RingCentral brings a full suite of telecom experience to the world of faxing and translates this experience into one of the best platforms for internet based faxing in the industry.
- Core functions (email and web based faxing) run well
- Built off a larger VoIP Telecom Product
- Block problematic numbers
- Brand name in the market
- Direct Integration with Cloud based services such as Dropbox, Google Docs, and Box Services
- Store 200 faxes for an unlimited time
- Scan directly to a fax number
- Receive a fax directly to a printer
- Software is built for a full Telephone Suite, sometimes a bit too much for “fax only” customers
- Faxing from Canada & USA to other International locations can be pricey
- Limited to 1 email address to send and receive from
- Fax storage limited to 200 faxes
- Review Summary
- Table of Contents
- Full Review
- Our RingCentral Plan Specifics
- Core Online Faxing Features
- Software Interface and Usability
- Extra Features
- Customer Service
- Individual Ratings
Supplements to our RingCentral Review
RingCentral Comparison Reviews
RingCentral’s online faxing service is designed to give users the ability to send and receive faxes over their web browser, email, and RingCentral’s custom “Call Controller” program.
RingCentral is a major player in the Online Fax and VoIP market, and their qualifications show through with their product.
In this review, we will measure RingCentral’s Internet faxing service against other services in the industry by putting every single detail to the test.
Read on to find out if this fax service is for you.
- RingCentral Fax 500
- $7.99 / month
- Send and Receive a Total of 500 pages
- Additional Pages within faxing zone 5.9c each
- Toll-Free Number or Local Numbers
- Faxing Zone in USA & Canada. Extra long distance charges to other countries.
- Microsoft Office and Outlook Integration
This category includes an evaluation of the basics of sending and receiving faxes and core features of the RingCentral service.
RingCentral is set up to give you the ability to send faxes through your web browser, email, and RingCentral’s own software, RingCentral Call Centre. All three have the same basic functions – the ability to send a number of different file formats together to a fax machine.
Sending a Fax through Email
RingCentral makes sending a fax through email about as easy as it possibly could.
Faxes are sent through email in almost exactly the same way an email is prepared. Put an email together the same way you would normally, attach any documents you want faxed, and send the fax to the fax number you want to dial with [email protected]” at the end of the fax number (for example, [email protected]).
After you press send on your email, the message will go through to RingCentral’s servers where it will turn your email into a fax.
RingCentral will put all the necessary information into the right places. As an example, the subject and any other “meta” information in the email such as your sender name and fax number will be transferred over into the proper fields of the cover page of the fax. The program will take the subject and body of the email and place it in the proper spot on the cover page of the fax.
The only requirement for sending the fax is that the documents attached to the email are the file formats that RingCentral supports. RingCentral’s servers will transfer your documents from their current format into a format that can be sent through the fax – there are no extra steps or functions needed to be able to turn separate documents into a “fax format”.
With the send from email feature, you can treat your faxes just like any other email – drafting and saving messages, and mixing users that you send to (for example, send to 3 email addresses and 5 different fax numbers).
RingCentral’s email fax service isn’t limited to just Outlook – it will work with any email program (such as Thunderbird) as well as webmail based email services such as Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo Mail.
While there isn’t much that can complicate the service, RingCentral does a good job of fulfilling all the basics of sending email to a fax machine.
Sending a Fax Through the Web Interface
RingCentral’s web interface is built very much like your email inbox – but for faxes. It is meant to give you a central place where you can manage your faxes on the web.
The web interface is built to do a good job of allowing the user to send faxes, with an interface that is in the same style of how a web based email system such as Gmail, Hotmail, or Yahoo Mail.
The Web interface works very much like the the send from email system – RingCentral’s system will pull information such as the subject of the message and the name of who it is being sent to, and attach that information to the respective fields of the cover page.
Like sending an email, RingCentral’s servers will process the attachments into a fax format to send the fax.
Sending a Fax through RingCentral’s Call Controller
RingCentral’s Call Controller program is the third way to be able to send faxes through their system.
When using the Call Controller program, most of the functions happen the same way that an email is sent. However, it happens within the program.
Call Controller will also let you synchronize contacts from Outlook as well as other contact management systems.
Call Controller will also let you fax directly from a scanner. We’ve covered more on that topic in our extra features section.
RingCentral also makes receiving a fax quite easy to do, with multiple ways to receive faxes to different areas.
When somebody sends you a fax, you receive a copy of it in your email inbox, as well you can be notified through the Call Controller program and having the message appear in your RingCentral account’s web interface.
Receiving a Fax through Email
When you receive a fax you will be sent a copy of the fax to the email address you have configured with the fax attached in PDF format.
From here you can treat the fax just like you would any other email – you can print or save the pdf attachment, as well you can take the message and forward it to somebody else through email, or edit the fax as necessary and send it back through your RingCentral fax service.
There is not too much that can be considered “complex” from a user standpoint when it comes to receiving a fax with email, and like many others in the industry RingCentral’s fax to email system works well.
