07 December 2018

Review: Radio Shack EC-21

Happy Friday! Today is another Facebook review day, and since my reviews there got better, it means less work for me! I mean, I still did the work, but I don't have to do it now, and present me is happy about that.

Once again, the context of this Facebook review has been lost a bit, but I'm going to leave it as it was.
Radio Shack EC-21.
Eventually, I knew I was going to have to repeat companies with these reviews. I wanted to put it off for as long as possible, but then I realized if I kept doing that, I'd just be reviewing the same three companies' calculators for weeks. So this is my first repeat company, but I made sure to pick something interesting to distract from that.

The appropriately named Radio Shack EC-21 is more than just a calculator. If you've already looked at the images, this build up is pointless, but if you haven't, then you'll be stunned when you learn that this is also a gaming machine! The EC-21 not only handles basic calculations, but can also play rounds of Blackjack.

Fancy leather cover.
Before I get into the game play of the Blackjack, I want to give credit to the construction of this calculator. It feels like a solid block of aluminum- sturdy, but lightweight. The buttons are clicky and responsive, and don't have that remote-control squishy feel most calculators tend to have.

To play, simply slide the left slider to GAME and 0 will begin blinking. It's asking you to place a bet. You can bet however much you want, so I like to pretend I'm rich and bet $5. Press the bet button, and you'll be dealt cards represented by a single digit. It plays like any electronic game of Blackjack, but can be a nice distraction from a long day of math homework.

The one flaw that I didn't notice until I spent a few minutes with regular calculator use is the positioning of the equals button. Most calculators place this in the bottom right, but for some reason Radio Shack put it at the top, and not even in the right-most position. I found myself pressing the ( ) button, which is useless for most basic operations, and I had to clear the screen to try again.

The EC-21 was built in 1978 and runs on three AAA batteries. It comes with a nice leather case that also houses the manual. Nothing about it is complicated enough to warrant the need for the manual, but it's a nice touch. With its brushed aluminum exterior, It's a beautiful calculator, even without the case. I found it at Goodwill for probably $3.
Back, outside cover.

Back, batteries removed.

Front and back components separated.

Motherboard partially removed. Wires left intact.
Better view of motherboard.

View beneath motherboard.

To view the manual, click here.

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