18 February 2019

Review: R Time Sport Watch (Strawberry)


Hello again! Taking a week off from calculator reviews gave me a chance to work on some other neat stuff that I'd like to eventually turn into content for this site and my Youtube channel. I don't know when you'll start to see that stuff, but I'll get to it some day. More importantly, on to the first calculator review of the week!

R Time Sport Watch and Calculator
I know what you're thinking: this is going to be another terrible calculator. I'll be honest; I thought so too. It's made of cheap plastic, has a crummy gimmick, and is clearly just a crappy thing you can get for like a dollar on Ebay. All of that is true. Yet, I actually really like the R Time Sport Watch.

I don't have particularly thick wrists, but usually children's watches don't fit me. It's one of those things I came to accept in life. I had this great Spongebob Squarepants watch that I always wanted to wear but it's just too small and no watch repair shop was willing to resize it for me because it was clearly a McDonald's Happy Meal toy.

So when I purchased the R Time on Ebay, I fully expected to be disappointed yet again. Amazingly, after several months of waiting for it to arrive, I discovered that it actually fit. The band has no give due to it being made of this weird flexible plastic, but there's enough of it for it to work.

Then there's the calculator functionality. I thought the buttons wouldn't work properly, if at all. They're very tiny. Yet in practice I'm proven completely wrong about this. The buttons feel nice to press and are spaced just far enough apart to comfortably press them individually.

Back cover removes for easy battery access.
The LCD display is perfectly serviceable as well, visible from multiple angles with plenty of contrast. It's not solar powered, but accessing the battery is simple enough. You can easily remove the back portion of the watch to get to it.

For $1.83, I have few complaints about this device. It's stylish, simple, and it works just fine. It's no Casio calculator watch, but those are proving difficult to find for a price I'm willing to pay. For now, I'm okay with settling for this nice strawberry-shaped calculator watch.

Battery connector thingy can be removed as well.

Full disassembly of the R Time Sport Watch.



13 February 2019

Review: Walmart Pen + Gear 8-Digit Handheld Calculator


I wasn't planning to do any reviews this week, but this is hardly a review so here you go.

Who cares
See that image? I didn't bother putting this calculator back together because it's just like any other cheap calculator in my collection. I've reviewed devices like this before, and I have nothing new to say about this one.

The video review says more, but I also eat a raw habanero in it. If you'd like to listen to me suffer and watch me struggle with this calculator, check it out.

I might do other challenges when reviewing boring, cheap calculators like this because otherwise it's just not going to be interesting. I hope you enjoy it.


10 February 2019

Update: No calculator reviews until 18 February

Hello, and welcome to the Calculator Review, hosted on calaquin.com.

I'm taking another brief break from writing reviews to focus on some other things. Some people have been saying they've been trying to catch up with reviews, so this should give them the chance to do that. I'm not sure why calculator reviews are something worth catching up on, but you do you I guess.

08 February 2019

Review: SNGU Multifunctional CS29 Bamboo Calculator

I get excited when I acquire a new calculator because it means I get to write another review. The backlog is massive at this point, so I'll be writing these reviews for quite a while. There's no real reason for a particular calculator being selected to be reviewed on any given day, but I find myself holding back the truly special devices until the time feels right. Today, it feels right to review one of the most beautiful calculators in my collection.

SNGU Multifunctional CS29 Bamboo Calculator.
The SNGU Multifunctional CS29 Bamboo Calculator, or SG-CS29 is stunning. With the exception of the extra large LCD display and solar cell, every external component is made of carbonized bamboo. This isn't plastic or some other cheap material painted to look like bamboo; it's the real deal. The imperfections of the wood give the calculator character and life, and it feels like a piece of nature on my desk.

Every button has its symbol laser-etched into it, giving each key its own unique feel. The key pad feels more like a computer keyboard than any other calculator I've reviewed so far. It's an absolutely joy to perform calculations with this device because everything feels great and responsive. 

