Hayes JT Fax 4800 Portable. (evaluation)
by Peter Scisco
Hayes, the standard bearer for PC modem products, brings its considerable expertise to bear on the JT Fax 4800 Portable. I've evaluated several PC fax products over the last year, and the JT Portable is, without a doubt, the easiest to set up, configure, and operate. What's more, it possibility lets you take your fax capability on the road.
Installing the JT Portable is simplicity itself. Connect the box to an open COM port using the standard serial cable, plug in your telephone line as directed, and plug the power supply into the wall. That takes care of the hardware. To install the software, insert the Program/Utility disk (one disk for 3-1/2-inch drives, two disks for 5-1/4-inch drives) and type Install. The self-running installation and configuration program will have you ready to send your first fax (your warranty registration) within 15 minutes.
The JT Portable works best with ASCII text files; however, you can fax documents straight from your word processor using the JT's Application Capture option. If you configure your word processor to send its document to an Epson MX-compatible printer, the JT will capture the print job and route it to a receiving fax machine. You'll almost always be better off using Application Capture for sending a fax. The JT won't send graphics from any application, but it will convert its fax files from and to PC Paintbrush files (PCX) so that you can transmit and receive letterhead and signatures, for example.
As a receiver, the JT works extremely well. Faxes are captured and stored automatically and can be printed on plain paper (a great advantage over stand-alone machines using thermal paper). I experienced no problems printing a one-page fax on an HP LaserJest-compatible printer.
While the JT Portable has a lot to recommend it, there are a few disadvantages. One, the software is memory resident. You'll have to check for possible conflict with other TSRs. This also precludes the use of the JT Portable with such memory-manipulative software as Windows. Also, if you run into trouble (a bad connection, for example), it's difficult to regain control of your system for an exit or reboot. Finally, the JT is a fax system only it doesn't double as a modem.
On the whole, the JT Portable offers flexibility as a trade for full standalone fax machine functionality. But it's a trade worth considering it you're in the market for a PC fax device.