Q. What is the HP200LX?
It is the
original IBM PC-XT stuffed into a very tiny case with great Personal
Information Management (PIM) software and Lotus 1-2-3 built into ROM. It
runs MS-DOS 5.0 software.
Q. Why would
I want an outdated DOS palmtop when I could get a modern Pocket PC?
The 200LX may be
older, but many find it a more useful computing device than a Pocket PC
and certainly than a Palm device. A few of the 200LX strengths:
(up to 2 months on a single pair of AA batteries)
compatibility (can run thousands of programs written for desktop
High-resolution screen (fully CGA compatible, 640x200) with landscape
orientation and much more screen real estate than a Pocket PC or Palm.
keyboard with a separate numeric keypad; nice solid feel with good
apps, including a powerful easy-to-use database (database is not a part
of Pocket PCs.)
and full version of Lotus 1-2-3 built in
full-length PC card.
software is built into the 200LX ROM?
(similar to HP19B, capable of algebraic or RPN)
A text editor,
a phone book
A world time
A note taker,
a file manager
Q. What's the
difference between the HP 200LX, HP 100LX, HP 95LX, and HP 1000CX?
The HP 200LX is
a minor upgrade to the HP 100LX with Pocket Quicken and a few cosmetic
changes to the built-in applications. The HP 1000CX is DOS machine, an HP
200LX without the built-in software. The upgrade from the HP 95LX to the
HP 100LX was quite significant. The HP-100/200LX is faster, has better and
more powerful software, better MS-DOS compatibility (full CGA
compatibility), fully standard serial port with hardware handshaking,
longer battery life, and has a PCMCIA Release 2.0 slot.
original HP Palmtop Paper review of the HP 100LX
here, and the HP 200LX
Q. What is
The HP Palmtop Paper
The HP Palmtop
Paper, published from 1991-2000 was chock full of HP Palmtop news,
reviews, how-to’s, profiles and tips. All the archives are available
Q. Does the
4MB, 6MB, 8MB, 32MB, or 64MB upgraded HP200LX have more system memory?
No, all models
of the HP200LX are MS-DOS machines which are inherently limited to only
640KB of system RAM. The rest of the memory is for storage.
Q. How do I
upgrade the memory and speed on a 200LX?
Send it into
Thaddeus Computing, Inc, 110 N. Court, Fairfield, IA 52556, or order a
palmtop already upgraded.
Q. How big is
Approx 16cm x
8.5cm x 2.5cm (6.25" x 3.3" x 1") closed, or about the size of a
checkbook, only thicker. It has a clamshell-style case. The screen
occupies the upper half, with perhaps a half-inch border on the sides and
top and bottom.
Q. So tiny!
Can I touch-type on it? Is the screen too small to read?
Touch typing is
quite a trick. The keys are much closer together than normal adult human
fingers. But the keys have a positive click feel. Some people adapt quite
well to them, others despise the 200LX keyboard. Many users adapt very
well to typing on the palmtop and some have reported speeds of up to 70
words per minute.
Q. Will it
run <Random MS-DOS Software Package>?
The 200LX will
run just about anything that will run on an IBM PC-XT with a CGA monitor.
Both DOS software and HP-200LX specific software can be found at
Q. What is
the System Manager?
It's the core
software under which all of the PIM applications run. It allows
multi-tasking (suspending one application to run another), keyboard
macros, data transfer via a clipboard, and other nifty stuff. The alarm
clock and appointment manager will only wake up if the system manager is
active. Certain 3rd party applications (*.EXM files) are "System Manager
Compliant". Applications which are not system manager compliant can still
be run, either by exiting the system manager entirely, or by opening up a
DOS shell under the system manager.
programming languages are available?
run on a PC-XT, including various flavors of assembly, C, C++, Pascal,
Basic, etc. QBASIC.EXE is not included, but will run if it's copied from a
MS-DOS 5.0 machine. Turbo C++ 1.0 works quite well, as do Turbo Pascal and
Turbo Assembler. (Turbo Assembler 5.0, the latest version, even runs on
the palmtop—although the linker requires a 286+, so you'll need a
several ways to write "programs" with software in the 200LX ROM, depending
on your definition of a program. You have the keyboard macro application,
Lotus 1-2-3, the calculator's solver application (finds roots of
equations, among other things), DEBUG.EXE (from DOS), and the DOS batch
file interpreter. The calculator's solver application can be used with
Lotus to "backsolve", that is, adjust the value of one independent cell of
a spreadsheet to produce a desired result in another, calculated, cell.
