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NEC PC-8500

Donor: Si Dunn
Location: Williamsburg, VA

If you could improve the Tandy Model 100, what would you do? I would like a full screen, better cursor keys, a real word processor, some sort of spreadsheet, a better telecom program, and a real operating system that would still let me just choose a file name and have it load it up in the correct application. If I had all this, I would have an NEC PC-8500. The screen is a full 80 x 25 characters. It's also razor shart for a passive LCD. The screen pivots to any angle, and stays there once set. It has the same great cursor keys as the Daewoo IQ-1000, showing their common Korean heritage. Burned into ROM is a version of WordStar, along with nice spreadsheet and telecom programs. (The telecom program even does X-modem.) All this and the darn thing runs CP/M! It has 64K RAM, 32K for CP/M and 32K for a RAMdisk. And if you don't like CP/M (seek help, now) you can still just cursor to the file name and hit enter, just like on a Model 100.

There are only two real drawbacks:

  • The battery life is shorter, 20 hours vs. 40 hours for a Model 100.
  • It uses 4 C-cell batteries, rather than the AA size in the Model 100.
  • It's about twice as thick.

So there are a few trade-offs, but for my money, the PC-8500 is now my laptop of choice. (Until I buy an Apple eMate 300, that is.)

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