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fosfor gadgets | April 22, 2018

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Vintage gadgets

Apple-cat II

If you only had an Apple-cat II to connect to the Internet, it would take you 400 days to download a DVD – here’s a collection of some really cool vintage gadgets.


Epson printers
Even though these two Epson printers have roughly the same size, the modern one is light years ahead of the old matrix printer (check out the enlarged print quality in the background above. Even though the quality of the printouts was bad, it was very fascinating to be able to print stuff in your home. The Epson FX-80 had a resolution of 240 x 240 dots per square inch (a quite high resolution at that time. Most of the matrix printers only had a resolution of around 62 dpi. The printer cost around $400 at that time.

To the right is a modern Epson printer for $99, capable of 5760 x 1440 optimized dpi and ultra fine 3-picoliter ink droplets.

Epson FX-80 []
Epson Stylus Photo R220 []

Transfer rate

Apple-cat II
To the left you can see one of the most classic modems ever – the Novation Apple-Cat II. It was capable of transfering data through a telephone line at 1200 bits per second – which was very fast at that time (early 1980s). It would take around 100 days to download 1 Gigabyte, hehe.

Novation CAT [Wikipedia]

Desktop computers

IBM PC (Model 5150) and Alienware Aurora 7500
The IBM 5150 to the left was introduced on August 11, 1981. It had a 4.77 MHz processor, 16K of RAM and stored data on 360KB 5.25-inch drives (optional) or cassette tape. It was capable of producing graphics in 320x200x16 colors / 640x200x2 colors or monochrome 80×25 text only. The base price was $1,565. To the right is one of todays top models, the Alienware Aurora 7500 running on a dual core Athlon 64 X2 4600+.

IBM PC [Wikipedia]
Alienware Aurora 7500 Desktop []

Portable all-in-one

Sony FX-414BE / Intempo iDS-02
Back in the early 1980s, the Sony FX-414BE was one of the coolest gadgets you could own – it could play compact cassettes, play radio, and it had a built-in TV. Even today this one would be quite cool to carry around. Today an iPod video and a nice dock would do – even though you can’t watch live TV with the setup.

Sony FX-414BE []
Intempo iDS-02 []

Video gadgets

Sony SL-8200 / Sony Blu-Ray
The Sony SL-8200 was introduced in 1976 for $1295 and was a advanced Betamax video recorder. It was capable of recording up to 2 hours on one tape. It didn’t have any audio or video inputs, and the timer was optional and had to be mounted on top of the machine. The timer was capable of recording one event during the coming 24 hours. To the right is Sony’s new Blu-ray recorder BDP-S1, capable of handling resolutions up to 1920x1080p and features all available bells and whistles – but this one is only a player.

Sony SL-8200 []
Sony BDP-S1 Blu-ray home player

Car stereo

Pioneer QP-400 8-track vs. Pioneer AVH-P7500DVD
The coolest thing you could have in a car in the end of the 60′ and to the mid 70′s was the 8-track tape stereo, which could play the popular 8-track cartridge (surprise! hehe). In the US you could buy 8-track cartridges until the mid 80′s so it was quite a longlasting format. The 8-track was created by Bill Lear in 1964.

Above you can see one of the top models – the Pioneer QP-400 from the Quadraphonic 8-Track Car Decks page:
Quadraphonic 8-Track Car Decks []

Today you can find tons of different car entertainment system, but let’s just take an example. Here’s the Pioneer AVH-P7500DVD an in-dash DVD receiver with 7″ LCD touch screen (which is retracted into the dash when it’s not used) and capabilities of delivering a stunning audio (and video) experience.

Pioneer AVH-P7500DVD []

Removable storage

BASF 5 1/4 inch diskette vs SanDisk Ultra II Compach Flash 8GB
In the end of the 80′s the most popular removable storage media was the 5 1/4 inch diskette, capable of storing 360 KB (later 1200 KB). If you compare that to a big compact flash card of today, you could store close to 25 000 diskettes on ONE 8GB CompactFlash card…

The 5ΒΌ-inch minifloppy []
SanDisk Ultra II CompactFlash 8GB []

Mobile Phones

Bosch SE OF 7 vs. Motorola RAZR V3
On the image above you can see a Bosch transportable phone to the left. It’s from the end of the 80′s and weighs 5.2 kg – 11.5 pounds (!) and has the following dimensions height: 26cm width: 23cm depth: 12cm. To the right is one of the smallest mobile phones of today – the Motorola RAZR V3 – weighing in at 95 grams (3.35 ounces). That means that you can carry around with a plastic bag containing 54 RAZRs instead of one Bosch SE OF7. And if we look into specifications the old brick phone can’t match anything…!

