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Fletch

Favorite Computers based on industrial design

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Platform wars aside, what are your favorite computers based purely on design? Here are a few of my favorites. Post some pictures if you'd like.

 

My favorites in no particular order:

 

Apple G4 Cube

Atari 1450XLD

Apple Lisa

Atari 400

Apple eMate

Atari TT / Mega STE

 

But my all time favorite is the Apple Macintosh Color Classic.

 

Again, this is just purely based on looks.

 

 

 

Fletch

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My contribution:

 

Advance 86A

- smoked glass cover over the keyboard drawer

- expandable to a full IBM PC compatibility!

 

Amiga 1000

- keyboard slides under the unit

- case signed by all the designers

 

Atari 400

- wonderfully odd shape

- cartridge bay hidden under a door

- front mounted joy-stick ports

 

Atari 800

- just a beautiful shape

 

Atari 1200XL

- low sleek and high-tech

- recessed cartridge port

- best keyboard of any computer ever. period.

 

Camputers Lynx

- simple and elegant. pity it didn't sell.

 

Commodore MAX

- low and sleek, angled flat panel keyboard.

 

Commodore Plus/4

- after the breadbox VIC-20 and C-64, the Plus/4 was actually 'designed'.

 

Mattel Aquarius

- simple design making use of shapes and colours.

- whatever happens in the future it will fit into that space!

 

Sinclair ZX80

- i guess i just like blue keyboards

 

Sord M5

- simple and elegant design

- lift the cartridge port cover to reveal bright-yellow cartridge bay

 

Texas Instruments TI-99/4A

- black and silver high-tech finish

- coloured dots on the keyboard and keyboard strip overlays

- the whole case seemed to be missing a part until you plugged in the Command Module

- front mounted on/off switch

- still love the 'Solid State Software' badge

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Here's a picture of an Atari 400.

 

post-12390-1224560417_thumb.jpg

 

:P

 

At least that's what it looks like to me. There's also an AT&T Unix PC I once had that was just as wedgey.

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I've seen lots of great looking computers in magazines that turned out to be disappointing in real life. I can only base my opinions on computers I've used or own (actually, I own all the computers listed).

 

My favourites are:

 

Atari 800XL (sleek, solid, nice cream & brown colours)

Kaypro II & "New 2" (I own both and they look awesome side by side - different shades)

Apple IIc with matching monitor (very cute, but I wish the keyboard wasn't grey)

Mac Classic II (sleeker than SE, better keyboard than older models)

Amiga 1000 (I wish case was metal though)

Amiga 500 (though I wish it was more solid and two-toned like the 800XL)

NeXTstation (the only "pizza box" that looks like a pizza box... but from a Borg ship)

Edited by Mr.Amiga500

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I'll second the silver TI-99/4a and the Lisa/Mac XL and I'll go out on a limb and say the Commodore SX/DX-64 as well.

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I'll second the silver TI-99/4a and the Lisa/Mac XL and I'll go out on a limb and say the Commodore SX/DX-64 as well.

 

Yes, I agree with those. (but I don't own any of them so I can't physically compare them to the others I listed)

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I'll second the silver TI-99/4a and the Lisa/Mac XL and I'll go out on a limb and say the Commodore SX/DX-64 as well.

 

Yes, I agree with those. (but I don't own any of them so I can't physically compare them to the others I listed)

I only have a Commodore SX-64 anymore, but I did own a TI-99/4a back in the early 80's that I admired, but never did own an Apple Mac XL (or Lisa) as they were just to darn expesive. I'm going mostly from my own memory for this question.

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I briefly owned a TI-99/4a back in the 80's, and it does look very nice (but I hated trying to program that thing, so I got my money back). I saw a Commodore SX-64 at a computer museum a few months ago. I never did see a Lisa (though I have the Byte magazine Lisa introduction issue), but at a base cost of $10000, I'm sure many people have never seen a Lisa. It's possible that the NeXT cube looks nicer than the NeXTstation, but I've never had a NeXT cube so I can't compare them.

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I briefly owned a TI-99/4a back in the 80's, and it does look very nice (but I hated trying to program that thing, so I got my money back). I saw a Commodore SX-64 at a computer museum a few months ago. I never did see a Lisa (though I have the Byte magazine Lisa introduction issue), but at a base cost of $10000, I'm sure many people have never seen a Lisa. It's possible that the NeXT cube looks nicer than the NeXTstation, but I've never had a NeXT cube so I can't compare them.
I'll say this, the TI-99/4a was my introduction to programing (especially using extended basic) so I would never consider it returnable.

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I'll say this, the TI-99/4a was my introduction to programing (especially using extended basic) so I would never consider it returnable.

