Relisys TEFAX RA-2125. (facsimile modem board) (Evaluation)
by Eddie Huffman
On the one hand, it looks like a fax machine, rings like a fax machine, and allows you to transmit and receive physical copies of documents and graphic images like a fax machine. On the other hand, it lets you receive faxes on your hard drive and print them on your computer's printer, modify faxes you're sending or receiving on your monitor screen, and create your own fax documents by typing them yourself or by importing text or graphic images from other programs. So what is it? A fax machine or a fax/modem board with accompanying software?
It's both. With the TEFAX RA-2125, Relisys has captured the best of two worlds. You get the convenience of a full-featured fax machine, eliminating the need to buy a scanner and a fax/modem board that must be installed inside your PC. But you don't lose the flexibility in editing and printing faxes that a fax/modem board provides. Plus it's easy to install, with the machine connecting to your PC's serial port via a cable included in the package.
Although the TEFAX RA-2125 doesn't completely eliminate physical bulk the way a fax/modem board does, it's still a relatively compact machine. It's also powerful. Even if you don't use the AutoFax software, the TEFAX RA-2125 can still store 100 quick-dial phone numbers and 10 one-button numbers, transmit and receive ready-to-go faxes, send faxes automatically at specified times, poll one or more other machines for faxes needed, and copy documents instantly
Entering a phone list and other information can be awfully time-consuming on the TEFAX RA-2125, but the AutoFax software helps--in this area as well as others. While not quite as clear and user-friendly as some fax/modem software--there are many different layers, with varying complementary features accessible only at certain levels--AutoFax is a relatively straightforward, efficient communications tool. You need a mouse to take full advantage of its editing capabilities, though.
By choosing items in a series of submenus of a main menu that always stays at the top of the AutoFax screen, you can create your own fax phone book, make a cover sheet, and profoundly alter documents or graphics files by changing their size, position, or contents. AutoFax allows you to print out faxes on either your computer's printer or the fax machine itself and to receive incoming faxes on the machine, your computer's hard drive, or both. You view the faxes on a rectangular box that poops up in the middle of the screen. Since the box is wider horizontally than vertically, it can be hard getting a clear idea of what a fax looks like as a whole without making a printout, even after using a helpful scaling function to reduce or enlarge it. The manuals for both the hardware and software offer clear guidance, though the booklet for the TEFAX RA-2125 lacks an index and the AutoFax manuals has no troubleshooting guide.
If you need more than either a fax machine or a fax/modem board has to offer, the Relisys TEFAX RA-2125 may be what you're looking for. It puts both technologies together in one concentrated, versatile package.