DOS Palmtop: Lexicomp LC-8600 Details and specs

Lexicomp LC-8600

About this machine:

The LC-8600 is a pretty unique machine if you compare it to the typical Tidalwave clones and such. Besides the successor Lexicomp LC-8620 it is the only DOS Palmtop to feature the legendary HP Kitty Hawk 1.3 inch HDD. The Kittyhawk is pretty rare, that HDD was used in the Dauphin DTR-1, a rather weird Windows 3.1 monochrome tablet computer and also the AT&T EO 440. Besides the cool harddisk it is one of the heavier and bulkier Palmtops and only has 1 PCMCIA slot. Lexicomp surprisingly still exists today, but they specialise in their original area of expertise - electronic translators for the chinese market. In Japan (And probably other asian countries) this was sold as the "Moving Pocket LC-8600". Move my pockets! On a side note: It actually won the "Taiwan Excellence Silver award" in 1994. Well might have been gold with a VGA display i guess. Some of these were reported to have been used by US Navy, but I don't know exactly for what. I guess some kinda tracking or so with some serial periphal device, but description was very vague. The difference between the LC-8620 and the LC-8600 is not really clear. I guess that the LC-8600 is the 1MB model and the LC-8620 the 2MB model? From an old promo description the Kittyhawk and the modem were "options", so you could probably get both models with or without these. The slot for the modem is there and blocked by a piece of plastic if you don't have a modem. Do not try to remove that piece since it's just glued to the case and once you removed it you effectively have a hole in your palmtop. There is really nothing behind it. The Kittyhawk is really loud for such a small HDD and since it spins down pretty much immediately with the default setting you can hear it roaring with every "DIR" command. With the HDD you have a whooping 37MB free space on your C: drive, pretty much the most you can get "out of the box" on any palmtop without adding PCMCIA storage cards. Booting from HDD or PCMCIA also makes these Lexicomp machines very versatile. Feel like DR DOS? MS-DOS 6.2? No problem. Editing config.sys and autoexec.bat to your likings? No problem. I wish all palmtops had such liberal boot options...


CPU: F8680A @ 7/14 MHz (Standard/Turbo)
Graphics: Monochrome CGA, 80 x 25 character text mode, CGA 2 color monochrome graphics mode
Display: 640 x 200 monochrome Supertwist LCD , 4 grey scales, 6.5 inch
Memory (RAM): 2 MB (Maybe also available with 1MB)
ROM (Software): 1 MB
I/O ports: RS232 Serial, 1 x Parallel, 1 x PCMCIA Type II slot
Sound: PC Speaker - Piezo
Operating System: MS-DOS 5.0
Software: MS-Works.
Size: Length 11.8 cm, Width 22.8 cm, Height 3.2 cm
Powered by: 3 AA batteries - rechargable or non-rechargable or AC adaptor (optional accessory), CR2025 Lithium button cell as memory backup
Weight: 765 gram including batteries
Special features: Full sized parallel and serial ports. 40MB Harddisk and modem (Could be ordered without these). Can boot from PCMCIA or HDD.
Released: 1993
Originally retailed for:: 599 USD
Clone of: Not a clone
Similar models: Lexicomp LC-8620, Lexicomp Gradebook

- Full size serial and parallel port
- Fully CGA compliant, so most CGA based DOS appz and games work
- Excellent keyboard

- Not really the smallest Palmtop ever
- Power management is pretty bad if you use the HDD
- Only one PCMCIA slot

Collector Value:
9 of 10

Usage Value:
7 of 10

Pretty cool machine because of the HDD. Not so practical, but nice collectors piece. Honestly - the Kittyhawk HDD is definitely cool, but also prone to fail one day and nearly impossible to get a replacement. From a practical view you'll have more fun if you get a PCMCIA-II slot palmtop and just pop-in a 128MB PCMCIA card, more space, not sensible to physical shock, faster, more power saving and more storage. But oh well, we collectors like it exotic.

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