There’s no shortage of apps and cloud based services that offer you the opportunity to add a second phone number to your smartphone. Operating under the marketing slogan “2 Lines, 1 Phone,” the iOS and Android compatible Line2 lets you make and receive calls (and texts with image attachments) using an assigned secondary phone number that can be used for any purpose you like – whether personal, business, or a hybrid of the two.
Line2 operates on mobile devices and computers, with equal support for PC and Mac via downloadable apps for each. It can be installed on multiple devices, but individual accounts can only be used on one platform at a time. You can sign up for a Standard (personal) plan at $9.99 per month, or a Pro (business) plan for $14.99. The app also comes available as a free version that can be only be used to call and text with other Line2 users.
The Standard plan lets you send unlimited texts and receive unlimited inbound calls. Outbound calls are limited to 1500 minutes per month if you upgrade via the in-app purchase, and 5000 minutes when you upgrade through the Line2 online billing system. Other features of the Standard plan include enhanced voicemail, incoming and outgoing caller ID, do not disturb settings, group calling, and the ability to initiate call forwarding to another number.
Although highly functional, the features of the Standard plan may not be enough to meet more complex business needs – in which case, Line2 offers a more robust Pro plan that’ll get you a host of additional features. Besides everything already offered by the Standard plan – including a 5000 per-month minute limit on outgoing calls – the Pro plan offers group conferencing with up to 20 participants, call screening, call forwarding to up to six phone numbers, after-hours settings, and an auto attendant for professional call routing.
The first step in using the auto attendant is to record a standard greeting for all inbound calls that tells callers what their dialing options are (“dial 0 for operator, dial 1 for sales”). Next, you program the specific actions that correspond with each numerical value. You can also program a dial-by-name directory that routes calls to your employees using the first three letters of their last name.
With after-hours screening, you can set the program to automatically route calls to voicemail during certain days and specific times of day – a functionality that is absolutely essential to separating your personal life from your work life. Call screening is another feature that helps infuse your work day with added focus, blocking specific callers and screening calls by caller type.
All features driven by the Line2 auto attendant must be configured through the online dashboard and cannot be adjusted through the mobile or computer-based apps. Other features like recording outgoing voicemail messages, call screening, call forwarding, and do not disturb can be programmed from the app itself.
In addition to programming settings, the online dashboard can be used to add and remove contacts lists. All activity for incoming calls, texts and voicemails can be accessed via the dashboard. Voicemail messages can be downloaded as MP3 files or listened to from the dashboard. You also receive an email notification anytime you get a voicemail, however there is no support for text transcription.
Assigned telephone numbers can be chosen via the app or by signing up through the online platform. Phone numbers are limited to the U.S. and Canada, but there is widespread coverage available. Placing calls will display your Line2 number on your recipient’s caller ID.
As with all other similar services, Line2 calls placed over cellular data connections draw minutes from your mobile carrier plan. Line2 can’t be used independently of a mobile plan. This is something to take into consideration if your existing plan has limited minutes. In typical fashion, all calls made using Wi-Fi will not impact your mobile carrier bill – however they will count against the monthly allotted minutes for outbound dialing using your Line2 phone number.
The Line2 service is rich with features and extra upgrades that include setting up virtual fax service ($120 per year) and transferring your assigned digits to a toll free number (a lengthy and convoluted process). But it’s when you read the fine print about allotted minutes for outgoing calls where things get a bit murky. As we mentioned earlier, signing up for the service through the app limits you to 1500 minutes of outgoing phone calls, while signing up through the online platform will get you 5000 minutes. Additionally, you can only sign up for the Pro plan online. If you try to upgrade via the app, the only option you get is the Standard plan.
When compared with other PBX apps, Line2 is versatile and easy, if not a bit weighted down by its own complexities. At a cost of $14.99 per month, it remains an affordable alternative to installing a landline phone system but may be too complex for your needs if you’re a sole proprietor. The Standard plan is a few dollars cheaper, but it’s missing some of the more useful features that can help you run your business, like auto attendant. We recommend careful consideration prior to commitment. If you’d rather try before you fly, Line2 gives you a seven-day free trial – however, if you don’t cancel service before that time period elapses, your credit card will be billed accordingly.
The web based dashboard is compatible with PC and Mac computers, and apps for placing and receiving calls on your computer are available for Mac and PC. Currently, there is no official Windows 10 app but the developer reports the PC-based application can function using Microsoft’s latest OS iteration. The iOS app requires 7.0 or later, and the Android app requires 2.3.3 and up. Line2 is also functional with Fire OS.
Looking for more than one line? How about six? Read our Flyp review for more information.