The world’s smallest fax machine: Ricoh Fax PF-1 – Hardware Review – Evaluation

Crystal Waters

AT A GLANCE: Recorded as the smallest fax machine in the world in the Guiness Book of World Records. Ideal for frequent travelers and those with small desktops or occasional faxing needs. Sacrifices paper cutter and multiple-sheet feeder for small footprint.

DOCUMENTATION: Well illustrated, brief, straightforward.

SETUP: Quick; just put in paper, plug in, and fax.

EASE OF USE: Quite simple; manually feeding multiple pages isn’t difficult, but is time-consuming.

SUPPORT: Helpful; free, but not toll-free.

LIST PRICE: $1,495

STREET PRICE RANGE: $1,045-$1,345

MANUFACTURER: Ricoh Corp., 5 Dedrick Pl., West Caldwell, NJ 07006; (201) 882-2000, (800) 637-4264


RESOLUTION: Standard (203 by 98 dots per inch [dpi]); derail (203 by 196 dpi)



MAXIMUM TRANSMISSION SPEED: 4,800 bits per second

BATTERY LIFE: Approximately 30 pages

FEATURES: Copier function, AC adapter, NiCad battery, car adapter

WEIGHT: 5.5. pounds, 7.1 pounds with battery

DIMENSIONS: 10.9 by 7.0 by 2.2 inches

OPTIONS: Carrying case ($55), acoustic coupler ($105) additional battery ($95)

WARRANTY: 90 days

If you’ve ever wished you had a fax machine by your side wherever you go, this may be the machine for you. The Ricoh PF-1 is designed for those with on-the-go faxing needs–whether you want to bring it to important meetings or on your next working vacation or fax reports from your car during traffic jams. Running on AC, rechargeable batteries, or from your car’s cigarette lighter, the PF-1 will fax anywhere there is a phone.

On the road. Hauling the PF-1 in a small travel bag was no problem, although I had to find room enough for the battery, the battery charger, and the AC adapter, as well as the unit itself.

The tiny PF-1 sits unobtrusively almost anywhere. Its small size, though, means a sacrifice in features. There’s no automatic fax/phone switch, so people faxing to me had to call and warn that a fax was on its way. You can feed only one sheet of paper at a time, and there is no automatic paper cutter, either.

The PF-1’s image quality, both in standard and detail modes, proved suitable for all my faxing requirements. Small nine-point type (the size you’re reading now) is clearly readable, and photos were as detailed as I would expect from a fax.

Paper, paper–who’s got the paper? I was only truly disappointed in one thing: I couldn’t find fax paper small enough to fit the machine. Although Ricoh makes a PF-1 paper (according to tech support and the manual), my “we can get anything” office-supply store couldn’t get its hands on it. In an emergency, I had to settle for generic 45-foot rolls–and then pull off 15 feet of it so that the remaining 30 feet would fit in the PF-1.

The Ricoh PF-1 works well–but until the PF-1’s supplies are easy to locate, I can’t give it a better overall rating than “good.” At this point, its value lies simply in its “toteability” in comparison with other, more full-featured and less costly fax machines.

COPYRIGHT 1991 Freedom Technology Media Group

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group

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