Still More Near-Greatest PCs (1992-2005)
GRiD Convertible 2260 (1992): Better in some ways than current Tablet PCs, this well-designed, extremely sturdy portable could work as a clamshell notebook or a tablet.
SGI Indy (1993): As Unix workstations go, the $5000 Indy was semiaffordable, but it didn't lack for cool features, including a neat pizza-box case, a built-in camera for videoconferencing, and floppies that stored a massive 21MB.
Canon NoteJet 486 (1994): In 1994 Canon made both printers and notebooks. The NoteJet combined the two, building a surprisingly decent inkjet under the laptop's keyboard. Canon bragged that celebs such as F. Lee Bailey, William F. Buckley, and Peter Max were fans.
IBM ThinkPad 701C (1995): This subnotebook-like ThinkPad was nicknamed the "Butterfly" because it sported one of the most inventive PC features ever: When you opened it, the keyboard unfolded into a wider size than its small case would otherwise allow for.
Toshiba Libretto 20 (1996): Toshiba's clever, teeny-tiny notebook had a (barely) touch-typeable keyboard and a pointing device mounted near the LCD screen--and it ran Windows 95, too. Arguably, it's a better ultramobile PC than today's UMPCs.
Apple iMac (1998): Welcome back, Steve Jobs. The first iMac may not have been a great computer. Its all-in-one design, however, was unique and influential, and it also started the trend toward lollipop-style colors for computer cases. Most important, it marked the Mac brand's return to relevance.
Apple PowerBook G4, 17-inch model (2003): This 17-inch wide-screen notebook proved that huge was cool, and its classy aluminum case only heightened its appeal.
Fujitsu LifeBook P1500 (2005): With its touch-sensitive swivel screen and comfortable keyboard, this 2.2-pound featherweight, which runs either Windows XP or Windows XP Tablet Edition, may be the most highly evolved supersmall PC yet.