10 Outdated Gadgets You Can Still Buy Today

No matter how transformative the technology, sooner or later its time will pass. Change is good! It means we've moved on to something bigger and better. But our friends at Laptop Magazine found 10 technologies way past their expiration dates that you can still purchase today.

Obsolescence is a measure of tech progress. That's why the gadgets we couldn't imagine living without 10 years ago — that old Walkman, your black brick of a beeper, and camera with multiple rolls of film — are laughably out-of-date today. Yet, oddly, some products which ought to be dead and buried are still being actively manufactured and sold as new. Believe it or not, you can still walk or log into a store and buy a new cassette boom box to use for your breakdancing routine.

Polaroid 300 Instant Camera

The problem with today's cameras is that they show you the photos as soon as you snap them. Remember back in the 1970s when you snapped a Polaroid and then had to sit there and watch as it slowly developed over the course of five minutes? By the time that overexposed picture of your dad in his leisure suit finally appeared, you felt like you'd earned it.

Fear not, because Polaroid is still making instant film cameras in 2012. A testament to the delayed gratification shooter of old, this throwback Polaroid 300 employs four lighting settings and auto-flash to freeze any moment, reproducing a physical copy of the scene as quickly as you can take pleasure in it. Just make sure you're ready to deal with refills-the camera only works with Polaroid 300 Instant Film, which isn't included with the purchase. The camera is $US69 from Polaroid's official online store and comes in shades of red, blue and black.

Toshiba DVD/VCR Player

Remember the days when you had to rent movies on VHS and rewind them before hauling them back to the video store? It was always a blast to know that if you didn't get back to the store by 9pm to drop your video in the slot, you'd be hit with a huge late fee. If you desperately want to resurrect that era, Toshiba's got you covered. Available for $US120 online, this VCR boasts one-touch recording and that classically ugly black boxy look to make all your friends and family wonder if they've been transported back to the mid-1990s when they spot this irrelevant relic of a gadget displayed in your media room.

56K Serial Controller Faxmodem

Feeling nostalgic for that late '90s modem sound you couldn't escape as you struggled to connect to the internet? Or maybe you just miss being able to download data at a more sedate pace of 56,000 bits per second.

Today's your lucky day! For a paltry $US89.95, you can grab a genuine 56K Faxmodem on US Robotic's official website, a gadget that's incomprehensibly still being produced by the company. In case 56 kbit/s still seems a bit jarring for you, note that this is only the modem's theoretical speed. FCC regulations limit receiving speeds to 53 Kbps, plus actual speeds vary depending on several other factors.

Now, once more, you'll be able to relive the glory days of downtempo internet cruising — before all this broadband nonsense cropped up. Plus this peripheral strays away from the modern-day USB standard, sticking to the all-but-extinct serial port instead. Perfect.

Bytecc USB External Floppy Disk Drive

Ah, the good ol' 3.5-inch floppy disk — what a comforting sight, with its sturdy corners and flinty rectangular plastic coating. At just 1.44MB per disk, you can store one high-res photo on maybe three or four of these. Notebooks and desktops stopped coming with floppy drives years ago, but now you can backup files like it's 1986 again with the Bytecc USB external floppy disk drive.

Coby CX-244 Portable AM/FM Cassette Player

It's gotten so difficult to plan a romantic gesture these days. Really, how are you supposed to pull off that boom box scene from "Say Anything" without any portable tape players still in production? Well, here's a gadget that can come to your rescue: the Coby CX-244 Portable AM/FM Cassette Player. It even comes with a one-touch, automatic level recorder — presumably to let you store that cheesy radio song to later blast under someone's window. But first you'll need to scrounge up a blank cassette tape. You've still got those lying around, right?

If saving your documents so you can edit and reproduce them later seems too futuristic for your 19th century brain, consider this typewriter series from Brother. Whether you're a technophobe or just a time traveller from the past, at least one of these models is bound to be your perfect machine. Unfortunately, they do use electricity.

Crosley Rotary-style Telephones

Here's a fun fact. Did you know they say you're "dialling" a phone, because phones used to have rotary dials? These push-button, rotary-style telephones from Crosley might be replicas and not exactly the real thing, but the fact that they pay homage to some of the most recognisable designs in history is pretty neat. The roster of products includes Princess Phones, Candlesticks, desk phones and pay phones, and the devices cost about $US50 to $US70 apiece.

AT&T Adjunct Answering Machine

Sure, you've probably got voicemail on your smartphone, but don't you miss having a separate machine to take your messages? Now you too can live like Jim Rockford from the Rockford Files with this dedicated answering machine from AT&T's online store.

Sprint's Lenovo IdeaPad S205s WiMAX Mini Notebook

US carrier Sprint recently revealed it would be offering the Lenovo IdeaPad S205s WiMAX mini notebook for $US199.99 on a two-year contract, the bizarre announcement that spurred this list. The company just affirmed weeks ago that it was done with WiMAX phones, but evidently it thinks WiMAX notebooks stand a whole class apart.

In case you've always wanted a subsidised notebook that uses an archaic wireless standard, or you fancy the idea of being stuck with the device for two years, here's your chance. Hiding beneath the no-frills 11.6-inch (1366x768) display, a 1.33GHz dual-core Intel U5600 processor runs the show, and the machine comes with 2GB of RAM and 250GB of storage onboard. You can grab the IdeaPad S205s right now, either in-store or at Sprint's website. Only Americans need apply.

