Sinclair ZX Spectrum

First released in 1982, the ZX Spectrum is Sinclair’s most well-known brand of home computer.

Article Contents

  1. System Overview
  2. Best Sinclair ZX Spectrum Games
  3. Where to find the Sinclair ZX Spectrum for Sale
  4. Best Sinclair ZX Spectrum Emulators
  5. Raspberry Pi Sinclair ZX Spectrum Emulation

System Overview

Offering either 16k or 48k of RAM, the ZX Spectrum utilised the same CPU as the ZX80/ZX81, the Zilog Z80. There were 8 models of ZX Spectrum produced in its lifetime, ranging from the first rubber keyed ZX Spectrum, to the Spectrum +3 in 1987.

Competing primarily with the Commodore 64 and Amstrad CPC, the ZX Spectrum sold c. 5 million units. This was predominantly in Europe, but the ZX Spectrum certainly enjoyed the most success in the UK.

Amazingly, over 24,000 pieces of software have been developed for the ZX Spectrum. With a still enthusiastic scene for the system, this number continues to increase.

The first ZX spectrum in it’s 16k and 48k guises were housed in a compact, neatly designed black unit. It has a membrane keyboard, but this time has actual rubber keys giving the user more feel than with the ZX80/ZX81. The sound on the system was delivered by an onboard ‘bleeper’, this is revered to this day and very much characterises the system.

The 16k and 48k rubber key ZX Spectrums were followed by the released of the ZX Spectrum+ in 1984. The Spectrum+ is essentially a 48k Spectrum but housed in a new case using an injection moulded keyboard.

Sinclair ZX Spectrum
The Sinclair ZX Spectrum


With over 12,000 games developed for the ZX Spectrum, it is tough whittling down a definitive Best ZX Spectrum Games list. Luckily, we have put together our favourites for you. Check out our article below as a great place to start.


22 of the Best ZX Spectrum Games


How to Emulate this system?

Sinclair ZX Spectrum emulation is reasonably well catered for, we recommend taking a look at RetroArch if you are seeking an all in one solution. RetroArch emulates a large number of systems including the Sinclair ZX Spectrum. RetroArch is a front end that utilises emulator ‘cores’, it is reasonably easy to use and has lots of good supporting documentation on how to use it. RetroArch is available across a number of platforms including Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Raspberry Pi and many consoles. Take a look at our quick start guide for RetroArch which can get you up and running in 5 minutes.

Check out RetroArch here

Also, check out the other Sinclair ZX Spectrum emulators we enjoy using:

Emulator Description Platform
Spectaculator  Spectaculator is one of the best ZX Spectrum emulators available across a number of platforms, definitely the simplest start to ZX Spectrum emulation. Windows / Android/ iOS
Fuse FUSE is one of the most widely regarded standalone emulators for the ZX Spectrum. Windows

Raspberry Pi Sinclair ZX Spectrum Emulator

The Raspberry Pi is a compact single board computer which has become very popular for emulating retro computers and consoles. You can buy the Pi very cheaply and has a whole community supporting and building accessories and applications that are compatible with.

Significantly, for Retro Gaming enthusiasts, the Raspberry Pi offers fantastic all round emulation of many systems. It offers the ability to play Sinclair ZX Spectrum games on HDTVs via HDMI or older CRT TVs via composite outputs. Combining the Raspberry Pi with Retropie, you have a device capable of emulating anything from the Atari 2600 to the Sony PlayStation.

Check out the different Raspberry Pi packages you can pick up on Amazon using the button below.

Scroll to Top