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What’s the oldest piece of tech you still use?

Technology may move fast with shiny new versions coming out all the time, but that doesn’t mean you have to own the latest gadget to get the job done. What ancient tech do you still make use of?

Manufacturers are always putting pressure on us to upgrade, but often an old product is still capable of performing just as well as it ever has.

My TV, laptop and digital camera are all over five years old, and while they may miss some of the fancy features found in more up-to-date tech, they all perform perfectly well. I asked around the Which? Tech team to see what tech they were hanging on to…

Dave Holes and his good old VCR

I still have an old VCR at home and don’t plan on getting rid of it anytime soon. Yes, after the digital switchover it won’t record anymore, but it still plays back our library of old tapes. These consist mainly of children’s programmes – Thomas the Tank Engine, Noddy and Percy the Park Keeper are still firm favourites in our household.

The kids don’t mind the poorer picture quality of VHS, they just want to watch their favourite episodes again and again! I won’t be upgrading them all to DVD players, as they’ll eventually move on to other things and thankfully, for now, the VCR keeps working. And long may it continue to do so.

Sarah Kidner can’t let go of her scanner

As editor of Which? Computing magazine, I have a love of print. As such, there are two older bits of tech I couldn’t live without – my stapler and my scanner.

The scanner allows me to scan in documents, such as my daughter’s recent school report and email a copy to her grandfather. I also have an extensive collection of old print photographs I’ve scanned in. I could buy an all-in-one device, but my standalone scanner has stood the test of time.

Catherine West likes her TV a bit chunky

I admit it – I have a gigantic CRT TV in my front room. I live in a shared house and no one wants to pay out for a new one. It’s perfectly watchable – though I must admit I can easily spot the difference on other people’s flat-screen HD TVs.

My housemate picked up our CRT after seeing a Gumtree ad about four years ago and it’s still going strong.

Elisa Roberts is a big fan of vinyl

It’s a bit of a cliché, but I love the crackle under the needle as a record goes round a turntable – funny really, as we wouldn’t tolerate this scratchy sound from a DAB radio or MP3 player.

So I love my record player, and if I ever get fed up of vinyl I can always use a USB turntable to digitise and conveniently transfer them to a PC or MP3 player.

Christopher Christoforou loves his Zen MP3 player

I have an old Creative Zen Stone MP3 player that’s about six years old. For occasional jogging and commutes on the train, it’s perfect.

It’s very light (less than 20g) and since it doesn’t have a screen, I think it looks pretty cool. No screen also saves quite a bit of battery, and there’s no chance it can distract me with lots of touchscreen features. I see no reason to upgrade at all. It works, and I can’t see anything else that could do a better job.

And now here’s your chance to share your stories of ancient tech that you can’t let go of.

What old technology do you still use?

An analogue radio (18%, 372 Votes)

Computer older than five years (14%, 289 Votes)

Record player and vinyls (12%, 247 Votes)

Scanner/printer older than five years (12%, 233 Votes)

VCR and VHS tapes (11%, 230 Votes)

Mobile phone older than five years (10%, 204 Votes)

CRT TV (7%, 135 Votes)

Personal CD/Minidisc player (5%, 107 Votes)

Other – let us know in the comments (5%, 93 Votes)

MP3 player older than five years (4%, 89 Votes)

Retro games console (1%, 23 Votes)

Total Voters: 657

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I still use my Technics Hi Fi separates (2001) with my Mission 720 speakers, bought in 1977. Still the best sound for me. They’ve had the driver scrolls replaced twice now (just done them recently) and still sound good. They look a bit tatty, so I might rub them down and re-varnish to see me out!

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My PC is now over ten years old and our two Bose radios are probably coming up to their twenty-first birthdays but most of the other tech devices have either been discarded and not replaced or put away out sight and we manage without them. The only recent items [last five years] are a smart TV [which is a big disappointment], a PVR and a soundbar for the ten-year-old flat screen TV, a new computer, a laptop, and a new Truecall DECT [digital electronic cordless telephone]. I no longer use a mobile phone and although I have an ordinary one and a smartphone they don’t seem to be necessary.

I use a pair of matched B & O speakers which are now 52 years old. They sound as good now as they ever did, despite being relegated to the study and used merely as speakers for the Macs.

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My two electric razors come from the 1960’s and 1970’s. ! Both get used reasonably frequently and are on the original blades.

Other than that I have no electronics of any great vintage which I suspect goes with moving reasonably frequently and the size of properties for storage. I have kept the 1988 Sony 8mm video player which still works, and may still have the Sony Handycam purchased with it.

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Patrick is not the only one whose use of older technology has been affected by moving. I would have continued to use my mid-80s HiFi but I’ve not been to arrange it in a sensible way in my new home thanks to the positioning of doors and fitting in furniture. I have retained the Mordaunt Short speakers and Marantz cassette deck and use these with a modern radio/CD/amp, which also provides reasonable quality sound from the TV, unlike the built-in speakers. The turntable, CD player and amp separates are now in a spare room, along with my record collection. 🙁

When moving from a bungalow to a house I needed another radio and resurrected my 1975 Hacker Hunter. I must find the 18V power supply that I built all those years ago because it’s a bit heavy on batteries. I’ve a lot of old tech that works but is rarely used. A couple of old iMacs are fired up, one to display photos at events and the older one (2002) because it has a large photo collection.

Moving home has led to a lot of disposals over the years: all the vinyl records, all the VHS tapes, most of the DVD’s and all bar about 60 CD’s, so with them has gone the apparatus for using them. I think I can reduce the sum assured on our contents insurance policy next time round. We have also parted with hundreds of books recently and now work on a ‘one in : one out’ basis. I think I rather enjoy ‘dematerialising’.

This is one of the oldest Which? Conversations I have used for some time but it still performs well and has some quality features.

Are you talking about the posters John?

But of course! I was absent.

According to my commenting history, I started posting here seven years ago [yes, I know, . . . what a waste!] but this one must have passed me by – I cannot believe I didn’t have something to say at the time because in 2012 I am sure we were still using some pretty ancient kit; moving home brought about either renewal or redundancy.

My PC is 13-14 years old, the Sony stereo (radio, record player, CD & cassette deck) still works – probably around 30 yrs, and B & O radio over 40 yrs old and still a wonderful piece of design with a lovely wooden case. I really regret our 21 yr old TV with buillt in video stopped working about 3 yrs ago; not only could we watch all the videos we have, we understood how we could record on it! We wouldn’t want to part with any of the old stuff – why would we while it works?