This week is off for me. A great opportunity to share with you a few notes and pics of one of my most cherished pocket computers. The Elektronika MK-90. So when I had the opportunity to acquire one of these soviet pocket computers, I didn’t think twice. When it finally made its way to me from Ukraine, five or six years ago, it was quite a delight. What an amazing computer! It is now time for me to share it with you. This post is essentially a quick overview, and I will post more on the MK-90 in the future. However, these are the main remarkable points according to me.
First, it is pretty big, roughly of the size of the HP-75C, but almost twice as thick. The placement of the 8 lines x 20 characters LCD display is also very original. Sure, its resolution – yes, it is a graphic one, fully addressable at the pixel level (64 x 120) – and technology is not in par with what we could find at same time on Japanese systems, and because of the size and resolution – or the other way around – the pixels are big and can be seen with the naked eye.
I added several pictures trying to show this, varying the contrast as much as I could (still being able to shot a pic). Nonetheless, you can do graphics, and many other systems having a multi-line LCD display did not offer this capability. The keyboard, of course, has an original layout and requires – like all other Elektronika computers/calculators (I need to present them too later on) – some practice for a non-Russian speaker. Last, but not least, it is so refreshing to have access to a non-Microsoft BASIC from 1986!
Indeed, collecting vintage computers is partially fueled by envy to learn and discover different ways of computing. The MK-90 provides this far above my best hopes (and I have the v1.0 too!). But more on this later, I did focus only on the boot loader menu and BASIC & ROM select. The hardware is paced by a 16-bit DEC (PDP-11) compatible processor. I will stop here and let you discover the pics of this really fantastic system. Enjoy!