I can honestly say I never thought I’d be reviewing a calculator app. Why? Possibly in part that I’m not a huge fan of math to begin with, possibly because all I look for in most calculators is the ability to properly add, subtract, divide, and multiply. However, the other day I received a tweet asking if I would like a promo code for a calculator app. I honestly wasn’t too intrigued at first, but I took a look at the app in the App Store and quickly my stagnant, lack of desire took a turn to the interested.
Created by Very Tiny Machines comes a calculator [app] without equal, both metaphorically and literally in the sense there’s not an equal button to be seen within the interface. Called Numerical, this application makes use of a very iOS 7 inspired design and unique features to make for a strangely fun, intuitive experience within a calculator app.
The concept of hitting an equal button whenever you’re wanting to calculate an answer via a calculator is a rather old one. In a world where Google can instantaneously look up search results while you’re typing – and even predict what you’re going to type next – it would make sense for a calculator to do the same, calculate as you go, in an effort to simplify the process even further. That’s exactly what Numerical does. All you do is type in the equation and as you go and the answer instantly appears on your screen.
Gestures are also present in Numerical, something few other calculator apps have attempted and certainly none of which have done so intuitively. By swiping left, right, or up on the current answer and/or equation, you can undo, redo, or save the equation, respectfully. Despite it being one of my 2013 trends, it’s nice to continually see developers make use of simple gestures in place of buttons.
The “saving” feature above brings me to the next feature of Numerical. History. I can’t tell you how many times this would’ve saved me in 8th grade algebra, but Numerical makes brilliant use of a feature we’re used to in so many other apps we use. After an equation has been typed out and you press clear, or if you swipe up, prompting Numerical to “save” the equation, it’s added to a continually growing list of previous mathematical results in it’s own menu, accessible from a simple swipe from the right side of the screen. Whether you’re trying to utilize an answer from some math you were attempting the day before, or just need a quick reference from your previous problem, the ability to save and recall equations so simply is an extremely appreciated feature.
The last of the neat features is something the Numerical team refers to as “sensible errors”, which is a simple way of saying, the app will tell you in plain english where you messed up, be it dividing by zero or otherwise destroy the planet via math.
Simple, beautiful, unique, and somewhat outside the box, Numerical has quickly become one of my favorite apps I’ve seen this year. Sure, there’s not much to it, in the realm of things, but the beauty in simplicity is really what sticks out to me, as well as the creative use of gestures and instant answers.
Available as of yesterday in the App Store, for $2.99, I’d say it’s well worth it’s price and worth the few seconds it will take to download as soon as you’re finished reading this. Once you’ve given it a download and played with it a bit, come back here – or just don’t leave – and let me know your thoughts on it in the comments below.