WAFADRIVE V MICRODRIVE
THE ROTOTRONICS Wafadrive is likely to be the main competition to the Sinclair Interface One and microdrives.
The unit is more compact and better designed than Sinclair's, containing both RS232 and Centronics printer interfaces as standard.
The power for the drives is taken from the Spectrum user port and fed through a ribbon connector which is fitted onto the base of the Wafadrive. That connection could be a disadvantage as it limits the range of other peripherals that can be put onto the user port at the rear of the drive.
The large manual supplied with the drive shows that the storage medium contained within the cartridges can have 16K, 64K or 123K for. matted capacity, approximately 40K more than a ZX Microdrive.
Before use a tape cartridge has to be FORMATted. Once that has been done the drive will display drive name, wafer name, list of files, type of code, size of each file and how much space is left on the wafer.
Once SAVEd, programs are easily LOADed. The drive is slower than a microdrive but faster than cassette. It is also more reliable than the Sinclair storage unit and all Basic programs run after LOADing from it ran first time.
Backing up programs is easy with the Rotronics unit. Code can be copied from drive A to drive B using the system software supplied by the manufacturer. Cartridges are, however, guaranteed for a lifetime of 5000 hours and, a cost of £3.99 each, they represent better value than the Sinclair cartridges.
One small criticism of the drives concerns the printer interfaces which use push-on connectors. It is possible that they might wear quickly if maltreated and that normal plugs might have been better. The Wafadrive is sold with two manuals, two free wafers, a word processor package together with an extra manual describing its use.
It costs £129.00 and can be obtained from Rotronics Ltd, Santosh House, Marlborough Trading Estate, West Wycombe Road, High Wycombe, Bucks, HP11 2LB.