided to give CallWave a shot. To put it simply, CallWave takes over for your cellular provider’s voicemail services – seamlessly so far, I might add. When callers ring your phone and it goes to voicemail, CallWave takes over (which is good news for me, because Cingular’s voicemail wasn’t anything to write home about).
The benefits to the free service are relatively modest but compelling nonetheless for my usage; calls are automatically routed to your email box. Thus when my phone doesn’t ring here in the home office (my place is made of concrete), I still get the voicemail because it pops into my email box within about 30 seconds. When I’m away from the computer, retrieving your voicemail via the phone is the same as always (except you press the * key instead of the # key). When you’ve received a voicemail, instead of getting the standard voicemail indicator the service sends you a text message saying who called, and how long their message is. Simple, but an improvement over what I had.
The basic service is free – though they do offer premium, paid features like call screening and transfer. Setup really couldn’t be simpler; you register, and they send you a code to text message to a specific number, and that’s it. You’re done, and are ready to configure your voicemail and so on. Disconnecting the service, I’m led to believe, is similarly uncomplicated. The only minus is that CallWave’s inbox software doesn’t support Linux (or Mac, for that matter). Meaning that I can still play all the emails that arrive in my email inbox, but I can’t access a list of all the calls received and so on. Minor inconvenience, in my view, outweighed by the benefit of not having to get up and find my cell phone to see who rang me on that rather than the office phone.
All in all, I’m pretty happy with CallWave so far. Based on Raven’s reaction I’ll probably give its competitor GrandCentral a look at some point (their site is not letting me register at the moment), but if you’re interested, trying CallWave out is fairly low risk and low effort.