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Pocket 386 retro laptop with 40 MHz CPU, 8 MB RAM arrives for under $200


The big picture: When it comes to retro gaming, nothing beats playing on original hardware. For PC gamers, that can often be difficult unless you happen to have an old machine collecting dust in your closet. Fortunately for hardcore retro gamers, there’s a new option on the block that lets you play on original hardware without breaking the bank.

The Pocket 386 comes from the same company that put out the Book 8088 showcased here back in July 2023. This new retro laptop is powered by a 386 SX chip clocked at 40 MHz alongside 8 MB of DRAM, a user-replaceable VGA card, and a Yamaha audio card.

Some games are certainly going to run better than others on this machine. Josh with RetroTV Tech tested a handful of titles including Doom, Wolfenstein, and Commander Keen with varying results. Doom was a bit too much for the base machine but Wolfenstein and Commander Keen both ran beautifully.

The laptop additionally features a 7-inch IPS LCD screen with a 16:9 aspect ratio that can be swapped to 4:3 should you prefer a more authentic experience. At 8.3 inches x 4.8 inches x 1.2 inches, it’s certainly not going to take up much room in your laptop bag… or pocket.

The pint-sized PC doesn’t have a trackpad for mouse control, although you can apparently use the arrow keys to move the cursor. Personally, I’d just plug in a wired PS/2 mouse, hook up an old CRT screen via VGA and call it a day.

Working on the Pocket 386 should be a breeze as pop-off covers grant easy access to the system RAM, sound card, and even the battery. The system is expected to ship with Windows 3.11 although I suspect many will likely upgrade to at least Windows 95.

If you’re interested in picking one up, you’ll need to head over to Ali Express to do the deed. Normally priced at $300, the Pocket 386 but is currently down to just $193 after an instant 35 percent discount. The laptop is offered in your choice of black or transparent, and comes with a 12-volt charger.

As of this writing, 473 units have been sold and new buyers are looking at an estimated delivery window between June 30 and July 9.



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