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Iconic gadgets of the 90s: Amazing gadgets from yesteryear

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(Pocket-lint) – Doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun? Hard to believe how fast the years have passed. And yet we have wonderful memories of years gone by.

We’re rounding up some of the most interesting and iconic gadgets from the 90s for you to enjoy through rose-tinted goggles. 

Wikimedia CommonsIconic Gadgets Of The 90s Amazing Gadgets And Gizmos From Yesteryear image 8

GameBoy (1989)

Ok, so technically the GameBoy was released in 1989, but it surged in popularity during the 1990s and it’s probably the most iconic gaming gadget of that era. Though it wasn’t the only one available of course. 

Sega Dreamcast (1998)

The Sega Dreamcast was viewed by many as ahead of its time.

It was also, sadly, the last console Sega would make as it got pushed out of the market by Sony and others. Unless you count the modern Sega Mega Drive Mini 2. 

The Dreamcast was still an icon of the era though and a cracking gaming machine. 

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Nokia 8110 (1996)

It might not have been as iconic or memorable as the Nokia 3310 that came a few years after it, but the Nokia 8110 was certainly an iconic device.

Its popularity was no doubt boosted by the first Matrix film where it made a cool appearance in Keanu Reeves’ hand. 

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Nokia 5110 (1998)

Another year, another classic Nokia phone. The 5510 might have been a chunky device compared to today’s slim and slender smartphones, but it was well thought of. Especially since it introduced the classic game Snake to the masses. 

Elvis untot [CC BY-SA 2.0 de], via Wikimedia CommonsIconic Gadgets Of The 90s Amazing Gadgets And Gizmos From Yesteryear image 14

Apple eMate 300 (1997)

Apple released the eMate 300 as another PDA device in 1997. It had a durable casing, making it ideal for use in classrooms, and its built-in rechargeable batteries lasted up to 28 hours on a single charge. It didn’t really stand up to the competition but was certainly an icon of the PDA era. 

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Nintendo 64 (1996)

The N64 got its name from the 64-bit CPU it used and was Nintendo’s last home console to require cartridges. It was successful when it launched, with many customers fighting to get their hands on one and was deemed the most powerful console of its generation.

Most of the Nintendo 64s success came from various awesome games released on the system including Super Mario 64, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Goldeneye 007. What gamer doesn’t have awesome memories of this console?

Sega Game Gear (1990)

Shortly after the GameBoy arrived, Sega launched a rival machine that was superior in almost every way except for battery life.

If you thought the GameBoy looked a bit naff with its black and green screen, then the Game Gear was a modern marvel. It wasn’t as popular, but it sure was great. 

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Tamagotchi (1996)

Tamagotchi were little digital toys created by Bandai in the mid-1990s. They soon took off in popularity around the world. A simple little device that got the attention of the masses. All you had to do was look after the digital creature, feed it, nurture it and ensure it didn’t die. How many of us were obsessed with these games back in those days? 

Tamagotchi also saw a brief resurgence in 2017, though we suspect it was nowhere near as exciting in the age of the smartphone and on-the-go gaming. 

Portable DVD player (1998)

It might not have been as popular as some of the other gadgets on this list, but the first portable DVD player might have been an exciting vision of the future.

The first one was made by Panasonic, but other brands would soon release their own. Of course, they were just as cumbersome as portable CD players, but also a convenient way to watch films on the go. Now we can access Netflix on our phone, anytime anywhere, these devices certainly seem archaic, but they were a marvel back in the 90s. 

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Walkman, Discman and MP3 players

Several formats of portable music player were popular during the 1990s. These included portable cassette players (most notably Sony’s “Walkman”), portable CD players (the also popular Sony’s “Discman”), Minidisc players and MP3 players. Your device of choice likely depended on the size of your wallet or your parent’s bank account but they were all awesome in their own ways. 

We have both fond and frustrating memories of each of these players, whether it was fighting Walkmans to save a chewed up tape or desperately trying to fit a portable CD player into a coat pocket.

Onetwo1 [CC-BY-SA-3.0] via Wikimedia CommonsIconic Gadgets Of The 90s Amazing Gadgets And Gizmos From Yesteryear image 6

Talkboy (1992)

The humble Talkboy was a cassette player and recorder that began life as a prop for the Home Alone films. It was uber-popular and made a classic Christmas gift.

