The Thomson MO5E was first revealed at the "Hannover Messe" (Germany) in april 1985. It was a big suprise for the french press as no-one ever heard of this system before. The MO5E ("E" presumably for Exportation) was reserved for Germany and more generaly for foreign markets. Quite surprising when you know that while Thomson was selling this system to Germans and other countries, French could only buy the first version of the MO5 with rubber keys, external power supply and no joystick connectors. Moreover, the MO5E with a light pen and a Quick Disk Drive was sold cheaper than the rubber-keys MO5 alone in France!!!
The MO5E is in fact a MO5 in a different case. The general look of this MO5 seems more "serious" than the original one with its big beige plastic case; closer anyway to the brand new systems that was released at that time (Commodore 128, Atari XE & ST line, etc.). The QWERTY keyboard is a real full-stroke one, with separated arrow & editing keys. The Memo5 cartridge slot is protected by a flipping plastic door, at the top of the case, just above the keyboard.
But the main differences are found elsewhere, when looking at the different connectors. First, two joystick connectors (Atari standard) are found at the front of the system, along with a big black reset button and a red power LED. This means that the MO5E has the "Music & Games" expansion built-in! Indeed, the original MO5 has no joystick connectors, you have to buy this expansion. It also add more music features to the system resulting in 4 voices and 7 octaves.
Looking at the back of the system, it is also quite different from the classic MO5. From left to right can be found a SCART female connector (not a SCART cord like MO5), RF TV video output which doesn't exist on the MO5, an expansion connector, a Centronics interface connector (not present on a MO5) and a the power cord meaning that the power supply unit is built-in the MO5E, which is also different from a MO5 which has a bulky external one. The on/off power button is placed on the left side of the system.
From a software point of view, both systems are identical. They both have the Microsoft Basic 1.0 (Level 5) found on the original MO5. The free RAM memory is also identical : 31008 bytes. In fact, the MO5E is completely compatible with the original MO5.
The MO5E didn't have great success abroad, and was, in fact, mainly sold in France to schools and border areas... Specific French models (with SECAM video output) were even produced as AZERTY models can be found.
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