The SG-CS29 features all the standard calculator functions, but includes a backspace key that allows the user to retype numbers and even make changes to results. It's a great feature that allows for some truly unique math.
The calculator has a huge, beautiful display.
While designed to be a desk calculator, this device has a nice weight to it and, combined with the smooth edges, makes it feel great in your hands. 

The only fault I can find in this device is the battery situation. The solar cell is real and works great, but the battery inside is not going to last forever. In order to get to it, you'll need to remove several screws as well as the rubber feet on the bottom of the calculator. This isn't a huge problem, as I found reassembling everything to be fairly easy. The internal components are screwed together to keep things from just falling out when you get inside.

Unlike previous reviews, I can actually supply a reliable link for readers to purchase this device. Click here to purchase it on Amazon.com (I am not sponsored in any way by the manufacturers of this device or Amazon). Currently it's selling for a little under $25.

Back of calculator, also made of bamboo.
Partially disassembled, keypad removed.
Keypad with one key removed.

Fully disassembled.


This device looks great in my display.
Manual.
Back of original box.


06 February 2019

Review: CITLLZEN Electronic Human Tech CT-512


I'm conflicted for this review. I've made my stance on false advertising in calculators very clear, and it's something I intend to firmly maintain. But usually when a calculator advertises something it doesn't have, I find many other faults with the device as well. It's usually made of cheap plastic, terrible buttons, ugly display, or has any number of other flaws.

CITLLZEN Electronic Human Tech CT-512.
The CITLLZEN Electronic Human Tech CT-512 is perhaps the most deceptive calculator I've ever purchased. I actually didn't know it was going to pretend to be a Citizen calculator. That company makes, I assume, fine devices, but I've yet to get my hands on and review one. It appears that the company that produced this device is trying to use that name to make sales, and I've seen identical devices for sale on Amazon for several hundred dollars. I purchased this calculator on Ebay for $4.

So we're already facing a pretty big lie. The CT-512 does not deserve the CT initials, as that's designated for real Citizen calculators. So I'm going to refer to this as the NCT-512 from now on.

The video review shows my first reaction upon experiencing this device for the very first time, so I highly recommend that. But shortly into that, I disassembled the calculator and quickly discovered that the solar cell is 100% FAKE. Had the manufacturer not placed a fake solar cell on this device, and had they not pretended to be another company, I would be giving this calculator an absolutely glowing review. 

Fake solar cell exposed when the calculator is opened.
Honestly, the NCT-512 is a fantastic calculator. It's well-built, has excellent buttons, a beautiful LED display, and a really neat "112 Steps Check" feature that lets you replay calculations. The colors used for the buttons and plastic shell look great, and for a $4 calculator, I couldn't ask for anything else.

But this is a beautiful device built on lies and deceit. I simply cannot recommend this calculator, even though I really want to. A real Citizen calculator such as the CT-555N only costs about $14, and it will have a working solar cell as well as the same features. I'll work on getting one of those to review in the future. I hesitate to post a link to purchase one of those for two reasons: I haven't reviewed it yet so I can't currently recommend it, and I'm not sure if any links I've found so far are legitimate Citizen products.
Back and front of the calculator's packaging.
Back removed.
Key pad exposed.


04 February 2019

Review: Casio WM-320MT


Calculators come in all shapes and sizes. Some fit comfortably in your pocket while others can be the centerpiece of a massive desk. But size isn't everything. Sometimes people require other features that aren't quite standard. Today's calculator is for the person who works in an area with lots of dust or debris, but still needs a device that is reliable.
Casio WM-320MT.
The Casio WM-320MT is the modern calculator for the hard workers of the world, and it does a fine job of working as good as it looks.

Rugged is the word that comes to mind upon first glance. The yellow will stand out in a dusty environment, yet doesn't come across as tacky or gaudy. The entire device is framed by extra thick plastic that won't bend without considerable force. If you were to drop this calculator, it would probably be just fine.

