10 ’80s Gadgets That All The Cool Kids Had

The ‘80s may be in the past but everything that was once popular always finds a way to be relevant again. Technology has only gotten better since the ‘80s, as has the overall development and design. Gadgets have improved for all intents and purposes, but that doesn’t mean ‘80s babies don’t miss the way things were.

While iPhones and laptops are the best they’ve ever been in 2023, there was a time when they were just releasing, introducing a new world of technology to the globe. And while expensive because these gadgets were so new, all the cool kids had these ‘80s gadgets at home or with them at school.


The Floppy Disc

10 ’80s Gadgets That All The Cool Kids Had

The floppy disc was created in the 1970s, but it took off in the ‘80s. These “discs” were pocket-sized, so they were able to fit in someone’s back pocket easily. A person was even cooler if they had floppy discs in multiple colors.

RELATED: 10 80s Gadgets That Should Still Be In Use Today

As computers were on the horizon, floppy discs made it possible for a person to save their work and go back to it as long as they had their floppy. While some people wish this ‘80s gadget was still used today, the USB is far simpler and smaller.

The Cassette Tape

A product image of a Cassette-Tapes

The cassette tape (or simply known as “tape”) was a small rectangle with two sides of ribbon inside that allowed people to listen to music wherever there was a tape player. Tapes and vinyl were all a person had before CDs were born (which also happened in the ‘80s).

Eventually, the Walkman was created so that people could listen to their favorite songs on the go. The cassette soon became an ’80s pop culture icon, which saw a resurgence due to the Guardians of the Galaxyfranchise.

The Button Polaroid Camera

A product image of the Button camera

There was an array of Polaroid cameras in the ‘80s that allowed people to take pictures and see the results immediately. While kids today have the same results after taking a picture on their phones, the Polaroid camera printed the photo shortly after the photo had been taken.

The Button, in particular, came out in 1981 and wasn’t different from any other Polaroid besides coming in two different shades of grey. The Button was so popular that it’s still used today, often at events and special occasions so guests can have an instant photo of their evening.

Motorola 8000X

A split image of the Motorola 8000X being used

You were the ultimate cool kid if you had a cell phone. Cell phones didn’t get popular or more accessible until the early 2000s. However, in the ‘80s, there was the Motorola 8000X.

Known as a “brick,” this was one of the first cell phone models that had a sleek design. Most cell phones being tampered with at this time were bulky and too heavy. The Motorola 8000X was revolutionary and allowed users to talk for 30 minutes before the battery would need to be charged for 10 hours, according to Mobile Phone Museum. Only the coolest kids had this phone because it was quite expensive for the period.

Nintendo Entertainment System

A product image of the Nintendo Entertainment System

The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES or Nintendo) was released in America in 1985 after already becoming a success in Japan, according to UCR.

RELATED: 10 Hardest NES Games We Still Can’t Beat Today

At the time, the NES didn’t have any crazy competition, making it all the more popular. Games like Super Mario Bros and Duck Hunt were some of the most well-known games. Like most things on this list, the NES was modernized and improved over time, but there are still some Nintendo games that are hard to beat today.

Casio Databank

Someone holding the Casio Databank

In the early ‘80s, Casio released a watch called the Databank. However, this wasn’t a normal watch that just showed time, the Databank held personal information.

The simple design made this watch easy to use. It had a keyboard that allowed users to use it as a calculator. It could also store phone numbers and email addresses! The Databank was an all-in-one watch that made whoever wore it cool. However, it’s a forgotten gadget that kids wouldn’t recognize today.

Boom Box

John Cusack holding a boom box in Say Anything

A boom box was a device that played music from radio stations and had a tape player for cassettes. Eventually, when CDs were born, new boom boxes had space for a CD and cassettes.

RELATED: 10 Gadgets Every ’80s Kid Was Obsessed With

Every ’80s kid was obsessed with their boom box and became instantly cool when they showed theirs off. Some boom boxes were so lightweight that students would bring them to school and store it in their lockers.


A shelf of CD cases

According to CNN, the first batch of CDs was released in the early ’80s but didn’t become more popular until later. After all, cassettes were widely accessible at this time and CDs were pricey as new tech.

Once CDs became more available and affordable, they quickly ran cassettes out of business. More and more music producers started putting their clients’ work on CDs to modernize the industry, and CDs were soon as popular as cassettes. What’s more, ’80s musicals were put on CDs to amplify their popularity. If a person had a CD in the early days, they were the coolest.

Rubik’s Cube

A product image of two Rubik’s Cubes

The Rubick’s Cube is an ‘80s toy that can still be bought today. Although it was created in the ‘70s, it didn’t become a global phenomenon until the ‘80s. And while it’s not a fancy tech gadget, it was a popular gadget that all the cool kids had nonetheless.

The Rubick’s website explained that the tricky cube was made as a way to teach his child about “dimensional space.” It’s essentially a 3-D puzzle that can be solved by matching all the colors in the proper rows. The craze of trying to solve the puzzle was strong, which is why this was such a popular gadget.

Game & Watch

A product image of Game & Watch

There are a bunch of handheld gaming systems that were user-friendly in the ‘80s. While gaming can at times seem complicated, these Game & Watch games had something for everyone. These were so popular that those without a Game & Watch were missing out.

The cool kids would play these hand-held gaming systems, which included Donkey Kong, Mickey & Donald, Flagman, and more. There were oodles of games to appeal to the masses, making anyone cool for playing.

NEXT: All Currently Available Handheld Gaming Systems, Ranked By User-Friendliness

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