Recreated ZX Spectrum (£100)
What’s the story?
As mad as turning the Spectrum into a TV game is, Elite decided to out-mad that idea by bringing back the Spectrum as… a Spectrum. Well, sort of. Elite settled on something that at a glance appears identical to the original hardware, but that’s in fact a custom Bluetooth keyboard, primarily designed to be used with Elite’s mobile app, but that works with any other compatible system.
It was crowdfunded, too, on Kickstarter, in a campaign nearly derailed when it turned out some developers with games in Elite’s apps of the day had not received royalty payments. Still, 821 backers ensured the Kickstarter squeaked home, reparations were made, and the keyboard is — sensibly — open for anyone to support.
How does it work?
The unit’s charged by two AA batteries, although there’s an optional micro-USB slot if you’ve a charger lying about. You then pair it with whatever system you want to use the keyboard with. This can be an iOS or Android device, whereupon your first port of call will be Elite’s Spectrum app. The device has two modes. One is specifically for Elite’s apps, and gets around iOS’s Bluetooth single-key input limitations that would otherwise leave games largely unplayable; the other is ‘QWERTY’, for apps expecting a standard keyboard.
Alternatively, pair the keyboard with a PC or Mac and use it with Elite’s online emulator (which at the time of writing lacked sound) or any other piece of software. A word of warning, however: using the Recreated ZX Spectrum as a standard keyboard for email and the like isn’t what you’d call an optimal experience, and it will also get you branded as the world’s biggest hipster.