Retro, vintage, old school or just classic, whatever your interpretation, we’ve dug out ten gadgets that boast classic good looks as well as bang-up-to-date functionality.
Olympus’ Pen E-P1 is chock full of digital goodness in a design that harks back to the SLR glory days and the original Pen’s release back in 1959, which made a big impact on the camera market with its small dimensions. With a 12-megapixel sensor and capable of capturing movies at 720p, the modern micro four thirds snapper offers digital SLR-standard pics in a more compact format with those vintage looks that are good enough to lick.
Science and Sons’ Phonofone II is a wickedly old-fashioned iPod speaker, or in the words of its creator “audio console.” Using no power, the gramophone-styled device utilizes passive amplification and cunning acoustics to boost the audio output of standard earphones to around 55 decibels. With an entirely ceramic construction, it’s as much sculpture as it is speaker.
Cost:: Currently 240 euros – around $330
So far only released in Korea, LG thrilled fans of retro style when it revealed a classic CRT television, complete with bunny ears aerial and channel-changing knobs. The 14-inch set stands on chrome legs and if you’re doing the back-in-time trip all the way, can display in black and white or sepia. Despite its vintage appearance it offers a digital tuner and does come with a remote control for when you get bored of fiddling with the knobs.
Cost: Sadly N/A
A professional USB mic, the Snowball from Blue Microphones claims to offer plug’n’play ease of use with both Macs and PCs but the power to capture anything from the softest vocals to the loudest garage band. Angled as ideal for podcasting, the vintage appearance of this modern peripheral may serve to remind users of the rich heritage of broadcasting and inspire them to podcast about more than the hilarious antics of their cat. That, and it will look wicked-cool on your desk.
Available in black, white, red and an outrageously retro avocado green, say goodbye to fiddly modern earbuds with these totally cool cans from Panasonic. The Panasonic Old School Monitor Stereo Headphones, to give them their full title, offer leather-cushioned listening comfort you can only dream of if you’re used to in-ear audio efforts and look so darn cool you’ll be tempted to wear them out — even when you’re not listening to music.
Sure, headsets are all well and good but there’s no romance in looking like a call center phone operator. The P*PHONE from Hulger will give you the satisfying feel of a proper chunky handset in your hot little paw and turn a VoIP call into a conversation. Available in white, black, red and green, the P*PHONE is offered on its own for $50 and with a cool desktop base for $99. As well as working with certain mobiles (and certain others with adaptors) the P*PHONE offers easy USB hook-up to a PC.
Cost:: From $50
Back in the olden days folks would create real-life music “tapes” with playlists recorded on to them to either share with a friend or loved one or enjoy themselves (“Best Driving Songs Ever”, “My Breaking Up With Dave Tape”, etc). Help make sure the art of the mixtape is not lost with this USB effort that takes on the form of an old analog blank audio cassette tape (complete with sleeve that you can scrawl the track list on) but with a brand spanking new USB flash drive nestled in the middle.
Mathletes with a penchant for the past will enjoy this retro calculator’s baby blue looks and oversize dimensions. Whether you’re totting up the cost of your new flared jeans, or calculating how much cheese you’ll need to melt to make the perfect fondue, your numerical queries will be solved in Seventies style.
Cost:: Approx $23
You’d be forgiven for mistaking this for a vintage deck, but in fact it offers more modern tech than many music systems. Sure, there’s the option to take your vinyl for a spin, but there’s also playback from SD memory cards and USB storage devices as well as from iPods and other MP3 players. In addition to normal playback this turntable can record your records to your computer, which means you won’t have to re-purchase all your vinyl to get it digitized, and it has an FM radio.
While the wider world gets hyped up about Sony’s Move and Microsoft’s Project Natal, sit back, relax and enjoy some 8-bit gaming with the Retro NES USB Controller from ThinkGeek, described as perfect for creating old school gaming nostalgia on your laptop. With a USB connection, it’s perfect for MAME and other emulators and is sooo much cooler than trying to save the princess using your keyboard.