The Least Capable Work Computers Ever Made And Sold

With a bewildering range of computer parts, components and devices out there, many businesses trust expert IT services to provide advice and support for one of the most vital investments they will make into their company.

Generally, as computer literacy has gotten better, so has the baseline of computers, meaning that it is more about finding the best rather than trying to avoid the worst.

With that said, there have definitely been some less capable work computers produced over the years and either due to poor design, low specifications or a questionable design philosophy, calling such devices “work computers” can be tantamount to false advertising.

Commodore Plus/4

Released during an era of abject chaos for Commodore, the Plus/4 was intended to be a low-cost four-in-one business computer, sold for $300 with a word processor, spreadsheet, graphing tool and database built in. Ultimately it would end up selling for far less than that.

However, this main selling point also proved to be the computer’s undoing. Aside from the fact that all four pieces of software were very badly made, they required very expensive extra peripherals such as disk drives to use properly rather than the cassette tapes many low-end users were familiar with.

By that point, a mid-1980s small business would be better suited with almost any other computer on the market and buying the software separately.

Sinclair QL

The reason why we said only “almost” any other computer is because this was also the year the late Sir Clive Sinclair launched his Quantum Leap computer and promptly ended the Sinclair computer empire once and for all.

Officially launched before a complete working prototype existed (much to the chagrin of the Advertising Standards Agency), the QL initially launched with a lot of critical design faults that made it all but unusable for businesses.

Aside from the initial dongle the computer shipped with, the biggest issue by far was its reliance on Sinclair’s infamously unreliable Microdrives, which tangled, often snapped and sometimes did not work between different QL systems.

It was so bad that software packages advised in their instructions to make a copy of their software so it would not be lost forever.

This, along with the rise of the IBM PC standard that is still used to this day, led Sir Clive to sell his company to Amstrad, who immediately ditched it in favour of selling the ZX Spectrum as a games system.

Dell Dimension 4600 Series

Unlike the previous two, this otherwise fairly conventional Dell desktop computer from 2004 was less conceptually incapable but more a failure of a particular component that led to a blemish on Dell’s reputation.

After a year, a lot of Dimension 4600s started to experience reliability issues, a problem later diagnosed as a fault with the power supply.

However, Dell’s customer service infamously misdiagnosed the issue as one with the motherboard and did not ever acknowledge a fault that had by that point become common knowledge in technology media circles.

It highlighted the importance of working with IT experts when sourcing computers as even trusted names in the industry may not necessarily produce the most reliable hardware.


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