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Lexbook MB-15

Owner: Tom Carlson
Location: Williamsburg, Virginia

I love this little laptop. I really do! I bought it on eBay. I wasn't planning on buying a little mini-laptop. I was just looking for SRAM cards for my Poqet PC. I found an auction for the MB-15 which included the SRAM card I needed. I won the auction, and just figured that the Lexbook was a bonus I would just set aside. How wrong I was.

The Lexbook quickly became my favorite computer, and one that I frequently used. The screen, while monochrome, is sharp and big enough to show 80 columns by 25 rows with legible characters. (Something at which a Poqet PC fails.) The keyboard is slightly smaller than a full-size laptop keyboard. Which makes it perfect for me. (Although I'm a strapping six footer, I have surprisingly short fingers.) It runs on plain old AA batteries. (Albeit six of them.) And you can slow down the CPU clock for longer battery life. It supports digital sound, although only the old Disney SoundSource format. And it has a mouse key that moves in eight directions to control a mouse. It holds two SRAM cards at a time. And it has both serial and parallel ports, and a built-in 9600 baud modem. It's small. It's light. It's all solid state. It runs forever on a set of batteries. What more could you possibly want in a DOS-based laptop?

Memory-wise, it packs a whopping meg of RAM, which it separates into a boot partition (C:) and a data partition (E:). It includes Stacker in ROM, so it compresses the E: drive. Since I mainly used it for writing, I was able to pack way more that 2 megs worth of text in the data partition. It also comes with DOS 5.0 in ROM.

Sadly, it's on the blink. Something has gone screwy with the power supply. I put in six fresh batteries, and a couple days later, not only were the batteries completely dead, but a strip of the plastic casing was vaporized away to the bare metal. That's right. Each battery had a quarter inch strip of plastic missing from end to end. Freaky! If anyone actually has one of these, I'd really like a replacement!

(As luck would have it, I recently found a replacement on eBay. It's an MB-10, but I couldn't find any functional difference. It also looks exactly the same. Unfortunately, it started heating up its batteries as well. Alas, I guess it's just not meant to be!)

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