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S > SINCLAIR  > QL (Quantum Leap)   

QL (Quantum Leap)

The Sinclair QL was the first attempt for Clive Sinclair to produce a computer for business. But after the success of the ZX-81 and ZX Spectrum, the QL can also be regarded as the first failure of Sinclair. In January 1984, Clive Sinclair presents the QL to the press, unveiling a very promising and inventive machine, based on the 68008 processor from Motorola. Indeed it was the first home computer based on a 32 bits CPU, just a few days before the Apple Macintosh. It was important for Clive Sinclair to unveil the QL before the Macintosh, but that was also one of the main reasons for the QL's failure...

The British ICL company conceived a desktop information system based on the QL mainboard. It was sold in the U.K. under the names One Per Desk and Merlin Tonto. The same model was also sold in Australia, with the name Telecom Computerphone.

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The year was 1984 and I had a TS-2068 equipped with a backyard made ZX-Spectrum cartridge. I remember to browse the personal computers magazines and literally drool over the pages wondering when I would be able to have my own QL, that supposed to be the natural next step for 2068 owners. Unluckily it was the big failure that everybody is aware of and no one of these fantastic computers have arrived in my country that I know. A couple years later I moved from the 2068 to MSX and it was a big meh for me. Quickly I got rid of it and moved to my first PC-XT. Good old times! :)

Thursday 28th November 2019
Yan (Brazil)

j''en ai eu un dans les 90''s mais rien fait avec manuel en anglais... c''était a mon grand frere.dommage qu''il n''est pas eu plus de couleur et des sprites...

Thursday 30th October 2014
zozo (france)

My first computer, before I went PC mad. QL had the big breakthrough - after using BBC micros - in its bundled advanced suite of Psion programs called Xchange, plus an advanced BASIC. Tony Tebby was the software engineer - I met him at QL meets, a very enthusiastic man with long hair and glasses who thought in assembly language. The excellent Xchange word processor, database, spreadsheet and business graphics, were let down by the printers of the day, but programming the printer driver taught me loads about ASCII and serial/parallel comms. No USB then! Until the Amstrad WPs came a long, the Xchange Quill WP was many people''s first choice. We somehow got used to the clunky keyboard. I still have my QL, plus its Microvitec monitor. Somehow, I feel affectionate to the old thing.

Sunday 21st April 2013
Trevor Harvey (UK)


NAME  QL (Quantum Leap)
TYPE  Home Computer
ORIGIN  United Kingdom
YEAR  1984
BUILT IN LANGUAGE  Sinclair Super Basic
KEYBOARD  QWERTY / AZERTY pseudo full-stroke keyboard
5 function keys
CPU  Motorola MC 68008
SPEED  7.5 MHz
CO-PROCESSOR  Intel 8049 IPC (RS232, speaker, joysticks, keyboard)
Sinclair ZX8301 (Peripheral Control)
Sinclair ZX8302 (Peripheral Chip)
RAM  128 kb (up to 728 kb without additional CPU)
85 kb free under Super Basic
VRAM  32 kb
ROM  48 kb (up to 64 kb)
TEXT MODES  40 x 25, 64 x 25, 85 x 25
GRAPHIC MODES  256 x 256 (8 colors)
512 x 256 (4 colors)
COLORS  256 color effects
SOUND  Beeper
SIZE / WEIGHT  47,2 x 13,8 x 4,6 cm / 1,4 kg
I/O PORTS  2 x Serial sockets (RS232)
2 x Sinclair Network sockets
2 x Controllers sockets
ROM connector
Expansion bus
External microdrives bus
RGB video output
RF video output
BUILT IN MEDIA  2 x microdrives (100 kb each)
PRICE  399£ (UK, february 1984)

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