Elsa – MicroLink 56k Fun review

external, transparent modem
Photo of Elsa – MicroLink 56k Fun

If you’re wondering about the ‘Fun’ in the name of this modem, in this case it seems to mean ‘Transparent Green’. Or it might refer to the picture on the box, of a young woman roller-blading in what seems to be her underwear. Perhaps this is a reminder of some of the ‘Fun’ sites you can find on the Web if you slightly mis-spell a search word or two…

But aside from the fun, zany, crazy and even wacky design of the modem, there’s not a great deal to differentiate it from most other external devices. And that’s a good thing, because there’s no real need, either.

The MicroLink 56k Fun connects to the host PC using the supplied 9-pin serial cable (there’s no 25-pin adapter, so users of older machines may need to do a bit of peripheral shuffling), is powered by its own little mains transformer and is supplied with a phone cable and a two-into-one adapter (although only one of the two ports works with the modem, as we found out after a moment’s head-scratching).

Installation is relatively painless, and after the usual Windows driver installation process, the modem is ready to use. You can either use the standard Windows tools (fax, dial-up networking, etc.) or try out the comprehensive software that comes with the modem. This includes the usual voice, fax and data applications, with auto-sensing fax/data/voice switching and various mailbox options, including fax-back should you need it.

Drivers are included for Windows 95/98, NT and 2000. There are LEDs for power, line and data, and the unit supports full the V.90 data specification (including previous sub-sets such as V.34, V.32bis, etc.) and V.17 fax spec. If you want to use it with a Windows-supported sound card, as a speakerphone or answerphone, you can do that too.

Company: Elsa

Contact: 0118 965 7755

Basically, this is a V.90 modem like any other, but it does its job well and is pretty cheap for what you get. Possibly a USB version would be more 'Fun' because then you wouldn't need the external power supply, but even so, this is an easy to use modem for people browsing or e-mailing at home.