Retro Home Computers – ZX Spectrum +

ZX Spectrum +,
1984 – 1987

ZX Spectrum Retail Box

Above: ZX Spectrum Retail Box

The ZX Spectrum was released during fierce competition and price wars caused in part due to Commodore agressive price strategy to control the market. This lead to a slow down in botht he video game console and home computer market. Other considerations for the slow down was that the market was over supplied.


The ZX Spectrum 48K’s rubber keyboard was a turn off to many in the consumer market. This was backed up by research performed by Sinclair Research LTD, the maker of the computer. This is ironic as many today look back fondly on the rubber membrane keyboard as being a much liked feature. As a result, the ZX Spectrum was released to address this one concern.

ZX Spectrum Plus Computer

Above: ZX Spectrum + featuring the new keyboard style

The ZX Spectrum + had a full size keyboard, a professional keyboard in appearance. It was felt that this one design would significantly improve sales. No other changes were made in performance or features. It to came in 16K and 48K versions.


The ZX Spectrum sold for the same price as the previous model released in 1981. The 16K version sold for £129.95 and the 48K version sold for £179.95. For those who wanted to upgrade the current machine, as the new machine was functionaly identical, a £50 kit was sold.

ZX Spectrum Game Rex Title Screen

Above: ZX Spectrum game rex in the title screen showing system graphic quality

Quality Control

Quality control issues seemed to plague every industry in Britain during the 1970s and 1980s. The same level of QC put in to todays products was not evident during this time. In fact, companies like British layland were constantly critisised for quality issues.

The original ZX SPectrum suffered quality issues and the ZX Spectrum + was no different. The only upgrade on the ZX Spectrum + was the keyboard and the keys kept falling off, enduring a failure rate of about 30 percent.

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