The Sinclair PC 200 was one of the last computers built under the Sinclair brand and it was a most odd machine indeed. For starters it was not a Sinclair at all, but a desktop version of an Amstrad PPC-512!!
The machine looked very much like the Atari 520 ST in case design. It had a built-in 3.5" floppy drive on the right and mouse and joystick ports under the keyboard. The PC-200 was officially marketed as an Atari 520-ST competitor : same price, same disk drive, same memory (512k) and pretty much the same design. Some magazines of the time were promoting it as “a possible Amiga and ST beater”, but compared to the Amiga and 520-ST, the PC-200 looked very sparse, even for an IBM compatible. It had only two ISA slots that just were not enough and it was poorly designed. Standard IBM expansion cards were nearly twice the height of the computer so to fit, the computer needed to be opened permanently!!! It had CGA graphics but in 1988, most PC systems had adopted the more convenient EGA mode.
The only interesting feature of the PC-200 was a TV output socket at the rear of the system which was fairly unique for a PC at the time. At the same time, Amstrad presented the PC 20, which was in fact the same computer as the Sinclair PC 200 except for the colour of the case and the TV output.
The Sinclair PC200 had absolutely no success, it was poorly received and was withdrawn very quickly from the market. It was advertised for only about 3 months. It was released to poor reviews because of its lack of expansion possibilities and use of CGA graphics when EGA and VGA were already available. In hindsight, Amstrad should’ve known better as they were trying to enter a market aiming at the Amiga and ST with a substandard PC clone.
Review by Darren Nevell