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1980s Computers Explanation of terms
Notes


The PC1500


Sharp PC1500A

Manufacturer

Sharp (Japan)

Model

PC1500 and PC1500A

Date Launched

January 1982

Price

PC1500 £230 in 1982, £150 in 1984.
PC1500A £189 in 1985.

Microprocessor type

Sharp LH-5801 (8-bit CMOS) at 1.3 MHz

ROM size

16 kilobytes

Standard RAM

3.5 kilobytes in PC1500
(1.9 KB available for BASIC programs)
8.5 kilobytes in PC1500A

Maximum RAM

19.5 kilobytes (PC1500)
24.5 kilobytes (PC1500A)

Keyboard type

Calculator style keys with separate alphabetic and numeric areas.

Supplied language

BASIC

Text resolution

LCD display, 1 line of 26 characters

Graphics resolution

156 x 7 pixels

Colours available

Monochrome

Example Screenshot

Simulated PC 1500 display
As with other pocket computers of that period, the PC 1500 had a very limited display.

Sound

Single channel through internal beeper

Cassette load speed

Not known
Required an external cassette interface. The CE-150 was a combined cassette interface and four colour printer/plotter and cost £170.

Dimensions (mm)
Weight (grams)

195 x 86 x 25
375

Special features

Small enough to fit in a (large) pocket and battery powered, so fully portable.
High resolution graphics output was possible through the printer/plotter.
Real time clock.

Good points

A comprehensive version of BASIC.
Contents of RAM were retained when the computer was switched off.
Robust construction.

Bad points

One of the bulkiest pocket computers, perhaps because it ran off 4 'AA' cells.
The BASIC was slow in operation.
Only a one line display.
Most BASIC words had to be typed out in full on the small keyboard.
There was no back-up battery so memory contents were lost when changing the main batteries, unless you had a mains adaptor available.

How successful?

The Sharp PC1500 was one of the first pocket computers, and considered the best at the time it was launched.
However pocket computers in general never gained more than a small niche market.

Comments

The Tandy PC-2 was almost the same as the Sharp PC1500 and the PC-2's Owner's Manual is available in HTML format.
Sharp produced several other pocket computers in the mid 1980s.



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