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Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega

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1. I'm right, you're wrong: there's no virtual, on-screen keyboard on the Vega, it's a plug-n-play slab of a controller. Just buttons.

Er, you should take another look at your link. A text search on the page for "virtual" will bring you to this sentence:

 

Plus the device also has a virtual keyboard as well to allow adventures, for example, to be able to be played, so we have listened while keeping to our original concept of wanting the ZX Vega to be accessible to everyone.

 

Also, from Retro Computers' own Vega page:

 

Comes complete with ready-mapped buttons for all included games, as well as the option of using the in-built virtual keyboard.

 

You're probably thinking of the Recreated ZX Spectrum, the bluetooth keyboard that needs you to bring your own computer (PC/Mac or Android/iOS).

I honestly don't know anything about that product, as my interest in this kind of thing is limited to cataloguing data for the plug-n-play market. :) The asking price for something like the Vega is also a deterrent; while I've bought certain plug-n-play systems only for information-gathering purposes and then returned them to the store, I wouldn't risk doing that with a $150 product.

 

onmode-ky

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After I typed that, I wondered if maybe that's what you meant by virtual keyboard. Thanks for the catch. I guess I'm just wrong all the way. :-(

 

I haven't seen pictures of it in action, but solution sounds pretty horrible, so I'm glad I'm not a spectrum fan!

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Neither device really does anything for me. The Spectrum was the first computer I ever played with and have our old (but broken) 16K Issue One in the attic. The Vega is about as pointless as they come IMO, even if it is backed by Clive Sinclair.

 

The Elite Systems' device is a better idea but doesn't quite hit the nostalgia buttons.

 

I did write to Sky, who actually own the Sinclair and Amstrad IP, before the Vega was anounced with my own ideas but never heard back. Personally I'd prefer to see a limited edition run that uses the same design and parts (still a fair amount of stock of most parts available), perhaps optionally bundled with a Sinclair branded DIVIDE or similar.

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Never mind. Wrote from my phone and it didnt update the page. Please ignore.

Edited by Raticon

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As with most plug n' plays it will have a hard time finding the right place among people. As someone said, it offers to little to satisfy the older fans who had the original back in the day, and it is a bit obscure for the new generation to take it to heart.

As i have it and shelled out the 99 quid for it i might be a bit biased, but to tell the truth the Spectrum never even saw a proper release here in Sweden, coupled with the fact that it was quite outdated already by the time i was born and as such i had never encountered it before. What drew me in was how simple and easy it looked to use (and in fact, is), SD-card expansion that certain other [email protected] should try to take after, and how small and easy it is, and i had a bit of money saved up for "cool gaming stuff" anyway.
I am not disappointed with my purchase. I do feel the need for a keyboard as the textgames are quite a chore to play on the virtual keyboard, but i guess one can learn it and ace it as much as people have learned to use the virtual keyboard on the PS3, or even how we used to write text messages on cell phones 10 years ago.

What really was the dealmaker for me was the SD-slot, the fact it has licenced games, is endorsed by the original maker and the fact it is actually produced by a small firm in the UK and not in some dreadful sweatshop across the world. But as i said, i might be biased.
It's a fun thing that does what it says on the tin, and is easy to use and has endless expandability if you can tolerate the virtual keyboard, and decent expandability if you only use the controller. But i keep my hope up for the maybe-incoming hardware solution that let us plug a keyboard in there. If and when, it will be a top notch plug n play from my point.

Edited by Raticon
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the Spectrum never even saw a proper release here in Sweden

Oh, you're more wrong on that than you'll ever realize. The ZX Spectrum probably was the second or third biggest home computer in Sweden during the 1982-1986 era, after the C64 but on par with the VIC-20 and well ahead of e.g. Atari 8-bit and most other formats. Beckman Innovation ran full two page spreads in every issue of all home computer magazines, there were lots of resellers of games, lots of type-ins, user clubs and so on. Beckman even released their own products like a replacement keyboard and the Nordic ROM with ÅÄÖ and other improvements. They also ordered better power supplies than the original ones Sinclair would supply.

