01 October 2019

Calculatober Day 1: Staples SPL-230 & 110 8-Digit Display Calculator

I've been slacking with calculator reviews lately, so I'm going to make up for that. For the entire month of October, I will be posting a calculator review every single day. All other projects will be put on hold until 31 calculator reviews are posted. This is going to be fun!
Staples SPL-230 & 110 8-Digit Display Calculator Value Pack
We begin with something simple: the Staples SPL-230 and 110 value pack. Instead of just one calculator, you get two. This pack was available starting in 2015 with a retail of $10.79, but I got these for $4 from Goodwill still sealed in their original packaging.
Starting with the smaller of the two, the SPL-110, my initial reaction to it was quite positive. This calculator uses chiclet buttons which I normally don't like, but these have a good feel to them. Every button and its label are starkly contrasted from each other, and it's an overall nice look.

But the LCD is where this calculator truly stands out. LCD stands for liquid crystal display, and this display is crystal clear. It's fantastic! The whole device is small enough to easily fit in a pocket and feels quite durable, so this would make a handy travel calculator. You'll need to remove four screws from the back panel to access the LR1130 battery.
With how nice the 110 was, I figured I was in for a real treat with its counterpart the 230. It too has a nice clean display and great color scheme. But when actually using it, I was disappointed. The buttons feel way too bouncy and calculations weren't at all satisfying.
Internals of both calculators.
Internally it's even worse. To access the inside, eight screws need to be removed. This is insane. There was no need for that many screws. I was concerned Staples did this to conceal a fake solar panel, but that turned out to not be the case. Instead what I found was one of those cheap plastic electrical ribbons that break very easily. I hate that these are pretty much standard in modern calculators.

For $4, this value pack was a pretty good deal. At Staple's price of $10.79, I wouldn't recommend it at all. There's really no need for both devices, but I think I know why Staples did this.

Inside both calculators, dates were printed on the PCBs. These dates come well before 2015, so I believe that these calculators were sold individually at one point, but for some reason Staples decided to sell them together as a value pack. I don't know what this means.


  1. Nice work! Great to see calculator reviews this in-depth in 2019. Keep it up.

    1. This is genuinely the nicest comment I've ever received. Thank you!