In a world where video calls on mobiles have become reality, sending text messages has generated its very own vernacular and fridges can be accessed via the Internet it seems incredible that a technology like fax is still going.
But, in it its own quiet way, going it still is. Look carefully around most offices (you do have to hunt a bit harder than you used to, admittedly) and you’ll probably find a fax machine hiding away somewhere.
Why hasn’t it gone the way of the Dodo? After all, email is so much easier to use, isn’t it? It's probably down to the fact that it’s such a simple technology to get to grips with and use. To send an important document, diagram, map or contract all it takes is an appreciation of how to use a phone and a photocopier.
It’s a useful emergency backup, too, a robust technology that still has its uses when the Internet connection goes down or you have a hard copy of something you want to send and there’s no scanner nearby, which is why companies like Panasonic are still producing machines like the KX-FC235E. Incidentally we love the name – it’s so … fax.
Of course it would be churlish to produce a plain old fax machine these days without at least adding a few extras to persuade folks that it’s not such boring old technology. To this end, the KX is fully equipped with the latest in DECT answer phone technology. That’s one of those wireless, digital phone thingies just in case you were wondering.
The phone part in general works very well. It’s a doddle to set up and use, something that cannot be said for all DECT answer-machine phones, and it's packed with useful features. In fact the handset offers the sort of functionality that most mobile phones do: it has caller ID functionality, both handset and base unit store numbers that have been dialled and received (you can print a list of these out), there’s a searchable phonebook with room for 200 numbers, answer phone functions can be accessed remotely and you can even use the thing for sending SMS messages if your operator allows it.
Added to this there’s speakerphone capability in both handset and base unit, which is very useable if you like that sort of thing (can’t stand it myself – I always end up shouting at the phone). The digital answer phone will store 18 minutes of messages, which is enough for 36 messages at 30 seconds each. What’s more, the KX can be set up to automatically answer faxes and phone calls.