AT&T Globalist 200S
Best retro purpose
Early DOS and Windows 3.1 era gaming, for titles released upto 1995 or as office computer. Unfortunately, despite the somewhat adequate CPU speed, the video chipset is definitely too slow for anything beyond 320x200 resolution and even 640x480 resolution is quite taxing on Windows 3.1. DOS games support is quite good and the integrated soundcard works well on all games. The laptop has the distinction of being the among the fastest with a 486 processor, but the laptop is still slightly slower than similar desktop 486 processors.
Durability and Repair-ability
The plastic quality of most of the chassis is quite good for such an old laptop while access to the hard-drive is simple, the disk being placed in a bay, RAM is somewhat accessible as it requires only unclamping the keyboard but internal battery replacement and floppy drive replacement require extensive disassembly. The LCD screen has a fluorescent backlight that is potentially difficult to replace as screens used on similar laptops can be quite cumbersome to disassemble (the IBM Thinkpad 755 series). A major downside of this laptop is that the integrated floppy drive is belt driven and does not have a direct drive system, which means that the device is probably dead unless a suitable belt and assembly are carried out.
Greatest features & flaws
|Average Windows 3.1 DOS Gaming platform||Somewhat poor video chipset performance|
|Compact laptop||Somewhat slow on Windows 95, limited RAM expansion capability|
|Durable keyboard and trackball||Very slow key travel, clumsy keyboard|
|Great harddrive access||Proprietary power supply connector, unreliable floppy drive|
A low-end, somewhat compact, consumer laptop, released in 1995. It had a somewhat average mix of parts for a 486. AT&T was not known as a laptop manufacturers and this product has been clearly built to spec by another more knowledgeable facility, although the design seems to originate from the USA. Compared with other laptops, the design is well suited for mobile applications, not being a desktop CPU housed in a laptop case. The model is somewhat odd as it is the high-end designation a basically consumer laptop lineup with faster processor, an active matrix screen vs. the passive matrix of the 200 typical model and more RAM installed by default. Overall, the laptop was still obsolete at the time of the release, but a reasonable budget alternative to pricier Toshiba and IBM laptops.
While the CPU is good for a 486, the sub-par video chipset position this laptop as a budget multimedia laptop. The inclusion of a soundcard is welcome but there are other features that make the laptop less recommended. This laptop, however, holds the distinction of being in the fastest 486 processors class, as the 100MHz CPU speed was uncommon. While the 75 to 100MHz clockspeed jump is noticeably good, the CPU architecture was obsolete and even the first Pentium processor generations, at 50 to 66 MHz clockspeed, offer higher performance.
The Western Digital branded video chipset was already obsolete by the time of the laptop's release. The lack of most acceleration functions means that even running Windows 3.1 in 640x480 feels sluggish and Windows 95 operation feels slow. It is very difficult to understand why many laptop manufacturers (IBM included) insisted on using such video chipsets that do not even expose full VESA capabilities. In comparison with the IBM 370, however, it is not required to load a special VESA TSR to be able to run Windows in 640x480 resolution. Although resolutions such as 1024x768 at 256 colors are possible, they are clearly beyond the user's patience.
The inclusion of a relatively modern TFT screen, having a good contrast ratio and response time is one of the few saving graces in terms of technical prowess as most laptops of its era either had poor color LCDs or good but monochrome ones. RAM capabilities are mixed. The lack of standardization means that memory upgrades are quite difficult to find, as the laptop require a proprietary memory module standard, the so-called memory module adapter, that also requires care when memory is upgraded, due to multiple side sockets.
The included standard capacity harddrive is not adequate as even modest Windows 95 installations with a Microsoft Office 95 package can take around more than 300MB. The harddrive itself is noisy and very bulky (12mm height) and the metallic drive tray along with the laptop's own casing do not offer great noise damping capabilities. Also, the drive's mounting system is incompatible with more modern drives, requiring careful mounting, as screws and holes do not match.
This keyboard is, certainly, the major downside of the laptop, while the trackball is quite good. The keyboard's major design flaw stems from the cumbersome way in which key travel is restricted. There is not enough clearance to make the keys central actuator to smoothly lower and bounce after the keypress. This means that you have to exert extreme force to move the keys, especially if there is a slight angle between the hand's position and the keyboard. This effect is amplified on unused or lightly used keyboards.
Software support is a mixed experience. While hardware capabilities are not outright bad, the video chipset seriously limit a comfortable operating systems experience on Windows 95 although Windows 3.x performance is adequate. Although Windows 95 is entirely possible, you should have at least 12MB of RAM available, although 16MB would have been a lot better. DOS gaming is limited as DOOM runs slightly acceptable while Quake runs very slow. This happened on the vast majority of 486 computers that had old ISA video cards (Number 9 or Paradise chipsets).