 

However I can agree that towards the latter half of the 80's, when the Speccy still was going on in the UK, it died off in Sweden where focus shifted more towards Amiga, Atari ST and surviving C64 people.

Edited by carlsson
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Oh, you're more wrong on that than you'll ever realize. The ZX Spectrum probably was the second or third biggest home computer in Sweden during the 1982-1986 era, after the C64 but on par with the VIC-20 and well ahead of e.g. Atari 8-bit and most other formats. Beckman Innovation ran full two page spreads in every issue of all home computer magazines, there were lots of resellers of games, lots of type-ins, user clubs and so on. Beckman even released their own products like a replacement keyboard and the Nordic ROM with ÅÄÖ and other improvements. They also ordered better power supplies than the original ones Sinclair would supply.

 

However I can agree that towards the latter half of the 80's, when the Speccy still was going on in the UK, it died off in Sweden where focus shifted more towards Amiga, Atari ST and surviving C64 people.

Haha. Shows what i know... I basically took that assumption from my research on the internet together with the fact that i have never ever seen a Spectrum in real life, let alone with a nordic keyboard, and everything on Tradera and Blocket is basically imported computers.

I knew they had a retailer here, but i just didn't know how well it sold as i find no mentions of sales figures or the like. I guess it has been lost to the mists of time.

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Is the ZX Spectrum capable of handling 128K/+2 software, or only up to stuff orignally designed for the 48k model Spectrum?

Yes, the Vega can handle the 128K software just fine. Some people have reported that they had to fiddle a bit with some of them but i haven't had any issues yet.

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I'm sure Ulf Beckman got some sales figures somewhere to dig out. I should put some of my friends who know him better on the task to find out. As for origin of the Speccys you see for sale, I don't know. I would assume everyone with a two prong Euro connector on the power supply to be Swedish or possibly German sold, as the UK ones would have a three prong connector. Of course units without original power supply is harder, unless they come with a manual in either language. The Nordic ones were upgrade options, not localized by default.

 

Find some online issues of Allt om Hemdatorer, Dator-Hobby, Min Hemdatortidning etc, dated 1983-1985 and you will see how much coverage ZX computers indeed had. :)

Edited by carlsson
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Please return with whatever you find, as this would be very interesting as part of Swedish computer history.

I will dig into my pile of old computer magazines and see if i can find any issues from the 80's in that pile. Most stuff i have is early to mid 90's Mac, PC and Amiga stuff, not to mention a crapton of old "PC Gamer" magazines from the mid-late 90's and early 00's.

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Someone posted this in the Chameleon thread but it really belongs in here.

 

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-sinclair-zx-spectrum-vega-plus-console#/

 

The Vega+, a portable version of the Vega with the same 1000-game library that apparently has stereo capability and can connect to the TV. The same guys are behind this as the last time and they are a capable team. They tout that it works with all the 14.000 or more games known to have been developed for the Spectrum series.

 

I own the Vega and im satisfied with it and feel that it is a capable console but with quite a hefty pricetag for what it is.

 

I'm somewhat disappointed that they dont mention external keyboard capability though. It should be apparent by this time that it is really the one major thing the Vega suffered quite badly from.

 

Will i get it? Maybe. Owning the same product in but in a portable format would be somewhat pointless, but on the other hand these are competent guys and they havent disappointed yet apart from the keyboard issue. I will keep my eyes on this nonetheless.

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I'm somewhat disappointed that they dont mention external keyboard capability though. It should be apparent by this time that it is really the one major thing the Vega suffered quite badly from.

 

 

Would it had killed Uncle Clyde & Co. to include a USB port for keyboards??

 

Hell, even better is have Bluetooth to use that wireless ZX keyboard from that aborted iOS project...

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Would it had killed Uncle Clyde & Co. to include a USB port for keyboards??

