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SINCLAIR ZX SPECTRUM+
the Speccy in another shape
In 1984 Sinclair launched the ZX
Spectrum+. A fully suitable name, because the 'Plus' was nothing more then
a face lifted normal ZX Spectrum, the big bang
for Sinclair that was launched two years before.
The Spectrum+ tried to solve the biggest minus of all Sinclair computers
so far: the awkward keyboard.
On the Plus the rubber keys of the normal 'Speccy' were replaced by a
plastic keyboard with a much more mature look. Compared to other home
computers and the PC that was coming on, the keyboard left a lot to be
desired. But the touch of the keys was much better and moreover, Sinclair
now had equipped the Spectrum with a normal, longer space bar. It sounds
trivial, but try to imagine or to remember how typing is with a space bar
with the format of a normal key. Another difference with the first
Spectrum was the reset button on the left side of the case, which made it
almost impossible to reset accidentally.
The keyboard was clearly based on that of Sinclair's 'business
computer' that also started its career in 1984, the Sinclair QL.
Sinclair had several reasons to facelift the first
model of the ZX Spectrum. In 1982 the Spectrum had rather revolutionary
looks with its coloured design, but two years later its appearance
was out of date in comparison with other home computers, like the
formidable opponent Commodore 64.
Besides, Sinclair wanted to compete with the huge number of manufacturers
that sold cases to provide the Spectrum from 1982 with a better keyboard.
So in addition to the ready-built Spectrum+, Sinclair also started to sell
a case with which the normal Spectrum could be upgraded to the Plus model.
When assembled skilfully, one couldn't see any differences with a
In the UK about ten different cases were available from other
manufacturers to upgrade the first model ZX Spectrum. Many of them were
also sold in the rest of Europe. Design, quality and prices varied widely.
One of the first and best-known manufacturers was DK'Tronics, that sold a
sober case that required some skill from the user to assemble. ASM/Low
Profile, for instance, offered a better looking and better functioning
Many keys fell out
In the Netherlands the prices of the cases varied widely, from 100 tot 400
guilders. The upgrade from Sinclair was sold for about 140 guilders. In
test reviews in computer magazines the Sinclair upgrade never scored
better than the middle bracket, so Spectrum users kept purchasing
alternative cases. One of the major problems of the Sinclair upgrade was
that many keys eventually fell out. According to reports, on average 30
percent of the keys became defective.
Specifications of the Sinclair ZX Spectrum+
||32 x 24
||speaker, 1 channel, 5 octaves
||tv, cassette, extension port
||180 British pounds
50 British pounds for the upgrade kit
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