Scan, Fax and Copy with your mobile phone

Martin Brinkmann
Aug 3, 2007
Updated • Jul 27, 2013
Mobile Computing

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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  1. mxolisi said on May 13, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    i have just bought a four in one printer, print, copy, scan and fax. is it possible to use my sony ericsson xperia x1 mobile phone to send and redeive faxes, or i still need a land line to connect to my fax machine.

  2. richard said on August 21, 2007 at 11:32 pm

    your readers may be interested in a couple of interviews we got with both ScanR and Comombo on their products;



    cheer, Richard

  3. Martin said on August 3, 2007 at 9:00 pm

    Sindy, I did ;) Well 10€ for 30MB is really not that much. They will have to increase that in the near future though.

  4. Sindy said on August 3, 2007 at 8:45 pm

    I saw you did. Maybe update the review?

    i pay 10€ for 30MB…. now why do i feel so used now :)

  5. Martin said on August 3, 2007 at 8:23 pm

    Sindy you are right about the freeware, I overlooked that. I pay roughly $13 for 200 free Megabytes per month which is enough to check mails and fax a few pages every now and then ;)

  6. Sindy said on August 3, 2007 at 4:55 pm

    Hi Martin,

    The freeware is not subsription based. Here you get 10 fax pages for free and unlimited emails (PDFs).

    As for the data packages you are very right, the prices are going down. But still, very few ppl use them… First time i tried scanr (end of last year) the test page costed me 6€ :((( If you fax a lot, other comombo subscription packages might be cheaper.

    I must admit i hardly ever use fax. But the email option – totally cool! and thats free already. It’s cheaper than the uni copy shop.

    Also, these fax prices must to go down soon. It all has to be flat at some point – lets hope that time comes soon!!! :))

  7. Martin said on August 3, 2007 at 2:47 pm

    Sindy the difference is that Comombo is subscription based which means that you have to pay $4,99 even if you do not fax at all in that month.

    I agree however with the rest of your calculations.

    I do know of several service providers who offer 200 Megabyte for €10 which would probably mean that Scanr is the better product.

    It all depends on how much you pay per Megabyte.

  8. Nick said on August 3, 2007 at 2:42 pm

    comombo is free to scan and copy with, only fax is payed.

    anyways, great program for students – think about whiteboards!

  9. Sindy said on August 3, 2007 at 2:33 pm

    Nice review. Maybe we could compare them like this:

    If you want to send your docs as PDF you can do it with comombo for free. Carrier costs are almost 0. And you can email as much as you want. With scanr the costs are 20 times bigger (comombo compresses 95%) – you send around 2MB.

    If you want to fax, what is cheaper? 0.49 cents per page by comombo or data costs for 2MB with scanr?

    comombo seems to offer a better deal here. With their freeware you can email as much as you want to, and you get 10 fax pages for free.

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