Retro Home Computers – ZX Spectrum +3


ZX Spectrum +3,
1988 – 1992

ZX Spectrum +3 Retail Box

Above: ZX Spectrum +3 Retail Box

New Hardware

Amstrad’s final ZX Spectrum was teh +3. Some users consider it to be the best looking ZX Spectrum of the series. It had a proper 3.5 floppy disk drive, a new ROM and a parallel printer port. The circuit design is radically different to that of any other Spectrum and has far fewer chips on the board.

Like its predecessor, the +3 was sold in “Action Packs” with light guns and games included.

Bad Design

However, the ZX SPectrum +3 did not sell as well as the ZX Spectrum +2 due to a number of flaws and design issues.

The new ROMs were incompatible with a lot of old Spectrum software, which put a lot of consumers off the new mdel. The disk drive used Amstrad’s own peculiar 3-inch format and it only held 350K even though it cost up to five times more than their 3.5-inch equivalents

Extremely Overpriced

The ZX Spectrum +3 cost £250 at a time when the far more advanced Atari ST 520 and Commodore Amiga 500 sold for only £400. Both the Atari ST and the Amiga offered significantly more powerful sound capabilities, graphics, animation and io threading. It is no wonder that this was the final ZX Spectrum. This is also the turning point for the Amiga 500 in Europe.

ZX Spectrum +3 motherboard

Above: ZX Spectrum +2 motherboard