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1980s Computers Explanation of terms
Notes


The Laser 200 / Texet TX8000


Laser 200

Manufacturer

Video Technology [VTech] (Hong Kong)

Model

Laser 200
Also sold under brand names of Dick Smith Electronics as the VZ200 (Australia), and of Texet as the TX8000 (UK).

VZ200 TX8000

Date Launched

April 1983

Price

£98, later reduced to £70

Microprocessor type

Zilog Z80A @ 3.58 MHz

ROM size

16 kilobytes

Standard RAM

4 kilobytes (2 KB for screen, 2 KB for programs).
Sometimes supplied with 8 KB.

Maximum RAM

64 kilobytes using external expansion

Keyboard type

Rubber keys, reportedly with an even worse feel than those of the Sinclair Spectrum.

Supplied language

Microsoft BASIC

Text resolution

32 x 16 characters

Graphics resolution

128 x 64 pixels

Colours available

9 for text, 4 for graphics

Example Screenshot

Laser 200 / VZ200 display
The game of 'Frogger' running on the Laser 200. The limitations of the display in both resolution and number of colours are clearly shown (a red frog?).

Sound

Single channel

Cassette load speed

600 baud

Dimensions (mm)
Weight (grams)

290 x 170 x 40
800

Special features

BASIC command words were printed on the keyboard and could be entered with a single keypress, or typed in full.

Good points

The cheapest colour computer available at the time.

Bad points

Graphics resolution was quite low.
RAM size was too small and expanding it to 16KB increased the price to ZX Spectrum/Oric 1 levels.
Problems of misalignment between screen text and colour (causing characters to appear in the wrong colour) were reported.

How successful?

Not popular in the UK but apparently reasonably successful in France.

Comments

The Texet TX8000 / Laser 200 was yet another attempt to compete with the Sinclair Spectrum and Oric 1 (both costing £100) at the very low price end of the market.
However it was no better than the Spectrum in most areas and distinctly worse in memory and graphics.

The Laser 200 was a colour version of the Laser 100, which itself was a clone of the Tandy TRS-80 Model 1 computer. The Laser's ROM was a modified copy of the TRS-80's but with some BASIC commands disabled to try to avoid copyright infringement.

Review of the TX8000



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