 

Actually, I returned it to a friend I suspected was trying to rip me off. It was the late 80's and I had already programmed on the PET, TRS-80 Model III, CoCo 2, Atari 800XL, Commodore 64 and CoCo 3 - so after all that, TI-99/4a BASIC was a bit of a pain in the ass. If it was my first computer, I would probably love it to death.

 

I must admit, I regret my decision to return the TI-99/4a, and I'm constantly on the lookout to find one in good condition.

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Some of Sony's MSX computers are pure eye-candy for me:

 

Sony HB-101

sony_hb101p_1.jpg

 

Sony HB-F1XD

Sony_HB-F1XD_Large.jpg

 

I'll also tip my hat to the TI-99/4a for being so gorgeous. My neighbor had one when I was a kid and I thought it looked way snazzier than my 400.

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I want to add to the list:

Atari 130XE

Sinclair ZX Spectrum

Amiga 600

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I'll always love the looks of the 800. Something about it just screams "I am a bad-ass!"

 

The TI/99-4A is also high on my list of cool-looking computers. It wouldn't look out of place attached to the TARDIS console on Dr. Who...

 

Not a home computer, but I always liked the look of the Vectrex console too. Basic black, no nonsense. Also the woodgrain 2600 is a classic (have actually considered modding a 2600 case, replacing the fake woodgrain parts with real wood).

 

Also I prefer the looks of the Indus GT to any of the Atari-made floppy drives, though the 810 does have that 70s chunkiness that the 800 has.

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At 1 time I bought up a whole lot of original 9" Macs - was going to start building MACQUARIUMS but never got around to it. I think I have 8 or 9 of them - some with original KB & Mouse and some work fine. I have Mac 512's, Mac SE's Mac Classic and Classic II's, etc. They're so cool looking - right now they're stored in a closet but someday they'll see the light of day! Some I paid $1.00 for on Ebay. One 512 has original everything and boots up fine with an original system disc - when I removed the cover it has all the original signatures inside the case of the Apple Staff oncluding JOBS and WOZ.

Edited by strangedogs

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Here's a picture of an Atari 400.

 

post-12390-1224560417_thumb.jpg

You're right! Remember the TR7 TV commercial with all the wedge shapes? At the end the TR7 pulled into a wedge garage. "The shape of things to come." Right? Maybe the 400 designer had one or just liked the ad?

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My brother had a 1981 TR7 Convertible. It was a fun car to look at, but gee was that thing a piece of junk. Dual stromberg carbs that needed to be adjusted every 5th time you drove the 7. Plus I think he went through a dozen window cranks. Who ever had a window crank go bad? Then the fine Lucas Electric headlights would randomly go up and down on their own. Ah, such fun.

 

Back to the original topic, I forgot the Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh. That was pretty sweet.

 

 

Here's a picture of an Atari 400.

 

post-12390-1224560417_thumb.jpg

You're right! Remember the TR7 TV commercial with all the wedge shapes? At the end the TR7 pulled into a wedge garage. "The shape of things to come." Right? Maybe the 400 designer had one or just liked the ad?

post-3523-1224592103_thumb.jpg

Edited by Fletch

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Great topic!

 

Without voicing my bias towards Atari's industrial design, the following machines would be next on my favourites list:

 

1) Digital (DEC) Rainbow 100 (and Professional)

Solid build, beautiful styling right down to the disk drives.

 

2) Digital (DEC) VT-100

A absolute icon in terminal design to this day

 

3) Apple Mac (and some variants such as SE etc)

Another icon in design and simplicity

 

4) Commodore C-65 (Proto)

Nice looking machine

 

5) Sony Hit-Bit range

Lovely 80's design from Sony, some with soft round edges and others with sharp industrial angles

 

6) Sony e-Villa

Ill-fated product, but clever design

 

Oh, I have to mention the ST Book, one of the cutest portables of its age ;)

 

Karl

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iMac G4? Always looks like a Luxo lamp to me =P

 

That's why it will always be remembered, as well as the original translucent CRT iMac. Now look at Apple's new 24" Cinema displays and how nonadjustable they are. Apple goes through phases in design that sometimes make a lot of ergonomic sense and then they arbitrarily reject them.

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The Amiga 1200 gets my vote. Small, great keyboard, and a ton of expansion (external, mind you).

 

It does have the trapdoor, finicky as it is.

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The SGI computers always had cool cases. Of course, nobody could ever afford these things.

 

sgiindy.jpg

 

diatomic.jpg

Edited by mos6507

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The SGI computers always had cool cases. Of course, nobody could ever afford these things.

 

I've got an Indy, but I think the NeXTstation looks nicer.

 

2) Digital (DEC) VT-100

 

Yes, that's a nice terminal. If we can start talking terminals, I'd also add the Lear Siegler ADM-3A.

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