Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 129 / MAY 1991 / PAGE 46

Tandy 1000 RL/HD. (microcomputers) (evaluation)
by Ferrel Keith

Tandy's sleek 1000 RL has an interface especially designed to appeal to new computer users and hardware that reflects some sound but conservative and controversial design and manufacture decisions.

Tandy's decision to use an 8086 processor, rather than the 286 or even 386SX, places some limitations on the machine's performance. RL/HD owners will have some difficulty using high-end spreadsheets and databases and playing some of the more sophisticated entertainment software. The RL's video refresh is fast enough for most games, however; and at between 9 and 1 0 MHz, the machine is as fast as an AT, still the workhorse of the computer industry.

This is a household computer, not a terrific machine for handling complex work from the office. You're not going to be running Windows on the RL. With its kernel in ROM, Tandy's DeskMate flies on the RL, obviating for many users the need for any other environment than MS-DOS.

The machine reviewed here is the hard disk version, which is the one I recommend. The hard disk is fast and comes loaded with system and applications software, making setup almost foolproof. Tandy has offered a special deal, including a mouse, which is essential to new users' enjoyment and control of their systems. New users should also be persuaded to purchase color systems, and it's hoped that Tandy will add a VGA option to the RL line.

Several ports-for a printer, joy-sticks, an earphone, a microphone, a mouse, and serial peripherals-are built right in. Tandy's volume control is a feature that other manufacturers should emulate. Some RL owners, as they grow in capability and ambition, will find the lack of expansion slots (there's only one) daunting. A solution-an add-on expansion box for the RL and at least one more slot in the next generation of RLs-will help the machine grow along with its users.

The decision to include only 512K of RAM, while probably price-based, needs to be corrected. For better or worse, today's software designers are assuming a megabyte of RAM as standard. At the very least, the motherboard should be socketed for a meg. Understand me: I get 90 percent of my work done in less than 512K on my 386. The 100 RL will do the very same. You can run most word processors, some spreadsheets, and many other packages just fine.

Despite these caveats, I think the RL is a fine system, especially for users who are new to computing. It's a system that will work beautifully for 90 percent of household use. With Home Organizer, the Deskmate enhancement, users might actually computerize whole aspects of household operation.

I think Tandy has taken a large step in the right direction with the 1000 RL/HD. But the walk is not yet finished. As an introductory and functional computer system with some special features and enhancements designed to put new users at ease, the 1000 RL is a sound, safe purchase for people who are curious about using a computer in the home.

FCC Classification There are, two radio-emission classifications for computing devices or electronic digital devices: Class A and Class B.

Class A applies to the industrial or business setting, where radio-frequency (RF) interference is not an important concern. In comparison to Class B, Class A enjoys generally relaxed limits on the intensity of RF emissions.

Class B devices, however, are suitable for a residential setting. The rating ensures reasonable protection against RF interference to television or radio within ton meters of the device and with at least one wall between the device and the receiver.