I always thought it would be nice to put the camera that most mobile phones are equipped with to got us. One of the applications that I thought would be really nice is the option to use it to take pictures of documents so that they can be faxed, emailed or simply stored on the phone. I don't have a fax because I rarely need it but I miss it dearly whenever I need it.
I had to fax some information to Paypal the other day, and to do so, I had to print out documents that PayPal wanted me to fax to them, go to a store that would allow me to fax papers, to do so. Besides the privacy concerns I lost almost an hour that day just to fax some papers to Paypal. It would be much easier to simply use the camera of a mobile phone to take a picture of the document and send it as a fax or email attachment to the recipient.
I tried two services, one of them free while the other one is a paid service that starts at $4,99 monthly for 10 sheets. Scanr is a free mobile application that supports a wide variety of mobile phones offering a Java and Symbian version of their software. A 1 Megapixel camera is required though.
The only costs are the costs of your wireless carrier. There is no image post processing which means that your images could be rather big which may lead to high costs unless you have an unlimited plan.
Comombo is a paid service which offers their application for Java and Symbian as well. The big advantage is the post processing of images which leads to some remarkable results. First the size of the image is reduced which is always good because you have to send it over the Internet using your mobile phone.
The second advantage is that it increases image quality. It lightens up dark images for instance making the document more readable.
The freeware version is good for 10 pages that can be faxed. All other versions ask for a monthly fee that grant a certain amount of free faxes for that month. I would like to see a one time payment opportunity which gives me a certain amount of faxes that I can send whenever I want to.
This is a good service if you fax regularly and a not so good one if you only do it occasionally.
Update: The Scanr website returns an error for quite some time now. The project seems to be dead and it is unlikely that it will be restored in the future. Please check the comments in the article for suitable alternatives. Comombo is also no longer available.
The mobile world has changed a lot ever since our initial review back in 2007. With Android and iOS now dominating the scene, apps have taken a front seat as well.
The Google Play store offers access to dozens of fax related applications, some free some paid, that you can use to fax documents to recipients.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.