Hardware Feature #43
Name Manufacturer Price
Challenge Sprint / Mk II Challenge Reserch/Macway 64.95 / 69.95

Challenge Sprint

Note: Two versions of this device were produced. Both adverts are included.

The following advert was taken from Sinclair User August 1984


Introducing The Sprint

sprint2.jpg (42103 bytes)

It loads Spectrums four times faster than an ordinary cassette player,
uses standard cassette software,
and has improved loading reliability.
All for just £64.95

The new Sprint from Challenge Research will load and save Spectrum programs at four times the speed of conventional cassette players, this even applies to standard program and games software that has been pre-recorded at normal speed. All this plus improved loading reliability is available for just 64.95 inclusive of post, packing and vat and 12 month guarantee.
The Sprint is dedicated to both 16k and 48k Spectrum and provides an innovative but inexpensive new concept is cassette tape storage.

Use of the Sprint is simplicity itself:
> Retains the standard Spectrum commands and format.
> Advanced digital circuitry and signal processing improves loading reliability and eliminates volume setting.
> Simply plugs into the Spectrum port - no interface or external power units required. It even has its own expansion slot so that you can still use other peripherals at the same time.
> A full 48k program will load in 75 seconds rather than five minutes with a conventional cassette recorder.

Spend less on a Sprint.
Spend more time working your Spectrum and be the envy of your friends.

 

The following advert was taken from Sinclair User December 85

 

The SPRINT high speed data recorder;it loads Spectrums four times faster than an ordinary cassette player,and four times cheaper than an the average disk drive.

The new MkII Sprint loads and saves programs on the Spectrum four times than conventional cassette recorders. It even loads commercial and home recorded programs at high speed and they don't have to be resaved to do so !
The tape format and data density on the tape is not changed with the Sprint so programs saved at speed can be loaded on a standard recorder though at the normal rate.

The new Sprint is now Interface 1 and Microdrive compatible to further increase it's versatility and so provide an innovative yet inexpensive new concept in program storage.

USE OF THE SPRINT IS SEMPLICITY ITSELF:
Retains all standard Spectrum commands in an inaltered form.
Uses no ram and no extra programs have to be loaded beforehand.
Advanced circuitry eliminates volume setting.
Simply plugs into the Spectrum port, no interface or external power required.
Has its own expansion slot so you can still use joysticks, printers and other type of peripherals.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS:
Loads all programs of reasonable quality and standard tape format. Will not work with "hyper load", etc. unless resaved to standard format.
Off-line swich fitted to disenable the Sprint whilst the Spectrum is running.Allows compatibility with standard recorders, microdrives and other peripherals with internal memories.
Accepts standard commands.
High quality injection moulded black ABS case with spark erode finish to match Spectrum case.
Inbuilt 56-way rainbow cable with gold plated contact edge connector for linking to Spectrum.
Full 56-way expansion slot on rear of Sprint (identical to Spectrum one).
Tape speed 19 cm/sec.
Enhanced fast forward and rewind speed.
Auto-stop system built-in.
Dimensions: 190 mm long x 143 mm wide x 60 mm high.

 

The following review was taken from 16/48 tape magazine December 84

The Sprint recorder is a device consisting of a normal tape deck which runs at 4 times standard speed and a replacement Spectrum ROM. The ROM has a modified cassette interface routine which SAVES and LOADS at Four times normal speed.

The clever part is that the same Format is used, just the speed is changed. This means that programs saved on the sprint can be loaded on a normal system and vice versa.

The recorder seems reliable with most commercial programs, but lack of an asimuth adjustment means that you may have trouble with some other tapes.
The unfortunate development for Challenge is the advent of custom loaders on much of the current software. These newer tapes will not load, and unless Challenge can persuade all the software houses to agree on a single Fastload standard the SPRINT will never totally replace the recorder you are using now.

If you like the idea of reducing the loading time of 16/48 or even SABRE WULF by a factor of four, then so long as you keep your old recorder handy, this is still an investment worth some consideration.

 

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