DOS Palmtop: Sharp PC-3000 Details and specs

Sharp PC-3000 (Sharp PC3000)

About this machine:

Interestingly the Software of the Sharp PC-3000 (And PC-3100) was made by DIP. You know DIP if you read the articles about the Portfolio. They are actually the creative heads that created the Portfolio, Atari was actually just marketing These. So they made an advanced unit (By fans sometimes called the "Portfolio II") and since Atari wasn't interested in that Project any more they had Sharp manufacture it. So the PC-3000/PC-3100 are basically the "Portfolio II". Ironically the Sharp PC-3000/PC-3100 were never sold in Japan, the home Country of Sharp. I guess it would have been too hard to Display Japanese characters in CGA and translate the PIM Software back in the days. The Sharp PC-3000 is still one of my favorites and one of the few palmtops that can really compete with the HP series. The reason is simply that Sharp also put much effort in the software. Like the HP models the sharp can boot from PCMCIA cards - only from SRAM though. And even though DOS 3.3 will boot fine from SRAM any other OS will fail (seems to be a BIOS problem?). From the Sharp Floppy disk drive it will boot DOS 5.0 though (MS-DOS 6.2 seems to fail though). It can use Flash or CF cards (with a pcmcia adapter and driver) but keep in mind DOS 3.3 can only access disks up to 32 MB and you'll have to get the Flash driver onto the machine first. Only SOME flash/Compact Flash cards do work. SanDisk cards seem to be most compatible. Also it is one of the few palmtops that have an option to invert the screen - very nice for graphical applications and games. While considerably larger than the HP series (Standard size compared to most other palmtops) the keyboard is really a pleasure to use and very durable. The screen is of course also larger than the HP series and thus a bit easier to read if your eyesight is not the best. The PCMCIA slots feature some unique locking mechanism that prevents accidential ejection - although i have never accidentially ejected a PCMCIA card I feel like mentioning this as it looks and performs quite neat and i have never seen that in any other palmtop. It is worth mentioning that this is even more than just a crude physical lock - while the lock is open you can not access your card even though it is inserted properly. Also worth mentioning is the unique "HDD indicator" that unlike a common HDD LED is an LCD based panel which displays activity seperately for read/write access to PCMCIA slot 1 and 2 as well as status of Num-Lock, Caps-Lock and Scrl-Lock. There is also a unique "Expansion Bus" on the back, but the only accessory ever released for it was the optional (and rare) floppy disk drive. The casing is somehow unique as it is plastic which seems to be coated with a very thin metal layer and over that some kinda rubber layer. A heavily used PC-3000 will have this "metal" look due to the top layer being scratched off on some corners. What is remarkable is that the Sharp PC-3100 is actually exactly the same but having 2 instead of 1 MB of RAM. With 10 MHz (5 MHz in Power saving mdoe) it is a bit faster than the HP series. The built-in software comes ironically from DIP - if you read my article about the classic Poqet PC you will already feel odd why they used the software from their competitors. I guess they just didn't want to write their own. Thus the built-in software is probably the weakest point of it. It might be noteworthy that Sharp sold an optional 3.5" floppy drive as accessory - however it was ridiculously expensive and is an ultra rare collectible today. I could not find any original retail price, but several sources claimed the PC-3000 was originally sold for about 1000 USD so i assume it was around 20% more for the PC-3100 (RAM was expensive back in the days). A late Austrian Sharp user Club Magazine lists a "discounted Group order" with a Price of 8000 Austrian Schilling for the PC-3000, 10,000 Schilling for the PC-3100 (Around 20% more) and - interestingly - about 4700 Schilling for the floppy. Yes the Floppy costed more than half of the PC-3000, making it one of the most expensive floppy drives ever sold at that time... And it explains why the floppy is so rare these days.


CPU: 80C88A @ 10 MHz
Graphics: Monochrome CGA, 80 x 25 character text mode
Display: 640 x 200 monochrome Supertwist , 4 grey scales, 7.2 inch
Memory (RAM): 1 MB
ROM (Software): 1 MB
I/O ports: RS232 Serial (proprietary 10 pin cable was included accessory), Parallel port (proprietary 20 pin cable included), 2 x PCMCIA 1.0 Type I Slot, "Expansion Bus" (For the floppy disk drive)
Sound: PC Speaker - Piezo
Operating System: MS-DOS 3.3
Software: Good setup utility but weak PIM software with only rudimentary database, spreadsheet and word processing
Size: Length 11.2 cm, Width 22.2 cm, Height 2.5 cm (4.4 inches x 8.7 inches x 1 inch)
Powered by: 3 AA batteries - rechargable or non-rechargable or AC adaptor (optional accessory), CR2032 Lithium button cell as memory backup
Weight: 480 gram (17 ounces) without and about 600 gram (21 ounces) including 2 standard AA and CR2032 batteries
Special features: BIOS Option to invert display. Drive Activity Indicators. RAM can be configured as additional RAMDISK space for saving user files.
Released: Late 1991 (Hong Kong) April 1992 (Canada)
Originally retailed for:: 1000 USD
Clone of: Not a clone. The PC-3100 is the same with just more RAM.
Similar models: Sharp PC-3100

- PCMCIA 1.0 Type 1 slot but can use "some" flash/CF cards with a special driver.
- Fully CGA compliant, so most CGA based DOS appz and games work
- Excellent keyboard
- One of the "faster" palmtops
- Invertible screen, so graphical CGA games look good

- DOS 3.3 does not allow flash card partitions larger than 32 MB
- Can only access flash cards using a Driver
- One of the larger palmtops
- Rather weak PIM software

Collector Value:
5 of 10

Usage Value:
9 of 10

Give it a usability value of 10/10 if you don't care about large CF cards. This is probably the "most wanted" palmtop after the HP series ones. Although rather bulky compared to the HP series the nice large screen, good keyboard and "reasonable" battery life (less than poqet and HP) make this a quite "usable" palmtop. The PIM Software is a bit weak. If it just came with MS-DOS 5 and PCMCIA 2.0 slots... But if you can cope with these flaws it is definitely among the best palmtops ever. Not really rare but might be "surprisingly expensive" on ebay as there are usually many people looking for these.

Sharp PC-3000/PC-3100 Gallery

Sharp PC-3000/PC-3100 Extras

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