[ Retro Scan of the Week ] NEC PC-8401A Lap-Top

November 24th, 2008 by Benj Edwards

NEC PC-8401A Ad - 1986From a more innocent time, when “laptop” was two words separated by a hyphen.

[ From COMB Catalog, circa 1986 ]

Discussion topic of the week: What was the first portable computer you ever used?

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14 Responses to “[ Retro Scan of the Week ] NEC PC-8401A Lap-Top”

  1. Twoflower Says:

    That’d be the Apple //c, an allegedly portable machine. Not that we ever ported it anywhere, unless “from box to table where it stayed for years” counts. The rolling Apple //e’s on media carts at my elementary school were far more portable.

    Later on we got a Pentium 133mhz laptop with breathtaking 800×600 256 color graphics, oooh ah. That one actually served as our on the go internet kiosk for several family vacations even in the mid 2000s.

  2. Robert Says:

    First portable I ever used was one of those Compaq luggable monsters. It had a whopping 10 MB of RAM, which must have cost a bazillion dollars at the time.

  3. Brian Deuel Says:

    An old Osborne with CP/M. I didn’t own it, mind you. But I got to play around with one quite a bit back in “those days.”

  4. teebo Says:

    Zeos Pocket PC. Modem the size of a pack of cigs. 2 type 1 PCMCIA card slots. It is the spiritual predecessor to the netbooks of today.

  5. Chris Says:

    A Tandy Model 100. Ok, it was my father’s, but I totally loved the thing.

    My first personal laptop was a Zenith 286 with a huge batterypack. Did a lot of BBSing and NetHack with it until I dreamt in shades of blue (it had some kind of blue LCD).

  6. Ben Says:

    It’s hard to remember, there were a few portables I got to use, but I can’t remember which was the first. A TRS-80 model 100, an IBM PC Convertible, and a NEC laptop that I foget the name of, but it also had a blue lcd. Really kind of neat.
    The first one I actually owned is a Toshiba T4600, 486-25. Still use it whenever I get an itch to experiment in assembler.

  7. Layne Says:

    I used several that weren’t “mine” (an amber screened Toshiba comes to mind) but the first one that I had exclusive access to (still wasn’t mine, but it was assigned to me for work) was one of these: http://www.geocities.com/siliconvalley/lakes/5705/p70.html
    I mostly used it to access dial-up services while travelling for work.


  8. Kitsunexus Says:

    Well hey, if the hybrid of Lucille Ball and Margret Thatcher approves, so do I!

  9. SirPaul Says:

    The first laptop I used was an old 486SX-25 one made by IBM.

    On another note, according to old-computers.com, one optional accessory for it is a CRT adapter. I wonder if that added any more text/graphics modes.

  10. Rockin' Kat Says:

    The first portable computer I ever used was probably some 1xx-series Apple PowerBook when I was in school.

    The first portable computer I ever owned actually would be Commodore SX-64 I bought off eBay when I was still in high school. The last time I took it outside the house was to the last day of senior year at high school. I set it up in the cafeteria during breakfast and lunch and let people play games on it.

    That’s not counting when I took it to a guy in Seattle to get it modified to fix a glitch the SX had with certain copyprotection and fast-loaders built into a lot of games… it had to do with some components that were not on the mainboard because it didn’t have a tape drive socket.

  11. Ryan Says:

    My first laptop was the Apple Powerbook 100 I bought in college. They were blowing them out at some outrageous price ($699? $799?). I increased the memory to 4MB and it was a very usable machine. I still have it, although it has no batter life yet. (I use the Color Duo 230 more often in the dock I have now. 🙂

  12. Moondog Says:

    @ Chris: I used to work for ZDS in the 90’s and my first laptop they issued me there was one of those Supersport 286’s with the big battery in the back and a “supertwist” monochrome lcd display. HP sold the same machine as the Vectra, and there was a Honeywell Bull version, too.

  13. The Editor Says:

    The Tandy TRS-80 Model 100. I love that thing. It’s just so durable and awesome…

  14. Cody Says:

    I’m jealous of Twoflower ever having a family vacation.

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