[ Retro Scan ] The Tandy Sensation!

December 17th, 2021 by Benj Edwards

Radio Shack Tandy Sensation PC WinMate Advertisement Flier Flyer scan - 1993“Now computing can be fun and easy for the entire family.”

The Tandy Sensation was an early attempt at a specialized Multimedia PC. In this case, Tandy came up with a 25 MHz 486SX computer with a 107 MB hard drive, built-in CD-ROM drive, stereo sound card, a voice/fax modem, SVGA color graphics, and more.

All this for $2,199 US with a SVGA monitor included (that’s about $4,232 today). You could also get the MMS-10 Stereo Speaker/Amplifier for $79.95. It seemed so futuristic at the time.

The Sensation also shipped with the interesting WinMate interface, a successor to DeskMate that ran on top of Windows 3.1.

I miss the ebullient joy of Radio Shack computer bundles aimed at families. They always seemed so fun. I remember seeing the Sensation in a local Raleigh, NC Radio Shack store circa 1993 and wanting one.

By the way — Merry Christmas!

[ From a Radio Shack mail flyer, June 1993, p.15 ]

Discussion Topic: Have you ever owned a Tandy IBM compatible PC? Tell us about it.

12 Responses to “[ Retro Scan ] The Tandy Sensation!”

  1. gene Says:

    Thanks Benj. Merry Christmas to you and everyone here as well.

  2. Benj Edwards Says:

    Thanks, Gene — the loyal, last-ever VC&G reader! 😛 🙂 Merry Christmas

  3. Geoff V. Says:

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Benj! Continued thanks for the memories.

  4. Kevin Says:

    Nice work Benj. Brings back memories of my first PC. Been following your articles here and other sites for a very long time. Keep up the good work and Merry Christmas.

  5. Benj Edwards Says:

    Thanks, Kevin. Glad you like my work! Merry Christmas to you too!

  6. Tony E Says:

    Happy belated holidays, though I guess happy NYE?

    This feels like quite the beneficial markup for Tandy — in the summer of ’93, I built my first machine from parts that I ordered from Computer Shopper. A friend had clued me that assembling your own machine could save you money, and I was eager to learn. I put together a 386DX-40 with 4MB RAM and an 80MB HDD (including case, monitor, and keyboard) for right around $950. Granted, the extra 30MB on Tandy’s model could account for a chunk of the price difference, but an SX should have been a lot cheaper than a DX, I think?

    I couldn’t find any Computer Shoppers from 199X online anywhere — Benj, do you have one, or have any idea how much a 386SX was compared to a DX of the same speed at that time?

    P.S. the PSU I ordered had zero information on how to connect it to the switch on the case, and I almost burned down my house the first time I tried to power it on. Oops.

  7. Jonathan Says:

    Random thought but makes me wonder why the mouse is on the left side. Besides the obvious that the photographer was a lefty 😉

  8. Benj Edwards Says:

    Yeah great observation, Jonathan. I thought something felt unusual about that mouse but couldn’t put my finger on it. 🙂

  9. LaserGryph Says:

    You mean I get 2MB of ram, 107MB hard drive AND get it at my local Radio Shack?

    All for 2199?

  10. Squiggy Says:

    Tandy Sensations seem to go for a hefty price these days, are they really that rare? Apparently they often go on eBay for over $500 and I read that a few sold for over $1000.

  11. Chris Nystrom Says:

    My first PC was an original Tandy 1000 with 1 floppy and no hard drive. Not even a monitory. I hooked it up to a TV! My second was a Tandy 1000 TX with a pair of 1.44 disk drives! Loved those Tandys and they had the best keyboards ever.

  12. Gus Guzinski Says:

    My Tandy Sensation’s on/off switch finally broke last week after 30 years with no repairs needed. I have been using it for old Dos games all this time. Since then new computers have lasted an average of three years.

    When it was fairly new, I put in a second hard drive. I called service to ask a technical question and the service agent said, “You opened it up. You have voided the warrantee.” He hung up. Only time I ever had a service contact hang up on me.

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