The Original Rubber Key Model of the Sinclair ZX Spectrum

The answer is all of them! PopeyMon can fix all of them.

Six models of the Sinclair ZX Spectrum were produced, although as you will see below, it depends how you classify them. What is described in this article are only the most common and the most “mainstream”. There are a whole lot more, as shown on Marc Kloosterman’s awesome Sinclair Collection site.

I sell all models described below in the shop on this website. I also refurbish and repair all models – services that you can buy in the shop. Most of my customers use the Test, Assess and Repair service that is only £29.99 plus post. Once repaired, I can also advise you of the options for refurbishing your Sinclair ZX Spectrum, to modernise it and to make it more robust.

The life of the Spectrum started in 1982 with the rubber key version of the Sinclair ZX Spectrum, as shown in the photo above. The Spectrum followed the Sinclair ZX80 and Sinclair ZX81 and was originally going to be called the ZX82.

Sinclair’s next model was the Spectrum + (Plus), which was the same computer inside, but in a new case with hard keys and a reset button. It increased the robustness of the Spectrum case, which was prone to damage of the thin metal faceplate (see the bubbling in the photo).

The Sinclair ZX Spectrum +

Next came a very similar case but a big change inside with much more memory, extensions to Sinclair BASIC, RGB TV output and better sound from a dedicated sound chip. The 128k Sinclair ZX Spectrum + became known as the “Toastrack” due to the huge metal heatsink attached to the case. It had an RS232 port, and RF TV display output as well as the RGB.

The 128k Sinclair ZX Spectrum “Toastrack”

Then something big happened. Sinclair suffered financial problems. In 1986, Clive Sinclair sold the rights to the Sinclair computer brand to another British entrepreneur, Alan Sugar. So the Spectrum continued with the Sinclair brand but owned by Amstrad (Alan Michael Sugar Trading).

The first Spectrum model under Amstrad ownership was the Sinclair ZX Spectrum +2 in a light grey and larger case. The Grey +2, as it became known, was very heavily based on the 128k Toastrack. Sugar had brought aspects of his Amstrad CPC 464 computer to the Spectrum – a full keyboard and built-in tape player. It had two joystick ports, a reset button, an RS232/MIDI port, a keypad port, RF and RGB output (like the Toastrack) and a sound output.

The Sinclair 128k ZX Spectrum +2 (“Grey +2”)

Then came another +2 but in a slightly different case, in a much darker grey that was closer to black than grey. This has become known as the +2A or “Black +2”. On the outside, there was only a slight change, but on the inside the implementation of the 128k Spectrum computer was redesigned by Amstrad. A new custom “Gate Array” chip became the heart of the Spectrum and the number of chips and components on the board reduced.

One important change was that the notoriously unreliable power circuit was removed from the board and put in an external power supply unit (PSU) that provided the different voltages via a DIN connector instead of the barrel connector used on all earlier models. I have published a series of articles on Spectrum PSUs on this website and I also sell them in the shop.

The Sinclair 128k ZX Spectrum +2 (+2A or “Black +2”)

As with the Amstrad CPC 464, there was a disk drive version produced, called the +3. It was the same board inside, with components changed for the disk drive instead of the tape drive (“Datacorder”).

The Sinclair 128k ZX Spectrum +3

Amstrad then produced more “issues” of the +2 and +3, with the +2B and +3B. This meant more redesigns of the board but the external appearance did not change. It could be argued that these were new models, but I will stick with the six models for now. The +2B and +3B were the last versions of the Sinclair and Amstrad models of the Spectrum.

If you have any questions or queries, please get in touch. Let me know what you are looking for.


  1. [The grey +2] had two joystick ports plus more connectivity with extra MIDI, AUX and printer ports.

    Err… No. Except for the joystick ports it was exactly like a toastrack, so no extra ports (toasty has MIDI and AUX too, albeit named RS232 and Keypad) and definately no printer port. 😉

    1. Thank you Marc for pointing out the error. You are right. The article has been corrected. It was simply an editing problem. It is good to know that respected people like yourself are reading the articles. All the best, Andrew (popeymon)

  2. It can happen to all of us, especially if you do a late night edit after a hard day’s work. But me, respected? I’m just a guy who collects Spectrums 😉 (it just got a bit out of hand)

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