Receiving a Fax through the Web Interface
When you are sent a fax, you will also have access to that fax through the web interface that RingCentral provides. This functions very much like a web-based email account (such as Gmail, Hotmail, or Yahoo Mail) – it contains copies of faxes that you’ve sent and received, as well as other helpful information such as cover pages, subject lines, etc.
The web interface functions well and is a core component of the RingCentral fax service.
Receiving a Fax with RingCentral’s Call Controller
RingCentral’s Call Controller offers a neat function in that it can give you notice as soon as a fax arrives.
For people looking to avoid their email but may be waiting for an important fax, this can be a helpful feature. The call controller can be set up to notify you when a fax arrives. This lets you focus on whatever important task you’re on at the moment, but still being connected enough to get the most important messages.
To access your messages from the Call Controller is as simple as opening the program, selecting “Open Messages Inbox” and then selecting the message you want to view.
One other benefit of the Call Controller program is that you can set it up to print directly to a printer the moment a fax arrives – mimicking the behavior of a fax machine – more on that function in the “extra features” section of this review.
Software Ease of Use
Overall we like what RingCentral’s system capability. When it comes to the basics of sending and receiving faxes, they perform as well as can be measured.
The software is fully featured, and has everything we could ask for from a “functional” standpoint. We like the big buttons that the software offers, and when it comes to web and email interfaces, there are minimal places where a user can go wrong.
One drawback we find with the operation of the system is that most of the software (specifically the Call Controller and Smartphone apps) are built for a fully featured office telephone suite. While this is an advantage for the “extra features” section we find that it is a bit overkill for “fax only” user. The number of useless buttons and options in both the Call Controller and Smartphone applications add to the learning curve and initial frustration level for the “fax only” user.
The other item to note with RingCentral’s software is that there is a lack of “uniformness” in functions between the Call Controller and the web interface. While faxes are synchronized between the two, we would have preferred to see functions such numbers that can be blocked and other features available in both the Call Controller and the web interface – this would reduce the amount of searching a user needs to do for changing settings.
Integration with other Systems
Through the Call Controller, RingCentral is well integrated with the Microsoft Office features of a Windows computer.
As mentioned before, integration is also possible with Dropbox, Google Docs, and Box accounts, allowing users to fax directly from these programs.
Operating System Support
RingCentral has integrated its systems so that he majority of day to day functions can be done either through email or the web interfaces.
- Microsoft Windows
- Mac OSX
- Linux – Web Interface and Email Only
Windows and Mac users will find the service well integrated with their workflow.
One note that Mac users should make, however, is that there is no support for files created in programs such as Pages, one of Mac’s more popular word processors. Mac users using Pages will need to save their document as an RDF, DOC, or into a PDF when they want to make it faxable through RingCentral’s system.
People looking to replace the convenience of a fax machine with an online fax service should consider RingCentral’s service.
Through RingCentral’s call controller, you can take a document and from a scanner send it directly to a fax number – there is no middle step of saving them document than having to choose it again to send it.
Another feature for people looking for a fax machine replacement – with the Call Controller program, you can have it configured to print a copy of your fax directly to your printer the moment your account receives a fax.
This way, the system functions almost like a fax machine would – minimizing the steps needed to work with a fax.
Together with the ability to scan directly to fax, RingCentral currently has the best online fax service for replacing a hardcopy fax machine.
RingCentral has built Smartphone applications for the iPhone, Android, and Blackberry platforms.
These applications let you see faxes that have arrived into your RingCentral system, however at the time of writing does not allow the user to send faxes from the application – however that can be done from the email inbox, just like sending an email.
Other operating systems such as Windows Phone, Palm OS, and Symbian OS devices can still send and receive faxes through RingCentral’s services, however only through the email systems on those phones.
RingCentral lets you edit the cover pages you have in the system. While RingCentral comes with quite a few default cover pages, these can all be edited and adjusted (or new pages created from scratch) to match any look that your business wants to provide.
Editing a cover page is very much like editing any graphic document – it is a matter of placing text and different fields on the page to where you want them.
The ability to edit fields such as a subject line or name and phone number is in the system, as well as adding pictures and graphics (such as company logos).
Once a page has been added to the RingCentral Call Controller, it can be set as the default cover page for sending a fax from web and email based systems.
Faxing still exists in many areas because of the use of signatures in agreements. The quickest and easiest way to get a signature on a piece of paper in many cases is through a fax.
RingCentral will let you upload a copy of your signature, and then use that as a “stamp” to get your signature onto a fax. The benefit of this is that it removes the step of having to fully download a document to “sign” it.
For people who always want to be on top of things, RingCentral has an option to have a text message sent to your phone, either for when a fax is confirmed sent or when one has been received.
We’ve all received spam over our fax machine – notices we’ve won trips, contests, or advertisements for local seminars. With a regular fax machine, these are almost impossible to stop.
RingCentral has a feature to block fax numbers that may be harassing you with junk faxes – simply enter the number to be blocked, and RingCentral’s service will prevent further transmissions from that number.