Dick van Toorenburg’s transportables []
Motorola RAZR V3 []

Kitchen TV

JVC Model 3100D vs Audiovox VE-706
When you look into the segment of small Kitchen TVs, the race is actually quite even. Here’s an old 7 inch kitchen tv from 1978, and a modern 7 inch flat screen from Audiovox. Sure, one screen is flat ant the other one is fat – but since they are so small the difference isn’t that big. I guess many actually would prefer having the old JVC Model 3100D (left on the image above) since it’s so much cooler.

Television History 1970 to 1979 []
Audiovox VE-706 7 Inch Ultra-Slim []


Atari 2600 and the Atari classics - 10 in 1 joystick
One of the hottest early gaming platforms was the Atari 2600 which was introduced in 1977. The initial price was $199 and at the release day you could purchase 9 different games. It could display graphics at a resolution of 160 times 192 pixels with up to 128 colors (4 colors per line) – it had a RAM capacity of 128 bytes – yes bytes – but the cartridge could hold up to 32kilobyte.

Today you can purchase the ‘Atari classics – 10 in 1 joystick’ for $7.99…
The Atari 2600 VCS []
Atari classics – 10 in 1 joystick []

Atari 2600 Tennis vs XBOX 360 Top Spin 2

Another way of doing the comparision is to compare actual games from now and then – and even though many of the old games are funny and playable, the graphical side can’t be compared at all. The screenshots above come from the Activision game ‘Tennis’ and ‘Top Spin 2′ for the XBOX 360.

Tennis for the Atari []
Top Spin 2 for the XBOX 360 []

for more Gaming – now and then comparisons, check out my article Gaming – now and then.

Personal organizers

Casio IF-8000 & Nokia E56
Just reading the tagline on the box of the Casio IF-8000 makes me smile:

Write it! Store it! Display it again! – I mean…WOW! ANother funny thing with the Casio IF-8000 is that it’s supposed to be some kind of organizer / calendar gadget – but it doesn’t have a built-in watch. Bummer.

If we do a comparison with today’s personal organizers, we can of course choose whatever model, and it would be lightyears ahead of the Casio, but one cool thing is that the old Casio IF-8000 is really small. Smaller than the organizers of today! On the right hand side you can find one of Nokias latest phones – the E61.

Casio IF-8000 Touch Screen Computer []
Nokia E61 []

Portable computers

Osborne I Portable Computer & Apple MacBook Pro
Imagine yourself going to a very important meeting to do a grandiose sales presentation and say the following sentence:

“Wait, I just have to rig my portable computer” – and now it’s gametime for the Osborne I, hehehe!

The Osborne I weighed over 30lbs, but had a 3 inch screen, dual floppy drives and a modem. 20 years ago you would have to pay near $2000 to buy one of these.

On the right hand side is the latest portable computer from Apple – the MacBook Pro:

Osborne I Portable Computer []
Apple MacBook Pro []

Handheld gaming

Mattel Starhawk vs. Playstation Portable
I haven’t played ‘Star hawk‘ from Mattel, so I really don’t know if it’s any good. But what I do know, is that I would choose to have the Playstation Portable any day of the year. Ok, but I admit that it would be quite cool to play a nice game of Star Hawk on the subway. Hehe.

Mattel Starhawk for sale []
PlayStation Portable in action [Engadget]


Rosendahl Watch II
The difference between the left and right watch ain’t that big. Sure, today you can buy watches with MP3, GPS and other built-in technologies but my point is that a watch is still a watch. No big difference other than design. The left watch is one of the first LCD watches from 1972. It’s original price was $200. On the right is a watch from the Danish designer Rosendahl for $185.

1972 Gruen Teletime LCD Watch []
Rosendahl Wath II []


Sony Portapak vs. Sony DCR-PC55E
On the left side you can see a true classic – the Sony Portapak CV-2400 which was marketed as “The world’s most advanced battery-powered videorecorder and hand-helt tv video camera” – which of course was true back in 1967. It was introduced for $1250 (an enormous amount of money at that time). You could record up to 20 minutes of near VHS quality (220 lines). On the right side is one of the smallest camcorders of today – the Sony DCR-PC55E.

Sony CV Series Video [] (scroll down!)
Sony Announces World’s Smallest miniDV Camcorders []

Top 10 gadget Top 10 lists

Head spa massager

If you haven’t checked out these funny Top 10 lists before, have a blast. You can easily spend half an hour browsing through these gadget Top 10 lists. Have fun. Here’s the best of the bunch. (Strange title, ey?)

Top 10 gadget Top 10 lists

Eternal happiness

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