laser 128 computer

Vtech was buying chips from the same suppliers Apple did, so they didn’t have Commodore’s margins. The name “laser” just sounded like high technology in the 1980s. The Laser 128 is hardly common today, but it sold well enough that software publishers started testing their software on it to make sure it worked.

Like the Apple IIc, it is a one-piece semi-portable design with a carrying handle and a single built-in 5¼-inch floppy disk drive, uses the 65C02 microprocessor, and supports Apple II graphics. While incompatible with some hardware, the magazine noted that the expansion slot and parallel port let the Laser 128 use other products incompatible with the IIc. Computer Direct sold the Laser 128 in various bundles over the years, sometimes with a 9-inch or 12-inch monochrome monitor, and with a printer. VTech's engineers reverse-engineered the Apple ROM and were able to license Applesoft BASIC directly from Microsoft.

My dad likes to say that the only month the store made a profit was the month they sold a Laser 128, and that would have been right before the store closed in ’86. The compact all-in-one system included a 3.6 MHz 65C02 processor, 128K of RAM, 64K video RAM and a built-in 5.25" disk drive. The Commodore 128 on the page before sold for $499. Much Apple software depends on various machine code routines that are a part of BASIC in ROM, and it is likely that the Laser would not have been as successful had it not had compatible ROM entry points. We had a few boxed Apple II mice out in my dad’s storage shed as recently as a few years ago, although rain and mice got to most of what little was left (I got the boxed software years ago). Some computer identification and reference books state the Laser 128 came out in 1984. Its ports on the back mimicked the IIc. The Laser 128 computer’s appeal was Apple compatibility at a Commodore price. Computer Direct also sometimes bundled it with other printers, such as a dot matrix printer it badged simply as “NLQ 180.”.

The machine even sold at Sears, to the detriment of the Commodore 128. The Laser 128 computer was an Apple II-compatible home computer manufactured by Video Technologies Ltd in Hong Kong and sold in the 1980s. I worked at an independent computer shop during the 1988 Christmas season and vividly remember my dismay at the number of customers who chose a VTech Laser XT IBM-PC clone over a far more capable Amiga. By comparison, at the time I wrote this, there were no fewer than 10 Apple IIc computers available for sale, though the asking prices weren’t all very realistic. In spite of the name, there wasn’t anything optical about it. [13] The Laser 128's popularity ensured that most major software companies tested their software on the Laser as well as on Apple hardware. In spite of the name, there wasn’t anything optical about it.

They liked its numeric keypad and function keys, but didn’t necessarily take to the feel of its keyboard. By continuing to use this site, you indicate you accept these terms. A later revision dressed it up a bit, adding angled vents and a place to hold a pen above the keyboard, but it still didn’t match Apple’s industrial design. It ended Central Point's mail order sales of the 128, only selling through dealers such as Sears.

inCider magazine wrote that year that "Laser will never sell as many computers or have as big a distribution network as Apple, but there's no doubt that the 128 [has] won a place in the Apple market, and irritated Apple in the process". [6] BYTE's tests were less favorable. The Laser 128 also has a single Apple IIe-compatible expansion slot, which gives it better expansion capabilities than a IIc, but cards remain exposed; the slot is intended for …

Like IBM with PC DOS, Apple did not have an exclusive license for the Applesoft dialect of BASIC, and VTech was free to license it. It worked, but it left a big rectangular box hanging off the left-hand side of the machine. These featured faster 3.6 MHz CPUs, more video memory, and, in the case of the EX/2, a 3.5-inch disk drive and MIDI port. Apple’s 3.5-inch disk drive wouldn’t work on the Laser 128’s built-in disk drive port, but it would work with a controller plugged into its expansion slot or separately-sold expansion chassis. Save laser 128 computer to get e-mail alerts and updates on your eBay Feed. LASER 128 / 128EX / 128EX2 The Laser 128 EX is the successor of the Laser 3000. However, there were other dealers who also sold it, and if you find a Laser 128 for sale, the other peripherals with it can give you some idea of where it might have been purchased. It's the filter. Other Apple II clones usually violated Apple’s copyrights, but the Laser 128 did not. These days, VTech remains a well known manufacturer of telephones and electronic learning toys such as the V.Smile system.

[3], BYTE in January 1987 preferred the Laser 128's keyboard, including the keypad and cursor keys' locations, to that of the Apple IIc and approved of the documentation's quality.

Applesoft BASIC constitutes the largest and most complex part of an Apple II's ROM contents. Given the high degree of compatibility and a price less than half that of the IIc, the magazine concluded that the Laser 128 "is a real bargain".

The VTech Laser 128 was the most popular of them all.

Chip won't work on your credit card? It wasn’t until the very end that they extended their inventory and added hardware. To keep costs down, Vtech had to skimp on the quality of other components. David L. Farquhar, computer security professional, train hobbyist, and landlord, Home » Retro Computing » Laser 128 computer.

[1] inCider called the computer "amazingly Apple-compatible", estimating 95% compatibility. Microsoft made most of its money by keeping the rights to the software that it sold to others.

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It blended some of the features of both the Apple IIe and IIc computers.

[11] InfoWorld found that the Laser 128 was incompatible with 12% of 129 tested software packages, mostly educational software or games. Licensing BASIC greatly reduced the amount of code that had to be reimplemented.

var link = '' + encodeURIComponent(title + ' ' + url); It appeared quite sleek in comparison to the clunky lines of the original Apple II. | Permalink. But you’ll get fewer chances at a Laser 128 if you want one of those.

VTech followed up the Laser 128 by releasing an IBM-PC clone in the same form factor, followed by several more traditional IBM-PC 8088 and 80286-based clones. [1] Writing that "it's cheap and it works", inCider in December 1986 stated that the Laser 128 "[deserved] a look from anyone considering a Commodore.

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