5 Cool Pieces of Retro Tech You Forgot Existed

5 Cool Pieces of Retro Tech You Forgot Existed

As technology continues to advance quickly to amaze us with virtual reality, AI, and electric vehicles, it’s easy to forget the quirky and cool devices that helped pave the way. While you might look at a piece of retro technology and laugh because it’s so hilariously outdated, if we travel back several years, these items were the epitome of high-tech. So for today, let’s forget about the latest iPad, Google Pixel, and PlayStation consoles - let’s take a nostalgic walk down memory lane to revisit 5 pieces of really cool retro tech we shouldn’t forget about.

1. The Iconic Casio Calculator Watch

Before the popular Apple Watch or Fitbit graced our wrists, we once had the Casio Calculator Watch - the quintessential symbol of 1980s tech-geek chic. Selling a whopping 6 million units within the first five years of its release, there’s no doubt this iconic watch was a bestseller. With its sleek design and practical functionality, this cool piece of tech worked both as a fashion statement and a portable calculator. Offering tech lovers of that time a chance to crunch numbers on the go (long before smartphones made it all too easy!), it also boasted amazing features like water resistance and long battery life. Back then, this was certainly a must-have item.

Andrik-Langfield-4Yshujo34Gk-UnsplashPhoto by Andrik Langfield on Unsplash

2. The Flip Phone Era

Before the reign of Apple and Android, there was an era where the satisfying snap of a flip phone was an everyday pleasure. Show a picture of any flip phone to your parents and they’ll instantly be transported back. During this era, companies like Motorola and Nokia reigned supreme. Offering users a blend of compactness and physicality in communication that is missing in the tap-and-swipe age of cellphones, there was an unmatched level of fun that came with the good ol’ flip phone. Surprisingly, there’s been a recent resurgence of flip phones, albeit in a more advanced, foldable format, but it’s just proof that these devices still have a massive influence on smartphone culture today.

Alexander-Andrews-Squrvit4B68-UnsplashPhoto by Alexander Andrews on Unsplash

3. The Walkman Revolution

Long before we had the convenience of Spotify playlists or Apple Music at the palm of our hands, the Walkman was the ultimate portable music player. Introduced by Sony in 1979, the Walkman completely transformed the way we listened to music. Songs were suddenly not just confined to living rooms or record players, they could join you on your morning runs or the bus ride home. Both compact and lightweight, the Walkman was truly a revolutionary gadget in its time that made music a much more personal and immersive experience. From cassettes to mixed tapes and eventually CDs, the Walkman kept evolving into even more impressive music devices, influencing generations of portable music devices right up to the iPod and beyond. 

Florian-Schmetz-Rks6Ftfx5Ou-UnsplashPhoto by Florian Schmetz on Unsplash

4. The Polaroid Instant Camera

In today’s digital age where everything is done on computers or your phone, it’s easy to take the immediacy of photos for granted. But back in the day, Polaroid’s instant cameras were mind-blowing. Launched in 1948, these cameras allowed users to capture a moment and have the photo in their hands within minutes. Completely revolutionary, Polaroids were able to create tangible memories for the very first time. Even in recent years, Polaroid-style cameras have made a resurgence and are popular for creating “retro-style” photographs. This just goes to show that the Polaroid camera was an invention made way beyond its time. 

Ivan-Shimko-Phcig8Fprkw-UnsplashPhoto by Ivan Shimko on Unsplash


5. The Nintendo Game Boy

While the Nintendo Switch is now the most popular and used handheld console worldwide, we’ll never forget the days of playing Super Mario or The Legend of Zelda on the iconic, chunky Game Boy that is so deeply attached to many of our childhoods. This handheld device launched in 1989 (not as long ago as you may think!) and was able to bring video games out of the living room and with us wherever we went. Its iconic design, pixelated graphics, and addictive gameplay all come together to make the Game Boy an irreplaceable symbol of gaming. Although modern gaming consoles and VR headsets have completely taken over, they definitely owe their mobile roots to this amazing and classic piece of tech. 

Nik-Lubiun4Il38-UnsplashPhoto by Nik on Unsplash

While new inventions continue to keep us in awe of the incredible things we’re able to make, don’t forget to appreciate all the amazing tech that came before it. As pioneers of their time, we would never have iPhones, Nintendo Switches, or Fitbits without flip phones, the Game Boy, or the Casio Calculator. Because at the end of the day, these retro tech pieces are not just nostalgic keepsakes, they also beautifully encapsulate human creativity and innovation.