ZEOS Contenda – SubNotebook Pioneer

YEAR: 1991

INITIAL PRICE: $5,299,$10,128 in 2020


ZEOS (ZEOS International, Ltd.) was a PC manufacturer based in MinneapolisMinnesota. Originally based in New Brighton, Minnesota, and founded by Gregory E. Herrick, the company incorporated in Minnesota in 1981.

Among other notable firsts, ZEOS Contenda was one of the first notebook computers to be known as a SUBNOTEBOOK.  The quality build and the features integrated are incredible for its size. Another interesting fact about this extinct company is that they offered a 24/7 toll-free technical support for all its products which was a big deal at the time.

  • Intel 386SL 25Mhz CPU (SL = low power for portable)
  • 2MB RAM
  • 80MB HD
  • 7.4″ 640×480 LCD
  • Only 9.7″ x 6.1″ and 3.8lbs \1.65 kg,
Super tiny and light-weight for its day, even for 2018.

I got this computer from a friend of mine from Bucharest. The computer needs an 80MB Toshiba HDD and that is all that the system will recognize. I had tried a lot of different HDD brands and also an IDE to SD adapter but still no luck to boot it up. Any tips would be appreciated.



2 thoughts on “ZEOS Contenda – SubNotebook Pioneer”

  1. RE Hard drive capacity- Using an overlay from the drive manufacturer, you CAN install a much larger hard drive. I havent played with extra partitions but have installed 640 Mb and 210 (current drive ) Mb hard drives utilizing overlays that tell the BIOS custom drive parameters are in place. I have 4Mb of ram in mine, I wish I could find the 10 Mb upgrade memory so I could load Linux on it… BTW, I need to repair the battery, which is not taking a charge, and mine is the 386 slc.

  2. Hi Scott, thank you for your reply. I am not familiar with overlays from the drive manufacturer but I will surely Google more on this. I am glad you have a working little beast as well! They sure do look and feel great! I think the 10 Mb memory is a hard catch though…

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