The ZX Spectrum for a new generation - the Spectrum Next promises more than ever before

Platforms: Retro

I think we're in love - just look at the gorgeous Spectrum Next above. With a case design by the legendary Rick Dickinson, the new ZX Spectrum clone is way ahead of any other attempts to resurrect the brand for a new generation.

With sleek lines and styling that looks like the natural evolution of the 48K/128K toastrack design that preceded Amstrad's takeover of the Sincial computer business that eventually resulted in the tape recorder incorporating +2 and disc drive based +3, the Spectrum Next is a thing of true beauty. But that's not all - this isn't some emulator, or direct copy of the Spectrum we new. It's not a fancy bluetooth keyboard. It's a fully rebuilt, upgraded machine that not only plays the games you remember but has a burgeoning range of new software that is more colourful and technically more advanced than any Spectrum before.

The Spectrum Next is fully implemented with FPGA technology, ensuring it can be upgraded and enhanced while remaining truly compatible with the original hardware by using special memory chips and clever design. Here’s what under the hood of the machine:

  • Processor: Z80 normal and turbo modes
  • Memory: 1024Kb RAM (expandable to 2048Kb on board)
  • Video: Hardware sprites, 256 colours mode and more.
  • Video Output: RGB, VGA, HDMI
  • Storage: SD Card slot, with DivMMC-compatible protocol
  • Audio: Turbo Sound Next (3x AY-3-8912 audio chips with stereo output)
  • Joystick: DB9 compatible with Cursor, Kempston and Interface 2 protocols (selectable)
  • PS/2 port: Mouse with Kempston mode emulation and an external keyboard
  • Special: Multiface functionality for memory access, savegames, cheats etc.
  • Tape support: Mic and Ear ports for tape loading and saving
  • Expansion: Original external bus expansion port and accelerator expansion port
  • Accelerator board (optional): GPU / 1Ghz CPU / 512Mb RAM
  • Network (optional): Wi Fi module
  • Extras: Real Time Clock (optional), internal speaker (optional)

Basically, this is everything a new Spectrum should be. More powerful, prettier and with a whole new ecosystem for developers to exploit and create wonderful things on.

But what is hardware without software? Well the good news is there are lots of games in development including updates to Lords of Midnight and a BRAND NEW Dizzy Game being developed with the support and direction of The Oliver Twins.

Lords of Midnight on the Spectrum Next looks LOVELY

The Spectrum Next was launched on Kickstarter and development is running at a fair pace - it received over £700,000 of funding and the team building it are doing a stunning job in realising their lofty goals.

If the Spectrum Next alone isn't enough, you can even couple it with a Raspberry Pi Zero with the £5 computer being used as an accelerator that brings with it a fast CPU and loads of memory that can be called upon by the Spectrum to take the load; we cannot wait to see what ends up being done with this combination.

And for those who are particularly attached to their rubber keyed Speccy? The Spectrum Next can be supplied as just the motherboard - ALL of that functionality that you can add to any case you like; and the Spectrum Next has been designed to fit within original cases - with a little encouragement with a hacksaw and drill.

Keep your eyes on the Spectrum Next website for all of the latest updates; and for you retro gamers there's a dedicated site covering all of the games announced to date. Right now we'll leave you with this video of the beautiful Jetpac inspired Baggers in Space running on the Spectrum Next...

Latest Articles