I’ve tried a number of different emulators for the ZX Spectrum range of computers but so far absolutely nothing can lay a patch next to ZX Spin. It’s closest rival is Spectactulator, which isn’t too bad, but alas is commercial program and would set you back £9.99 to get what Spin gives you for free,
Written by Paul Dunn, a regular contributor to the World of Spectrum Forums, and a small group of coders known as “The ZX Spin Team”. The latest version was released 8 years ago and in that time so far nothing has come along that can match it for compatibility and features.
A decent range of Spectrum computers can be emulated. Choices include official Sinclair models (16k, 48k, Plus, and 128k), Amstrad models (+2, +2A, and +3) and some later clones (+3e, and Pentagon 128). There’s an option to enable SE basic from Andrew Owen’s Chloe specification that lets you type keywords instead of using the Spectrums default single key system.
A good range of peripherals is emulated to expand your virtual Spectrum. Interface 1 (Microdrives), Multiface (game hacking), SpecDrum, Fuller AY Box and Cheetah uSpeech (speech synthesis), Kempston, Fuller, and Interface 2 Joysticks. You even have options to alter both the base CPU speed and/or the entire emulation speed. Particularly helpful features include the Keyboard Helper, a ZX Printer, and a Tape Browser.
I use this for a basic Sinclair 48K ZX Spectrum (model 2) emulation, with the standard Sinclair rom. Kempston Joystick, ZX Printer and Cassette Interface. I run the emulator at standard Spectrum speeds with cassettes loading in real time (Normal Speed on the Tape Browsers Acceleration Menu).
Both Rounded Corners and Scan Lines in the display settings complete the illusion of the original on TV Spectrum experience. I would like to keep the Phosphor-glow filter enabled but the slow down, at least on my PC, makes the emulation completely unusable.