Decades ago, these gizmos were considered luxuries, designs that were futuristic. But technology is moving at a break-neck speed and in doing so, it is leaving behind a trail of obsolete products. We, however, prefer to look at it differently. We see these old-timey gizmos as charming vintage gadgets that evoke nostalgia and are collector’s items. So here’s a list of vintage gadgets from 1980s-2000s that we love, and where you could (still) buy some of them.
Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak’s futuristic computer in ’84 was the Macintosh aka The Mac-128K. It played the role of a successor to the infamous Apple Lisa, but with more compactness and higher expandability. What most people call an iMac today, has roots in this vintage box. With over a 35-year reign, the Macintosh has now turned into a collector’s piece, the epitome of Steve Jobs’ memorabilia. It’s nearly impossible to find a fully functional one. American auctions would be the best place to look though since initial distribution began there.
We are fans of this item in particular on this vintage gadgets list. The Atari 2600 (or Atari Video Computer System or Atari VCS before November 1982) was a home video game console from Atari, Inc. Released on September 11, 1977, it is credited with popularising the use of microprocessor-based hardware and games contained on ROM cartridges. Being the quintessential retro gaming console alongside Nintendo, the Atari is much like the grandfather of gaming. Back in the 70s and 80s, arcade gaming was every kid’s escape from reality, and Atari brought that experience to the living room. No wonder then that its sales were through the roof. The most popular versions of Atari consoles included the 5200 and the 7800.
Victrola Record Player
The Victrola Record Player is one of those timeless needle record players and jukeboxes that were part of most 1980s living rooms. Being a household staple back in the 1920s, Victrola progressively retail-reproduced models of their vintage charmer. Also known as ‘Victrola Talking Machines’, they came in various forms of music players such as jukeboxes, record players, gramophones and vinyl players, each representing a different generation.
JVC Videomovie Camcorder
Launched the same year as the Macintosh, this was considered to be the Nikon Canon D850 of its time. While it was essentially a household lens used to record fun times, it also had small-time commercial utility. It used 1400 mAh and 1000 mAh batteries, which sound puny compared to today’s versions. If you’re feeling nostalgic, you may still have a shot at finding it on eBay.
Another cornerstone of modern gaming, the iconic second installation of Sony’s Playstation league sold $250 million units in its debut quarter. It has had two successors till date, the PS3 and PS4, which are also one of the top grossing gaming consoles. Using a ‘Dual Analog Shock’, a CD, pen drive and HDMI reader, the device came in a standard version and a slim version. Production has currently stalled for this record-breaking piece of gaming tech, but you can definitely get your hands on one – an old gaming parlour might be your best shot.
Nokia Communicator 9500i
One of the coolest vintage gadgets of all time and first-ever Symbian operating system was introduced back in 2004 with the Nokia Communicator. At its prime, the mobile was said to be powerful enough to replace a low-end laptop. With dual screens, Wifi, GPRS, and EDGE support, the device was a lot more useful than it looked, and with Nokia’s renowned hardware sturdiness, much tougher too. With a 970mAh battery and a 640×200 foldable screen, it was also used as a hacker’s smartphone in Bruce Willis’ ‘Live Free or Die Hard’.
BlackBerry Bold 9000
The model that made Blackberry the brand it is today, it was launched in May 2008. The 9000 stood out because of its clean curves and massive 480 x 320 display with a Qwerty keypad. Along with this, a dynamic roller ball navigator made it the only Blackberry to ever have this feature. The quintessential businessman’s phone later turned out to be the 2000’s and 2010’s most iconic smartphone with complete market dominance at its time. If you’re lucky, a standard retailer may still have a piece or two left.
The Apple iPhone
“Apple reinvented the smartphone,” said Steve Jobs in 2007, upon launching the first-ever iPhone, which was a device that could perform the functions of an iPod, a mobile phone, and a computer, all in one. Apple’s biggest accomplishment of that era, the iPhone is now selling for 10x its original retail price, making it a symbol of Apple’s fandom.
Nikon Cool Pix 995
In usual Nikon fashion, the 995 was announced globally in 2001. The look was familiar if not a little restyled, though most significant was the increase in resolution to 3.34 megapixels (2048 x 1536) and the addition of some neat new features including better hand grips. Probably the most eagerly anticipated digital camera of 2000, the 995 worked with the use of film instead of complete digital capabilities.
Before everyone owned a tablet, Amazon’s Kindle was one of the industry’s most desirable gadgets. It’s not everyday a company introduces a new way to experience an ancient tradition. The Kindle was a harbinger for the e-reader market. Five years later, after a multitude of iterations and improvements, Amazon is at the top of the game with the Kindle Paperwhite as its crowning jewel. Long before that, however, Amazon’s first-ever Kindle was a large, bulky piece that was reminiscent of the typewriter.