As users move their documents and activities to online and cloud based systems, RingCentral has built integration into these services to be able to send any information to them directly through to a fax number. At the time of writing, the only provider in the market to do this, it is a much-needed step for people who frequently work off of different computers.
RingCentral’s fax services are built off their core product, which is a VoIP (Voice over IP, or a telephone service over the internet) suite. There are many benefits to VoIP vs. a regular telephone line, and while they are far too many to mention in this review, the fact that RingCentral manages a full suite of products gives users a potentially easy upgrade path, not having to install and learn new software, if they decide to upgrade.
Overall we like the approach that RingCentral has brought to customer service.
With the infrastructure of a larger telephonic system behind it, the resources are in place for a lot of what a customer experience needs. As well, RingCentral has repeatedly been awarded for various fax and VoIP functions.
Resources and Availability
Customer Service and Technical Support Availability
Customer service resources are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Technical support includes a full FAQ and ticketing system.
RingCentral also features an online help forum. For us, this is a major advantage, as it lets the more “technically inclined” of us look for answers to questions that may have already been asked. This can be a major shortcut compared with sending a help ticket and waiting for a response, and many times can result in an immediate answer for a user needing service.
Online Customer Service Reputation
As we consider it impossible to truly “gauge” an organization’s reputation, (customer ratings and reviews can be inaccurate or easily faked, and are often more tilted towards customers venting), we prefer to look closely at the major “themes” that we see across comments of a provider. This is a summary of some of them.
Better Business Bureau
At the time of writing this review, the Better Business Bureau has RingCentral listed as an A+ on a scale of A+ to F.
RingCentral’s history with the BBB is very positive, and has responded to all but one of the complaints filed against it through the BBB. Of the complaints filed, 12% were in regards to Advertising / Sales issues, 30% regarding billing issues, 1.4% regarding guarantee / warranty issues, 57% regarding a problem with the Product or Service, and 0 in regards to Delivery.
Epinions has no listing of RingCentral on its site.
There are 14 reports filed with the term “RingCentral” at Ripoff Report. Complaints are mixed, and there is no major “theme” that can be found across the reports, although billing and service delays are noted.
RingCentral has been a recipient of a number of awards in different areas, ranging from technology, software, profitability, and others.
List of Awards given to RingCentral:
- TMC Communications Product of the Year Award 2010
- Webware 100 Awards – 2009
- Internet Telephony Excellence Award 2009
- Red Herring Top 100 Finalist 2008
- Pulver Top 100 – 2007
- Communications Solutions Product of the Year Award 2006
- Internet Telephony Product of the Year Award 20062005
- Send & Receive a total of 500 pages a month
- Includes Fax Number
- Lifetime archiving of up to 200 faxes
- Free Setup
- 30 day Trial
RingCentral includes Canada in their local calling area, and extra pages sent or received above the 500 a month are at 5.9c per page. Faxes to countries outside of Canada / US are at RingCentral’s posted rates per page.
Hidden or Extra Costs
We have found no extra or hidden costs with RingCentral. Additional numbers are at $5 each, and vanity numbers (getting a specific phone number if it is available or a phone number that spells out something) are $30 each.
Home User Scenario (Light User)
Home user scenario: 10 pages a month sent, 15 pages a month received. For a small volume home user, this minimum volume would stay well under the monthly minimums, and would most likely pay the minimum each month. This user would budget approximately $7.99 / month.
Consultant (Medium User)
Consultant Scenario: 200 pages a month sent, 50 pages a month received. For a consultant (medium user), mostly sending signed contracts back and forth, the sending volume would still be under the monthly minimum. This user would budget approximately $7.99 / month for plan minimum.
Health Professional (Heavy User)
Health Professional Scenario: 250 pages a month sent, 250 pages a month received. For the high volume user, they would be just within the minimum volume levels for the month. This user would budget $7.99 per month for the plan minimum.
International Salesperson (International User)
International Salesperson Scenario: 200 pages a month sent, 200 pages a month received. 1/4 of volume is to and from the United States, 1/4 to and from Brazil, 1/4 to and from Italy, 1/4 to and from Sri Lanka (countries picked to emulate a mixed set of countries on different continents) For this user, the USA call as within the “Local” Calling range. The pages to & from Italy would cost $39, Brazil $78, and Sri Lanka $18.
Total bill for this user would be $142.99 (assuming that all international calls were billed over the monthly minimum).
We like the service that RingCentral provides. With a good balance of price, features, and customer service / technical support, the RingCentral service would be the first place we suggest starting for most consumers.
Most of the features that RingCentral offers make it a great starting place for most users – even some options such as the ability to act almost as a fax machine (with a scanner/printer) will make the transition from hardcopy to online faxing much easier for some users.
That being said, faxers with specific needs may want to look closer at what other services provide – most notably, individuals frequently faxing high volumes internationally, and people faxing specific file formats may find better options in other providers.
- Core Online Faxing Features 4/5
- Extra Online Faxing Features 5/5
- Online Fax Interface and Software Usability 4/5
- Customer Service 5/5
- Pricing 4/5
Final Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars