Once again, we found a company that was owned by j2 Global. SmartFax is an easy-to-use Internet fax service that lets you push your faxes either with the online dashboard or with your email. SmartFax is one of those “barebones” Internet faxing services, only letting you use your email application or the online portal to send and receive your faxes. These types of services do not include a mobile setup and encourage users to just use their browser or email app on their smartphone for sending faxes.
j2 Global is one of the leading providers of communications solutions for businesses, putting communications solutions into the cloud. This company was founded in December 1995. The company has gone through several name changes and acquisitions over the years, picking up several websites that are used for cloud storage, digital media, and communications. Essentially, all of j2 Global’s Internet faxing solutions use the same backend framework.
- Email to fax
- High number of file formats supported
- In-app security
When we checked out SmartFax, we were okay with the prices. We felt that $6.95 per month is a pretty fair price, on par with some of the other providers in the industry. With SmartFax, you get 250 pages per month. You can also select a fax number for your business. This is a somewhat easy process. If you want to purchase additional fax numbers, the service costs $6.95 for each additional fax number and comes with the same 250 pages per month.
We found that overuse fees do apply for SmartFax. After you exhaust your page quota for the month, you will have to pay $.08 per page every time you said an additional fax. While this is one of the cheaper overuse fees in the industry, we find that it can be quite easy to go over your page limit with inbound and outbound faxes.
This platform is cloud-based. With SmartFax, you get up to 30 days to store and access your faxes. When we called in, we found that many users will often use a Dropbox account or other cloud storage service to store their faxes after they've downloaded them.
Email to Fax
It is pretty easy to configure your email account to use SmartFax. With this service, we found that you have to set up your email account within the online login portal. After your email is registered with SmartFax, you don't ever have to log in to send faxes if you want. You can also send faxes from SmartFax by typing the fax recipient number in the form of an email address.
High Number of File Formats Supported
One of the nice things about j2 Global is that they have streamlined all of their fax services to support the same types of files. With SmartFax, you can send:
- Group 3 TIF Image
- Microsoft Word
- Microsoft Excel
- Microsoft PowerPoint
- Plain Text
- Rich Text Format (RTF)
- Graphic Interchange Format (GIF)
- Portable Network Graphic (PNG)
- Access Snapshot (SNP)
We think that is very important to be able to send materials directly from Microsoft Office. In fact, you can simply open up a new Outlook message, type in the fax number as an email address, and drop the file that you would like to send.
There is another important feature of this service. We found that, when sending Internet faxes via email, you can activate a password feature. When sending a fax, you will be prompted for a password. This is a powerful way to control the number of outbound faxes, so that you do not exceed your page allottment.
- Mobile app
- Cloud storage
Like j2 Global's other Internet faxing services, we are not really impressed with SmartFax. The company simply does not have that good of a reputation. There are numerous instances of overzealous marketing.
Overall, here are some of the things that we don't like about SmartFax:
- Even though you can log in via an Internet browser or use your mail app, there really isn't any mobile functionality with this service.
- Your cloud account only stores faxes for 30 day.
- You can't really automate your service to get faxes sent directly to your cloud storage.
- There isn't a "standalone download" for SmartFax like there are other companies in the industry.
- Very limited support section of website.
We really wanted to see a mobile app when we were looking at this faxing service. There are many mobile apps in the industry that let you send and receive faxes, as well as sign your documents on your touchscreen.
Another feature that was missing? Better cloud storage. You can keep your faxes for up to 30 days, but then they are automatically deleted. You can get a Dropbox or Google Drive account, but you cannot automate the process of putting your faxes in the cloud with your preference of cloud storage service.
Another problem that we found with this service was that you have to register your emails for faxing within the SmartFax dashboard. Failure to do this will mean that you won't be able to send your faxes over the Internet.
While we found that SmartFax was affordable, it is very easy to go over your 250 page per month limit. After this you are billed $.08 per page. There are also not any scaling potentials with this service. If you choose one of the other j2 Global faxing products, you will be able to get the page allotment per month that you want.