Released 1980, the ZX80ne was designed by Jim Westwood around a Z80 central processing unit with a clock speed of 3.25 MHz, and was equipped with 1 KB of static RAM and 4 KB of read-only memory containing the Sinclair BASIC programming language, editor, and operating system. BASIC commands were not entered by typing them out but were instead selected somewhat similarly to a scientific calculator – each key had a few different functions selected by both context and modes as well as with the shift key.
Display was over an RF connection to a household television, and simple offline program storage was possible using a cassette recorder. Other than the built-in cassette and video ports, the only provided means of expansion was a slot opening at the rear of the case, which exposed an expansion bus edge connector on the motherboard. The same slot bus was continued on the ZX81, which encouraged a small cottage industry of expansion devices, including memory (Sinclair produced RAM expansion packs for the ZX80: the original ZX80 RAM Pack held either 1, 2 or 3 KB of static RAM; a later model held 16 KB, using dynamic RAM chips (DRAM)), printers, and even floppy drives.