 

Hell, even better is have Bluetooth to use that wireless ZX keyboard from that aborted iOS project...

 

How do you figure it's aborted? I have that keyboard right here and it works fine, albeit not the way I'd like it to.

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How do you figure it's aborted? I have that keyboard right here and it works fine, albeit not the way I'd like it to.

I never heard it was aborted either.

 

Please tell what you think about the keyboard solution. I did my fair bit of research into the competing concepts of Vega vs Keyboard before settling for the Vega.

 

I decided against the keyboard mainly because i thought the app solution sounded like a hassle mostly and if they indeed would can the app and give up for whatever reason i imagined the keyboard would just remain a keyboard looking like a Spectrum and nothing more.

 

You know what you are talking about and i would love to hear what you think about it and if i did a bad choice.

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I never heard it was aborted either.

 

Please tell what you think about the keyboard solution. I did my fair bit of research into the competing concepts of Vega vs Keyboard before settling for the Vega.

 

I decided against the keyboard mainly because i thought the app solution sounded like a hassle mostly and if they indeed would can the app and give up for whatever reason i imagined the keyboard would just remain a keyboard looking like a Spectrum and nothing more.

 

You know what you are talking about and i would love to hear what you think about it and if i did a bad choice.

 

I have a variety of real Spectrums in my collection, but thought this might be a quick and easy way to play some Spectrum games in a reasonably authentic manner. The keyboard itself is fine and it certainly invokes the original look and feel, but indeed, the app-based approach is kind of a joke (and there's really not much available for it without paying EXTRA). It has two different modes, one that's kind of locked down to an app and the other that's more as a standard Bluetooth keyboard. Neither mode was really satisfactory to me and trying to play the games from a Web browser was REALLY frustrating. I tend to agree with the people out there who say that if only the Vega were inside this thing, or at least seamlessly worked with this, then we'd have what this should have been all along (or what both products should have been all along). You're missing the authenticity and versatility with the Vega, but you're missing an intuitive and convenient way to use the keyboard.

 

Ultimately, despite the limitations and even though I decided not to get one (and I suppose the extra cost), I think the Vega is the superior solution here, albeit still not an ideal one. The handheld intrigues me and seems to be the right type of improvements over the Vega, but I'm going to wait until after the Indiegogo and for some reviews to see how it all shakes out in the end. It would make a BIG difference if the handheld did in fact support keyboards in some manner. Right now, that's no sure thing, though.

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Wow, it's now at £64,987 ! Still a month to go. I'm tempted to get this. I already have a lot of handhelds, but this one looks pretty unique.

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I wonder if you need any internal modding done in order to get the Vega to work on NTSC Monitors and/or TVs... I don't mind getting an import from the uk for my next Birthday, but why no official US release of this thing?

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Now it is 100% funded after just 2 days after the announcement. Quite impressive, and just a tiny bit faster than the original Vega which also took like 2 or 3 days to fund.

 

In my opinion not only the press coverage but also the capable and competent team behind it who has delivered successfully before are behind this, especially since this is a niche within a niche type of device.

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I wonder if you need any internal modding done in order to get the Vega to work on NTSC Monitors and/or TVs...

From the Indiegogo site:

 

You can play the games anywhere using its LCD, and another option is to plug it into a TV (PAL or NTSC).

Edit: Err, that refers to the handheld Vega+, not the first generation Vega.

 

Anyway, it is said that even the Vega released in 2015 does both PAL and NTSC, but your milage may vary as this owner has reported.

http://stevewetherill.com/blog/2015/09/12/sinclair-zx-spectrum-vega-initial-impressions/

Edited by carlsson

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Maybe. It says it supports "all models of the Spectrum" which in theory should cover +3 as well, which I believe is the only disk based machine where .DSK image files may relate. However it doesn't explicitely list that format in the list of supported formats: .TAP, .Z80, .SZX (I believe that is a typo and should read .TZX?).

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