VTEL Galaxy 725 MT

The Galaxy 725 MT is a brand-new PC-based computing product from VTEL that

targets the lower-end market. Similar to VTEL's Galaxy 725, it also runs on

Windows 98 but includes fewer bells and whistles and therefore costs less.

The system costs $8,995 for IP capability only, or $10,995 for IP and ISDN

connectivity.

At 512 kilobits/sec, the Galaxy 725 MT offers the highest line rate

of the three systems in our review. It has a frame rate of 30 frames per

second — equal to the Intel TeamStation.

The Galaxy 725 MT was the easiest to setup of all three systems. It

comes with a clear, detailed hard-copy installation and configuration guide.

Cables come bundled together and pre-connected to the system. Users need

only to connect the system to their network and television and it's ready

to go. We also liked the hard-copy user's manual that came with the system,

which is much handier than switching between an online manual and the system

software.

The interface was generally intuitive and easy to navigate, but sometimes

it required some digging to find a particular function. VTEL includes some

nice touches, such as the Call Status window that pops up at the push of

a button if you're on a call and wish to check the line rate, duration of

the call, and other information. System information is easy to find and

it's easy to edit settings.

All of the systems are well designed, so buying decisions should be

based on features that are most important to your agency. For example, how

important is it to have optimal video quality? What about a quick, simple

setup key? Do you need a basic "talking head" unit or a product that offers

the increased functionality of a PC-based system? And remember that you

can always upgrade the system later if you decide you want it to do more

for you.

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