Everyone wanted one and they proved super hard to get hold. If you didn’t own one, you weren’t cool enough for school.

Yak Bak

The Yak Bak was a cheaper and more compact version of the Talkboy that was oh so popular in the early 1990s thanks to Home Alone.

A tiny little handheld recording device that could record six seconds of speech or sound that could then be played back with the press of a button. Annoying? Yes. Fun? Probably. Later versions could even play the sound in reverse too. Simple, but enough to keep the young people entertained. 

Apple MessagePad (1993)

Apple released what could be considered the very first PDA in 1993.

The MessagePad was the first series of personal digital assistants produced for Apple’s Newton platform. It was thought to be ahead of its time in terms of tech and others tried to copy and improve upon it in the years that followed.

Hannes Grobe [CC BY-SA 4.0]; Redjar [ CC-BY-SA-3.0] via Wikimedia CommonsIconic Gadgets Of The 90s Amazing Gadgets And Gizmos From Yesteryear image 7

Apple QuickTake (1994)

In 1994, Apple released what was widely regarded as the first consumer digital camera. The QuickTake might not have been as well known as Kodak and other digital cameras that would come after it but it was still important. 

It produced 640 x 480 digital images, which seems ridiculous by today’s standards but was certainly good in the 90s. 

Nkp911m500 [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia CommonIconic Gadgets Of The 90s Amazing Gadgets And Gizmos From Yesteryear image 10

Motorola StarTAC (1996)

The StarTAC was the successor of the MicroTAC, a semi-clamshell phone that had been launched in 1989.

The StarTAC was not only the first flip phone, but also one of the smallest phones around in those years. It could do all sorts of things, like sending and receiving SMS messages and even vibrate to incoming calls. Archaic by modern standards, but amazing in those days.

IBM ThinkPad 701C

In the modern era, brands are battling it out to see who can create the thinnest, lightest and most powerful laptops while cramming in the best screens and in some cases even multiple screens.

But in the 1990s IBM was creating hefty machines with fold-out keyboards that were intended to make you more productive and efficient. This design allowed the ThinkPad to be fairly compact for the time. 

Microsoft Natural Keyboard (1994)

In 1994 Microsoft released one of the most bonkers looking keyboards of the era. The so-called Natural keyboard was designed to be ergonomically shaped and more comfortable to use.

Less chance of repetitive strain injury, carpal tunnel syndrome or problems with incorrect posture. It took some getting used to, but soon proved popular. Newer versions are just as well thought of and even appear on our best keyboards lists. 

HP LaserJet printers (1990)

A printer might not seem all that exciting, but HP’s LaserJet printers were super popular in offices and schools around the land in the 1990s.

Fast, nifty and accurate they were a printing masterpiece and much more capable than the older, noisier daisy wheel and dot matrix printers that came before them. 

George Foreman Grill (1994)

In the mid-1990s we learnt that boxers and kitchen appliances could be an interesting mix.

The former Heavyweight Champion released his own grill that became a worldwide sensation. The fat draining system was simple, effective and brilliant. We just liked using them for cheese toasties. 

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Sony PlayStation (1995)

The original PlayStation launched back in 1995 and began a new era of console gaming. The PS One essentially heralded the death of Sega while also bringing joy to the masses. 

Sony Aibo (1999)

The Sony Aibo (short for Artificial Intelligent Robot) was an intelligent little robotic dog that was released at the end of the decade. It cost a small fortune, but people loved the idea of owning a dog that didn’t come with all the hassle of biting people or pooping on the carpet.

The Aibo is still going today, which proves how iconic it is. Though we expect the modern version is a lot more intelligent than its ancestor. 

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Furby (1998)

Furby was another popular toy that was released in the late 1990s. It was so popular that 40 million of them sold in just two short years. 

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Tickle Me Elmo (1996)

Tickle Me Elmo was in high demand in the mid-1990s when Sesame Street was popular with the young ones. 

So popular in fact that it sold out in most places which caused all sort of dramas in the high street. 

Writing by Adrian Willings. Editing by Britta O’Boyle.

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