The WM-320MT feels as good as it looks, too. There are no cheaply made rough edges. Everything is nice and rounded, making it a pleasure to hold. The display is simply massive, featuring 12 digits that contrast unbelievably crisply no matter what angle you're looking at it from. Of course the buttons are great too, with each press more satisfying than the last. No matter where you're using this calculator, you're going to look and feel great with it.
This calculator features a detachable key pad for easy cleaning.
What makes this already fantastic calculator soar above the rest is a feature you never knew you needed: a detachable key pad. By pulling a piece at the bottom down, the key pad pops out and can be cleaned separately from the rest of the device. It's only going to come out if you want it to, and you'll be able to keep this calculator looking as gorgeous as it is all the time.

Casio absolutely nailed the design of the WM-320MT, and they did it without making the device super expensive. You can buy one from the Casio website for $12, and it will probably be the best $12 you've ever spent. This is a calculator designed in so many ways to last.

If I were forced to point out just one flaw with this calculator, it would be that not every other calculator is as good as it is.

Packaging: Front.
Packaging: Back.
Back of calculator.
Back removed, internals exposed.
Full disassembly of all components.

01 February 2019

Review: Casio HS-8V


Here it is, the final Facebook review. From this point forward, all calculator reviews will be completely new. The video review is a bit different this time, so check it out and let me know what you think of it.

I'm not the only calculator enthusiast. I'm not even the most enthusiastic enthusiast. In my research, I've discovered some very detailed online calculator museums that have lead me down multiple rabbit holes to learn more about unique designs. Because of this, I've acquired some very interesting devices that I'm looking forward to reviewing.

Casio HS-8V,
The Casio HS-8V is not one of the unique devices. It's about as standard as you can get, but that doesn't make it a bad calculator. Featuring only basic functionality, its compact size doesn't prevent it from displaying the standard 8 digits.

It also looks great. The brushed aluminum face plate provides a beautiful contrast to both the screen and buttons. The recessed screen is deep enough to prevent severe scratching if you leave this in your pocket, but I would have preferred a cover of some sort. For some reason, the super small calculators tend not to bother with a cover.

Casio introduced this model back in 2001, and it still sells for the MSRP of $3.99. Just because they made an inexpensive calculator doesn't mean they made a cheap one. It's sturdy with nice responsive buttons. If you need something for basic operations, you really can't go wrong with this device.

The HS-8V uses solar cells and a single internal LR54 battery. The picture attached to this review shows mine next to an Aldi quarter. This calculator came in the same bag as the Ft. Detrick one that I found at Goodwill for $1.50.
The back.
The guts of the HS-8V.

30 January 2019

Review: Pro 600 Gaming System (TM)


Monday's calculator review was about a gimmicky device, and I believe I've made my stance on gimmicky calculators quite clear by this point. Normally I only do one of these at most per week, but for some reason I decided to review two of these sorts of calculators this week.

Pro 600 Gaming System (TM).
The Pro 600 Gaming System (TM) is in fact two devices in one block of plastic. They each have their own set of keys and batteries, and honestly I don't understand the point of this thing. It's a calculator and a handheld gaming console, yet it sucks at being either of those.

The calculator portion.
The calculator portion is entirely unremarkable. Buttons are squishy but responsive enough. The most unique thing about this calculator is that it has an off button. That's nice for battery life, since this calculator only runs on battery, but there just isn't a whole lot else to say about it.

So primarily this is a gaming device. It alleges 600 games, but there is absolutely no way I'm going to try them all out. The buttons that control the games are horribly unresponsive and squishy. Yet that's not even the worst part about it. All of the graphics are these little identical squares that do not do an okay job at showing what things are supposed to be. It's often difficult to tell which game I'm playing, let alone which block or set of blocks are mine to control.

To call them "graphics" is incredibly generous of me. I've played some of the very first video game consoles ever created and those graphics look lifelike compared to this garbage.

Still, the worst part of this device is the sound. It's obnoxious and loud and awful and I hate it. It plays songs whenever the batteries are inserted, when the on button is pressed, when a "game" is loaded, and it all sounds terrible.

Despite all of this, I do kind of like the overall design of the device. The colors do a fine job, and it's contoured well enough for hands to hold comfortably. The clam shell layout is surprisingly sturdy so there's little risk of this thing breaking easily. It looks and feels pretty solid.

