[The Sinclair Spectrum]

Philip Kendall - The Unofficial Recreated ZX Spectrum FAQ


What is the Recreated ZX Spectrum?

It's a Bluetooth keyboard manufactured by Elite Systems in the form factor of the original 48K Spectrum.

What the Recreated ZX Spectrum isn't?

Most crucially, it isn't a Spectrum or even a Spectrum emulator - there's no way you can play Spectrum games on it without connecting it to a phone, tablet or PC.

How was it originally meant to be used?

As originally sold, the Recreated ZX Spectrum was designed to be used with a companion app (available for both Android and iOS) produced by Elite Systems which contained the actual emulator. There was also a section on the Recreated ZX Spectrum web site which allowed games to be played via a JavaScript emulator.

However, Elite Systems pulled both the apps and the web page in mid-2016 after a commercial dispute between Elite and Ceratech, the distributor of the keyboard. The apps and web page became available again in May 2017.

Can the keyboard be used without the apps?

Yes, other software is now becoming compatible with the keyboard; see below for more details.

Game Mode and QWERTY Mode

What is "Game Mode" and "QWERTY Mode"?

The keyboard can run in two modes - one of these, "Game Mode", is designed for actually playing Spectrum games and otherwise typing on the Spectrum, while "QWERTY Mode" is designed for use as a regular keyboard - although with some obvious limitations due to the fact that the keyboard has only 40 keys.

My keyboard says "locked" when I put it into QWERTY Mode. What can I do?

Unlocking QWERTY mode is a function of Elite Systems' apps or web site. Any new keyboards now being sold are already unlocked, but if you do get a locked one, the easiest way to unlock it is to access the Elite Systems website.

Compatible software

What software can use the keyboard in QWERTY mode?

In QWERTY mode, the keyboard is "just another Bluetooth keyboard" so can be used with almost anything you like. However, it doesn't work very well as a Spectrum input device in QWERTY Mode due to differences in the key handling, and it's not the greatest thing for actually typing on though due to it being a rubber-key Spectrum.

What software can use the keyboard in Game Mode?

A number of Spectrum emulators now support the keyboard in Game Mode which makes it function pretty much as a real Spectrum keyboard would when typing into a Spectrum. As of July 2017, these include:
Emulator Platforms Version needed
Fuse Linux, Windows, macOS 1.3
Spectacol Android 3.0.2
Retro Virtual Machine macOS 1.0.3
ZX Spectrum 4 .net Windows March 2016

Why doesn't the bottom row of keys work?

The keyboard locale needs to be set to the UK for the bottom row of keys to work - trying switching locale in your operating system and try again. Note that just switching the keyboard layout doesn't seem to be sufficient, you actually need to switch the operating system language.

Technical details

Where can I get technical details about the keyboard?

There are some notes plus links to further details at Zedcode's "Notes on The Recreated ZX Spectrum bluetooth Keyboard".

Is something wrong?

Please mail philip-rzxfaq@shadowmagic.org.uk and I'll get it sorted.


Version history

Version Date Notes
1.0 2016-10-05 Initial release
1.1 2017-02-19 Add info on new keyboards, non-UK locales, Spectacol and ZX Spectrum 4 .net.
1.2 2017-07-23 Elite's web site and apps now available again

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