(listed in section "Computers from $2500 to $4000")
APRICOT Xi Apricot Inc
Approx. Retail price: $2995 Approx. Low price: $2352 RAM: 256K Operating System: MS-DOS 2.11 Included Hardware: hard disk drive; keyboard; micro-floppy disk drive; monochrome monitor Included Software: Activity; GSX Graphics System Expansion; MS-DOS 2.11; tutorial
The Apricot Xi is a surprisingly powerful little computer. It's small physical size is disarming. The sleek styling and black case are more reminiscient of stereo equipment than computer hardware. The system's overall performance is equally impressive. It is manufactured in Scotland for Apricot Inc, a northern California computer company.
Apricot makes a number of computer products. We felt the Xi represented the best overall value. At less than $3000 (list) this 256K system includes a compact, internal 10 megabyte hard disk. It also contains a built in clock/calendar, a serial port, a parallel port, and a mouse port. A beautiful high resolution green monitor supports both text and graphics.
An unusual keyboard is provided with a self-contained liquid crystal micro screen that labels six special function keys. These function key labels are under software control. Thus, as the key functions change, so do their labels on the keyboard. This is a unique and useful feature. Apricot has chosen the microfloppy diskettes for their system. This makes the system compact, but creates some software compatibility problems. Although the Apricot Xi runs MS-DOS software, this unique disk format and some of the Apricot's other features (such as the keyboard's micro-screen) make it necessary to purchase Apricot versions of most software packages.
In this respect, Apricot has made arrangements with many of the country's leading software manufacturers. Apricot software is available from Ashton-Tate, Digital Research, Lotus, Micropro, Microsoft, Software Publishing, Software Products International, and others. Thus, it is possible to purchase Apricot versions of most of the best-selling software packages. In many instances, these Apricot versions take advantage of the keyboard's micro screen and other unique Apricot features.
The Apricot Xi also offers a built-in calculator function and a unique piece of software called Activity. Activity is an "operating environment" that is in essence a "front end" for the disk operating system. Icons (pictures) are drawn on the display. A mouse or cursor controls are used to move the on-screen arrow until it points to the appropriate icon. Functions such as filing or disk copying can be performed by pointing at the appropriate icon. This makes operation easy, particularly for new computer users. The tradeoff is memory - the Activity software consumes quite a bit of additional memory. It does offer some unique utilities, however. For example, it is possible to create special characters using the font editor. You can even create your own icons.
The Apricot Xi comes with a computer-assisted tutorial which is useful and reasonably well-paced. The graphics capabilities of this machine are quite powerful.
For users who don't mind owning a computer that lacks IBM compatibility, the Apricot Xi is exceptional value. It offers much of the graphic capability of the Apple Macintosh with the speed and performance of a faster IBM system.
RATINGS Overall Value: 9 Performance: 9 Ease of Use: 9 Documentation: 9 Software: 8 Expandability: 7
In addition, the guide featured machines priced under $1000 (Apple IIe, Atari 520ST, Commodore 128) through to machines over $4000 and included sections on portable computers (mostly luggables) and a miscelleany including peripherals, expansion cards, keyboard and mouse controllers, monitors, printers, software etc.
For comparison with the Apricot, the Apple IIe, Apple Macintosh, IBM PC and IBM AT were priced and rated as follows:
Apple IIe Price: $945 retail/$814 low Apple IIe RATINGS Overall Value: 9 Ease of Use: 8 Software: 10 Performance: 8 Documentation: 9 Expandability: 9
Apple 512K Macintosh Price: $2499 retail/$2286 low Apple Macintosh RATINGS Overall Value: 9 Ease of Use: 10 Software: 9 Performance: 9 Documentation: 9 Expandability: 6
IBM PC Price: $2499 retail/$1915 low IBM PC RATINGS Overall Value: 9 Ease of Use: 8 Software: 10 Performance: 8 Documentation: 8 Expandability: 8
IBM AT Price: $3995 retail/$3422 low IBM AT RATINGS Overall Value: 8 Ease of Use: 10 Software: 10 Performance: 9 Documentation: 9 Expandability: 9
In comparison, the 2006 guide ranked Apple at the top of the manufacturer list for desktops, IBM no longer being in the market having sold it's PC division to Lenovo. Of course, Apricot themselves are no longer so are not featured. Dell, Gateway, HP, Sony and Compaq all clock up pretty dismal rankings against Apple. How the times change.
Published in 1986 Computer Buying Guide by Consumer Guide Magazine (a US publication) published by Louis Weber