The Sinclair QL was seen by some as the successor to the Sinclair Spectrum, but in reality, it was aimed at the professional, business and serious home user markets. Launching in January 1984 by mail order (albeit with a several month shipping delay), the QL (standing for Quantum Leap) was touted by Sinclair themselves as the solution to fend off IBM, Commodore, Acorn and Apple, who had or were soon to be releasing, more professional systems. The reality was that the QL was rushed leading to many issues with early models, and it wasn’t until 1985 and a half hearted re-launch that the system was really fully functional. Unfortunately by this point, the damage had been done, and combined with the financial difficulties Sinclair were facing, it meant that production would soon cease, leaving the QL dead in the water.

Thankfully there’s a huge QL community in the present day, with software and even hardware still developed for this reasonably rare machine. The fact that it only sold 150,000 units makes this even more remarkable and is surely a testament to how expandable and possibly ahead of it’s time (just like the Sinclair C5), the machine really was. Join me as I go on a retrospective through the story of this machine from before it’s conception to it’s market failure, along with technical specifications and of course, a look at the applications and QL games available on the platform.

Sinclair QL Keyboard

Close up of the new style Sinclair keyboard used first on the QL

Sinclair QL Display

The Sinclair QL in use with it’s PSION application software