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About me: thinks Ciao readership is getting a little outdated in its expectations in the digital age.

Member since:29.07.2001


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Reliable brand, good after sale service

Large amount of room taken up

Recommendable Yes:

Detailed rating:

Picture quality



Ease of use

Value For Money

Range of extra features / functions

Ease of Installation


Manufacturer Support

Instruction manual

31 Ciao members have rated this review on average: very helpful See ratings
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  1. Testarossa
  2. tastebud
  3. 123wizard
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I haven’t been around that much lately, to share with you the benefit of my vast consumer experiences, although I do try and read and rate every few days, especially in the Telecommunications Category. And the other day, I noticed a little link inviting people to write about their Fax machines and so here I am once again.

Now I must admit, I was caught off guard just a little bit by this CIAO request. I mean, in this WWW era of broadband and 512Mbs speeds and email being a common communication tool, even for the residential user, does anyone still use a Fax Machine regularly?

Hmm, I thought not.

However, there is always someone with a need to be fulfilled (I always knew I should have gone into Marketing), and therefore I decided to proceed with the submission of this opinion.

The first problem I encountered when trying to write this opinion was the CIAO instructions themselves. Namely Helpful point Number one:

“When writing your opinion, please try to imagine a user who will have to make a buying decision soon and needs your help”

(Hmm, get an email address and a good laser printer).

Ok Stop it, stop it, Helen. Now for those of you who left school/college/university in the late 1990’s and don’t know a fax machine from your own elbow, here is an industry definition to make things clearer:-

Facsimile: A system which provides a facility to transmit an exact copy of the image on a piece of paper from one location to another.

Ok, now I have cleared that up, problem number two.

Maybe my Fax Machine is no longer in production and therefore I would have a hard job recommending its purchase to my fellow readers (unless they also shop at www.ebay.com)? So off to the manufacturer website I go in the name of research, and amazingly, my five year old fax machine is still available for purchase even today. So there is a market after all.

Ok, Ok, Just get on with it, Helen
Right, about my little machine. In 1997, in the days before email (at my workplace anyway), and in light of the fact I was working from home a lot, I decided to purchase a fax machine to be installed on a second telephone line at home. I trailed down to the BT shop to have a look at my options. One of my requirements was that I wanted a Plain Paper Fax Machine, and the BT shop had for sale the wonderful Brother Fax 1020 Plain Paper Fax. Bingo! I parted with £299.00 and I took my new toy home.

Incidentally, you can now buy a brand new model for £259.00 today. How is that for inflation?


The footprint of the fax machine is approximately 18” by 24”. It can hold up to 200 sheets of paper in its supply feed. The machine can hold 20 pages of information in its memory, in case you forget to stack it to the gills with paper. Now, my home office is quite roomy, however the fax machine can take up quite a bit of space, particularly when you extend the paper catcher for scanned pages, and this isn’t good if you are trying to work from a standard office desk.

The Brother can be used as an additional telephone line, handy if you want to make calls in the office, whilst tying up the main line on internet usage.

The machine can store up to 24 speed dial numbers, which I am sure you will agree is more fax numbers than anyone ever needs!

There is a help facility, which if pressed, prints off a one page sheet for the most commonly used functions such as setting a speed dial, sending a fax, storing one touch dialing, fax reception settings.

An extremely useful feature has been that the Brother can be used as a Photocopier, which has proved invaluable for copying documents that we have received through the mail, for which we need to retain copies. The size of the image can be reduced, meaning you can save paper.

There are various options of resolution depending on the print quality you want to achieve.

Copies of the same fax can be sent to multiple destinations at the same time, through the polling functionality.

In addition, a piece of hardware can be purchased which can transform the machine into a scanner, as well as retaining the faxing functionality.

There is also a function for remote access, enabling you to receive your faxes while away from home.

Overall, I have been impressed with the print quality from the machine, and more importantly, I havent had to deal with rolled up bits of paper, serving as important documents.

Has everything been Plain Sailing with this machine then?

Well not exactly. While still under warranty, the machine developed a fault where the wheels that gripped the paper ceased functioning. Brother dispatched an engineer to our home, and they advised they would replace the unit. This happened during our first year of ownership and therefore cost us nothing. Since then, trouble-free faxing.

Cost of cartridges?
Well to be honest, I cannot remember the last time we replaced a cartridge, as our usage of the fax has dwindled almost to a stop in recent years. However, according to the Brother website, the current Single Ribbon price is £21.99 and this will last for 420 pages, which equates to around 20 pages per £ if I have the math’s correct. Obviously, none brother approved cartridges, from most stationery providers, will work out cheaper.

Overall, has it been Worth Owning?

I think so. In the earlier days of ownership, I used the fax quite a bit including for the receipt of lengthy documents for review, and it did not let me down. In later years, it has sat mainly idle, but it has been very useful for the odd photocopy or two, and when I have had to sign documents and send them back to organisations concerned. It probably isn’t worth investing in a fax machine just for occasional use, like I have now, however I am glad I own this machine, and hope to get many more years usage yet!

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Comments about this review »

mentalchic 23.06.2002 16:50

Thanks for the very detailed and useful op.

Sheringham_19 21.04.2002 01:23

Great Op, I had a fax machine once but I spilt coke in it.....lol.....Andy :)

ppotter 18.04.2002 04:55

thank you, I have used a fax, but seen them, We just got touch tone, so thought we were moving up in the world, now I can find out if punching the buttons they tell you to punch is faster than waiting for them to come to the phone, haha

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Product Information »

Manufacturer's product description

The Fax-1020e with its advanced business functions is perfect in the home or the office where space is at a premium...


MPN FAX-1020E, FAX1020EU1
Device Type Fax
Fax Type Plain paper


Grey Scale Half-Tones 64
Max Document Enlargement 150%
Max Document Reduction 50%

Show all Product Information

Review Ratings »

This review of Brother 1020E Plain Paper has been rated:

"very helpful" by (100%):

  1. Testarossa
  2. tastebud
  3. 123wizard

and 55 other members

The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.

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