The Atari STBook Laptop


            After the success of the Atari STacy laptop Atari went back to work on a new and improved version of its portable ST.    The STBook is a marvelous computer, designed by Tracey Hall who is also responsible for the STPad tablet computer.   Its LCD screen is not backlite, but produces a crisp clean picture,  however still can be difficult view at times.   The LCD screen was an Epson Custom Module (ECM) and it's very delicate and nearly impossible to locate.    The STBook weighs in at just under 5lbs which is amazing for all the technology that was packed onboard, todays laptops have just reached the sub-5lb mark so this goes to show how far ahead Atari was.    The laptop has a fixed memory configuration of either 1MB or 4MB and does not have provisions for adding additional memory internally, however additional memory may have possibly been added external through its external processor bus on the side of the unit.   The hard drive is 40mb's.  The keyboard is quite comfortable and easy to use.   The mouse is an interesting item, its a pressure sensitive pad which you push in the direction you wish the point to move, the harder you push the faster the mouse moves, 2 buttons are located for clicking and selecting objects.   Although this pointer was quite innovative, it is difficult to use and needed quite a bit of improvement, the mouse pad controller module is removable for replacement with alternative mouse controllers.


The are no external ports for a mouse or keyboard so you have to use what you have.   The unit has an external bus connector for perhaps a future docking station that may have been thought of.   Other ports consist of parallel and serial as well as the famous Atari ST MIDI ports, and also included is an ACSI/Floppy port for external hard drives and an external 3.5" floppy drive, sorry no PCMCIA ports here and also no external video as well.    Serial null modem software for an STBook  is included to allow data transfers to and from your desktop ST if you choose not to purchase the floppy disk.   The CPU is a standard 8mhz 68000 processor.    These laptops are sleek and sexy, light and easy to work with, however they are extremely fragile, the case plastic can crack easily and the LCD panel can easily be damaged.   Although some STBooks were sent to musicians for advanced previews here in the United States non were sold.   In Europe about 1000 units were shipped to a small number of distributors, however the rechargable batteries were not shipped and the STBooks in Europe had to rely on 6 AA sized battery's installed in a battery pak.   Power gets used up quite quickly in these laptops so you need to keep the power supply close at hand.    In short, the STBooks were quite advanced and ahead of their time in size and performance, but needed some more improvement to make them more sturdy for the comsumer market.    Atari definitely had a winner on its hands with this laptop computer.