DOS Palmtop: Atari portfolio Details and specs

Atari Portfolio

About this machine:

If you want to read about the legends and where the portfolio really comes from i suggest you read my article about the DIP Pocket PC. The Atari portfolio is actually just a dip pocket pc licensed to Atari. However, as i explained in my dip article - there are doubts if there was any dip pocket pc produced beyond prototype status without Atari, so it is still safe to assume that the portfolio was and is THE first PC-compatible palmtop computer. However, if you read my dip article you already understand why the pc compatibility is very limited. Also the first palmtop pc is already a clone of another one. So this is a good example why "clone of" is a standard value i use in my reviews. The Portfolio is as much of a collectible as a DVD of the matrix - everyone got one already. The machine was marketed as "PC Folio" in Italy and Spain - it seems Portfolio was already a Trademark or so in these countries. Atari also released some accessories, besides the obvious bags and cables there was also a Memory card drive for the PC which unfortunately is based on old ISA port cards, so anything after a 386 is rather unlikely to use that. Also noteworthy are the memory expansion docks which were around the size of the parallel interface. In theory these can be stacked, but at 265 KB per device you would probably have ended up with a 10 feet long potfolio if you wanted 4 MB of RAM.


CPU: 80C88, running @ 4.9152 MHz
Graphics: Text mode, 40 characters x 8 lines
Display: 240 x 64 monochrome STN , 2 scales
Memory (RAM): 128 KB or 256 KB (The later models featured 256 KB)
ROM (Software): 256 KB
I/O ports: Expansion port, Memory card expansion slot
Sound: PC Speaker - Piezo
Operating System: DIP DOS 2.11
Software: Text editor, spreadsheet (Lotus 1-2-3 compatible), phone book and time manager.
Size: Length 8.5cm, Width 15.9cm, Height 2.6cm (3.4 inches x 6.3 inches x 1 inch)
Powered by: 3 AA batteries or AC adaptor (optional accessory), CR2032 Lithium button cell as memory backup
Weight: 505 gram (18 ounces)
Special features: Parallel, serial, modem and midi modules available for expansion slot.
Released: April 1989
Originally retailed for:: 399.95 USD
Clone of: dip pocket pc
Similar models: dip pocket pc, Atari PC Folio, HP 95LX

Pros: - Contains Lotus 1-2-3 compatible spreadsheet and word processor
- Fair Battery life
- Dirt cheap

- Due to graphics mode barely compatible with any standard DOS application
- Can only use proprietary Atari Memory cards (Also used by some Korg Synthezizers)
- Keyboard extremely small, one of the worst ever introduced in any palmtop
- Low RAM, proprietary DOS, proprietary rather weak PIM applications

Collector Value:
1 of 10

Usage Value:
3 of 10

If the standard software on the ROM suits your needs you can give it a usability value of 7/10 (8/10 if you love the tiny keyboard). The portfolio is not really much compatible but still having a cult following, so you find loads of (less) useful appz around, depending on what you want to do with it. As a simple organizer it is still okay but besides that don't expect any classic DOS program to work - even some pure text mode appz had problems due to the odd resolution and graphics mode of the display. It is a cult collectible like a lava lamp. These used to be dirt cheap, used Units often changed owners on ebay for the Price of a Pizza. But lately Prices have gone through the roof, especially in the USA. So don't be surprised if an auction fetches over 100 USD (I really won't recommend buying one for that much though!).

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