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-- by James E. Powell
On the surface, Global Village's TelePort speakerphone/modem has everything you need to manage your communications. In fact, all the pieces work well for data transmission and in answering-machine mode. But as a full-duplex speakerphone, the TelePort performs poorly.
My voice sounded distant to the other party when I talked into the built-in microphone.
I tried plugging in an external microphone, but many popular mikes-including Microsoft's-don't work with the TelePort because of the external microphone plug's design. When I finally found a mike that fit, my voice was distorted and loud, with many words dropped due to clipping. Global Village is aware of the problem and is looking into changes. Both the external microphone and the built-in one worked well when recording outgoing greetings.
The modem meets all of today's standards, supporting 33.6Kb per second for data and 14.4Kbps Group 3 for fax. Looking to the future, you'll be able to upgrade the modem to 56Kbps technology.
Measuring 6.9 by 2.6 by 6.5 inches, the sporty gray modem has a sliding volume control and built-in microphone on the front. Two top-mounted buttons let you answer calls in speakerphone mode-even when your PC is off-or mute your mike.
On the back of the unit are two RJ-11 jacks-one connects to the wall outlet; the other is for a phone or headset. The modem comes with a copy of Global Village's Focal Point, an excellent telephony application that handles multiple mailboxes and integrates voice messages with faxes and e-mail.
If you need speakerphone capabilities, consider the Hayes Office Communications Manager (on our Recommended List). While it doesn't have the jazzy looks, mute button and message light of the TelePort, it provides more reliable speakerphone performance and is also compatible with the Focal Point software.
Copyright (c) 1997 CMP Media Inc.