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-- by Joel T. Patz
Looking for a fast, reliable modem? The Diamond SupraExpress 336i Sp may be worth a look. Looking for a modem to replace your old answering machine? Look somewhere else.
Diamond's modem is great for traditional modem work. It supports the current alphabet soup of data transmission, data compression, error compression and fax transmission standards. It handles data up to 33.6Kb per second using the ITU V.34-1996 standard, and can fax at rates up to 14.4Kbps, the current limit. It also supports COMs 1 through 4, tone and pulse dialing, and the AT command sets.
This modem offers everything you could want. It has simultaneous voice and data using Rockwell's AudioSpan technology. Its triangular shape may be unfamiliar, but the high quality of the connection won't take any getting used to.
However, like Cardinal's 33.6 modem (see separate review in this issue), the SupraExpress 336i Sp didn't handle the voice-mail capabilities of the provided FaxTalk software. Callers were cut off within 5 seconds, and even after making several software adjustments, the best I could do was record a 12-second incoming message.
The modem performed well using FaxTalk to handle fax and data duties. Its speakerphone functions are much better than Cardinal's, with noticeably higher-quality output. It also supports Caller ID.
Diamond goes the extra mile by offering V.80 technology for video-phone conferencing. VDOnet software is included, but you'll need a video camera and capture card.
I was disappointed by the 336i Sp's poor telephony features. If you want good, fast connectivity and teleconferencing features, the SupraExpress makes sense. If you need answering-machine capabilities, try another modem.
Copyright © 1997 CMP Media Inc.