Elsa – MicroLink 56k Fun review

external, transparent modem
Photo of Elsa – MicroLink 56k Fun
£39.99

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


Verdict
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.