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1980s Computers Explanation of terms

The MZ-700 Series



Sharp (Japan)


MZ-700 series
MZ-711 had no built in peripherals.
MZ-721 (illustrated) had a tape deck.
MZ-731 had a built in plotter and tape deck.

Date Launched

September 1983 in UK


£250 for MZ-711
Data cassette deck £40 extra
Printer/plotter £130 extra

Microprocessor type

LH-0080 @ 4 MHz
(Sharp's version of the Z80A)

ROM size

4 kilobytes monitor plus 4KB character generator

Standard RAM

64 kilobytes
+ 2KB video RAM

Maximum RAM

64 kilobytes

Keyboard type

Standard typewriter style

Supplied language

Sharp BASIC (loaded from tape.)
FORTRAN and Pascal were also available.

Text resolution

40 x 25 characters

Graphics resolution

80 x 50 pixels using quarter text-character squares.
There were no true high resolution graphics but the character set had 512 characters including a wide variety of predefined shapes, line segments and curves.
This made it possible for simple drawings to be built up purely as text.

Colours available


Example Screenshot

MZ-700 character set
The full character set of the MZ-700, showing the variety of special shapes available.


Single channel

Cassette load speed

1200 baud

Dimensions (mm)
Weight (grams)

440 x 305 x 85
Not known

Special features

Computer, cassette recorder and optional printer/plotter in one neat unit.
Could run the CP/M operating system.

Good points

Several other languages could be loaded instead of BASIC, including C, COMAL, Forth, Fortran, Lisp, Pascal.

Bad points

Lack of true high resolution graphics.

How successful?

Not very.
The character-based graphics limited the MZ-700's scope for video games, which were the main reason for buying a home computer in 1983.


The Sharp MZ-700 was the replacement for the MZ-80 range. It introduced colour and a normal keyboard but its graphics capabilities were limited compared to other similarly priced computers.
Review of the MZ-700

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