08 November 2018

Review: Star Wars Calculator Set (Dark Side Edition)

Calculators are just one of my obsessions. I'd like to eventually expand my reviews to other vintage technology, especially video game consoles. For now I'm sticking with calculators, since that's what the people want, and I've got a lot of them. Today, I wanted to combine two of my obsessions, so I did.

A short time ago, from an Ebay seller not far away...
Calculator Set

The Star Wars Calculator Set should have been everything a student needs for class. Paper, pencils, an eraser, and a calculator. It meets that criteria, but only in the most disappointing sense. I was pretty excited to find this on Ebay for $4 because it seemed like a great deal.
Everything that comes in the set.

Since this set contains more than just a calculator, I want to review everything individually, then holistically. We'll start with the biggest component, the Darth Vader notepad, along with its Boba Fett counterpart, since they are identical in everything except size.

These are unlined notebooks, so they could be useful for art or math equations. The Boba Fett notepad is small enough to create a flip book. You could draw and animate your favorite space battle. This is kind of neat, but wouldn't make sense for much else. The Darth Vader notebook is just a much larger version of this, and it would have been a lot better if it were lined. Neither would provide much value during a math class and that's strange given that this is labeled as a calculator set.
Disassembled mechanical pencil.

To write or draw in the notebooks, the set also provides two mechanical pencils. These are not great. Each contains only a single stick of pencil lead and the quality of them is poor. A quick disassembly revealed how cheap the plastic really was, and a student would be better off using the much more reliable Bic pencil.

That brings us to the eraser. This thing makes no sense at all. These objects are supposed to represent the Dark Side, but this is just a white eraser with "The Dark Side" on a piece of paper wrapped around it. Nothing about it exudes any sense of dread or evil aside from the fact that it's useless as an eraser. The Empire would never have allowed such a crummy product to represent their brand.

Aren't you a little plain for a Star Wars thing?
And finally, the star of the show: the calculator. It's got a sticker with some stormtroopers on it. That's it. That's all that makes it related to Star Wars at all. There aren't even any Arubesh characters on it. No device in the Star Wars universe looks remotely like this thing.

But hey, if it's a decent calculator, that's not so bad. It isn't. It runs on a single watch battery and is made of cheap plastic. The buttons don't have a good feel, and to replace the battery you have to disassemble the entire device. The calculator in my set even has a messed up memory recall button, as if it had been pressed incorrectly, but quality control allowed this through anyway.

I have a lot of Star Wars merchandise. More than the average adult probably should have. In fact, just above where I do my video reviews are seven action figures from The Last Jedi, and not far from them is my collection of rare Black Series figures. Opposite those walls are even more figures from other movies, and I haven't even begun to describe what's on shelves and other walls.

I'm a bit of a fan, is what I'm trying to say.

To have this set as part of not only my calculator collection, but also my Star Wars collection is borderline insulting. It belongs in neither, because it represents nothing about either. Just slapping some artwork and a logo on a thing doesn't make it a part of the greatest franchise in history.

I don't care enough to find out who actually made this calculator because it doesn't matter. The company clearly doesn't specialize in making such devices, so just avoid buying these sets all together. Take a few extra minutes to buy generic school supplies separately and you'll probably spend about the same amount of money and get better quality devices.

This is not the only Star Wars calculator I have, so I don't want people to think it represents what the franchise has to offer. The other device will be reviewed in due time.
Not even a trademark on the back.


Essential components removed from exterior plastic.

Buttons removed from chip.
Note the indentation of the memory recall button,
probably due to poor manufacturing.

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