RingCentral Fax is a very solid option for a fax service, giving one access to extremely useful and intuitive features for all their faxing needs. Online support is also a major strength for RingCentral. The major drawback, though, is a distraction for fax-only use generated by the voice service aspect of the company’s wider array, a distraction reflected in the mobile apps and web interface for desktop.
RingCentral Fax Plans
Let us begin with the basics of cost breakdown for RingCentral Fax. The service offers four different tiers of pricing to choose from. The base package begins at 500 pages a month for $7.99 every month, which is billed by the year. This package can also be purchased on a monthly basis for $9.99 per month. Further pages beyond the 500 will cost 5.9 cents per page. Moving up, RingCentral’s Fax1000 plan costs $12.99 a year, or you can opt for $17.99 every month. The extra pages on this package cost 4.9 cents each. RingCentral Fax does also give the option for a 30-day free trial for each plan.
Your options for a fax number range from a toll-free number, vanity number, or local phone number. The option for a toll-free number or vanity number with letters, numbers or symbols is rather unique among fax services. The latter will cost a simple $30 as a setup fee. Also unique to RingCentral is their walkthrough of the process to transfer from an existing fax number to the online service. It is typical for other services to necessitate a call to the company in order to conduct such a transfer.
RingCentral Fax offers you a bit more specificity in your local number, allowing you to pinpoint exact towns and cities without the need for an area code. You’ll choose your number, and then enter contact information, payment and billing information, and select your monthly or annual payment plan. The service will require a separate verification through your mobile phone in order to fully authenticate your identity. Finally, you’ll reach the end of the process for the setup of the free trial by activating your account though a link in your email. After clicking on the link, you’ll be prompted to create a password, PIN number, and finally a security question. The PIN is rather confusing, as you are told it is used for voicemails, despite the service being specifically fax only.
Your fax number will be used for regular logins. RingCentral requires a very strong password, more so than many other services, compelling you to supply a password with both a capitalized letter and a number.
Following your first login, an express account setup will being, prompting you to enter any company information to your account along with your basic information, such as name, email and time zone. A very slick walkthrough will be provided to outline how to send and receive faxes with your new account. You will further be prompted to utilize iOS and Android apps as well as more apps made for Mac and PC. The mobile apps will only facilitate the reception of faxes, whereas the desktop apps are used both for sending and receiving faxes as well as adding your own personalized cover page or setup a fax delivery.
Here one begins to run in to some of the more cumbersome aspects of the RingCentral setup. To give an example, in the case of a simple fax-only account, the section for account information encourages you to confirm your extension info, which is only applicable for a unified communications subscriber, and has little to do with a basic fax-only account. Essentially, this means the interface prompts you with options that are of no use to a fax-only subscriber, creating a very cluttered system. Such references to the voice service are scattered across the service’s interface by the web, the mobile apps, and the desktop apps as well as an abundance of help files.
RingCentral Fax Interface
As previously touched on, the web interface for RingCentral Fax is setup so as to be universal to every service of the company, combining fax with the voice and unified communications aspects which RingCentral offers. For a simple fax account, these various useless additions become extremely distracting, making it harder to get to what a fax subscriber needs, especially when considering how poorly the fax-specific options are outlined. The fax-only options are nearly hidden in to the far right of the web display, requiring a bit of hunting to track down what you’re looking for.
The app becomes even more cluttered. Once opening the iOS or Android app, it becomes abundantly clear that both were designed for the unified communications services that RingCentral offers, rather than the fax services. At the very onset of a perusal of the application, the welcome screen is very quick to tell you all about your ability with the RingCentral service to put your business phone number on display for calls, texts, and faxes even when you’re not at your desk. While this is certainly useful for some customers, a fax-only subscriber would care very little. Tapping through the six total welcome screens in the app, only one of them is remotely related to the fax service. This could quite easily cause a bit of confusion for a first time user of the app, perhaps even causing them to wonder if they downloaded the correct application.
To put a more positive spin on the interface, the settings section does offer a few very unique features that sets RingCentral apart from other service options. For example, only RingCentral will provide you with the option to receive notifications by both email and SMS for the sending and reception of faxes. The app will also allow you to set a custom cover page and enter any numbers you might like to block.
