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7/96 Reviews HW: U.S. Robotics Sportster Winmodem

Listing of July 1996 Reviews

King Comm: Easy Install Windows Modem

By John Perry

You want speed, but you're not quite ready to ante up the extra money for ISDN. Here's one solution: U.S. Robotics' Sportster Winmodem. Its easy one-disk installation and loads of comm applications will put you on the infobahn with a smile.

The Sportster Winmodem is nicely designed. The installation interface is well-thought-out, with an Uninstall icon in the program group, an open comm port selection, and an option that lets you choose a Plug-and-Play setup or your own IRQ and I/O address settings. In fact, this is one of the few products I've seen that successfully takes the Plug-and-Play process to Windows 3.1x.

The installation guide is a credit to its genre. It contains five sections of installation instructions with the sixth segment holding the installation disk. The back cover troubleshoots the top 10 errors, none of which occurred in my installation. This guide is all you need to get connected.

According to U.S. Robotics, an upcoming software upgrade for the Winmodem will allow it to exchange data at speeds as high as 33.6Kbps. Once the software upgrade is available, you'll be able to download it from the U.S. Robotics BBS, the Internet, America Online or CompuServe.

As you might expect, the Winmodem is for Windows-based PCs, but that also means it's not DOS compatible. Of course, that matters less and less as time goes on.

Bundled applications include Global Network Navigator, CompuServe, SPRY Mosaic Direct, QuickLink II and a U.S. Robotics Internet Connection CD-ROM.

As usual with U.S. Robotics, support is available via BBS, fax-on-demand, e-mail, Internet or online services. In addition to the loads of software, the Winmodem includes a 150-page Introduction to the Internet.

I highly recommend the Winmodem for the technical and nontechnical user alike. The device offers easy installation and use but not at the expense of all the features of a regular modem, such as AT command compatibility or the ability to store frequently used numbers. The only things that U.S. Robotics left out were confusing jumper switches and a difficult installation.

--Info File--
U.S. Robotics Sportster Winmodem
Pros: Installation; price; software
Cons: No DOS compatibility
Platforms: Windows 95, 3.0, 3.1x
U.S. Robotics
800-DIAL-USR, 847-676-7010
WinMag Box Score: 4.0
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