Sharp X1-C (CZ-801C)

The X1 family was the last 8 bit line of computers from Sharp and it was succeeded by the super powerful x68000. Sharp had so many models out through that at one point the X1 was competing to other Sharp models like the MZ 2000 line and later the MZ 700/800/1500 (interesting note: Sharp’s only MSX model was the Hotbit made in Brazil – so even though Sharp was mostly a Japanese computer company and MSX was one of the most successful lines in Japan, Sharp was pretty much not a part of it).

My X1 is the original ‘compact’ model – that is, it has the baseline specs similar to all X1 models (Turbo’s has some additional graphic modes and later on Turbo Z added some more as well). My model is the CZ-801C which means I also get a built-in cassette drive. Later models would have disk drives. There was quite a bit of software released in tapes so that is why I decided to get this one first. The tape drive is very fancy for its time – It is operated by software and it can even read both sides of the tape without manual switching!

Like all Sharp home based computers, X1s came with no built-in language. So when you turn it on you have to load basic from a tape. I was lucky enough to get the aBasic tape (copy) along with the X1 I purchased.

I have only found a few games so far but overall this machine seems to be perform very similarly to its competitors: the Fujitsu FM-7, the NEC 6001 and the early MSX 1s. The keyboard for my model is extremely comfortable, and the case design is old fashioned but slick. The one challenge I had with this machine was video: the only native output is analog RGB. Since I didn’t have such monitor (up until a few days ago) I had to go after the only alternative I knew about: an RF converter. I found such box in one auction at Yahoo Japan and was lucky enough to get it. Not cheap, but it allowed me to get the machine to work.

Afterwards I was able to connect the RGB to a proper monitor and the image quality is really, really better. I might end up selling the RF box after all.

In any case, this is an interesting computer and another one for my Japanese collection. Here are the specs:

NAME X1-C (CZ-801C)
TYPE Home Computer
YEAR 1983
KEYBOARD Full-stroke keyboard
CPU Sharp Z80 A
TEXT MODES 40 / 80 x 25
GRAPHIC MODES 320 x 200 / 640 x 200 – 8 colors
I/O PORTS 2 x joysticks (Atari), audio out, printer, TV Control, Analogic RGB
POWER SUPPLY Built-in power supply unit
PERIPHERALS Disk Drive, RF Converter, Memory expansion

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