Compaq Contura Aero 4/33C

YEAR: 1995

Initial Price: 2850$, $4,860 in 2020

The Compaq Aero was popularized as a line of computer handhelds produced by Compaq Computer Corporation. It was succeeded by the iPAQ line. The Aero name was first used for small sub-notebooks computers that Compaq produced in the mid-90’s, the Contura Aero 4/25 and 4/33c.

Specs:

  • Size and Weight: 7.5 x 10.25 x 1.70 inch 4.2 lb
  • Processor: Intel 33-MHz 486SX with 8 KB cache, and power-saving features
  • Display/Graphics: Monochrome Model 8.0-inch Compaq backlit, passive matrix VGA display Color Models 7.8-inch Compaq backlit, color, passive matrix VGA display
  • Memory 4 MB of system memory (80ns), expandable to 20 MB
  • Storage: 250Mb Quantum 2.5 HDD All models include an external PCMCIA 3.5-inch, 1.44 MB diskette drive

I had bought this computer from the local flea market for $5 in November 2016. The computer had its original bag and the external floppy drive but no AC Adapter. I was able to buy an adapter from eBay and it arrived quite fast. 

The next day after the adapter arrived I had plugged it  in and pressed the POWER ON button but nothing was coming up. The power LED was flicking a little but either than that, NOTHING!

 I decided to disassemble the computer and I found out that one of the power supply’s capacitors was bulky and needed replacement. Also the right hinge was broken so I glued it back using Poxipol (epoxy based glue).

After these little tweaks the Compaq Aero booted up like it was 1995!

PROs:

Size, wight, the Trackball

I have to admit the idea with the trackball and the mouse buttons on the side of the case was a great idea for a small device such as the Aero. The control is much better than what you get on the Toshiba Libretto and probably better than the Omnibook’s mouse!

CONs:

Keyboard, poorly engineered hinge system

The keyboard is the worst keyboard I ever typed on! Okay, not the worst but its clearly in my top 5! The keys feel laggy and sometimes you got the feeling they get stuck if you don’t press the keys on the center.

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