Some retro technology will never die (vinyl records, for example), while we can be glad that others have fled the scene (R.I.P., flip phones). But just like the trend of bringing back nostalgia-fueled TV shows — think “Fuller House” and the reprise of “Gilmore Girls” — the tech universe has a fondness for the old school. In a time of cutting-edge technology, here are seven retro items that are making a comeback, albeit with a modern twist.
Back in the spring of 1965, a new movie camera was born: the Super 8. It was responsible for launching many careers, including those of Steven Spielberg and Christopher Nolan, who suddenly had a tool for making their celluloid visions come to life without having to spend a fortune. We’ve come a long way since then, but at CES 2017, Kodak announced a relaunch of its Super 8 camera for those who are nostalgic for that hazy, grainy look.
The refreshed camera is a hybrid of old and new, marrying the analog with the digital. It can shoot at 18, 24, 25 and 36 frames per second, features an LCD viewfinder, comes with a manual-focus Ricoh 6 mm F1.2 prime lens and gives you the option to either develop the film or upload it to the cloud.
Free yourself from the distractions of the internet and endless Facebook notifications. The Freewrite is a throwback to old-school typewriters and word processors, but with a contemporary touch. The keyboard may be mechanical, but what makes this typewriter smart is that its Wi-Fi connectivity allows you to save your work to the cloud. Now, nothing can stop you from writing that great American novel — not even Twitter.
There’s something magical about seeing a photograph printed right in front of your eyes. And with the Polaroid Snap, the classic instant camera gets new life thanks to ZINK Zero Ink printing technology that can print photos in under a minute. The modern version gains an upgrade thanks to its 10-megapixel sensor and a MicroSD slot that lets you save your snapshots digitally as well as share prints with friends.
Remember the Walkman? Well, Sony’s keen on this throwback, although the reinvention looks more like an MP3 player than the Walkman it claims to mimic. It supports Bluetooth, near-field communication and a slew of audio formats, as well as a MicroSD slot. The perk of listening to your music on this device rather than your smartphone? Longer battery life: The A26 promises to entertain you for up to 50 hours.
With smartwatches all over the place, it’s astounding that Casio’s Databank wristwatch has stayed relevant since it was released in the 1980s. But it’s a reliable gadget that gives you access to calculator, calendar and phone-book functionality without draining your battery. Unlike smartwatches, which constantly lose battery life by connecting to the internet, Casio’s batteries can last for years. Sometimes, low-tech just makes sense.
A miniature version of its video game console from the ’80s, which sold 61 million units worldwide, Nintendo’s NES Classic Edition comes preloaded with 30 games, and it strikes a chord with gamers who eagerly bought in on the retro vibe. Some things never go out style.
If you’re wondering where to buy a brand-new single-lens reflex camera that uses 35 mm film, Nikon has you covered. Its FM10 model hasn’t changed since 1995 and uses real film along with manual exposure controls. It may not be ideal for selfies, but it’s popular with photographers trying to capture an old-school look as well as those discovering photography for the first time … away from the digital clutches.
Sometimes, all you need to pick you up is a dose of nostalgia. Why not pay homage to the good old days and improve on them, too, with these past-meets-present gadgets?