05 November 2018

Review: Robot Series PL-6150

It's Monday, and that means another work week of calculator reviews! I'm doing my best to keep the posting of these reviews consistent at 8:30 AM EST. What's the significance of that time? I don't know, I just picked it and want to stick with it.

Robot Series PL-6150 with original packaging.
I try to find as much information about each calculator as possible, specifically the release year and manufacture location. The PL-6150 did not make research easy. In fact, if this calculator hadn't come with its box, I might never have found out the company or model number. The only data on the device itself is an H&S Bakery, Inc. logo, and they had nothing to do with the manufacturing of this calculator.

Odds are you're not going to find a PL-6150 for sale anywhere. It's primarily used for promotions, so any company's logo can be printed on it. These companies can buy them for $2-$3 each and will probably just give them away. And honestly, that's the only acceptable way to distribute these. The PL-6150 is a garbage calculator.

Side view with easel display mechanism engaged.
While constructed of sturdy plastic and sporting comfortable rubber grips on either side, the calculator also looks pretty good. Mine is a metallic green that you don't typically see on these sorts of devices. The LCD screen is protected by a cover that opens automatically at the press of a button. It's satisfying to see this, as the opening is slow but deliberate.

What's also slow is calculator part. After pressing a spongy button, it takes roughly a third of a second for a digit to appear on the screen. These fractions of a second add up quickly if you're performing operations on numbers larger than 99. To make it worse, the screen doesn't provide much contrast, so I had to hold this calculator at an odd angle to see what was going on.

Poor display, possibly due to dying battery.
These problems may have been due to the dying battery, which itself presented more problems. I do my best to keep a healthy collection of calculator batteries so that I can fairly review each device. But for some reason, the PL-6150 uses LR1130 batteries*, which are nowhere near as common as other types. I have no idea why such a massively produced device would use such a non-standard battery type.

Also strange is the choice to use two micro screws to hold in the battery cover. These are completely unnecessary as the cover remains in place just fine without them. All they manage to do is increase the cost of the device and make replacing the battery more inconvenient for the end user.

This is another example of what I really hate calling a "disposable calculator." As a collector, I find these to keep in a working state for as long as I can. As someone who cares about the environment, it disgusts me that plastic and electronic components would be used in such a wasteful manner. I can tell that some care went into the design of the PL-6150 because it has some really nice qualities, but because it's meant to be cheap and replaceable, functionality was severely sacrificed.

I found this calculator at a thrift store (not Goodwill) for $1.99. I have no idea what year these came out, but they are manufactured in China.
Back view with all screws in.
Back view with battery cover removed.
* If I do come across a fresh LR1130 battery, I will update this review to address the speed of operations.


  1. Thanks for the information, and for your site. I found a 6150 Robot while cleaning out some old toolkits I hadn't looked at for years. I found it (marked GM) and it looked so well made and groovy I thought it was worth replacing the battery. Had to look all over to find a small enough phillips head to remove panel; had to work to pry out battery. Then I thought I should google the thing, found your review and pitched it. I have a TAX HotLine by Hanig I've been punching so long I've had to re-mark the keypad half a dozen times. Also have a Canon Palmtronic from about 30 years back- weighs over half a pound. made in Japan

    1. Wow, I'm so glad to hear that this helped someone! It's a shame when calculators with neat features end up being terrible though.

      Had to look up the TAX HotLine, and wow, that thing looks nice. It's got a very clean design. I can definitely understand why you'd keep it around.

      Thanks for commenting!