In the recent decade Spectrums made by Samsung gained popularity amongst Spectrum users and collectors alike owing to their high quality keyboard membranes that have stood the test of time and are as well functioning today as they were brand new – unlike membranes commonly found in most Spectrums which are past their use-by date.
According to data collected in the serial number database, Samsung were manufacturing computers for the ZX Spectrum line between 1984 and 1985. They’ve produced a roughly estimated number of 165,000 Spectrum 48K and 48K+ models and afterwards were commissioned to manufacture 128K+ machines for the Spanish distributor Investronica followed by the first UK retail version of 128K+ motherboard – the Version 6K.
Samsung versions of Spectrum computers have their own distinctive vibe and somewhat vary to their Sinclair UK-made counterparts. I have selected a ZX Spectrum 48K model which would have been manufactured around the same time at a plant in Feltham (England, UK) by Thorn EMI Datatech – second largest ZX Spectrum computers supplier beside Timex – and will compare both units side by side.
Unlike machines manufactured in the UK/Portugal which display an abundance of distinguishing features, ZX Spectrum computers made by Samsung have undergone little evolution during the production and present few external variations.
Samsung Spectrums can be identified by a number of characteristics such as type of faceplate or peculiar moulding of the Sinclair/ZX Spectrum logos but the most noticeable element is the information inscribed on the base of the Spectrum:
Made in the REPUBLIC OF KOREA by
SAMSUNG Electronics Company Limited Under
Licence from SINCLAIR Research Limited
Every component part of the Samsung casing varies from the Sinclair models one way or another and as similar as the rubber keys appear on both Spectrums, I’m yet to confirm whether both parts are identical.
A few examples of what makes the Samsung faceplates distinctive:
Samsung have developed their own mould of Spectrum cases closely based on the original. Main differences can be noted below:
In addition to manufacturing ZX Spectrum cases Samsung have also produced their own revisions of the motherboards which vary both in design and appearance to the Sinclair versions:
Issue 3B (approx. 20,000 units)
Issue 4S (approx. 145,000 units)
PLEASE NOTE: All component parts are as found and believed to originally belong to the Spectrums, with exception of rubber feet which mostly fell off on the Sinclair model and in case of the Samsung Spectrum got badly damaged and were replaced with modern replica feet.