Tandy 1200 HD; Winchester version of the Tandy 1000. (evaluation) Russ Lockwood.
Tandy 1200 HD
In the December 1984 issue, we reviewed the Tandy 1000, a solid IBM PC and PCjr compatible sporting a bargain price. According to press releases from Fort Worth, Tandy 1000 sales are booming, making it one of the most successful releases in Tandy history. Rather than rest on its laurels, however, Tandy has introduced a hard disk version, the Tandy 1200 HD, that is likely to be as successful as the Tandy 1000.
The 1200 HD comes with 256K RAM (expandable to 640K), a 10Mb hard disk drive, a 360K double sided, double density floppy disk drive, a parallel port, and an 81-key detachable keyboard. You can buy a display adapter board ($299) and color monitor ($549) from Tandy or purchase comparable hardware from one of a host of thirdparty manufacturers.
The 1200 HD supports the 8087 numeric co-processor. It offers five expansion slots instead of the seven in the IBM PCXT (the hard disk version of the PC). After installing the drive controllers, a display adapter board, and a memory board, you are left with precious few slots.
While the keyboard of the 1000 duplicates the keyboard of its big non-IBM compatible brother the 2000, the 1200 HD mimics the IBM PC keyboard with a few pleasant exceptions. All keys have English labels, the Caps Lock and Num Lock keys include LEDs, the pesky Shift and Backslash keys have been reversed, and the numeric keypad includes an Enter Key. The 1200 also places a horizontal Return key over the Shift key. The tactile play of the keyboard is better than average.
Our evaluation unit included a color graphics board and the Tandy CM-2 13" RGB color monitor. In short, the lines are sharp, the colors bright, and text appears no worse nor better than on a similarly equipped IBM PC.
The hard disk drive performs flawlessly, and we were able to partition the disk, store and retrieve files, and create tree structures without a problem.
Nitty Meets Gritty
Give the 1200 a resounding round of applause for running just about all the IBM PC programs we could grab. The two de facto standards of software compatibility, Microsoft Flight Simulator and Lotus 1-2-3 ran perfectly, first time, everytime. Word processors MultiMate, WordStar, pfs:Write, and PC Write also ran without a hitch. The DeSmet C compiler and Borland Turbo Pascal flashed winning code upon the screen. Entertainment packages like Sargon III (chess), Empire (wargame), and Digger (arcade wonder) also passed the test. In short, just about every program we tried ran flawlessly. The exceptions we found were King's Quest (game) and about half of the Basic programs we tried.
So, while we are optimistic that the 1200 HD will run most programs written for the IBM PC, our now-standard line regarding compatibles applies: make sure the software you intend to use actually runs on the machine you intend to purchase. Heeding this simple "try before you buy' maxim can save you a great deal of post-purchase frustration.
The documentation offered the only significant disappointment in the 1200 HD package. While complete, the order in which the information is presented requires you to flip back and forth from one section of the manual to another. Explanations on the finer points of operating the hard disk also leave a lot to be desired. A good introduction to MS-DOS would be much appreciated, especially for dedicated TRS-80 users who are trading up to the IBM world.
Fortunately, the legendary support offered by Tandy can help you solve potential dilemmas. The nationwide sales and service centers will be stocking popular titles and can respond to problems quickly and, for the most part, locally.
All in all, we are impressed with the Tandy 1200 HD. It offers excellent IBM PC compatibility and a hard disk drive at a competitive price. If you are considering a PC XT, be sure to have a look at the Tandy 1200 HD, too.
Name: Tandy 1200 HD
Type: Desktop computer
CPU: 8088, 4.77 MHz
RAM: 256K expandable to 640K
Keyboard: Detachable, 84 keys
Display: 80 X 25 characters, 640 X 200 pixels
Disk Drives: One 360K floppy and one 10Mb Winchester
Operating System: MS-DOS
Dimensions: Keyboard: 7.7 X 1.5 X 17.8 System Unit: 19.0 X 15.3 X 5.8
Documentation: Spiral bound user's guide
Summary: Excellent IBM PC compatible offers Winchester capacity at a competitive price
Base Price: $2995
Manufacturer: Tandy 1800 One Tandy Center Fort Worth, TX76102 390-3011
Products: Tandy 1200 HD (computer)