Sinclair ZX81

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Released in 1981, the ZX81 is the successor to the ZX80 from Sinclair. There is little difference technically speaking between these two systems aside from the build of the machine.

System Overview

The ZX81 design allowed for a more compact design and robust build, addressing a number of the issues with the original ZX80.

The system was sold until 1984, it’s successor is the ZX Spectrum, released a couple of years earlier.

Sinclair ZX81
The Sinclair ZX81


Sinclair ZX81 Computer With 16k Rampack

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Sinclair ZX81 + 16K memory addon pack

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Sinclair ZX81 Personal Computer

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How to Emulate this system?

Due to the Sinclair ZX81 being more niche than many popular systems, emulators are a little harder to come by. This is especially the case when looking at all in one solutions such as RetroArch. There are however options available to allow you to emulate the Sinclair ZX81 and relive those memories. Take a look at the options below:

Emulator Description Platform
EightyOne EightyOne is one of the more popular standalone emulators for the ZX80 and ZX81 systems. Windows
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Sinclair ZX81 emulation using a Raspberry Pi

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 ZX81 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.

Check Raspberry Pi prices on Amazon

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