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Hardware: Add-on
Unknown (Imported From Infoseek)
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Chris Bourne


IN ORDER to answer some of its critics Sinclair has released the Spectrum Upgrade Kit, which will turn your rubber keyed Spectrum into a Spectrum Plus. What is more, the kit only costs £20.00 and will not invalidate your warranty when fitted. If you do not want to fit it yourself Sinclair offers an upgrade service, for £30.00.

The upgrade kit is largely the same as any other add-on keyboard but may require some soldering. As a bonus, however, you get a new Spectrum Plus manual and cassette. The manual merely demonstrates how good the old manual was.

Fitting is straightforward and helped considerably by the clear instruction sheet. A new heat sink is provided for Issues 1 and 2, which is slightly smaller than the original, to fit the new case.

Next is the reset switch, soldered into place. It can, it you are not used to soldering, be left out.

Now you can test the new keyboard. Not all Spectrums will work correctly at this point. The company tends to use the cheapest components which means that each Spectrum will vary slightly. To overcome that a resistor - provided - has to be soldered onto the circuit board, a very fiddly operation.

You now have a Spectrum Plus. If you cannot get it to work Sinclair offers a fixing service, for £10.00. Send them the bits and they return a working computer.

As an add-on keyboard it offers 58 keys - 12 of them single key functions - and a half-sized space bar. Most useful are the shifted cursor keys and the only surprise is the omission of a colon key.

The keyboard feels cramped in use and is actually 0.5cm smaller across the Q and P keys than the rubber Spectrum. The caps are printed all in white which makes finding shifted functions difficult.

At £20.00 it is a bargain and, unless you are prepared to spend more than twice that, very good.

Write to Sinclair Research Ltd, Upgrade Department, Stanhope Road, Camberley, Surrey GU15 3PS.

Not Rated