I don't recommend the Pro 600 Gaming System for anyone. There are countless other devices that are much cheaper than the $14 I paid for this on Ebay. It runs on two AA batteries for the gaming portion and a single AG10 battery for the calculator. Either part can run without the batteries installed for the other.
Closed clam shell.
Bottom of the device.
Main game display component exposed.
Corrosion inside caused the wires to break easily, so this was repaired with a bit of electrical tape.




28 January 2019

Review: 10 Digits Phone-Shaped Calculator


The slogan for my YouTube channel is "I review calculators so you don't have to." I thought it was funny, but now I realize its importance. I don't want people to buy bad calculators, so I put myself at the front lines and sacrifice my time and money to get the word out about what's worth getting. It's impossible for me to warn against every bad calculator out there, but I hope that with enough reviews, people can search for a device that suits their needs.

10 Digits Phone-Shaped Calculator.
This 10 Digits Phone-Shaped Calculator (PSC) has an interesting gimmick: it's trying to look vaguely like a cell phone. I don't know why anyone would want this, but I was intrigued enough to purchase one on Ebay for $4. Of course I wasn't expecting to get the best device ever. I just liked the gimmick.

The PSC looks very sleek, and has a great black and silver color scheme. The buttons are all flat, but separated just enough to prevent accidental pushes. They aren't clicky, and that's okay. 

The LED display is quite large for such a small device, and does indeed fit 10 digits. There's plenty of contrast to make things easy to see. 

So far, the PSC seems like a pretty solid calculator. I thought I was going to be writing a fairly positive review when I was expecting something terrible.

It even has fake buttons to make it look like a phone.
Neat.
And there is something terrible. See, I disassemble every calculator for reviews, if possible. This device only had two visible screws, so I figured getting some internal photos and checking out the battery situation would be a trivial task. To a point, it was. The screws came out easily, and I began to pry the device apart until I hit a snag. The top portion felt very tight, so I used a piece of plastic to wedge it apart. Finally, it came apart...

It turns out this device was never meant to be disassembled, which is baffling considering it runs entirely on battery power. This is a huge red flag. Getting to the battery requires removing eight screws and breaking plastic, as well as separating every single component. 

That puts the PSC into my least favorite category of calculators: disposable. I shudder every time I think of this concept because it shouldn't be a thing. There is no reason anyone should buy a calculator and not be able to use it indefinitely. 

For that, I simply cannot recommend this device to anyone. It could have been a cute thing to have, but I'm just disgusted by it.

What the back looks like.
Back plate removed.
Entire plastic shell disassembled.
Inside the key assembly.

25 January 2019

Review: Credit Card-Sized Calculator


After this week, I only have one more review I can copy from Facebook to this blog. We're almost in unknown territory here! This review was slightly edited.

I honestly thought [last week's] abacus review would have been controversial due to it not being an electronic device. It turned out to be one of my most liked reviews though [on Facebook]! I do have some other devices that aren't technically calculators, so I may add them to the stack.

Credit Card-Sized Calculator.
What is most definitely a calculator is this thing. As far as I can tell, it's actually a Nestler-matho 700, but there are enough subtle differences to lead me to believe it's not. I've included an image of one of those for you to make comparisons.

This is currently the smallest calculator that I own, only the size of a credit card (and barely thicker than one too), and considering its size, it has decent functionality. The inclusion of square root is impressive. Each button works just fine*, and the digital display is crisp- most of the time.

This calculator runs entirely on light. The moment it doesn't have a bright source, the screen fades out. It's kind of neat to watch, so I've included a gif of this happening. It came with a plastic sleeve that actually reduces the light source enough to make the device extremely unreliable when it's in there, so I don't know why they bothered to make it clear.

Its size is really the only thing that makes this calculator special. The Ft. Detrick logo is kind of ugly and tacky, and I could probably break the thing if I sat on it. But as long as it's got a decent light source, it works fine. This calculator was found at Goodwill in a bag with other calculators for $1.50.

* actually, the buttons are terrible. They have no tactile feedback whatsoever and it's very easy to press the wrong button.

The back of it.
With its fake leather and plastic sleeve.