Sinclair ZX Spectrum

What Does Sinclair ZX Spectrum Mean?

The Sinclair ZX Spectrum was a considerably popular personal computer during the 1980s. Developed in Britain, it is often credited for popularizing use of the personal computer in Europe. It featured a screen resolution of 256 by 192 colored pixels (unprecedented at the time for a household computer). It was also known for its multifunction rubber keys and portability.


Techopedia Explains Sinclair ZX Spectrum

Preceded by the much less popular ZX80 and ZX81 computers by Sinclair, the ZX Spectrum was developed by British technology innovator, Sir Clive Sinclair, who had also developed one of the first successful pocket calculators in the 1970s. Released in 1982, the Spectrum was the first of its series to be marketed strictly for home use. Several models were eventually released, including 16KB RAM and 48KB RAM versions, as well as many different compatible peripherals and software programs.

Although the Spectrum's hardware (particularly the keyboard) received some amount of criticism, it was a very popular machine primarily on account of its size and portability. Several versions of the ZX Spectrum were produced with varying features, and clones of this system (some official, some unofficial) were made as well. Peripherals for the system included a printer as well as joystick ports.

While the majority of software released for the ZX Spectrum consists of games, other software including word processors, spreadsheets and programming tools were available as well.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.