$1,795 Luggable PC from 1985: Sharp PC-7000
Switches on PC, beeps display quietly hinges, open, Well isnt. This neat Greetings folks and yknow. What Sometimes youve just got ta reset and go back to the 1980s, with your computing experience., Or at least I do., And the experience Im interested in today – is this lovely cinder block of a system. The Sharp PC 7000 selling for 1795 upon its introduction to the US by Sharp Electronics in October of 1985., A portable machine from the days when storage was measured in kilobytes, color, graphics, werent, a priority and batteries werent. Even a consideration. Here. Sure slimmer lighter battery powered portables existed., But if you wanted a proper IBM PC compatible to take with you on a trip in 85, chances are youd, choose a luggable like this., Which believe it or not, was on the less ridiculous side of things. In terms of size and weight. Chunky, next to more modern machines, no question but relative to some of its contemporaries, The thing was downright slim.. Compare it to something like the IBM Portable PC 5155 released a year prior, which was closer in size to a sewing machine than the lunchbox look of the PC 7000.. Not only that, but the IBM was too large for the new 1985 FAA carry on luggage, size restrictions.. The Sharp, however, conformed nicely measuring roughly 16 by 8.5 by 6 inches well within airline stipulations. And though it weighed 23rds less than certain competitors. It still had some heft weighing 21.
5 pounds or 9.3 kilograms, including the keyboard. But yeah its a short and wide little thing, and I enjoy its company, so lets take a closer look Which we can do thanks to LGR viewer Woody, who kindly sent it this way For the cost of shipping., He was under the impression it was unused, but ehh I have doubts.. There are scratches stains and signs of wear in the spots youd most expect, plus this decidedly not stock strip of … tactical Velcro., All pointing towards a previous life of service., But whoever first used. It certainly kept it in great shape over the decades. With things like the serial port still having its protective cap installed and the carrying handle still wrapped up in what I assume is its original plastic wrapping., Really beyond a few nicks and scuffs, it should clean up. Well, So lem me go ahead and do that before moving on, because after nearly 38 years, I think this PC 7000 deserves a bath. jazz intensifies copious cleaning commences, Oh heck yeah, and with that we have a significantly cleaner system.. I didnt think it was too dirty, but after seeing all the grime that wiped off and scraped out of those crevices Im feeling much better. Theres, just one thing that remains and yknow what I know this may have been here over three decades, but its MINE now Dang it and I wan na caress that handle. plastic crinkles Ahh much better. A little wipe down of the residue and wow.
Does this feel fresh., As does the entire PC just in general, even before the cleaning Ill admit the single biggest reason? I took this thing in was due to its shape its form factor, its overall style and pizzazz. Id say its quite sharp looking, but thats too, on the nose so uh Im gon na go with spiffy.. This is a spiffy system and even if it didnt work Id be happy to have it sittin around being awesome. And part of that, awesomeness can be attributed to Vadem Limited out of San Jose California., An ODM company that Sharp brought on to co design aspects of The PC 7000 back in the day., The same Vadem that had previously designed the Morrow Pivot, which somewhat evolved into the Zenith, Z, 170, a direct competitor to the 7000.. I dont have any big point to make here. I just find it amusing. And I think they did a nice job with a more appealing look than the Pivot and a better design than its predecessor. The 1984 Sharp PC 5000. That was their first computer targeted for sale in the US and while its clamshell design was sweet that skinny little 8 line. Lcd was a real hindrance., So the 7000s larger 10.5 STN monochrome LCD was a solid improvement while still leaving much to be desired.. On the positive side, it was illuminated with electroluminescent or EL backlighting, making it glow bluish green. Kinda like a souped up version of Timex Indiglo.
If you ever had one of those watches., It also adjusted to 5 10 and 15 degree angles allowing for better viewing. Depending on where your heads at. And the 2.11 aspect ratio could display up to 640×200 graphics or 80×25 characters in text mode ideal for DOS word. Processing and spreadsheets., But while having backlighting is nice low contrast is not, and boy is this. Some low contrast. Adjusting the wheel above the tilt control lets you waft between contrast, thats always somehow too high and too low at the same time, and it gets worse depending on ambient room lighting.. This was improved on the PC 7100, but here its just kinda, blah. Inverting, the display helps at times, but truthfully its just an alternative style of bad.. Oh well. At least the rest of the hardware was pretty darned decent for 1985, starting with the processor, an Intel 8086 2 running at 4.77 or 7.37MHz., Along with 384KB of RAM, though its limited to less than that to the user., As well as graphics. That can switch between MDA and CGA, both in monochrome through the built in display of course. And dual 5.25 360K floppy drives slim ones at that being packed inside a rather small space narrower than a single full height drive.. Around back is the PSU taking standard IEC power cords a spot for the 255 CRT adapter upgrade with RGB output, 25 pin parallel and serial ports and another spot for the 349 1200 bps modem upgrade.