USB 1.1 4-Port Pocket Hub

Never mind that USB 1.1 was released 14 years ago, that USB 2.0 launched in the year 2000, and that the latest specification, USB 3.0, has been out for a few years. This plucky little USB Pocket Hub accessory from Belkin doesn't care. It offers four whole Plug-and-Play ports in the outmoded USB 1.1 standard, two generations behind. If you must own this obsolete piece of hardware — who knows, maybe you want to be ironic about it — you'll only have to toss away $US10 at Belkin's website.

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    When I was in Afghanistan one of the interpreters had a polaroid. I thought "you have to be kidding me", but then I saw him in action. He snapped pictures of everyone he talked with and handed them straight over to them - they loved having a photo of themselves. Try that with a point and shoot.

      You cant have a digital picture for your passport, it needs to be film or polaroid! still using them at big w / wallmart.

      Exactly. It shouldn't be on the list - because it's not obsolete. It's still the only way to take a photo and then have something in your hand that you can give to someone.I'd say they're keeping up with the tech wave with that funky new digital Polaroid camera...

        Not entirely true. Last christmas my two neices got a "polaroid" brand camera each (I know, spoilt much? anyway, I digress...) - these aren't the same technology as the above mentioned "instant photo" polaroid - they're digital cameras with built in printer. The printer uses heat & special paper/film (like most common label makers) rather than ink or toner - so the only thing you need to replace is the paper.

        So to say that there is no alternative to the old style polaroid instant photo in not accurate.

    Still got my Sony cassette player from 20 years ago. The rubber bands are a little old so it doesn't rwd/ff so well but still plays my old mixtapes :) still sounds awesome too :)

    While the 56K modem may not be used for connecting to an ISP for internet purposes any more, in the rail industry for example, there are still devices in the field that use a serial connection over a phone line. Dialling into them is the only way to connect.

      Well then... isn't that just an example of an *entire industry* that is heading to obsolescence? Hah.

      Heaps of people still use dial up internet though and ISPs still sell plans. Hardly obsolete.

    just a thought Do any of the readers really remember when there was only phones with dials....
    Remember the old days ....when we had slow computers ? how about before the computer didn't fill a room or building ?

      Rather than recalling the days when the phones had dials, it's more akin to recalling how I hated people with too many 0's in their phone number (T_T).
      Especially when you had to wait for the dial to return...
      Just an FYI, I'm still in my early 20s so I'm really really not sure why I was using a rotary dial phone...

        They were around for many years and were even chic for a while ....
        Like the generation said before mine those were the days ....... just funny I never understand why people say "good old days"

          I still have a fully functional one in my apartment. It comes in useful when we have to call commissioner Gordon! ;-)

          Haha, good point. If people actually took a minute to really think about those "good old days", they would realise that they actually weren't so good...

          Nostalgic, probably. But not good.

          Because these days you cant escape from shit. Facebook, email, CCTV, digital cameras, smartphones, iPads, 3G, Twitter, etc etc etc.........back then you could commit a crime and be gone!

      Or if your "dial" was broken, you could keep tapping the "off hook" switch to dial? I had a phone outlet in my room, but I wasn't allowed a phone (waste of money, my parents would tell me). So when our family phone broke, I inherited it and got pretty good at tapping the hook to dial. Had some interesting phonecalls with wrong numbers too :)

      Hey, who here remembers "wrong numbers"? Those were the days...

    The Polaroid 300 is just a Fuji-made Instax camera that uses Instax film. And any other kind of branded Polaroid film comes from Impossible Project or is deadstock. Let's not talk about Zink.

    But as with Sean's experience with the interpreter I have made friends with my Polaroid even in a place like North Korea, which made the guide a little more relaxed and stopped him rushing me for photo-ops.

    USB is a serial interface. And it's parallel ports that are almost extinct.

      Serial is the method of data transfer (1 bit at a time). A serial port is different from a USB port, FireWire or ESATA port even though they are transfer data in serial.

    Dont think you can say the polaroid is outdated, a lot of people still use them, good fun

    aw, was sort of hoping for some/or ANY consoles to be on here

      if it was pubished like 2-3 years ago the ps2 probably would have been on it

      Shaun do I have a treat for you or what?!?
      You can still buy a Commodore 64!! Ok, ok, technically it's a modern-day PC inside a C64 case. but it's legitimately commodore branded and you can install a C64 emulator in it... I've wanted to buy one for ages but can't justify the cost just for nostalgia

    Djrcmach: when I was younger like in my 20's, I could never understand why people said "the good old days". But now in my 50's, I can understand why. Because its true!

    The 56k Modem played a critical role in getting information out of Egypt during its Revolution and subsequent internet blackouts, they used the old system to dial into free ISPs setup in continental Europe.

    Just saying, it still serves a purpose.

    haha - Prompted me to look for this - was my first Digital Camera...


    $99.00 - Intel CS630 Pocket PC Camera + Web Cam (rare collectable)

    My friend just bought me one of those new polaroids for my birthday! I remember his puzzled look as he tried to figure out my puzzled look while I tried to figure out how he came to that choice!


    After the earthquake in Christchurch I used one of those crazy old phones. 2 cellphones, 2 laptops, a desktop, ipad and a bunch on other stuff where reduced to useless dead weights. That phone was a lifesaver.

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