Tandy FaxMate. (evaluation)
by Eddie Huffman
Fax communication is a fast and efficient variation on conventional information exchange. Trading the slow pace of mail or express delivery services for instantaneous worldwide communication, it offers good speed but poor-quality paper, few machine language barriers but some document-form limitations.
The Tandy FaxMate is an appropriately fast and efficient fax board that lets you send and receive facsimiles from your PC. Offering few frills, easy use, and mediocre onscreen reproduction, it simply gets the job done.
The FaxMate is easy to install: Remove your PC's cover, snap the fax board into a slot, and plug in a couple of phone cords. Its software is similarly easy to install and use, providing clear instructions and, for the most part, easily followed paths to any field, whether sending a fax or altering the current setup (I was caught off guard, though, when its automatic receive function kicked in unexpectedly).
With automatic setup of files for received faxes and steps that walk you through setting up a cover sheet and sending a document, the FaxMate does most of the hard work for you. It automatically redials if it gets a busy signal when sending, and it allows for automatic transmission to different machines during low-rate times.
Though designed to operate with the DeskMate software program, the fax board and accompanying software work fine on their own. The only substantial complaint I had was with onscreen reproduction of received documents. When the documents show up onscreen, they're illegibly reduced. And for all the software's zooming and half-sizing capabilities, making a document readable onscreen takes a lot of doing. However, the FaxMate readily prints clear, full-sized fax documents. And you enjoy the speed and convenience of working from your computer.