. There was also the ‘9 CE 700P thermal printer, which would neatly snap in place on the back of the system for transportation and storage., Though it did have to be disconnected to be used, unlike some other systems, with bolt on printers that printed, while attached. On the Left hand, side is a lovely power switch up top is the carrying handle and on bottom is an interface for Sharps CE 710E expansion unit, which added a hard drive and three ISA expansion slots, creating a real tower of power situation., So yeah no hard drive was Included normally, but it did come with MS DOS version 2.11 on floppy disk., Something this didnt have. So I grabbed a copy online. Its a slightly customized version of DOS with some small additions., Namely the Sharp diagnostic program that performs a variety of tests on the PC. 7000 and makes sure everythings in fine working order.. Even cooler is the built in setup program accessible via this dedicated keyboard, key. Anytime. You need to change system settings. You can press that button and enter the menu which lets you do stuff like change, display, settings serial and parallel options, CPU speed, time date and so on.. This kinda thing in ROM was not a guarantee back in 85, so its a welcome, inclusion. And, of course, along the front of the machine, is where the keyboard clips in place attaching to the system and protecting the LCD when stored and easily detaching.
When you need it., The coiled keyboard cable packs into this little slot, with RJ 11 jacks on either end. Its more custom than that, though, with the pinout and wiring differing from a standard phone cable., The board itself is pretty decent with 84 full travel keys and A layout similar to the PCAT just with function keys along top an overlay row above those and backslash to the left of Backspace, allowing for a larger Enter. And the LED indicators for Caps, Scroll and Num. Lock are neatly built into the key switches themselves for each respective key.. On that note, theyre all linear, Alps keyswitches, with both SKFL and integrated dome round slider style switches, underneath. Same as you found on a number of Japanese MSX systems back then.. They dont feel great and no doubt need a deeper cleaning, but even at their best Im, not a huge fan of this type of lighter weight, linear switch. keys, clack, with light dissatisfaction Getting inside the PC 7000 is simple enough. Just remove a few screws and the whole back panel comes off revealing a crowded, yet tidy motherboard.. Here you can see that 8086 2 CPU and its co processor companion socket ready for an 8087., As well as the on board RAM, which could actually be doubled to a total of 768K. Theres. Also, the real time clock battery, which I really need to replace. But hey it still works for now. And, as mentioned earlier, this model had no hard disk.
, But later variants replaced. One of the floppy drives with a 10 or 20 megabyte drive, giving the system some real, desktop replacement, potential. And really that describes the PC 7000 overall. Potential In its base configuration it might not have had everything youd ever need if you were a power user, but Dang, if it didnt cover a whole lotta bases for a lotta folks., Its a properly capable MS DOS PC and it runs …, not much if were being honest., Especially with only 320KB RAM and no hard drive., But whatever thats half the charm. These days. So I say enjoy for it what it does, rather than lament what it doesnt. Like hey Flight, Simulator 2.0 works. Great Always a good test of IBM, PC compatibility and being able to fly around a deeply disappointing Chicago skyline on this thing is a treat. And so long as you fall within RAM and CPU restrictions. A number of late 80s titles work as well from Sierra AGI adventures to Wheel of Fortune. Its a good time no alcohol required. And, of course, there are no shortage of early 80s, CGA and MDA classics to boot up and enjoy from Tetris to Digger Burgertime. To Bouncing Babies., Sadly, some of my CGA favorites like Round 42 and Paku Paku, do not work. They half start up, but due to the modified low res trickery being utilized its graphically messed up enough to be unplayable. But thats an exception. Thankfully.
And games. Like Pharaohs Tomb and other CGA, shareware classics work just fine.. This is not far off from how I played it back in the day at my aunt and uncles place, so its oddly nostalgic stuff. Mm this kind of EL backlit LCD panel with its smeary low contrast, imagery, never fails to take me back.. I may have grown up in the 90s, but obsolete hand me down. Machines like this were never too far away. It seemed like there was always some cousin, some friend of the family, some weird dude who showed up to live in your basement that had an obsolete PC kickin around and was like hey kid wan na try, some DOS chuckles Cant have only been me right. I dunno my childhood got weird filled with strange individuals, loaning out even stranger, computers. Slowly, molding me into the LGR. I am today. And that is the Sharp PC 7000., A decidedly middle of the road machine in the middle of the 80s, but one that was easily and continually recommended as a result.. The thing sold well in the hundreds of thousands, with new models featuring various integrated upgrades being sold until 1990., Not a bad run at all for a portable PC clone. It would have benefited greatly from an improved LCD and from what Ive read even the 7100s improved display, wasnt all that. But really just add a hard drive and that CRT adapter to plug it into a real, monitor and youd have a system that would serve as A nice PC at home on a desk and out on the road on another desk.
chuckles Like a hotel room or airport lounge or whatever I dunno. Its no laptop. That much is clear.. But it is a lovely portableluggablelunchbox machine for its time and should you ever run across one for a nice price Id say snatch it up. It provides a proper, mid 80s portable PC experience with all that entails. jazz intensifies computer game beeping, And if you enjoyed this computery retrospective, then do stick around Making stuff like this on. Lgr is just what I do and more is always in the works for your future, viewing pleasure. And, as usual.