Pros 1. It's compact.
2. It works!
3. Today you may not often need a modem, but if you need one, this is it for Apple people!
Cons It's not built in.
Summary I only use a fax modem for faxing. I ONLY use a fax model for faxing. There are a hundred ways to access the internet, and I possess most of them--the wireless service dongle, the home wireless network linked to the cable modem, and the airport card that makes it possible to link up in Panera if all else fails. But faxing--that's another story. It's rare that I have to send a fax and most of the time, when I do, it's a document I've already created. Faxing is the solution.
I haven't tried the built-in fax software in my MacBook Pro under Leopard, because I already own what appears to be the only Mac-based fax versatile software, Smith Micro's FaxSTF Pro X.
It began years ago when I wanted to send faxes of press releases to a large number of newspapers and other publications. I bought a Zoom faxmodem because the Global Village one built into my PowerBook 145B was not too useful. Then I bought a product called DelrinaFax for mac, which worked like a jewel. In fact, about a year ago I used the PowerBook and Delrina to send out a fax to about 100 publications. Entirely successful.
When I bought my MacBook Pro, I was shocked (shocked!) that it contained no faxmodem, so I bought the Apple USB Modem, knowing that I wouldn't need it very often. It works fine. It works fine with my Vonage VOIP fax line, in spite of what you may hear. It is a very effective product.
Fax software, on the other hand, is not very effective. Smith Micro's FaxSTF Pro X is difficult to use; it keeps changing. Blaming the faxmodem is like blaming the messenger. The fax software is the problem. It's very complex and most people lack the patience to navigate through problems at the receiving end. I sent a large email to a person at a public agency, a few days ago, for example. "Couldn't open you attachment," they replied, and I sent an email saying "please telephone me and we can work this out." Instead, the person at the other end sent me emails with blank documents attached. I had already filled those out. She wanted FAXES.
So I hooked up my fax modem to my fax line (yes, I still have one of those). It took me virtually a whole day to get things functional with the fax software--and once I did, the fax modem worked like a jewel. All 50 pages of my fax went through.
To be sure, I would not like to rely on a 56K v.90 faxmodem to be my internet connection, although I bet there are places in North America where that may still be the bottom line.
But this one works like a champ, which makes me wonder why Apple has decided to discontinue it. It is a power sucker, which may be a problem. I couldn't get it to work under battery power--not even with the new Apple battery technology. You have to be plugged in!
But the problem is software, not hardware. The FaxModem works fine!
Pros ... hard to say; the neat white case maybe?
Cons Aafter selecting the preferences options as per OS 10.5.7 system help cannot send or receive faxes. A fair bit of on-line research still has not turned up the information I need to make the computer/modem combination send or receive faxes.
Summary This is an expensive product that does not work as advertised.