Welcome to ZX Planet :: Sinclair ZX Spectrum Heaven!

ZX Planet - Spectrum Heaven! - History In The Making

At a press conference at the Churchill Hotel on Friday the 23rd of April 1982, Sir Clive Sinclair revealed to the world his new microcomputer the ZX Spectrum.

In comparing the Spectrum to another popular machine, the BBC Micro Model A, Sir Clive Sinclair said: "It's obvious at first glance that the design of the Spectrum is more elegant. What may not have been so obvious is that it also provided more raw power.

"The ZX Spectrum has more usable RAM. It offers twice as many colours on the screen at any one time, plus a colour brightness control. It also offers user definable graphics. It has a data transfer rate 25 percent faster, supported by a VERIFY facility. And it employs a dialiect of BASIC (Sinclair BASIC) already in use in over 400,000 computers worldwide.We believe the BBC makes the best TV programmes - and that Sinclair makes the best computers".The Spectrum came with 16K of RAM on board the basic unit, expandable to 48K. The keyboard is vaguely reminiscent of the early 8K Commodore PETs, but with the layout so well designed that touch typing is possible: the keys have a nice responsive feel to them, rather than the original "press and click" keys. As was the case with earlier models each key has a number of functions on it, including the famous single key stroke entry for BASIC keywords.

The price of the base unit was a remarkable £125 and since the expansion to 48K cost around £60 this machine was easily the first affordable computer for home use. At the time of release the 48K base models were planned and price at a very low cost of £175 - making it cheaper than the 3.5K VIC.

Features present on this machine that were not present on the previous ZX80 and ZX81 include full colour high resolution graphics and sound. The availability of the machine was immediate with Sinclair producing 20,000 models a month to meet the high demand. Also available immediately is a new printer, although the original printers designed for the ZX80/81 also work perfectly. Sir Clive also gave details on an RS232 network board costing no more than £25 for the ZX Spectrum - this of course caused major upheavel in the computer industry. The MicroDrive was also mentioned during the conference, this wonderful piece of kit is a 2 & 1/4' disk drive for the Spectrum with each disk holding upto 100K per disk and a transfer rate of 16K per second. Ordinary cassette players can of course be used as a secondary media storage device (most games were stored on cassette as the less expensive alternative).So in brief, you could purchase a 48K Spectrum with full colour, high resolution graphics, sound, full instruction manuals, 100K MicroDrive and a printer for around £285. For £300 you could purchase a BBC Microcomputer model B with nothing more than the bare machine.At the bottom of this page you can see real images of the BASIC manuals that came with the ZX Spectrum when you purchased it, the optional Microdrive and the new but not much improved Printer - you could use the original printer designed for the earlier Z80 models and save yourself a little bit of cash, remember £100 could buy you a lot more in the 1980s than it can now in the present day.

Click here to view an advert comparing the ZX Spectrum to other computers at the time.

Spectrum Manuals
ZX Microdrive
ZX Thermal Printer

Spectrum Webring
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