14 November 2018

Review: Franklin Merriam-Webster's Dictionary & Thesaurus (MWD-1470)

Eventually I would like to review and discuss more than just calculators on this site. For now, I don't want to offend my fans by daring to go too far out of scope. For now, every device must have some kind of calculator function and at least kind of look like a calculator.

MWD-1470: Dictionary Function
And that's good news, because the loose requirements allows me to review the Franklin MWD-1470. This device is far more than just a calculator, and definitely something worth keeping in a pocket at all times. Finally, a device is available that puts much of the world's knowledge into the palm of your hands.

The MWD-1470 is primarily a dictionary and thesaurus, as its label implies. Turning it on, you're greeted with a graphical user interface showing six items. Dictionary and Thesaurus are the first two options, and they work basically as you'd expect. This is a lot more convenient than carrying around a dictionary, thesaurus, or both in your pocket, and we're just getting started with the amazing functionality of this device.

Strangely, the word "calculator" does not provide a definition in the device's dictionary. The thesaurus does give synonyms, but considering what I'm holding in my hand, this is just weird.

Hangman game
The third icon takes you to an educational application that is mostly useless. The word database lets you add words so who cares. Then there's a spelling bee that is just sort of baffling. This device has no audio output, so it just shows you the word and then you type it out. I don't get it. The other two options in the learning center are flashcards, which just show a random word, and an SAT word list. I can't imagine this device being of much use for learning the SAT, but then again I've never taken that test so I'd look for another review if you must know.

The fourth icon brings you games. Word games. This includes hangman, anagrams, word train (?), word builder (??), and jumble. None of these games are particularly fun and are really just exercises in guessing words by typing letters. If you're into simple word games, I highly recommend the MWD-1470 I guess.

And then the fifth icon opens up some word list application where you can add words to a database. I don't understand the purpose of this unless you need to memorize a list of words for some reason. Or maybe you want to create a list of your favorite words? That's weird if you need that, but you do you.

Finally, the sixth icon lets you read a short help guide or change some settings.

But we're still not done!
Calculator function

Pressing "ORG" you're brought to the more mathematical aspects of the device. Here you get a clock, name and address database, calculator, metric to standard conversions, and a currency exchange rate converter. Each of these is very simple but they work just fine. The calculator only uses a small portion of the screen for some reason, but it's got all of your standard functionality.

And that's it! That's everything on the device!

Yet not really.

See, you can add cartridges to increase this device's functionality. I only have "The Concise Columbia Encyclopedia" cartridge, but it adds an entire encyclopedia! This puts a lot of power into the palm of my hands, and if I had the entire set, I'd probably be unstoppable.

Back with cartridge inserted
I can't vouch for any of the other cartridges as they are hard to find and rather expensive. There are a few games, ebooks, and language translation things out there that I'll be happy to review if I ever get my hands on them.

Functionally, this device is pretty amazing. Everything works well and there's not much load time for anything. The keys work great, and the screen has enough contrast to read with ease. It feels dense for its size, and this is likely due to the durable plastic and rubber material that make it up.

I didn't even know I had bought this when I got it. It came in a bag full of calculators that I got at Goodwill for like $3, so I was surprised to find that it's actually a cool device. Franklin has made several other similar devices that I'd definitely like to try out.

Back, cartridge and batteries removed
Disassembled, front and back assemblies.

Inside, back assembly removed.

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