To return to the web interface, it is outfitted with a handy navigation bar design in order to easily move around the website. From this bar, one is able to move between sections, such as your account overview, recent messages and calls, inbox, outbox, sent box, and deleted items folders, a call log, settings, billing, tools, and app downloads. Again, it must be repeated that the icon for sending faxes is rather hard to identify over in the far right side of the navigation bar. This tiny little paper icon is very easy to miss, creating a fair amount of frustration for first time fax-only subscribers.
File Format and Cloud Support
RingCentral offers a large amount of file formats, giving users a gratuitous 40 selections for the service. There is, however, a lack of support for OpenDocument files. A handy benefit, which tends to be uncommon in other services, is the ability to easily navigating and handle files accessed from web storage such as Dropbox, Box and Google Drive programs. To go even further, RingCentral is fully outfitted for Google for Work, a very convenient aspect for the service. However, it must be said that other services such as HelloFax offer a wider rather of support, such as support for Evernote and OneDrive, and allows inbound fax cloud storage. As such, RingCentral falls a bit flat in cloud storage integration.
Android and Windows Apps
Moving on through the initial walkthrough, RingCentral moves on to give you with an option to download further applications, all free, for iOS and Android devices. The walkthrough also prompts you with downloads for the Mac and Windows desktop apps. The Android and iOS apps face many of the same problems that the web interface does. Each app has a similar interface to the other, and the design by and large again favors those customers who opt to use the voice service, rather than those among us who choose to only utilize RingCentral Fax.
For the Android app, there is a decent amount of functionality, giving users an easy way to download incoming faxes straight from the cloud. Such faxes can then quite simply be viewed and emailed on, or forwarded as another fax, should the user so desire. However, beyond that the app offers little in the way of fax management, lacking any sort of tagging or sorting system. Once again, this app is similarly cluttered with options for all RingCentral communications options, mainly voice, making it a bit complicated for a fax-only user.
Many of these issues are carried over into the Windows desktop application. The app itself is rather slim, using up only a slight slip of your screen to operate, similar to a common messaging application. The app includes notifications of incoming faces, alerting you with an on-screen pop-up whenever a new fax is received at your number. There is, however, a bit of a delay between the time of the notification and the actually reception of the fax in both the RingCentral web inbox and the users email. In order to view a fax, one simply must click on it to open it in a PDF reader.
Sending and Receiving Faxes
This process is very well outlined from the outset of the service. RingCentral almost immediately walks the user through the ins and outs of both sending and receiving faxes. In similar fashion to various other services, users are provided with the option to send a fax by email by simply utilizing the personal fax number @rcfax.com. Users can also opt to send using the web interface as well as both the mobile and desktop applications.
When a fax is received, the email option enters the user’s inbox in the form of a PDF, although the user may instead choose for a simple notification email with no PDF attached. The faxes will also appear in the Messages tabs of both the web interface and mobile applications. This is the very same Messages tab which would be utilized for voicemails should you also choose to be a unified communications RingCentral Office subscriber. This Messages tab is again used by RingCentral to drop you any voice messages which may be in some way related to your account. For example, RingCentral might notify you here of a password change or some other sort of account activity.
The layout for actually sending a fax is one of the positive elements of RingCentral’s fax service, offering a very user-friendly template. This process begins by being prompted by RingCentral to offer the fax number for the recipient, which can be done either manually or through your contact list found in RingCentral, which can be added to using a CSV file. In order to select a cover page, one will click a checkbox found below. The cover page will be selected from thirteen different templates, though you will not choose your own design. Following this, the user will pick the file or files which they would like to attach and fax. This file can be chosen from your computer’s internal files as well as opting to use Dropbox, Box, or Google Drive cloud storage for the retrieval of the file to be faxed.
From there, the user will choose to either send the fax immediately, or opt to send at a scheduled date and time. The option to schedule the sending of a fax is fairly unique to RingCentral, creating a rather helpful and powerful aspect of the service.
RingCentral, though it does offer quite a few positive aspects such as those listed above, trips itself up by failing to offer fax-specific functionality. There is no option to manage inbound and outbound faxes, such as the ability to tag and search faxes, or even sort according to whether the faxes are inbound or outbound.
RingCentral Fax service has quite a lot going for it. The service gives users a diverse set of features as well as solid mobile and cloud support. The ability to schedule the sending of faxes is a very unique and beneficial tool for many businesses. The bottom line truly comes down to whether or not the user is willing to work around the other services provided by RingCentral in order to navigate a cluttered interface to the fax services.