Q. How can I
get information on programming the internals of the HP?
Computing sells the SDK for $79.00, which includes a manual and software
you'll need. You'll also need a C-compiler and an assembler. The examples
and software are set up to use Microsoft C 6.0 and MASM. The SDK software
and manuals are also available on Thaddeus's
CD Infobase, which sells for
The PAL library
is also available and on the CD. These are C routines designed to allow
you to emulate the "look and feel" of built-in and System Manager
compliant applications on DOS programs. Also, PAL provides many good
features such as clipboard access.
Q. What's a
Just about any
pocket modem or full-sized external modem will work, although speed will
Q. Should I
get a PCMCIA modem or an external one?
PCMCIA — Cleaner cable setup, uses same power supply as 200LX, smaller
overall package, better performance.
external — allows use of RAM card and modem simultaneously, doesn't
drain 200LX batteries as rapidly.
While a pocket
modem typically draws power from a battery or from an AC power supply, a
PCMCIA modem draws all power from the palmtop. Many PCMCIA modems are
designed to work on larger machines with plenty of battery power so most
modems also consume as much or more power than the HP200LX. This drain can
occur whether the modem is in use or not, consequently battery life is
shorter. Use of an AC adapter is usually recommended. Internal PCMCIA
modems sold on this site are known to work well on the HP 200LX.
fax/modem card and these
used ones including EXP cards that hold both
memory and modem.
Q. Can I do
email and surf the web?
Check out the
WWW/LX PLUS! Email/Web Browser
Q. How do I
connect the 200LX to a desktop PC?
connectivity pack is available for the 200LX (F1021B). The 200LX
connectivity pack includes software to integrate Pocket Quicken with
Quicken for DOS or Windows, in addition to updated versions of the
software in the 100LX connectivity pack.
A free Outlook
to Palmtop PIM sync program is available
Q. Where do I
get connectivity cables or an adapter to use HP's serial cable with a
modem, serial printer, etc.?
batteries does it use? How long do they last?
The 200LX uses 2
standard AA cells, either alkaline or NiCad. It also uses a miniature
lithium "button" battery (CR2032) for memory backup when the main
batteries fail. Battery lifetime varies a lot, based on how much you use
the machine, what kind of PCMCIA card you use, how much you use the serial
and IR ports, how good your batteries are, etc. As a rough guess, several
users have reported needing to recharge their NiCad's approximately once a
week, when running it a few hours a day with a flash card. Users have
reported in excess of a month of regular usage from fresh lithium AA
cells, down to an hour or less with a power-sucking PCMCIA modem and
NiCads. The HP manual claims that "for typical use without the AC adapter,
fresh Alkaline batteries should last from 2 to 8 weeks. Rechargeable
batteries ... will get less life ..." (p A-2 of 100LX manual).
manual only recommends alkaline or NiCads, users have reported success
with lithium AA cells. Lithium cells have a much longer shelf life and
running life than alkalines. Setting the machine up for alkalines works
for lithiums. Others have cautioned that inserting lithium cells backwards
can permanently damage the machine, and the discharge curve for lithiums
is very steep, leaving little time between the first "low battery" warning
and completely dead batteries.
The 200LX can
charge installed NiCads by simply plugging in an AC adapter and selecting
the option from the setup application. No separate charger is needed.
alkaline or NiMH batteries can be used, just like regular alkalines.
However, to charge them, you must take them out of the 200LX and put them
in a charger specially designed for rechargeable alkalines or NiMH
batteries. (Note: newer NiMH batteries can be recharged right in the
palmtop, with the type set to NiCad.)
Q. What kind
of AC adapter does the 200LX use?
part no. F1011A, which is about the size of a credit card, except that
it's an inch (2.5 cm) thick, with fold-away AC prongs. It will take any
input voltage from 100 to 240 Volts, at 50/60 Hz, an advantage for world