Owner: Andrew Kaplan
I'm sure you're all familar with the Laser 128 clones, but do you know about the Laser 3000? Owner Andrew Kaplan fills us in:
I just thought another computer you may be interested in was an Apple ][+ compatible made by Vtech that preceded the Laser 128. I originally got one in early 1985 although they had been in production since 1983. My father originally purchased it out of a "Computer Shopper" magazine mail order vendor for around $220. This was a result of my teacher telling him that it was a good idea to have an Apple //c or //e computer. It was a cheap alternative to Apple //c's that were running more than $1200 back then.
It worked fine with any Apple // software including Dos 3.3 and ProDos. The machine was advertised as containing 192k of memory but could only address 64k in apple 2 mode even if you got more memory installed. (Which drove me crazy later on in trying "unsucessfully" to make 128k apple 2 software work.) Another caveat was that only Hi-Res graphics would run on it wheras the Low-res graphics (like in the game Lemonade) which many PD/Shareware software title used would not. It came standard with Microsoft Basic built into the Rom. On the Right side was a cartridge slot. The machine came with a "Floating Point Basic" cartridge that would plug in on the right that differed from the MS basic built into ROM. Nearly all the optional interfaces looked like cartridges of various sizes that plugged into the rear. This included the optional RS-232 for a modem, Floppy Disk drive controller (Disk ][ compatible); even the printer port was a cartridge that plugged into the right rear of the machine and had a centronics LPT cable dangling off of it. Another complaint I had was the lack of the Open/Closed Apple keys and the "up" cursor key did not work in Apple 2 mode. The down, left, and right did although they were in an unusual position above the Numeric keyboard. A joystick port was available on the left. Vtech said it would have many cartridge based software available, but I never saw any.
It also came with a Spreadsheet (MagicCalc), Database, and Word Processor (MagicWindow //e) that ran in its native mode.
Mine still works fine although it is has been collecting dust alongside my TI 99/4a (first machine) after I got my 80286 clone in 1989.
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