Posted on June 19, 2020
In the tradition of their famous calculator line, and long before the iPaq and the Jornada have seen the light, HP produced a set of x86-based handheld computers capabale of running MS-DOS.
The HP 200LX is the third generation handheld device, following the 100LX and the 95LX models. Sporting an 80186-compatible CPU, it came with built-in MS-DOS 5 and offered better DOS compatibility than its predecessors.
Several models have been released, offering between 1 to 4 MiB of RAM. Apart from that, all models where identical, supporting storage expansion via CF Type II, an infrared and a serial port.
The 200LX came, as its predecessors, with a bunch of software included in ROM, that being LOTUS 1-2-3, LOTUS cc:Mail, and a bunch of productivity tools such as calendar, phonebook, terminal, and more.
Since the 200LX offers pretty fair DOS compatibility, in can in fact run Microsoft Windows up to version 3.0 in standard mode, given it’s installed onto a CF card. I did that actually for the fun of it, and must say, while being limited, it works at surprising decent speed. I even installed Microsoft Word 2.0, which works well, at least as long as you stay within the 1 MiB RAM limit.
Running Windows was clearly not the intended purpose of these devices, which were clearly targeted at business users to use as a productivity tool on the road, for which the DOS utilities did the job quiet well for its time. Users would not see a windows-based handgeld until the Jornada series appear in around 1998, then driven by Windows CE 3.0. But that’s another story…
The PHINTAGE Collection currently holds an HP200LX.
|Original Streetprice||US$ 549|
|Dimensions||16 × 8.64 × 2.54 cm|
|Builtin Display||YES, PSTN, CGA 640×200 (2 colors)|
|Builtin Battery||NO (powered by ordinary AA cells)|
|CPU||“Hornet” 80186-compatible, 7.9MHz|
|Storage||CF Type II slot|
|Network Support||infrared, serial|
|Other||infrared port, serial port|
|Operating System||MS-DOS 5.0|
Windows 3.0 (for fun purposes)
|Overall Condition||minor scuffs, fixed hinge|
|Restoration Parts needed||Serial connector/adapter cable|