6 old-school gadgets only people born before the ’90s would know

Bring on the feel-good vibes (and nostalgia) with these modern-day revivals of mobile phones, instant cameras and video game consoles from the good ol’ days.

Classic gadgets reinvented
  • Syafii Ghazali
  • January 2020

From a mini version of the most iconic gaming console in history to a remix of the music player that started it all, these gizmos are all kinds of retro cool.

1. Crosley Cruiser Deluxe Portable Turntable

Crosley Turntable
The turntable has a suitcase-style shell that’s both charming and functional.

Before Spotify and Apple Music, CDs and cassettes, there was vinyl. And with it came the mesmerising ritual of placing a record on a turntable, putting the needle on the groove and sitting back while the music crackled and popped into life.

While there’s no shortage of turntables out there for you to relive the glory days of vinyl, this one gets our vote for its charming vintage vibe. It’s also portable (with built-in speakers to boot) and has a Bluetooth receiver so you can also play music off your smartphone.


2. Nokia 3310 3G

Nokia 3310 3G
In case you’re wondering: yes, it comes with a bunch of games including the iconic Snake.

With its rounded silhouette, near-indestructibility and epic battery life, the Nokia 3310 was one of the most popular mobile phones of all time. Nearly two decades later, it’s back with a refreshed design and a bunch of upgrades like a colour display, a two-megapixel camera and 3G connectivity.

While it’s unlikely to replace your current smartphone, it costs just under SGD $100 and has an insane 22-hour battery life, making it the perfect backup phone/conversation starter to take to festivals.


3. Sony NW-A100TPS

Sony NW-A100TPS
The MP3 player is Wi-Fi compatible, so you can add your favourite tunes wirelessly and even use music streaming apps.

In 1979, Sony released the Walkman TPS-L2, the world’s first portable music player. To mark its 40th birthday, the Japanese company released a special edition of the legendary cassette player that looks just like the original — but is actually an MP3 player with a display showing a moving cassette tape.

At over SGD $500, it’s not cheap. But can you really put a price tag on a tribute to a device that paved the way to the iPod and all kinds of gizmos we use today?


READ MORE: 20 travel accessories too cool to resist

4. NES Classic Edition

NES Classic Edition
The console includes a “CRT” mode so it looks like you’re playing on an old TV — scan lines and all!

The NES Classic Edition is an update of the legendary gaming console that spawned 8-bit hits like Super Mario Bros and Pac-Man. From the iconic boxy design to the red-and-grey colour scheme, it stays true to the ’80s original down to the tiniest detail.

But there are a couple of welcome tweaks: it comes pre-installed with 30 classic games and is tiny enough to fit in your hand. Thankfully, the included controller remains full-sized, so you get the authentic old-school gaming experience.


5. Tamagotchi On

Tamagotchi On
The infrared sensor at the top of the device allows two Tamagotchis to sync up and go on a playdate together.

Back in the late ’90s, all the cool kids had Tamagotchis, tiny egg-shaped devices that housed virtual animals. They made a comeback in July 2019, boasting modern bells and whistles like colour displays and Bluetooth connectivity.

This time around, the digital pets can do more than eat, sleep and beep — they can now connect with other Tamagotchis, get married and even have kids, giving you the chance to build your very own Tamagotchi dynasty.


6. Polaroid Originals Onestep 2

Polaroid Originals Onestep 2
One welcome change from the original is the ability to charge the camera’s batteries via USB.

A 21st-century take on the cult classic instant camera of the ’70s, the Polaroid Originals Onestep2 oozes retro charm. It doesn’t just look the part, but works just like the original — just point, shoot and then wallow in the joy of seeing a photograph develop before your eyes.

Since it uses actual film, the images have a dreamy, imperfect quality and you never exactly know what you’re going to get, which really is the magic of instant cameras.


READ MORE: 9 tips and tricks to up your travel photography game